four weeks, aka what a month

Yesterday Baby Z was four weeks old. Tomorrow she will be one month old. Otherwise known as 37.5 weeks gestational age.

Today also marks the end of our absolute craziest month on record, beginning with an ambulance ride just past dawn on the 1st of September, with our baby daughter born just over 24 hours later, followed by a 20 day stay in the NICU.

This has been quite a month.

The first week was a blur. The emergency 911 call and transfer to SF were surreal. But when the decision to wait it out on bedrest for a week abruptly changed to, no, let’s deliver this baby today, like in a couple of hours (aka, as soon as possible), well, everything changed. I was alone in the hospital while my husband panicked to get there in time. He did. Then an hour later, Baby Z entered the world, after a most traumatic experience on the table. I still have been unable to put those memories and thoughts into words. There are still things we haven’t even said aloud. But the birth story, it is coming.

Meeting our daughter in the NICU for the first time was also unbelievable, experienced through a fog as I was on serious drugs. Those first days too, a blur, with me on painkillers sitting in a wheelchair by the isolette where our baby slept, unable to come out for long. I weaned myself off meds and tolerated the persistent pain, but hormones got the better of me. The end of that first week found me in an undeniable breakdown, as I was discharged while our daughter remained in the NICU.

By the second week, reality had sunk in. Baby Z wasn’t even 35 weeks old yet, the minimum age they would discharge her if all was well. I hadn’t been home in what seemed like forever, and other than missing my family, I didn’t care. We stayed with family for convenience and comfort. I had a chance to write. I was lucky to catch up on sleep, even when I should have been pumping milk to bring to the NICU.

It was sobering, walking out those doors without her every evening. We were relieved when Baby Z was moved to an open air crib and able to keep warm. Yet while she was reaching certain milestones, her progress was otherwise slow. There was no indication when she might be able to come home. It was undeniably taking a toll.

During her third week in the NICU, we were home but Z was not. It was good for Jaye to have returned to some sense of normalcy. But I worried that we couldn’t keep it up, if Z didn’t come home soon. Progress was still slow. I guess I expected more since she had reached a gestational age of 36 weeks, and we had hoped she’d be home by then. Mac was going back to work. I still couldn’t drive. We lived over an hour away. Z still wasn’t feeding well. That was it, her last issue to resolve. We had to get that damn tube out of her nose. Soon enough, Z pulled the tube out again and they gave her a chance to prove herself. Finally, as she approached three weeks old, her feeding improved and they started talking about discharge.

Bringing her home, finally, was both glorious yet unceremonious. This past week has been filled with sleepless nights, endless feedings, toddler tantrums with moments of OMFG how are we going to do this, stolen rest, lots of help, and endless gratitude.

I still can’t believe that we have a baby, a second child.

Just 3.5 months ago, I discovered I was somehow 4.5 months pregnant at age 42. I never believed that I would deliver a real live baby, let alone a pre-term baby at 7.5 months. It all still seems so surreal and bizarre and yes, unbelievable. Call it fairytale, myth, urban legend, whatever. Honestly I don’t know what to call it.

I still can’t believe this is my life. A few years ago, I’d have said the same thing but for different reasons. Now, it’s from a place of abundance.

We are just so astoundingly grateful to have the family we always wanted. I can only wish the same for everyone.

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~ by luna on October 1, 2011.

9 Responses to “four weeks, aka what a month”

  1. I’m so delighted that your family is finally together! I can only imagine how surreal it must feel … you had such a short time to adjust to the news and then such a dramatic transition month. What a wonderful blessing to have it all turn out okay : ) Wishing you all continued good health, joy and perhaps some sleep!

  2. What a month indeed! I think that in these moments we come to recognize the fact that time is relative. You will likely look back on years of your life that strung together bring you fewer memories and a lesser sense of life-lived than this one short little month.
    Yours is an amazing story and Hollywood is onto something when it comes down to it. Happy endings are wonderful.

  3. Sleep deprivation and the still-up and down hormones probably have something to do with the feeling of unreality, but even from across the internet, your past few months really have been crazy.

    Having spent a few months of my life up all night with preemies, stealing hours of sleep here and there, I will also say that being awake extra hours of the day makes it feel like each day is so long and this period will never end. But it will, and so will the tantrums and constant feedings. Luckily you’ve written about it eloquently enough that months and years from now you can look back and remember exactly how it felt to live this strange life.

    As difficult as I know it must be for you sometimes, I am so happy for your new reality.

  4. I am truly happy for you and your entire family! I think the only way to really describe all that you’ve been through these last few months is to say it has been amazing. Thank you for continuing to share this journey with us. 🙂

    May this be only the beginning of a long string of wonderful things to come to your family!

  5. Wow, Luna. Just amazing. I think the same thing too…how in just a few years EVERYTHING has changed. I am so happy for you and simply amazed at your journey thus far. Congratulations on Baby Z and your lovely family.

  6. No one deserves this Holy Shit Craziness more than you, Luna! 😉

    Not to belittle the wonderful “It Gets Better” campaign, but I sometimes feel there should be something similar for new mothers and new older siblings. Like everything else, time eases an awful lot of the jagged edges and breeds familiarity. It’s crazy, but a good kind of crazy.

    Happy one month, little Z!

  7. Its quite a story isn’t it, not one you would have imagined. Interrupted sleep really gets to you but I bet its so good to all be home. Hope Jaye does well, I think a 3 year old is the most difficult little kid age, or it was for us, so hold on tight, those 2 little girls will be taking you guys for quite a ride, enjoy it.

  8. Yes. Surreal. So glad everyone is home. I think of you often though I’ve had little chance to keep up with the blogosphere since our move.

    We had major tantrum issues with our son (exactly 3 y.o. at the time) when we came home with the baby….plus breastfeeding issues and recovering from a c-section, and hubby had to go right back to work…. it was seriously hard. And yet, so amazing to have 2 children! Many many WTF! and OMFG! moments!!! I can relate so much. I hope you are healing well my dear, and getting as much of those stolen moments of sleep as possible.

    I got/still get the comments all the time about “SEE! Once you adopt….” And, people are constantly saying my Grace is a “Miracle”. Yes, she is, and just like you, I always respond, “BOTH of my children are miracles”. I so get what you are saying. I am constantly amazed by the fact that I actually have TWO children. And the journey that got them to me equally miraculous.

    Okay, SuperMAMA!! You are amazing. Sending you big virtual hugs.

  9. […] It was a colossal transformation. To this day, I lack the energy to recount it all in detail. The first month was a surreal blur. Z nursed every two hours or so, sometimes more. She had a lot of catching up to […]

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