Hi James, We Love You!
We welcomed James Arthur into the family on April 12th at 4:22am! He was 23 inches long (half an inch longer than Molly, and she was super long!) and 8lbs 8oz. Of course (because what can you expect after a pregnancy like that one?), nothing went as planned. At all.
James unexpectedly flipped in the last hour of my 12 hour labour, resulting in an emergency C Section with complications (my uterus ripped and I began hemorrhaging blood - turning a one hour surgery into a two hour surgery). I have foggy memories of his first cries and them bringing him around near my face for me to see him, and of telling Jason not to let go of my hand (which he didn't - and I will be grateful for that forever). I also have foggy memories of repeatedly throwing up and fading in and out of consciousness. I faintly remember Jason telling me to not go to sleep and keep breathing, and I remember our midwife arriving and seeing her holding James and feeling so relieved that she was there and that someone was finally holding the baby.
The rest of that day is pretty blurry, too. Due to the blood loss, I could barely keep my eyes open for more than a minute or two. Jason ended up doing skin to skin with the baby and then following him to the NICU when, as expected, his blood sugars began to drop an hour or two after the birth (we expected this, as I suffered from uncontrolled gestational diabetes - without the constant high blood sugars my body had been providing, the baby would suffer low blood sugars and need an IV of a glucose solution for days). I didn't get to hold James until that evening when it took three people to help me get out of the bed and into a wheelchair to visit the NICU.
I had a few pangs about how James and I were in such rough shape, with each of us attached to multiple IV's and test wires and drainage tubes and bandages all over... but mostly I was just so happy to finally hold him and tears were leaking out of my eyes. I told him "we made it!" - and I felt the hugest surge of relief. Relief because I wasn't pregnant anymore. Relief that I could hold him and see that he was alive and ok. Relief for modern medicine and living in close proximity to one of the best Children's Hospitals. Relief that Jason was able to hold him all day when I couldn't. Relief that, surely, every day after that one could only get better.
The next few days we spent in the hospital (during a crazy ice storm - which meant no visitors other than Jason's mom and my mom and Molly). I got discharged one day ahead of James, and the hospital arranged for Jason and I to sleep in some rooms they keep for parents of NICU babies who are trying to breastfeed - the rooms aren't much more than a bed and a shared bathroom, but we were grateful to have one. The next day we got to bring him home!
Like many things in life, I have a whole host of vibrant and conflicting feelings about the pregnancy, the delivery, the hospital stay, and even life at home now with a toddler and a newborn. It will take a long time to process everything, I think, and adjust to what happened and our new 'normal'.
In the meantime, I am trying to soak up the baby cuddles because I know they don't last forever! Thank you to everyone who sent messages and support and dropped by or dropped off food or presents - even if I haven't managed to reply, I treasured even the tiniest comment of support over the last few weeks.
And finally? Last night I managed a short dance party with Molly - something that has been impossible since about the 4th month of my pregnancy. It was only for a few songs but my heart was soaring. Things are going to be okay.