Monday, January 4, 2016


I never introduced the newest member of our family.

So here we go.  Better late than never?

Avery Elizabeth entered our world on August 21, 2015 at 37 weeks on the dot and 7lb 8oz, 19.5 inches.  I fought hard for her and struggled through intense pain, fought through contractions and extreme exhaustion those last few days to make that goal.  I would have gone further had I been given the choice.

She did NOT come into this world screaming her dismay.  Really, she wasn't quite ready to be here.

We arrived at the hospital at 8 for the scheduled section at 10 am.  Never having made it to a scheduled delivery, I didn't quite know what to expect.  It felt so sterile, unemotional.  I think I was detached and had an odd fear over it.  As much pain as I had been in the last few weeks before her delivery, I still wasn't ready for this day.

They explained that they would take me back to the OR alone to start the the epidural and process to begin the surgery and once they started they would bring Andrew back.  It seemed like it took forever but I was finally laying on the OR table and able to feel nothing but tugging on my belly.  As they were laying me down, I started crying with the overwhelming fear, especially since they still had not brought Andrew back yet.  Which turned to outright panic when I could feel them starting to cut and he was still not in the room.  Was he going to miss this birth too?!  Where was he?  I'll never know the delay but I kept asking the nurse where he was and they kept saying he was coming.  He finally showed up and didn't miss a thing.  That was important, anyway.  And then we were off.

I remember them showing me to her real quick and whisking her off to the neonatologist...and Andrew standing at my arm and looking hesitantly over at them.  I remember them telling him he could come over...and I remember the neo asking someone to call her respiratory therapist.  And I'm just going oh geez.

Luckily by the time the RT got there, she had begun breathing appropriately for her age.   That should have been my first clue.  We were wheeled to recovery where the nurses worked with me to get her to nurse, but she was very lethargic and floppy.  I don't know where my mind was.  Denial?  But I didn't see it.  Andrew did and kept voicing his concerns but they kept saying it was ok and normal.  Once we were wheeled to the mother/baby floor he finally got someone's attention enough to take a harder look at her and they brought her right down to the nursery.

She was shoved full of formula.  So much so she threw most of it back up.  Her blood sugar was critically low.  Formula would get it up momentarily but then it would plummet again.

And so began a back and forth between the nursery, and pre-admission to the NICU for several days for IV sucrose.

I don't know that there are any words to describe my emotions over these few days.  Knocked on my ass but not staying there.  Squaring up the shoulders and once again getting up and putting one foot in front of the other.  Anger.  That I was once again in that place.

Eventually, the fight to control her blood sugar and an inability to transfer enough milk when nursing due to a lip and tongue tie (diagnosed later) caused her to officially be admitted to the NICU.  Officially locked away and in "jail" as I described it lol.  The fight took so much out of her that she began to be unable to control her body temperature and ultimately stop eating.  And forced the issue of an NG tube.  Each item added another complex goal to meet to start the slow, upward climb to home.

Thank God, and I truly can only credit Him, this NICU had rooms for families who were "rooming" in with their babies and another "Julie" of a NICU nurse.  Even though these rooms were only meant for families who were preparing to bring their baby home the next day, the nurse arranged that I be given one of these highly sought after rooms due to my desire to nurse.  And probably also took pity on my state of mind as it quickly unraveled when they started to push the NG tube on me.  And I irrationally asked them if she was going to die since she kept going backwards in her ability to function outside my womb.  My saving grace for this stay was that I did not leave that hospital until she did, 10 days after she was born.

It was a rather awkward place to be in.  She wasn't "pre-term" like Elisa and many of her cell mates, and yet had many of the milestones to meet that she did to go home.  And yet, she wasn't able to go home.  My heart ached for the other moms there, having been in their shoes but feeling distanced from them since she was so old.  This stay didn't have the same repercussions.  There weren't developmental delays to worry about.  There wasn't a compromised immune system.  This was just a blip on the radar.

Since then, she has continued to grow and develop and exceed expectations.  Her weight has been slow to move forward, and she was even given that dreaded "failure to thrive" label.  That is a joke.  But even with this, she is a happy, healthy, amazing 4 month old and the perfect closure to our family.

1 Month
8lbs 3 oz, 21 inches

2 Months
9lbs 12 oz, 22.75 inches

3 Months
10lb 13 oz

4 Months
11lb 9 oz, 24 inches

I love her in so many ways.  I bonded the fastest with her out of all of them.  And despite her NICU stay, she has "healed" me.  She's been my only successfully breastfed baby.  And baby she will always be.

I look forward to watching her grow up.

But not too fast.

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