I started writing this July 3, 2014. It's been sitting here, unfinished, for the summer because it was challenging to put in words, they hurt long after I would imagine they ought to have. But with both my boys snoozing today, I enjoyed reading it and wanted share our baby with you all.
July 3, 2014
It's 3:30 am and I'm sitting in bed tracing a figure eight along the side of my husbands arm who snores quietly next to me. I set my alarm to this time every night to pump, feel the cross breeze though the windows in our room, and miss my baby. Tonight I'm thinking about how I traced this shape with my finger on each of my boys today while they slept, and that this is the most connected I've felt to all of them at the same time since the day I went into the hospital almost a week ago.
This is not how I imagined these moments...my late night feedings, bonding with my family, stretching my wings as a mother of two...not at all. But tonight I am feeling thankful for it all. This is my family's story, this is my son's journey and it's just the first chapter, however difficult it is, and there will be many many more to come. Tonight I am feeling thankful.
Benjamin Winter Yeomans was born on June 28th, 2014. After 26 hours of labor I pulled our baby up to my chest and was waiting for that annoucement I'd been dreaming of for nine months, "It's a _____ !" But nothing, I rolled baby over, belly up pleading, what is it!? A boy my husband and I shouted together, and with our babes husky cry and spidery legs kicking in the air, our heart burst with joy. Another son, a best friend for Henry, and the missing part of our family. My joy was short lived as they struggled to get him to pink up and were smiling through the muttering concerns of his ' grunting'. NICU arrived and just as quickly took him away. I had no idea that I would wait another five exscuciating days until I held him again.
The first few days were the worst. Doctors chasing theories as to what was wrong with him, all the time coming back to some type of virus, pulmonary hypertension, and a pair of slightly underdeveloped lungs. We worried if we would even bring him home as we took turns staring at him though his isolette. It was like looking at your perfect little baby, all 8 lbs and 22 inches of him, and watching him in a deep sleep. I tried to be positive, be there for Henry, be there for Keith, be honest with myself, but I was terrified...constantly sick with a worry that still haunts me.
We decided to share Ben's status after many loved ones began reaching out wanting photos, to check in and learn more about our boy. I was very hesitant to share, but I am so glad we did. Slowly messages trickeled in from people I'd known my whole life, people I'd only known via social media, clients, folks from work, and people who knew Keith and not me, even a few random strangers. I started to build a NICU family, nurses, new friends, old friends and doctors who knew our fears better anyone could...messages from other NICU parents sharing their concern and support in a way I had no idea I needed so badly let me shut me eyes from time to time without the fear of our reality tickeling my every move.
. . . . . . . . .
This rollercoster went on in the NICU for two weeks. Two long weeks. Keith and I were like two ships in the night, both talking and not talking about it all whenever we had a moment alone. Then the day came when they said he was well enough to come home...I was elaited and terrified all at once. I went alone, Henry was too young to go into the NICU, and along with one of our angel nurses, Deett, we loaded little Ben into our family car and I brought him home. We entered the house alone and waited for daddy and big brother to come home to meet him. I laid him out on our bed, cuddled in quiet light, dressed in the newborn clothes that barely fit , I stared at him . I saw on his puffy little face so much of his father mixed with parts of my sister who has past, Brooke. All this time I would look at him though glass, tangled in hoses and wires, and think to myself, I will get to know you Ben, I love you like you've been here all along, I just need to get to know you...and in that moment I saw him. I saw him in the way you see your infant children and something in you knows whether they are stubborn or quiet, laid back or particular...I saw him. I cried, I kissed him, and I humbly thanked Ben for choosing me to be his mom.
There are some follow up visits in our future, but today he is here, a chubby 2 months old, tube free and sharing his smiles with the three people that love him the most. Welcome home Benjamin.
And a big fist bump to all the lovely nurses at Millers Children's Hospital, especially our assigned angels, Deett and Summer. We have more love for you than you will ever know. And also to Jessica Gustafson who dropped everything to be here for us and more importantly, watch Henry. Grateful isn't ever enough to say how we feel.