Thursday, April 5, 2012

He's Here!!

William Luke arrived just 2 days after my last post -- yes, folks, he's a Leap Day Baby! People assure me that his unusual birth date will be "just a fun quirk!", but my OCD tells me differently. ;-)

While he was scheduled to be born early at 34 weeks (due to his sister's exciting birth!), Will decided that he didn't want to be "scheduled" and arrived at 32 weeks -- 8 weeks early! Our sweet preemie boy weighed in at 5 pounds, 1 ounce and was 17 inches long. He was as healthy as a horse and only needed a little help with breathing during the first 36 hours.

Will did spend 2 weeks in the hospital's NICU because they wanted to make sure he "knew how to feed and was gaining properly". The major problem with this was that there was no way for him to learn how to breastfeed when they would only allow him to take 2-3 feedings by breast (don't want to tire him out!) for a maximum of 30 minutes. Throw in some nipple confusion from bottle feeds, irritation from a naso-gastric tube, and an exhausted mama (c-sections aren't minor surgery, despite what some people may lead you to believe!) who can't pump enough breastmilk and, VOILA! You have just created a scenario that is ripe for failure-to-thrive in an otherwise-healthy baby and some nasty postpartum depression in a mother who, in 7 previous births (including a full-term stillbirth), has NEVER previously exhibited any symptoms.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: NICUs (and hospitals, in general) are great for helping people SURVIVE, but are absolutely lousy at helping them THRIVE.

And, for those of you who care to disagree with me, you certainly have that right. But, please spare me your stories of  "I have a friend who is a NICU nurse, and she says that...." or "My baby would have never learned how to eat if it weren't for the genius staff at our NICU.", That's nice. I have had plenty of  personal experience with several "top-notch" NICUs over my 17 years of "childbirthin'" and they all have 3 things in common:
  1. They truly believe they possess more knowledge than any parent or "regular" physician out there.
  2. This knowledge (even when proven to be incorrect) is 100% infallible.
  3. They will hold onto babies MUCH longer than is necessary and use fear to undermine parents' belief in their own abilities to care for their children.
While I believe that there are some truly dedicated doctors and nurses out there (my family and I have benefited  from their fantastic care), their numbers are dwindling. Over the last 10 years, I have personally witnessed an dramatic increase in the use of technology in the medical field. And, while the intention may be to streamline and improve care, that does not seem to be the major effect that it is actually having in medicine. What I am seeing is a complete absence of hands-on, look-'em-in-the-eye care being replaced by look-at-the-machines-and-computer-print-outs "care". I'm not exaggerating in the least. It's disturbing.

But, I will save that all for a later post. ::grumble, grumble::

This post is about Will and the increase in love and joy he brings to our family! With every baby, we marvel at how we didn't seem to be "missing" anything in our family, yet with each blessed addition our family now feels "whole" and we can't imagine life without this new person. Once again, through Will, God has given us this great gift and we feel so humbled and privileged. Despite what some people say or think, this never gets old or boring. How could it? Each person, each new life is 100% different from any that have come before or will come after him. We are adding a new chapter to our family's book and I can't wait to see what happens!

Welcome, welcome William Luke! You bless us every day with your sweet and gentle presence! How we love you so!

My 7 beautiful babies together for the first time 10 days after Will's birth!


  1. Congratulations!!!!! Leap day??? Our Lord wanted him to be super special from his siblings :)
    I am going to have to agree with you on the NICU even though I have not ever had any children in it. Just from what I have heard, and when I was a La Leche League Leader. So, did you ever get him successfully on the breast, or are you not bothering with it? If you want some help online, I would be happy to do so.

    1. Christina, you were a LLL leader? So was my mom, waaaayyyyy back in the day! Cool!

      Will was a champion nurser right from the start (which made things even more frustrating, b/c he was so good at it and really wanted to keep nursing on/off all day long). As soon as we got him home, I planted my backside in the recliner and let him nurse as much as he wanted. And, that is pretty much where we've been ever since! He didn't eat anything besides breastmilk straight from the breast since the day we came home -- no bottles, no n-g tube, no formula, and no pumping for Mama! The first 10 days were a bit nerve-wracking, as he was used to getting 30-60ml pumped directly to his belly every 4 hrs, and bf'ing was slow-going. But he's already a pound more than his birth weight and nursing like a full-term baby!

    2. That is so good to hear! Really, with any BF'ing problem, perseverance is the key.
      I forgot to add before on the previous comment that I cannot believe his birth weight for 32 weeks!!!! Wow--you grew him very well :)
      LOL on your mom being a LLL leader--do you remember going to meetings with her? I stopped(retired) when I was preg with # 6 since I felt I could not give LLL any extra time that I did have since I had also started home schooling at that time too.
      Congrats again,

    3. Yes, Will was quite hefty and long for his age; we grow 'em big in this family! LOL

      Not only do I remember going to meetings with my mom, for many years, we held the meetings in our home! I grew up with LLL all around me! My mom is still semi-active (takes calls, etc), but also has her hands full running the Montessori grade school my kids attend, so mostly her daughters and DILs benefit from her bf'ing knowledge!

  2. Oh that sweet little Will. I can't believe how incredibly big he was for how early he was born. You are a SUPER-MAMA, super mama. Seriously. And he's nursing like a pro now and everything is as it should be. High-fives all around!

    1. Mama's gargantuan preemie, that's what Will is! LOL
      And, no, not super-mama (although, I really appreciate the compliment!); I did what any Mama in my spot would try to do. You know you'd do the same, Dweej. :)
      But, I'll take the high-five; I could use more of those!!

  3. Congrats on the baby--leap day! That'll give him an "interesting fact to share about himself" during group icebreakers. A friend of mine and I agreed to claim we were born on an airplane as our fun fact, since we didn't like any of our true facts.

    I found you through Dwija's Twitter. Pretty baby gift!

    1. Welcome! And, thanks for the congrats! I'm still trying to reconcile myself to the fact that he won't have a "real" birthday every single year. But, as #7, he had to have something unique, right?