In my last post, Love at first sight, I shared in great length and detail the moment Matt and I met Anna. For the rest of my life that moment will be added into the Most-Important-Moments section of my heart.
Our first moment meeting Anna was very different from our first moments meeting each of our sons, but it was just as special and I’m glad it went exactly as it went. There are some additional moments and words and memories I’ve tucked away to share with Anna when she is ready to ask questions.
Before we knew it it was time to take our sweet baby girl to meet her family. She rode in style in the wooden bassinet that would be her bed for the next 30 hours or so. (Can I just tell you that those 30 hours seemed so long in comparison to a normal 30-hour span of time?) Everything was in hyper-clarity. I was trying to drink in every single moment. Every last sound, smell, emotion. I was very much aware that I was in a unique situation… hanging on the decision a young lady had made while carrying a baby, and now that the baby was here, there was a very painful reality that she could change her mind. I knew that for the next almost-two-weeks I was holding my child loosely. I wanted to get all the hugs and snuggles I could and in the back of my mind, preparing for a possible heartbreak.
I want to pause my jaunt down memory lane for a moment. I said this several times during our adventure but I am not sure I ever said it here. When I would get worried about Mama changing her mind, I always reminded myself that in a perfect world, no baby would ever be separated from her Mama. Ever. And that should Mama change her mind, I could be very thankful that Anna’s Mama was already proving to be a good one to her other children. I was very thankful that should the worst-case-scenario happen, it would only be worst-case for me and my family. We would be the ones with the heartbreak. Little Anna would have the blessing of being raised by her Mama and while there would be difficulties, it didn’t mean truly bad things for her. I will not go into our birth mother’s story because it isn’t ours to tell, but I will say that she made a wise decision to allow us to parent her child. She didn’t make this decision from any place other than true love. I don’t know that I can stress enough that this young woman is my hero. If you’re tired of hearing it, too bad. I’ll say it again, I’m sure.
Resuming my jaunt down memory lane:
10:06 am ~ We made our way to the room the hospital had provided us to introduce her to the boys and Nana and Papa. The nurse in the picture was Mama’s nurse during L&D, Debbie. The doula who had offered her services as a gift to Mama had so many amazing things to say about this nurse. Debbie was 100% supportive of Mama and every need she had. The entire staff was very sensitive to our situation and for that, I am eternally grateful.
I am pretty sure there are no words to describe the next 30 minutes so I’ll just post pictures and write a few thoughts in the captions.
After a while the room seemed to get smaller and smaller so Papa took the boys out while Matt, Nana, and I stayed behind. I think they played Laser tag! My parents have been blessed to be at all five births now… we were very much missing Grammy. She had had rotator cuff surgery and if you’ve ever known someone who had that surgery, you know that traveling 5+ hours in a car is not a way to spend recovery. We hated she wasn’t able to be there but we did think of her in these special moments.
Much of the day was spent watching Miss Anna sleep in our arms while the snow fell outside our window. Winter Storm Jonas had welcomed her into the world… my second child to be born during a major winter event.
I took Anna to Mama a time or two to nurse and let them have some special time in their room. Part of me was nervous about that because I was already so in love and knew that nursing was going to make Mama and baby bond, but on the other hand, I was able to see things from a mother’s perspective. If I were her I’d want to do the same for the baby I had carried. It was hard on her, (she told me so) but it was also good for her. It was something she had requested in our first phone conversation on November 8th and I was thankful that she was still interested in doing this. It was a gift to Anna, as well. (I did a lot of research on this exact situation and everything I read gave me a very strong peace about it. There are so many benefits to this both physically and emotionally.)
In our hospital, baby’s first bath is delayed 12 hours. Mama was spending time with Anna at the 12 hour mark so I made sure to tell the nurses not to go in to get Anna at that time. I didn’t want her time to be interrupted at all. Matt ran to Chipotle to get dinner for himself, Mom, and me. I had some good eatin’ in the hospital!
When Mama texted me to let me know she was ready, I went to her room to get Little Miss. I took Anna to the nursery so they could give her her first bath. She was not a fan.
During her bath her temperature dropped enough that she needed to stay under the warming lights for 10 minutes or so. At that time the head nurse came in to let me know that my room was needed for another recovering mother but that they had a new room ready for me. While I hated to leave Anna for even a second, I was at least able to do so during a time she had to be in the nursery anyway. Let me tell you, it took me exactly 10 minutes to get all of my stuff moved over (I had pretty much moved into the hospital because I wasn’t sure how long I’d be there). Thankfully they loaned me a cart so I didn’t have to make the long walk multiple times. My new room was on the same floor, right by the front desk. It was the very room our incredible social worker had taken our family into a few days prior when we had gone for our hospital tour. It hadn’t been used since we were there and I could tell this because the trash can was still empty except for four lollipop wrappers… the wrappers from the lollipops the boys had eaten while we asked the social worker a hundred questions.
When I got back to the nursery from getting our things moved to our new (and much larger room), I found my daughter peacefully resting under the warming lamps. I got a few pictures while she was dressed in her birthday suit+diaper.
10:00 pm ~ By this time we were pretty much settled into our own room and ready for night-time snuggles. I turned on the TV and found HGTV and fed my little one. Feeding a baby formula is a vastly different experience from nursing. With nursing, I just fed them as long as they wanted to eat every few hours. With bottle feeding, I had to be very specific about how much she ate. The nurse gave me very strict advice not to feed her more than 20 ccs on the first day as her stomach was literally the size of a dime. She said 30 ccs would be fine the next day, 40 the next, and after that she could have as much as she wanted. This sounded like a plan to me and it worked out beautifully. I did have to wake her to feed her for the first few nights but at least she would wake to eat… Hayden was such a sleepy baby that feeding him was pretty difficult at first.
During the night I’d open one of their mini-bottles of formula, feed Anna the appropriate amount and place the partially empty bottle on the food-tray beside me, roll over and go back to sleep. By the time it was time to feed her again, the used bottle was in the trash can. That told me the nurses were coming in to see if she was eating well, would notice the bottle, record the amounts Anna was eating, and leave us to sleep. THAT was pretty nice! No one taking our BP, temperatures, etc. during the night. Good sleep!