EToday my baby turns five. FIVE! We celebrated over the weekend with a family dinner out at a favorite pizza place. Loads of toys and goodies have been lavished on him and cake has been consumed.
Jude loves it when we lay in bed at night and I tell him stories. In particular, we’ve been doing the story of when he was born, so I thought I’d share it here as well. And while it’s not the story you want to hear when you’re pregnant – and definitely not the way I expected it all to happen – it is our story.
Originally due in mid-December, Jude came into the world seven weeks early on October 29, 2007. Pregnancy hadn’t exactly been the most fun for me – to say that I was hormonal was probably putting it lightly. But then once I hit around 30 weeks of pregnancy, I started feeling kinda off. I chalked it up to 3rd trimester woes. But then the weekend of my baby shower, I was distinctly miserable. I couldn’t sleep, I was having pain in my chest that, crazy as it sounds, I thought was heartburn. After a night of vomiting, we went to the hospital. After several rounds of tests and an ultrasound, it was determined that I had preeclampsia and I needed to deliver ASAP.
I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live. Laying there in that hospital bed with my sweet OB saying, “Well. You’re going to have a baby today.” Honest to goodness, the first thing that came to mind was, “But we have no diapers. We don’t have anything for the baby.”
Which technically was true. None of our furniture had arrived; all we had was a bassinet and some of the things received at our baby shower only two days prior. To compound matters, the hospital we were at was not equipped with a NICU. So an ambulance was called and 2 fresh-faced EMTs (one of whom went to high school with us!) came to transport me across town to the hospital that could accommodate us.
I don’t think we were at the (new) hospital for an hour before they rolled me into surgery for my C-section. And at 5:35pm, they held up a teeny tiny baby over that curtain in the OR and I heard his precious sweet cry. I got to glimpse him briefly before they whisked him off to the NICU. Tiny at 3 pounds 13 ounces, he had red hair and we couldn’t believe it. He was finally here.
Everything happened so quickly. Our families were there but we didn’t have cameras, I didn’t have a hospital bag packed. It was all so sudden, so crazy. And the craziness didn’t go away quickly either. I had to be treated for the preeclampsia which let me feeling like death warmed over and subsequently I didn’t get to go to the NICU to see Jude for a few days. Simon made regular reports to me and I had tons of photos to look at.
Finally, they rolled me into the NICU for my first look at him. I was so nervous – I mean, I was meeting my child for practically the first time! And then there he was – tiny and precious with that red hair. My heart flopped over in my chest and I remember telling Simon, “Isn’t he marvelous? We should have 10 more just like him!” (Jude loves this part when I tell it to him – he giggles at the thought of 10 more of him).
Jude was there in the NICU for three weeks. He had to gain weight, take a bottle, and maintain his own temperature — all crucial things for a NICU baby. But they finally allowed us to bring him home. I’ll never forget pulling in the driveway and seeing Simon’s mom and sister, my sister and her 3 boys, and my mom all there to greet us. It was a homecoming! We were all 3 together under one roof, like we were supposed to be.
But we were total nervous wrecks! You should have seen us, tiptoeing around this teeny tiny baby, keeping the lights dimmed and the TV down low. We were scared to death! We were also kind of under house arrest because it was the beginning of RSV season, which can be deadly especially for preemies. So we holed up until after Thanksgiving when we decided to go stay at my parents’ house — we needed support, big time.
All in all, it was a rough entry into parenthood, yes – but wow, what a boy we got. What a total, utter miracle that sweet boy is to me every single day of his life. And you know what? I would do it all over again – every last bit of it because he was worth it.
Baby boy, I know you’re five, but you will always be my baby. And you are God’s biggest gift to your daddy and me. You are marvelous, in every single way.
Ok. Time for some Kleenex for this mamma. And some more cake. Happy birthday, my little redheaded love.