We drove 95 MPH on our way to the hospital and ran about 4 red lights.
Growth & Appearance: You were born with brown hair. It’s not as dark as I remember your brothers’ at birth and I anticipate that it will lighten, as theirs did, over the next several months.
I had to trim your nails in the hospital as being ‘overdue’ allowed you to be born with daggers. You scratched yourself often until I was able to give them a proper cut. I’ve had to cut them twice since then.
By your third week of life, you developed a bald spot on your head. Near your cowlick you have a longer patch of hair so you look a bit like this.
Your eyes are a deep ocean blue, which again is reminiscent of your brothers and I imagine they, too, will change with time.
Your fingers, toes, and limbs are all long. Like, really long.
At birth you weighed 10 lbs, 22 inches. At about a week old you were 10.4 lbs and 22 1/2 inches. At your one month appointment (at 5 weeks) you weighed 12.5 lbs and were 24 inches long. Your head circumference is 15.5 inches.
Eating: I breastfeed you on demand. I’ve been floating through these days too much to take note of any sort of pattern, but there does seem to be some vague sense of one forming.
You like to cluster feed, especially in the evenings and will either flip flop between breasts several times or separate feedings by a mere 30 minutes.
You have a great latch and fortunately the whole breastfeeding gig has been smooth for both of us.
You’ll take a bottle and we’re trying to remember to give you at least an ounce of expressed milk once a week or so to keep up on this skill.
You’ll latch onto anything. A video of you latching onto your Papa’s nose has generated over 81K views on instagram with only a small handful exercising their social media policing powers. Hashtag: eye roll.
If I had to guess, I’d say you nurse a total 8-9 times during the day and 2-4 times during the night.
Sleeping: By your second week, you were sleeping in 2 to 3 hour increments, with a rare 4 hour stretch thrown in once, I think. For the first two weeks, feedings took an average of an hour (30 minutes on each side).
By the third week, our nighttime schedule looked like this: go to sleep about 10pm, wake up around 1am, 4am, 7am. I think there was one 5 hour stretch slipped in on one of those nights. Feedings took an average of 15-20 minutes on each side, for a total of 30-40 minutes per feeding.
At one month, you wake, on average, every 3 hours and nurse for a total of 15 minutes or so on each side. Sometimes you’ll fall asleep without taking both sides. Most nights we go to bed around 9 or 10pm and you wake around 1 or 2am, again around 4am, and for the day around 7am.
We’re sleeping together, in the guest bed.
You’ve been sleeping in the woombie, which Hooper refers to as your ‘worm packet’ since week one. You sleep much better in it.
Even when you wake to feed, you don’t cry; instead you let out a few grunts and gently start kicking your feet.
You prefer turning your head to your left over the right. The doc noted that the left side of your head is slightly flatter.
You’re independent in the sense that you don’t need to be on or around anyone; you’re content to snooze wherever we lay you and in true third child fashion, not much disturbs you. This is in-spite of the fact you’re constantly being kissed by your brothers or licked by Jimmie. I suppose it just comes with the territory and you’ve proven to combat any distractions with some wonderful adaptation techniques.
You don’t mind being on your tummy.
Other than peeing on me during your bath, twice, you have not sprung a leak while having your diaper changed. Considering your brother peed in your Papa’s mouth, we’re all celebrating this small victory.
You’re patient. Again, I chalk this up to being the product of a third born. You rarely cry when you’re hungry or need to be changed, using quite grunts to tell us gently that you’re hungry or uncomfortable.
When you are awake, it’s obvious the wheels are spinning. You lock eyes with us on occasion and study our smiles; I can tell you’re trying to smile back, it just isn’t translating quite yet.
You don’t care who holds you, you’ll cuddle with whoever’s arms you’re in. I’m sure this will change in time, but I remember both of your brothers’ always preferring to be on me, at all times.
You’ll take a pacifier for a short period of time but end up spitting it out. You prefer to suck on a finger instead. And not your own, unless – that is – it happens to land in your mouth. In general, you’re just not that coordinated yet.
With the rise of influence via social media in conjunction with the over abundance of glorification of natural births, epidurals have – in my opinion – gained some weird association with turning your back on the ‘real experience’. I remember a family member telling me after my birth with Hooper that women who give birth naturally don’t deserve some special trophy. It hurt my feelings some at the time because I felt like she must have inferred that I chose to give birth naturally because I had some crazy notion that doing so would win me some prestige. It was quite the contrary, actually. I was scared to get an epidural. So scared, in fact, that the idea of giving birth screaming and yelling and feeling every single contraction somehow seemed more appealing. I didn’t want a c-section and I understood the connection between having an epidural and ultimately needing a c-section. And, in hindsight, had I gotten an epidural with Hooper I can almost guarantee that I would have ended up on the operating room table. I mean I delivered him on the operating room table anyway but was luckily afforded that final opportunity to push, something that would have been more challenging had I been numb from an epidural.
Some use the argument that those that receive an epidural aren’t fully present for their birth but as someone that has given birth three times now sans an epidural, let me tell you, neither was I. I don’t even recognize the person on that video on Willy’s phone pushing out that baby. It’s not me. It’s not sounds I make. All I wanted to do in that time was escape myself.
Had it not been for my fused spine, I may have just opted for an epidural this third time. In fact, when I got to the hospital, even in my rushed state, the nurse asked if I wanted something for pain. And my answer was quite different than my first birth with Hooper where, in my sober, non-labor-land state, I told the nurse to kindly not offer me an epidural. This time, instead, in my full-on-labor-land-state and between rapid and strong contractions I said, “what can you give me?”… By the time the exchange of info was made – they learned of my fused spine and I learned that the anesthesiologist was in the OR assisting another patient – it was time to deliver Sonny anyway. But the point is, I wanted a way out and dammit, if given more time and opportunity, I would have taken it.
My sister recently sent me a link to this blog post, via Scary Mommy, which serves as a hysterical pat on the back for anyone that may be leaning toward an epidural but feels like there is a certain degree of scrutiny associated with such a decision.
Final point being, you have to do what you feel comfortable with. I wasn’t initially comfortable with the idea of an epidural and now that I am, it’s not an option for me. Ho hum. Fortunately, Sonny came fast enough that whatever pain I experienced is already a fleeting memory… but not really, cuz – I mean – ouch.
I’m curious to hear from any mamas that have given birth both ways – with an epidural and without – and what your experiences were like when compared. And, of course, any random thoughts on the topic are also invited… if you chose not to have an epidural, what was your reasoning? Would you do it again? And for those who had an epidural, did you experience any complications? Also curious to know what it’s like watching your baby come out in the absence of the hysteria that comes with a natural, un-medicated, birth… I imagine it’s pretty surreal. I mean it’s surreal anyway… but I digress. I’m rambling now.
I’ve mentioned before that the newborn phase has never been kind to Willy and I’s relationship and I think it’s fair to say that lack of sleep, in general, is never a recipe for a successful marriage. This third time around, however, we’ve changed our game plan and thus far, Sonny has afforded us the smoothest transition. Everyone says the jump from two children to three is the hardest and while I’m sure there are hard days ahead that are surely chuckling at us as we make such grossly ignorant statements so early on, thus far it’s been the perfect amount of team work combined with smooth sailing with, of course, the small doses of tears and tantrums that, in part, are to be expected. Just fewer than I anticipated, I guess.
So what’s changed, you may be wondering?
With both Hooper and Van, Willy and I shared nighttime duties. I found it hard to get any sort of solid sleep when around the baby because I was always on-edge and anxious over the thought of them waking up hungry, ready to feed. So after a feeding, I would go to bed and Willy would sleep on the sofa, with the baby, and wake me when it was time for the next feeding and then we’d switch. It was fair and afforded me at least a few hours of promising sleep but it also left both of us in that survival mode; depleted and rundown. And it opened the door to a lot of bickering that really had nothing to do with whatever subject matter was brought up in said bickerments, but instead in the fact we were plain tired; our reserves empty.
With Hooper and Van now older, it seems silly to have us share the newborn responsibilities. In hindsight, it was probably silly to share it even back then. What we’ve found is that the best way to divvy up responsibilities is to have one take the nighttime shift (me) while the other takes the supportive role. And when you have two already, it’s kinda a draw as to which one is easier. Thus far, these roles have worked in such a way that a transition we were both kinda dreading has actually become sorta – well – enjoyable. And I think that’s because we have a good balance.
I’m getting a few solid hours of sleep at night, in chunks of course, but there’s also no rush for me to start my day because Willy has been getting up with the boys, fixing them breakfast (never mind the fact it’s Eggo waffles most days… which I pick up off the floorboard of the car days later in their stale, hardened state), getting them ready for school, and dropping them off.
The days are slow and most days are spent checking off the bare necessities a family needs to accomplish to get to the next day, but happiness and joy have been encasing us. Alas, we have found a system that allows us to enjoy these fleeting days just in time for it to all change; because that’s how these early days go, isn’t it? In any event, trying our best to take it one day at a time and to welcome the changing tides. And feeling grateful for our current situation; having Willy around as often as I do is something I didn’t have with Hooper and Van.
Our days take a while to get started and I catch myself in fleeting moments of feeling unproductive; like I’m floating from one thing to the next as opposed to moving with intention, crossing things off the ol’ daily list of tasks. My inbox always seems flooded, dishes always piling, legos forever spilling across the floor; the days are moving faster than I am.
But I have this little tool in my arsenal that I arguably had before but it’s just a bit sharper now; the edges made more defined by the days behind me. If ever there was a l lingering theme in my life, let it be perspective.
Motherhood has taught me that there is a season for everything; a time to enjoy nights out away from the kids, a time to enjoy vacations as a family and adventures to foreign lands, a time to push bedtime back a few hours and go out for ice cream, a time to buckle down and lay out the law, and – well – a time to put the to-do list down, to slow down, to welcome help with a grace and gratitude; a time to celebrate new life… and nothing more.
Celebration is so often skipped these days; we’re so eager to make it to the next big thing, the next accomplishment, that we don’t take the proper time to celebrate all that can be celebrated in the moment we’re in.
It’s not easy to slow down, to get a late start, to make it to the end of the day having accomplished little more than three meals (and questionable ones at that), breastfeeding, changing of diapers, and maybe the start of a load of laundry that may very well end up sitting there until tomorrow, the smell of mildew a reminder that you simply didn’t move fast enough but your handy dandy tool of perspective reminding you that it’s okay.
My house is a mess. The boys have ate more Eggo waffles than I care to admit and snuck more candy, compliments of Easter, than I care to regulate. But the time will come when my attention will be, once again, more evenly divided. For now, it’s all about celebrating… taking in this new life, new gift… and letting everything else fall wherever it shall fall.
For tomorrow there will be time to sort out all the fallen pieces. Or at least some of them.
Hooper came home from school with his belly button painted purple and red looking like a makeup artist got ahold of him and gave his belly button a good bruising. When questioned about it, he said he wanted his belly button to look like Sonny’s.
As Sonny laid curled up into me in the hospital bed, I couldn’t help but think how the kicks from him while inside me were so reminiscent of the kicks I felt with him lying next to me.
One of the nurses commented as I ate my meal over a breastfeeding Sonny that I must not be a first time mom. It sure is a lot easier the third time around.
I’ve always said that the newborn phase isn’t really for Willy and I, that we’d rather jump right into the toddler phase. But I guess with each child you gain a better sense of just how fleeting and unforgiving time is and for whatever reason, I’m really enjoying this newborn phase. Willy too.
Questions asked by the boys: Why doesn’t he open his eyes? Can we watch him suck your booby? Mama, when are you going to fill your belly up again? When will he be able to tell jokes?
Hooper broke out into full crocodile tears when he had to go home from the hospital without Sonny and I. Through choked up words and flowing tears, he said, “I want mama and Sonny to come home too”. Broke. My. Heart. He also cried heavily after Jimmie accidentally scratched Sonny.
Highlights from the hospital: lavender towels delivered by the sweetest of volunteers and home made chocolate chip cookies.
My first day home I watched Van pick a very large sized booger and was actually relieved when he put it in his mouth, allowing me to stay sitting on my injured lady parts.
Van, being to boob man that he is, shared the following observation: “Wow, mama, that is the biggest I have ever seen your booby”. Followed by, “Can I squeeze it?”.
Speaking of boobs, Hooper made one out of his legos. He used a long stick looking lego for the nipple and it resembled the fembots from Austin Powers.
Jimmie spent the first week of Sonny’s life rather out of sorts. He welcomed him home by peeing all over the hallway floor, the stairs, and the landing area.
I’ve rediscovered sleeping on my back, which never felt like something to write home about before but is nothing short of a privilege now.
My doctor’s response when I told him we’d like to save the placenta, “Um, okay. Gross”.
The following conversation took place:
Van: “How come your tummy is still big?”
Me: “Cuz there’s still gunk in there”.
Van: “But gunk only comes out of your ears”.
Willy, on having another boy: “It’s nice not having to wipe poop out of a vagina”…
My vagina itched in the worst way possible following the delivery. It’s one thing to be awoken by your newborn baby, but it’s an entirely different thing to be awoken by my own labia. In any event, desitin worked magically. Take notes.
I had made a list of things to do once I felt labor coming on on the back of a tear away calendar. When I came home from the hospital, I turned the list over only to discover that I had written it on March 17. Here I am visiting the magic eight ball’s website trying to figure out when this baby would come when all I had to do was look on the back of my pre-labor to-do list.
Van peed in his bed one night, followed by throwing up in his bed the night after that. Willy has been in charge of household duties so Van spent the next two nights sleeping on semi-barf sheets.
I texted my mom “shit just got real” the morning Van woke up with said throw up. I thought that day would be the day that would do me in but it was the next day, when Van was back to being healthy, that the first I-don’t-know-if-I-can-do-this tears started flowing. Luckily, they came and went.
I’m eating my placenta, which sounds better than the truth which is I had it encapsulated. I’ve never had post partum depression but as soon as I heard that it could* help with post partum hair loos, you better believe I was in.
Sonny’s belly button stump smells like an ape’s armpit. We ended up using alcohol on it to speed up the falling-off-process and I’m happy to report that the problem has been resolved.
Willy caught a video of me giving birth and I’ve only been able to watch it once or twice. In fact, every time Sonny cries that high-pitched newborn cry I am reminded of that video and equally troubled as the first time I saw it.
Sonny’s balls are the size of the rock of Gibraltar.
Van refers to the suction/bottle part of my breast pump as “water blasters” and has taken to carrying them around the house, one in each hand, shooting them like you would a gun.
Hooper asked if he could carry Sonny down the stairs, pointing out the fact he’s 5 and therefore totally trustworthy.
There’s a mason jar that sits on the plywood concrete block shelf Willy built about a year ago that also houses a portion of our record collection, our record player, and a few other knick knacks and books and plants. Within that mason jar are several pieces of paper folded in such a way that the words remain hidden; guesses, if you will, as to when the baby would come, how big it would be, whether it would be a boy or a girl, and how long it would be. Everyone from friends, even one in Florida, to grandparents, great grandparents, and neighbors pitched in on the pot, hopeful to take home a portion of the pot of money. It seemed like a fun idea until it got near the end when, well, truthfully nothing is fun anymore. I unfolded those little bits of paper and staring back at me were dates from weeks before. Even my own guess, made in some sort of hopeful and delusional state, was far gone.
Sonny, the wait was nearly longer than your mama could bear but, as I suppose they say – and as I peek over my shoulder at you so perfectly asleep and content in your bouncer- you were worth it.
Everyone has a story, my dear Sonny, this is yours.
As your induction date grew nearer, I became more obsessed with getting you out before eviction time. I started to get hung up on stupid shit – like whether you’d be an Aires or a Pisces – and even considered changing my induction date because, I’m telling you, I was going crazy. If only hindsight weren’t 20/20. If I could have the peace of mind that I do today, knowing what I know now, I would have waited with more grace, more patience; I would have waited a lifetime. But, alas, the end of my pregnancy with you felt like a lifetime with each day sucking whatever energy I had and whisking it away like a broom sweeping dust off a porch. I read once that cats runaway prior to giving birth; they find somewhere dark and birth their kittens in the loneliness and company of dark shadows. I can relate. I wanted to dig a hole and not come out until I had you in my arms.
I woke up that morning looking forward to my appointment, eager for the doc to give me some crystal ball answer of when I would go into labor; which, truthfully, I knew was a lousy thing to rely on given the fact at the previous appointment he said I’d have you in my arms within the next 5 days. That appointment was over a week prior. I suppose it’s that very lack of control, the uncertainty, that makes pregnancy so troubling at times; so much to worry about and get hung up on.
He did a quick ultrasound and confirmed that my fluid levels were great, your heart beat perfect. He didn’t comment on your size, per his usual less-is-more conversational skills and at-that-point I was glad; I knew deep down you’d be big and going into labor without that seed of fear planted in my head helped to some degree. He stripped my membranes, for at least the third – maybe fourth – time and reminded me, once again, that he’s never put a women into labor by stripping her membranes. I was 4 cm and 80% effaced and though that came as a pleasant surprise, google was quick to remind me that others stayed at these measurements for weeks, some even having to be induced for ‘failure to progress’ beyond those measurements. No such reassurance with this pregnancy gig, I’m tellin’ ya. He hooked us up to the fetal monitor, checked your heart rate against some contractions during a non-stress-test, told me you look “too perfect”, asked that I not go into labor until after midnight – after his sushi date with his wife – and I left his office.
I met up with a friend of a friend later in the afternoon, who agreed to do some acupressure. By this point I had sworn off all natural induction tricks but given the fact she was referred by a friend who referred to her as “the big guns” and offered to help out of the kindness of her heart, it was hard to say no. I met her at her house and she worked on some areas on my feet, shoulders, neck, and back while her son played with legos and their new puppy pissed on the carpet.
I stopped on the way home to get a pedicure, which is something I’ve never gotten in the two years of living here. But, given the fact I’m unable to bend due to my fused spine and now even less able to bend because of, well, your ridiculous size, I figured someone who does not love me ought to trim my nails and scrape the dead skin off my feet. There was a women sitting with her feet in the tub when I got there. She glanced over as I was picking out a color and said, “you look like you deserve a pedicure, when are you due?”. I gave her the I-know-right look and told her my due date had come and gone sometime ago. I climbed up to the massage chair, flipped through some trashy magazines that I only seem to ever pick up while waiting in line at the grocery store or at a doctor’s appointment, and left the nail salon with cherry red toe nails feeling like now would be a good time to go into labor. As would yesterday, but – ya know – ships sail.
The rest of that day was spent like the days that preceded it — waiting. I waited all the way through dinner and got in bed that night dreading the passing of another day and feeling much like I did the evenings preceding it — defeated. I got up to the bathroom, noticed some blood tinged mucous, googled “bloody show”, compared pictures others had posted, told Willy it could mean we’d be on our way to the hospital soon OR it could mean several more days of waiting (thanks, again, google for all your wonderfully definitive information), and got in bed with just the slightest glimmer of hope to combat the usual feeling of defeat.
As if you had more respect for our OB than I, just a few minutes after midnight – per his request – I felt the first contraction that caught my attention and briefly made me exhale just a tad longer than usual. Not being the first time I was awoken by a contraction that seemed to be gaining in magnitude, I didn’t get too excited. I did consider timing it to see when the next one would come and sure enough, five minutes later, I had another. I stopped timing them, however, when ten more minutes went by and nothing much happened. Defeat, pouring back in.
Then, around 12:20am (keep track of the time here because it’s an important part of your story), I heard a “pop”. I turned to your Papa and said, “did you hear that?”. He wrote me off entirely, assumed I was dreaming and responded to me the same way you’d respond to a drunk person who you know isn’t in their right mind to be having a serious conversation. He blamed it on my back, “It was probably just your back cracking”. Only it felt very internal. To be honest, I thought you had broke your neck. I spent the next couple of minutes waiting for you to move, to be sure you were okay, and when you responded with some gentle kicks, I got up to go to the bathroom hoping to see some sign of impending labor. Alas, nothing. Defeat, pouring back in.
I climbed back in bed and succumbed to the fact it was going to be another sleepless night, waiting and wondering and anticipating. And then my underwear started to feel wet. My first inclination was to wait, to be sure. My second inclination was to get out of bed and avoid having to deal with a mattress soaked with amniotic fluid. I made my way to the bathroom, again, this time accompanied by a clear puddle of water beneath my feet. I called my doula, told her in a calm voice that my water broke and asked her what I’m supposed to do now. Given the time and lack of sleep, she suggested waiting just a bit and trying to get some more rest. I knew in my heart of hearts I would not be able to take her advice.
I made my way back to the bed and had a contraction that made me grab hold of the bedding for support. Your Papa called the OB. I went over to my desk and consulted the list I had made (I love lists) of tasks to complete in early labor; things like shower, put toiletry bag in backpack, turn off computer, etc, etc. I started moaning in such a way that your Papa said, “How ’bout you stop doing that stuff and we start to head over to the hospital”. I agreed because it was obvious shit was gonna go down. We got in the car about 12:30am.
My contractions seemed to be escalating quickly. It literally went from my water breaking to full-on labor land mode. I tried to watch the clock to time them but each time one came I was swept away in such a way that no thoughts registered, common logic had all but left. I was in survival mode and the drive to the hospital felt like the longest drive of my life. The commute to the hospital is about 20 minutes and your Papa must had been driving 95 mph in addition to running several red lights. I heard your Papa on the phone with the OB, “I’m no OB but I think things are moving pretty quickly…”.
When we got to the hospital your Papa wheeled me into the waiting room of the ER. For the brief second I could open my eyes I could see about 10 to 15 people sitting in chairs, waiting to be seen. I gave them quite the show and I’m sure any one of them would have offered to give up their place in line for the screams of the woman in dire need that just bursted through their doors. Luckily the OB, God bless him, showed up a few minutes later and he was actually the one to wheel me up to the delivery unit. Your Papa went to park the truck.
On the way to the elevator, the OB – the one I’ve called some not nice names and debated leaving several times – rubbed my shoulders and whispered in my ear, “you’re doing awesome”. He probably knew he’d be home soon enough. I’m such a cynical bitch (should I apologize to you for that now or later in life?). Before we even made it out of the elevator, I felt the urge to push. I didn’t fight it. Past experience told me that the nothing was coming out of me with any sort of ease, so with each contraction, I bore down.
There was a room full of people waiting for me and next thing I knew they were asking me to get out of the wheelchair and into the bed. I remember the transfer being so difficult. Your Papa came in from the parking lot. I was still in my dress when I got into bed. I heard one nurse mention something about putting an IV in me, the other nurse declaring that there wouldn’t be time. They made an attempt at putting the monitor around my belly, asked me to switch positions a few times, and urged me to breath in the oxygen they were giving me. The OB checked and everyone stopped moving so fast when they declared me to be 6 cm. My heart sunk. It was 1:10am. They inserted the aforementioned IV. I still felt the urge to push and I couldn’t fight it, so I continued to push with each contraction. Not but a few minutes later I heard the OB say, “we’re going to have a baby here within the next 20 seconds”… and the room full of nurses started cheering on my pushing efforts. About four contractions later, at 1:16am, you were on my chest… your fluid-filled ball sac catching my eye during the transfer. A boy! They could have handed me a monkey and in that instant I still would have felt nothing other than complete and utter relief.
Moments later, my mom came in — the look of complete and utter surprise across her face. And moments after her, our doula arrived. Both intended to be at the birth but turns out that while some hurry up and wait, you prefer to wait and hurry up.
You pooped while you were on my chest, in true Jennett fashion (Hooper pooped on the way out too) and we all laughed by just how much poo there was and just how many of us your poo touched (all over my dress, all over your Papa who went to grab you and came out with fingers caked in green meconium, all over the nurses that eventually bathed you, and even on the OB who left soon-thereafter with poo on his jacket).
You latched on and breastfed like a champ, everyone commenting on the perfection of your latch.
We all took guesses at what you would weigh, with the majority of us (and the nurses) guessing in the 8 pound ballpark, sprinkled with a few 9 pound guesses. All of our jaws dropped when the scale read 10 lbs 0 oz. TEN POUNDS? So much for keeping an eye on my weight in hopes of it affecting yours. Should we be blessed with another baby in the future, I will surely take up smoking.
Welcome to the world, our world anyway, hope you enjoy your time here my sweet Sonny.
Born on St. Patricks Day, as only luck would have it.
Your Papa and I laugh about the fact you were almost born in the car. It seems only fitting that we have two ‘failed’ home birth attempts under our belts only to plan a hospital birth that nearly misses the hospital all together. There has been construction on the freeways here and given the 20 minute commute to the hospital, had you decided to come in the daytime hours, you would most certainly have been delivered in the car.
One additional token of irony is the ease of which you came out… the biggest babe of mine yet and somehow the easiest to deliver and with the fewest repercussions.
All of it proof, I suppose, that life doesn’t always have to make sense.