One. Two. Three!

1,2,3 push that is one of the last things I remember before my first son made his appearance into the world. He was my first preemie baby; one of three boys it was 2014, I was young-er. My husband and I had not met yet and I was now a single parent to a 4lb baby who would have to stay in the NICU for a whole month. A month is not a very long time in the NICU as I know others have had much longer stays and more medical issues than we ended up having. He was a quick birth after being induced for the first time due to my luck of having preeclampsia. Even though he was only 4 lbs 1 oz at birth he had no other huge medical problems just a slight bit of jaundice. It was a waiting game after that cleared up. He just needed to grow and learn how to eat without a feeding tube.

It was one of the scariest periods of my life because not only was I now in charge of another life that little life was so tiny! I felt like I was going to do something that was wrong. Of course I knew that he was mine-my son but at the same time all the nurses were constantly taking care of him in and out of his room round the clock just felt so overwhelming at times! Its like your on a different planet which makes the NICU a place that takes some getting used to. So yeah its ok to feel out of your element! Before I knew it I grabbed the bull by the horns and little by little I put that fear away. At 4 lbs he had IV’s sticking out of his tiny body with cords and tubes hanging off of him at every direction. When you have your first baby you don’t expect to have to push a call light just to hold that baby. It’s like asking for permission to hold your own kid. It makes you feel out of your element, to the point that it just changes you. Yeah normally when you have a child everything is different but this is something more it gives you a whole new perspective that some people never have to experience so they could only imagine what it feels like but never actually know.

After a month which felt like a whole lifetime we were able to go home I had still been living at home with my amazing parents who helped me through everything. I am very thankful for everything they did at that time in my life and all that they continue to do. Mason my first boy was now 5 lbs almost 6 lbs and ready to leave the hospital. This was a day that I looked forward to for so long but when it finally arrived I kind of didn’t want to leave. I thought to myself how could things get any scarier? It almost has to happen that way that feeling of the unknown as something to fear because how can you ever over come it if it doesn’t pose some kind of challenge to you whether it is fear or whatever else. There we were the new normal learning the in’s and out’s of our new mother son relationship getting to know each other bonding over that next year. If you were to ask me did it ever feel less scary? like did that fear ever go away? I would have to give you an honest answer; no it never goes away not then and not now! It’s not that it is constantly hanging over my head forcing me into a cowardly stance, it is more like I know its there. Knowing it is there allows me to be more cautious with everything, I am careful to not let that fearfulness overpower me. When fear overpowers you is when it wins, it gets a hold on you and won’t let you go. Time went on.
When he was almost two years of age our mother son duo changed adding in that missing piece to our puzzle; to someone looking into my life from the outside it would appear that I tend to do things a bit backwards but I think it’s just how I do things. Everyone is different. We got married some time later, then as you’d expect welcomed our next little guy into our lives.

Now two out of three of my births which in case you just had to know were all natural yeah i’m a real trooper. Anyways two of the three were babies born around the same gestational age of 34 weeks. My second was not one of them. I love all of my children the same but after going through my first being born early I was relieved that my next one didn’t want to make a real early arrival. Mr. Oliver came at about 38 weeks, my doctors must not have very high hopes for me having good sized babies because once again they were worried I was gonna have another large baby, because on top of the preeclampsia with my first born they were also worried I would give birth to a real chunky baby. Every part of me is thankful they were very wrong! He was 6 lbs and some change. No real trouble with him either just another perfect boy. I now was mother to two little boys, who would have each other for the rest of their lives. Instant best friends! Things were less scarier the second time around for me at least because I had experienced the thick of it and was just ready for any kind of storm. My husband however was not…I am just glad he didn’t pass out during all the bloody parts I guess keeping his eyes focused on filming the whole thing kept him distracted. And I still to this day have no idea what kind of person wants to film a birth especially since it wasn’t our camera. Maybe I should feel something about that but if it saved him from spending the birth passed out on the floor I think I can let that slide!

With both my first and second I did epidurals which since they were both quick births and they were messed up during the epidural process I felt most of everything but still ended up numb in the end after it all. With my third baby I decided to go with out an epidural. You would think I was making this up but of course baby number three would be my longest birthing time ever and sure enough just when I thought that wasn’t enough the pain came and hit me way harder than my first two babies ever did! I know I had options, it was just after already having two births prior with epidurals I wanted to do one without all of that junk. It was odd as the first 5 hrs wasn’t too terribly bad. Then those contractions hit me and hard, I was about 7 cm dilated when suddenly it got ten times worse. That doctor swore to me I had another 20-30 minutes time before it would be time according to where I was dilated to. She’s then also said that if I wanted an epidural I could still do that. She sugar coated those words of deceit. I took the bait. In the next 5 or 10 minutes time my next boy made his way into this world. The pain switched from fender bender real quick to train wreck. I went from 7 to the whole 10 in like 5 minutes time! Into the world my last little boy made his way and then the pain subsided he was at 34 weeks gestational age, another planned induction due to the impending doom of preeclampsia. He wasn’t near as tiny as his oldest brother weighing in at 5 lbs 6 oz I believe but he would have to stay in the hospital for a month and a half due to Leo being born with more medical issues. He had difficulty figuring out how to breath so he had to be reminded by being hooked up to CPAP for about 2 weeks, it forces air into the lungs. Then he was on an IV for a couple weeks as well and then his bilirubin levels were off which is what causes jaundice he spent a few weeks under the UV light inside his incubator until those levels got to a comfortable range. A lot of these things are normal for premature babies I just had not had the experience with them being a NICU mom in the past. He had a feeding tube from just after birth up until a couple weeks before being allowed to go home. That was one of the scariest things that I experienced with both of my NICU babies because if it gets pulled out especially while its dispensing food in their tummies it can cause aspiration and then they have a real bad time over it when that happens. Leo didn’t pull his out but maybe once compared to his brother who was a pro. Still it is terrifying.

Leo has had a lot of re-flux issues since his birth, so he has to stay at an incline when laying down, but other than that it hasn’t been too bad. The older he gets the better his re-flux spells of spitting up choking and holding his breath then trying to recover from it all get less and less terrifying. He still spits up from time to time though, especially now that he is on formula completely. Leo stayed in the NICU for a month and a half after his birth and before that I had been hospitalized on bed rest due to high blood pressure for a month.

He will not remember our stay but I sure will; it was during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the nation and the world. It was one of the most terrifying times of being in a hospital. Things went from happy to dreary really quickly that’s for sure. Then on top of things one of the main places that people with confirmed cases at the time were being sent to the facility across from where my son was in the hospital. Imagine having to willingly go into a hospital everyday when a pandemic is just lurking around the corner! I didn’t have access to any face coverings besides my shirt & no gloves. I opened doors with napkins or pressed the automatic button with my shoe then quickly wiped that shoe off like it had the plague; I used what little hand sanitizers I had sparingly and then used the hospitals when I was there to save my own for a later time since I sure wasn’t going to go to no store. I washed my hands to the point where they were so dried out and I could have used some hand lotion to help them heal. However it was highly advised not to go to the stores at all by the hospital. I rode that pandemic train through the thick of it; they put security check points at all entrances when things started picking up in cases. It finally got to a point where only employees and pediatric parents were allowed to enter the entire hospital. You talk about crazy! It was one VIP experience I would rather not attend in the future! After so long there it feels like it was a dream at times but now that we are home everyone is so thankful we are not still there!

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