Mercury is in Retrograde aka Wilder’s Birth Story

by slutsunlimited

October 30th 2013

I would have been 36 weeks pregnant this week, but Wilder came on the final day of my 35th week, October 27th at 10:45 am.

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36 Weeks (post-Wilder) belly & boobs.

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Perhaps it was our attendance of “The Book of Mormon” last Wednesday that got Wilder all riled up. Andy and I were lucky enough to have box seats for the performance and Wilder was moving around more than normal in my belly. The show was stupendous and it was a wonderful evening spent first in the renovated Saenger Theater and then eating pizza at Slice. The tickets had been a gift for Andy and he couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Little did I know that would be the last time I put on makeup and a dress for quite a while.

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I had been experiencing more tightness and soreness in my back than usual. So much in fact that I had enlisted Amanda to rub my back at work. I called Misty and asked her if I could come in and she suggested that I see a chiropractor first for realignment. I spent Thursday evening after work walking for an hour and a half at City Park in hopes some movement would bring my muscles some relief and made an appointment with a chiropractor for the following day.

Cody and I had a good day at work on Friday. We ordered pizza (notice a trend here) and kept each other company while trying to get some work done. He had recently been transferred back to the downtown office, and I must admit I was enjoying having him there. Upon his arrival this past week, he immediately took up sharing an office with me and it felt good to have him there to talk with and sometimes whine to. When he started working for the company I had mentioned in passing that I wanted to get pregnant but just needed to find the right guy. Now he has witnessed the entire journey. Because of that, I felt less guilty about making him listen to my pregnancy chatter. That day, I left work a bit early and made my way to the chiropractor. This was Friday the 25th, one month before my due date and Dr. Mike the chiropractor was shocked at my level of flexibility. He put me on the table and determined that my left leg is longer than my right (been told this before) and then he did a series of adjustments to my knees, back and neck. None of it hurt and while I was hoping for some immediate drastic change, I only felt slightly less tension. He was a really nice guy and suggested that I try to come back right after the delivery as that is a good time to realign the body.  I headed home and felt a bit of soreness in the right knee so I chose to ice it and rest instead of accompanying Andy to obedience class. I was exhausted earlier than expected and made it to bed before 10 pm.

I woke up on Saturday feeling really blue. I usually go to the gym on weekend mornings but I just couldn’t motivate myself. I sat down at the dining room table and had a small crying fit. I remember looking at Andy in between tears and saying, “I don’t usually feel this way, but today I just don’t feel like being pregnant anymore. I want my body back.” He did his best to console me and we took the dogs for a walk in hopes it would bring me out of my funk. That didn’t produce the desired reaction so we decided to go grab some lunch and see a movie. We had lunch at Pho Tau Bay, where I stuffed myself with soup and a tofu po-boy. After that we headed over to the movie theater to see “Bad Grandpa.” I excused myself to use the bathroom right as the movie was about to begin and that is when I noticed I was spotting. I went back in and told Andy to stay there while I called the midwives but he insisted on joining me outside. We headed to the car, in case they wanted me to come in, and called the number to have them paged. Cathy called me back a few minutes later and I explained the situation. The blood had been brownish and I wasn’t cramping so she suggested that I take it easy for the rest of the day and call her back if the spotting increased or I had any other discomfort. We headed back into the movie and it proved to be a good distraction. I was barely bleeding when we left and we then headed home so I could nap.

Andy had to go to the bar to get a few things done, so I relaxed on the couch and actually slept for an hour or so. When he returned home, he had a delicious casserole he had prepared at the bar so he popped it in the oven. Being the absolute awesome man that he is, he then spent nearly the next two hours rolling all my long hair in sponge rollers. We watched the movie “This is The End” and laughed our asses off. I was no longer spotting and felt pretty good as we ate dinner and hung out together. I was very hopeful that my body would continue to cooperate as we had scheduled our family pregnancy photo shoot for the next day. Gabby was going to meet us at Lee Kyle’s house in the afternoon and we had prepared to shoot in the garden and the house, poses inspired by Tennessee Williams, since we had all met each other and became friends during Nari Thomasetti’s Welcome to Desire based on “A Streetcar Named Desire.”  I was really excited to have the three (maybe four – if Clint wanted to participate) of us photographed with my blossoming belly, and I knew Gabby would be the perfect photographer for the job.

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Shot From “Welcome to Desire”

I headed up to my room around 12:30 am and I couldn’t get comfortable. I tossed and turned in my recliner for a while and then noticed a strange sensation in my lower abdomen. I texted Andy and asked him to come up and lie near me. When he arrived a few minutes later I explained to him that something didn’t feel right. He tried to soothe me, but as always I needed to urinate so I had him help me up. Upon standing we saw a few large blood clots on the recliner where I had been lying. The blood was dark brown, but there was a good amount of it. At first Andy thought it was poop (which was funny later but not at the moment). I rushed to the bathroom and as I urinated, I passed more blood. When I stood from the toilet, I got a severe case of the trembles and could barely talk or put my clothes on. We called the number to have the midwives paged and Cathy called me back rather quickly and told me to go to Touro Hospital. Since I had not pre-registered, I had to go through the ER. I threw on a pair of yoga pants, a t-shirt, some flip-flops, grabbed a bottle of water and my wallet and hit the road. I had no idea that we wouldn’t be home in a few hours.

The ER was relatively calm considering it was the Saturday before Halloween. That didn’t seem to affect our wait much, as the minutes slowly passed and the sensations in my lower abdomen got more uncomfortable. Finally about 35 minutes after we had registered, they allowed us to go upstairs to Labor and Delivery (L&D). It was about 2:00am at this point. I was under the impression they would place me in an observation room, put some monitors on me to check the baby, see that everything was all right and send me home. I was bewildered when they began to walk me to L&D Room 1, the exact room where I had watched Ellen birth Juniper. I tried to explain to the nurse that I had no intention of delivering my son as he was a month early, but he ushered me to the room nevertheless saying, “Well, we don’t know what’s going to happen yet.” I was nervous and in moderate pain, but immediately felt better when our night nurse walked in. She happened to be an awesome lady named Diana, who both Andy and I had known from years ago. In fact she and I used to drink together at a bar (The Whirling Dervish) around the time that I first met Andy. She immediately put us both at ease and we went through the required series of questions that always occur upon intake to the hospital.

After all the paperwork was done, she hooked me to two monitors. One was to monitor Wilder’s heartbeat and the other was to monitor my contractions. I hadn’t realized that what I was feeling could be contractions, because although the monitor showed my entire uterus was contracting I was only feeling pain in my very low abdomen. The pain was not what I had read about or expected. I was having some serious contractions, though, and she did an internal exam which revealed that my cervix was still closed. Therefore I was not truly in labor. Even though I was in pain, I was happy to not be in labor, as I was afraid of delivering Wilder so early. Diana called Cathy the midwife and she recommended that I drink water as dehydration can often bring on early contractions. So for the next few hours I downed a ton of water. The pain did not subside and it was amplified by my inability to move around. Diana explained that I could move if needed, but I found that even the slightest movement caused the monitor on Wilder to lose track of his heart rate, and I was terrified we would miss some important change. Therefore I was truly in the worst case scenario for dealing with my contractions. I had learned many physical positioning and distraction techniques, but due to my immobility I was only able to focus on my breath.

My cervix was checked again after my chug-a-thon and although the contractions were gaining intensity, my cervix was still closed. Diana called Cathy yet again and she recommended IV fluids this time. So then not only was I strapped to the monitors but I had an IV as well. I had lost most of my worry over modesty as I made my way from the bed to the bathroom several times to urinate, completely naked. As the pain got worse, I got into the shower, which did help a bit. But I quickly returned to bed, because the monitors wouldn’t stay in the right position as I moved.  Diana kept asking me about the location of the pain and I explained it had never moved from the initial position. I told her that I was finding the pain to be even worse because it was unproductive. Usually contractions and pain are helping to bring about the birth of a baby, but in my case I was hoping they wouldn’t, which gave no purpose to the pain. At this point during the IV phase, I asked Andy to begin removing my sponge rollers, which was arduous and uncomfortable. So as I was suffering though contractions, Andy was trying to quickly unroll and untangle my hair. As he finished, Diana arrived to check me again. At this point it was after 7 am. When she came into the room, I bellowed, “Welcome to the good ship fucking lollipop. I’ll be your captain, Shirley Fucking Temple.” We all couldn’t help but laugh.

Diana checked my cervix and to my dismay I was dilated 3 cm. I fearfully asked, “Well, I suppose I’m having a baby today.” I was not as concerned over the pain at this point (although it was nearing unbearable) but very much worried about Wilder being so early. I had read a bit about preterm infants and how many of them suffer with respiratory issues. I was frustrated with my body and overwhelmed because there was no explanation as to why I was in labor early. I had experienced such a trouble-free pregnancy that I was bewildered as to why we were in this situation. Diana called Cathy and she requested that I have an ultrasound as we had not completely determined the position of the baby. That was scheduled to happen at my upcoming appointment on the following Tuesday. I went back to the shower seeking some relief, but minutes later the ultrasound techs were there. Within moments of placing the wand on my belly, one of my fears was declared. Wilder was breech.

Not only was my little boy breech but he was in a pike position, and had been for some time. I immediately broke down when they told me he was breech, and then asked if they could try to physically turn him so that I may have a chance at a “normal” vaginal delivery. They ran the machine across my belly again and quickly determined that my amniotic fluid was too low to attempt to turn him. I cried a bit more then pulled my shit together to focus on Wilder instead of lamenting the death of my entire birth plan. The midwives had released me into the care of an OB at this point due to the preterm breech presentation of our son. The admitting OB had been Dr. Heard and she was exceptionally kind to us. The doctor who would be doing the delivery was Dr. Williams and she came into the room to discuss options with us.

Dr. Williams immediately acknowledged that she understood this was not the birth we had planned or hoped for, but she wanted to give us as much control as possible. She explained that she did not feel comfortable attempting to vaginally deliver Wilder in the position he was in, but if I had my heart set on attempting a vaginal birth she would immediately get on the phone and try to locate one of the few doctors who were skilled in this type of delivery. She also explained that it being the weekend before Halloween, it may be difficult to locate a doctor quickly. I was taken aback at how sincere she came off, and that she never tried to scare or bully us into a decision. I asked her, “What would you do if someone you loved was in this situation?” She responded, “I would recommend a Caesarean, because it will be the safest and less stressful on the baby.” She then asked Andy what he thought we should do. He responded, “I’ll support Lori in whatever decision she makes, but I think we both agree that what is safest for her and the baby is best.” I asked Dr. Williams if she minded if I call Cathy to speak with her before making a decision, and she had no problem with that. Before she stepped out I asked, “Well, you said you weren’t confident in performing the vaginal delivery, but how confident do you feel about doing the C-section?” She smiled and said, “Completely confident, I’ve done thousands.”

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I very quick call to Cathy, who seemed much less concerned about the situation now that I was under the care of OB, solidified our decision to move forward with the C-section. The phone call probably lasted less than 2 minutes in which she explained that she would be alerting the third midwife who I had never met, to attend Wilder’s delivery. I explained that I didn’t know this woman at all, but apparently she was the one on call, so I was stuck with her no matter what. I was a bit frustrated because one of the reasons I had chosen the midwives and not a regular OB practice was because I wanted the person attending my delivery to be someone who I knew and trusted. With all that was happening so fast I didn’t think to advocate for myself or argue the point that I was NOT comfortable with a complete stranger attending the surgery (which I had mentioned to both Cathy and Esther was one of my biggest fears). Cathy agreed that if I felt the C-section was the safest choice, then I should go that route, but she didn’t seem too invested in my decision. I hung up feeling like the conversation had been left open ended but decided that all factors were supporting the C-section. At this point Andy began trying to call people to come to the hospital. He called Lee Kyle first, who headed over right away. He tried to reach our doula, but she was not on call yet (starts around 37 weeks) and I knew she had been out the night before marching with friends in a Halloween parade. She didn’t make it until hours after the birth. We also tried to reach Misty but she was out of town. I found it ironic that I was about to deliver Wilder in the one way that I had really feared and none of my support system was there, nor had I been able to use any of the labor skills I had  practiced. I honestly could have used my birth plan to wipe my ass, because it was completely worthless at this point.

We let the nurses know that we were going to move forward with the C-section and I asked, “Can we get this show on the road?” I didn’t want to think too much about the surgery because I knew that I would probably scare myself. The nurses told the doctors and both Dr. Williams and Dr. Heard came in and said that they felt this was the best option. I asked Dr. Williams if I could still have a few of my preferences met and told her I would like the following: for Andy to attend the birth and stay with the baby from the moment he was delivered, for him to cut the cord (since Lee Kyle couldn’t be in the OR), to have a moment of skin-to-skin if possible followed by Andy providing skin-to-skin, to keep my placenta and to delay cord clamping for as long as possible. She said she would oblige to all if they didn’t put Wilder at any risk. This made me feel much better. Soon the anesthesiologist was called and they explained that another surgery was wrapping up and I would have to wait until the room was prepped for me. This was followed by over an hour of nurses saying “another 15 minutes,” and me cursing through contractions. My pain-relief phrase had been “hot banana,” meaning that if at any point I said that Andy was to help me attain pain relief drugs during my labor. I kept telling him, “This fucking banana is really fucking warm.” He was a champ and helped me through the worst of the pain. I am so lucky to have him as a partner. The nurses started me on extra fluids and IV antibiotics while we waited. Lee Kyle arrived and was excited and helpful. He even took a few photos which I now am very appreciative of having. The midwife (whose name I can’t even remember) arrived and tried to go through the awkward small talk of introductions while I was in pain. It was not my best moment, although I did try to be congenial to her. The anesthesiologist assistant, Mary Ellen, arrived and she sounded just like one of Marge Simpson’s sisters which cracked me up. She went over all the paperwork for the surgery with me and had me sign a bunch of forms which basically took them off the hook if I died in the operating room. I probably would have been more nervous if it wasn’t for her hilarious demeanor. At one point she cut the midwife off in mid-sentence, because the midwife had interrupted her explanation. I thought they might go for blows. At least it was entertaining.

After what seemed like an eternity, they came to get me. Andy had put on scrubs as he was going to come in for the surgery after the anesthesia was administered. I kissed both boys goodbye and was wheeled to the operating room. It was freezing in there and a multitude of people were buzzing around. The anesthesiologist helped me to sit up on the table and explained every part of the procedure concerning the epidural. He was very kind and thorough, and when finished he asked, “Ms. Tipton do you have any questions or comments?” I paused and turned to look at him and said, “Just don’t fuck it up.” The entire OR staff busted out laughing including the anesthesiologist who said, “I like you. You’re direct. No one has ever said that to me.”

The nurses hooked me up to a blood pressure cuff which was too small. I kept telling them that the cuff hurt more than the contractions and they finally changed it, but not before my arm was bruised in several spots. I joked with them that this had been their distraction technique. I sat very still while the epidural was administered and soon felt a sweet relief of the sensation of my lower body filling with warm sand. Andy and the midwife came in moments later and they began the operation. The fluids coming through the IV were cold and I got a chill which made me lock my jaw. The pain in my jaw was the only pain I felt during Wilder’s birth. Thankfully Mary Ellen massaged my jaw nearly the whole time. Moments into the surgery the midwife announced that she had to go because another patient had arrived and was dilated to 9 cm. So she was gone, and I didn’t see her again that I can recall. Needless to say my experience with the midwives during Wilder’s birth left a lot to be desired. Frankly though, the rest of the staff at Touro was so wonderful that I didn’t really need them.

I could feel pressure and touch on my body, but no pain. It wasn’t very long after the surgery started that Wilder was born, 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, October 27th. He came out yelling and locked eyes with Andy, who was positioned at my head. They wiped him down quickly and vacuumed the fluid out of him (standard procedure for a Caesarean birth) then placed his tiny bluish body on my chest for a moment. My first thought was that he looked like Lee Kyle. He was perfect, but not breathing well on his own so he was whisked back to the corner where they continued to monitor and assist him. Andy was by his side from that moment until he was returned to me later. Before they left to bring him to the NICU, Andy brought him back over for me to say goodbye, but sadly I was so nauseated I had to turn my head and puke. They had one of those suction mechanisms like at the dentist office, so it was a quick catch. Next thing I knew the boys were gone and I was offered medicine to make me feel relaxed during the rest of the surgery. I agreed to take it and dozed off while they finished me up.

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Lee Kyle was able to meet Andy in the NICU while I was still in surgery and he got some amazing photos of Wilder’s first moments. Andy held Wilder as soon as he was stabilized and he spent less than two hours in the NICU, which we thought was remarkable considering how early he was. He weighed 6 pounds even and was 18.5 inches long. I came around as they were wheeling me to the recovery and wasn’t in any pain. I had a slight moment of paranoia when I noticed I still couldn’t move my legs but the nurse assured me it was normal. Many of the OR staff came by to check on me and Lee Kyle showed up within minutes to keep me company. I was told I had been hooked to an on-demand IV of Morphine and I could press the button every 20 minutes. It was highly recommended that I keep administering the drug for the next 20 or so hours, and not let my pain become present. I was to remain in bed until the next morning, as I had a catheter in place along with several IV drugs, a heart rate monitor on my finger, and some nasal tubing that monitored my carbon dioxide output. It was a lot of crap attached to my body, but the morphine helped lessen the annoyance.

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Not long after being brought into the recovery room, Wilder was brought back to me and I had my first chance to really hold him and gaze upon how beautiful he is. The hardest part of having the C-section was being separated from our son for the first few hours. Luckily Andy never left his side and held him nearly the entire time (when the NICU staff wasn’t tending to him). Lee Kyle had also taken many pictures, which helped me to feel a little less left out. Being reunited with the three men who have become the most important in my life felt wonderful. We took a few pictures and then the NICU nurse helped me to attempt to breastfeed Wilder. He was so absolutely tiny that I was nervous about holding him correctly, but with some coaching we made a little progress. Soon after we were moved to our post-partum room where we would be until our departure.

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I don’t remember all the details of that first day and night, other than feeling completely enamored with our son. Women often say that the love a mother experiences for her child is indescribable, and in some ways it is. I looked over at Andy who was sitting in the corner talking with Lee Kyle and felt the tiniest bit of empathy for him, realizing that Wilder had immediately become the most important thing in my life. I felt as if I was oozing love for Wilder and everything about the scenario was a mixture of surrealness and overwhelming joy. None of us could believe that he was actually there with us. I felt almost as if I was going to wake any second from a dream. I had quite a few visitors including several doctors, the lactation consultants and Esther the midwife. Everyone marveled at how well Wilder was acclimating to his early arrival. All of the staff continued to be extremely helpful and kind to us. It was strange to be confined to my bed with so much going on around me, but the morphine helped. Many of my friends came by including: Misty, Jackie, Amanda, Gabby, Daphne, Catherine, Claire, Jessica and our doula Kisha. Even our nurse friend Diana stopped in to see how we were doing although her shift had ended long ago. I was half awake for many of the conversations and Lee Kyle teased me the next day saying I would be talking then promptly fall asleep and start snoring. I felt very lucky and surrounded by love. Lee Kyle stayed late, but by the time for bed, it was just Andy, Wilder and I.

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I called the nurse at 6 a.m. and asked her to please remove my catheter because I wanted to get out of bed. She was shocked by my desire to get up, stating usually they have to bribe women to get up the day after a C-section. I wanted to stand and take a shower. She removed my catheter, but it was some time before all my IV lines were removed and I was able to get out of bed. I was afraid that it would be difficult to stand, but I did so with little effort and managed to take a shower and wash my hair without assistance. It felt so wonderful to move around, even though I was a little sore. I could take two Percocet every 6 hours, but only took one when offered. My pain level was never above a 3 on a scale of 10. The most discomfort I experienced was from a rash that had broken out on my back and stomach due to the tape that was used. The day before I had been given a Claritin after my surgery because I was experiencing pressure in my ears. On this day they gave me some Benadryl to help with the allergic reaction. Looking back, I’m sorry that I took either of these drugs and wished I would have just suffered through the discomfort because they are both known to dry up milk supply. I continued trying to feed Wilder at my breast but I was producing very little colostrum. The lactation consultant, Christy, came by with a breast pump and helped coach me on how to get Wilder to latch properly. She was very helpful and very hands on which I found to be awesome and a bit funny. She was basically tweaking my nipples, while Lee Kyle watched us trying to feed Wilder. After some discussion with the hospital pediatrician, Dr. Brown, she told us that we would need to begin supplementing with formula. I was a bit hesitant after everything I had read, but after she explained the necessity, I was all for it. Wilder had a bit of jaundice and the only way for him to pass it without needing to go back to the NICU was to rid his body of built up Bilirubin through his urine. If he wasn’t getting enough food, he wouldn’t produce enough urine to cure the jaundice. The moment Christy placed the formula bottle to his mouth, his eyes opened wide like he had seen the face of God. My poor little darling had been diligently trying to breastfeed, but wasn’t getting enough from my finicky breasts. Wilder drank the formula like a champ and I couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty that he had been so hungry.

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I called the billing department of the hospital to have them contact my insurance company about benefits. They were not able to get through, and explained they would be in touch when they heard something. The day went by rather quickly after my fantastic shower. We had visitors including: Dori, Angela, Ellen & Indigo and Lee Kyle’s sister Carrie. Carrie was so excited to meet Wilder and it was touching to see her reaction. Andy had to leave for part of the day to take care of bar business and grab some things from the house, but Lee Kyle stayed by my side providing me with help and company. That night he and I watched “Cabaret” with Wilder and it is one of my favorite memories from our hospital stay.

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Tuesday arrived and I was told that I would probably get to leave on Wednesday. Wilder continued to grow stronger and did fine at every checkup. I was moving around more and beginning to feel less stiff and confined. The day was going well until the Billing Department called and explained that my insurance company was only going to cover my surgery if they deemed it a “complication of pregnancy.” I tried to explain that a preterm breech presentation seemed pretty fucking complicated, but was explaining this to the wrong set of ears. I hung up the phone and cried hysterically, immediately overwhelmed at what the ginormous cost would be if my insurance once again decided to fuck me. Lee Kyle and Andy were both there and they did their best to comfort me, but I felt completely devastated. After a bit more crying, I decided I would talk with each of my doctors and explain that they needed to code the billing correctly in order for the insurance company to cover the procedures. I was able to talk with one doctor that day. Who knows what will happen, but fingers crossed I don’t end up owing a fuck-ton to the hospital because my insurance company refuses to cover the delivery. The most amusing part of the day was when the hospital photographers arrived to take Wilder’s picture. I had a full blown meltdown on the woman. First off I find it disconcerting that the photographers go door to door in the hospital. What if our baby had been sick or heaven forbid had passed away? Then the entire attempt to manipulate emotions in order to upsell a product makes me furious. I was ready to send them on their way, but could tell Lee Kyle was somewhat interested. After everyone being a bit wishy-washy about whether or not we wanted them to take Wilder’s picture, I shouted, “Go ahead, we will take the photos!” Quickly followed by “You have to understand this isn’t the best time for me. He came early, a month to be exact, and we were supposed to shoot our family pregnancy photos the day he arrived. Not to mention that I hired a PROFESSIONAL photographer to take pictures of his birth but none of that happened because he came early via C-section and I’m a little bit emotional about it!” The lady didn’t know what to say, so I told her to move on with it. She said we would need a blanket and my final directions to the boys were “Get the blanket with the little fucking dogs on it!” I watched as they took many photos of our tiny son and they tried to get me to participate, but I assured them I did not want a photographic memory of that moment. I had no intention of purchasing any of the photos, but they took one of the three boys that made me laugh so hard, we had to buy it. The photo is actually very sweet, but when they displayed it in their PowerPoint complete with sappy music, we all busted out laughing. It was worth that good laugh to go through the whole ordeal. I am sure that photographer will not forget us very quickly. After that debacle, between naps and visitors, Crystal, Clint, Jolene, Christine, Kevin, Misty and Jackie, the day flew by. The highlight was seeing how happy Lee Kyle was when he introduced Wilder to Clint. Clint had been out of town on Sunday and arrived back late Monday so there was a bit of a build up for Lee Kyle. I felt relief and happiness for Lee Kyle when Clint finally made it to the hospital.

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On Wednesday we had to go through a few final checks and procedures before they would let us go. I was on a regiment of trying to nurse and then pumping my breasts every two and half to three hours. I still wasn’t producing very much of anything so we were continuing to supplement with formula. Wilder had to do a “car seat test” where they placed him in the car seat and monitored his heart rate and respiration for 90 minutes. This is done on preterm infants because sometimes their position in the car seat can cause respiratory suppression. We had to go the NICU for the test and I sat with him in a room where two little infants (both a little over 2 pounds apiece) were hooked to many machines. I felt so much empathy for those tiny babies and their families and at the same time felt immense gratitude that my son was as healthy as he was. It was difficult to watch those poor little darlings and I can only hope they are doing better now. We didn’t have any visitors that day, and in the early afternoon we were free to go. We had to check out at the nursery where they removed the little ankle monitor off Wilder. The monitor prevents baby-theft and Lee Kyle and I learned how seriously they take it when we each (at separate times) accidently moved the monitor and several people bum-rushed our room. We left with bags of goodies from the hospital along with gifts that had been brought to us (Daphne brought a life-sized bear). It was a beautiful day and Lee Kyle photographed our first few moments outside. We were all beaming with joy to be bringing Wilder home free and clear.

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Andy drove Wilder and I home and Lee Kyle planned to meet us there in a bit. I was worried about how the dogs would react, but they did surprisingly well with the initial meet and greet. It took us some time to get all the stuff into the house and I immediately felt the overwhelming need to organize everything. We were unprepared in many ways for Wilder’s arrival. Thankfully Amanda and Crystal had come over the night before and cleaned the house, but still we were missing a few essentials and had a fridge with little edible food in it. It also was a bit unfortunate, when considering the help we needed, that we had arrived home the day before Halloween. This meant most of the people we knew had obligations and Andy’s bar was going to be very busy. After being home for just a bit, I had my first of many crying fits. I felt completely overwhelmed and although Andy and Lee Kyle were there with me, I felt lonely. I missed my mother and father and I wished that my mom had been alive to help show me how to care for Wilder. The boys let me cry without judgment and offered comforting words. I felt better pretty quickly and tried to accept that unpredictability and lack of control would now be parts of my daily routine.  The day went by quickly and before long my exhaustion caught up with me. I headed up to my room to nap with the dogs and Andy let me sleep for nearly eight uninterrupted hours. It would be the last eight hours of straight sleep for the unforeseeable future.

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Although nothing went as I had planned and that has definitely had its emotional ramifications, I am so very grateful that our son is here and is healthy. We were discussing his birth date and realized he was born on the one year anniversary of the Madonna concert we all attended together with Dori. That was the first time we had all hung out together separate from a performance, and that night had been quite amazing. For me, this will always make Wilder’s birthday more special.

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