Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Year, Summed Up.

I've been really neglectful of my blog and while my dear readers, all 3 of you, may have given up on me, I've realized that I need this.  Getting my clunky thoughts out is therapeutic for me.  Here we go.

Squish turned a year old already.  I don't know where the time went.  I picked up a tiny baby, held him close to me, and when I went to put him down he had 6 teeth and liked to smack my boobs.  He is a gibber-jabbering hedonist who loves to cuddle.  He can get from the bathroom to the kitchen dog door in less than 20 seconds, little tushie swinging with the effort of his all fours crawl.  He's gorgeous.  He's sweet.  He's kinda whiny and clingy.  I love him.

Watching him learn and grow has been wonderful.  Getting through the hospital stays, the CT scans, the UTI's, the surgeries, and that sort of thing has been crappy.  He was a vomit fountain for about 4 months with reflux.  I may as well have been doing laundry for a small hotel.  Through it all, he's kept his easy going demeanor.  I wish I were as laid back as Kemper.  In the face of all adversity he's had, he meets it with a smile and just won't give up.  Much like the boob smacking.  I can stop him and say no all day long, he just grins at me and smack, smack, smacks.

There are a lot of people I couldn't have made it through the year without.  There's no way I can properly show my appreciation to them.  So, I'm using this blog post to repeat some of the best advice I've gotten through the year and give some of my own to people who may be in the same spot I was last year this time.

Great Advice: (As I see it.)

Have a support system.  Yeah yeah, everyone says that.  It's true, you need it.  But you need people who are familiar with Spina Bifida.  So, if no groups are available locally, go to the internet.  It could take almost a year to weed out the people that you ONLY have SB in common with and make some friends.  I'm so glad I did.  I have some true homies.  There are groups on babycenter and facebook for Spina Bifida.  Hell, I even run an SB group on facebook!
I'm telling you it's the friends you make that will be your rock.  Sure your family means well, sure your friends are supportive, but these people know what you're going through.  They've been there and most of them are willing to offer advice and support.

Do not let a digitized ribbon confuse your heart.  I know lots of people that I didn't know before I had a baby.  Many of them are new moms like me.  Many others are people I met through SB resources.  Some of them are just ridiculous people with nothing to contribute but sucking the very life out of you.  Don't let them.  Come SB awareness month when they plaster their facebook with ribbons, don't feel like you owe them something.  You don't.

Don't let this change who you are!  Your child needs you to be you.  Don't go changing because you think you have to in order to be a great parent.  A great parent is made by someone who is secure in who they are. Also, you can't live wallowing in "why me" or "my child can't..."  Keep living like you did before, enjoy life so your child can too.  A miserable parent makes for a miserable child.

Trust your instincts.  Yeah, the doctor at your pediatrician's office has a degree.  Yes, you should trust him on lots of things.  But when it comes to Spina Bifida stuff, call the neurologist, urology, ortho department familiar with your child's care!  Remember that you know your child better than the doctor who sees him for 20 minutes every so often.  

Your spouse is not you.  Sounds simple, but it's all too easy to forget.  I was diving headfirst into research, books, scientific data, joining groups online, trying to reach out to local people.  My husband mostly relied on the doctors and me for information.  At first it upset me, but I realized that he deals with things differently than I do.  He was willing to take the information as it came.  I wanted to know everything NOW!

Therapy is OK.  I'm in therapy.  In the same vein as my need to have all the information lined up for me, I hate surprises, and I have an anxiety... problem.  Because I'm high strung and a little scary sometimes.  So, therapy is a great idea for me.

Know your insurance.  Seriously.  Stay on top of it.  There's a million and one things you have to do every day, I know.  But every dime counts.  Don't let a misfiled form or something take money away from your family.

Use a beach towel.  If your kid spews like a geyser... screw the burp cloths, move up to beach towels.

Alright.  My little bag of wisdom is just about empty.  Just remember above all else, your baby is just that, your baby.  No matter what challenges lay ahead of you.  You can do this because you really have no alternatives.  You'll rise to meet whatever comes up and if you're lucky, you'll make some damn fine friends along the way.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Photo Card

Picture Tree Christmas
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Dear Universe, That Horse Is Dead.

In other words, I get it.  I understand that you can't plan everything to the letter and expect it all to go off without a hitch.  I've gotten that lesson in spades by now and I think I'm learning to roll with what comes.
The thought that this is all preparing me for something bigger kind of makes my head hurt because I don't like it when plans go awry, but I'm trying to accept it.
Recently, my family had plans.  My sister had plans for a great summer with her family, enjoying the pool with her kids and doing what she loves, running.  Instead she had to have shoulder surgery after being injured by a student at the school where she works.  She's coping with a lot of grief in this situation, she is grieving her summer of carefree fun, her ability to be independent, her feeling of safety at work, her feeling of value from a certain co-worker, and more.  I can't begin to tell you how frustrated and upset I've been on her behalf, but that doesn't begin to cover what she's been feeling.
I tell you this because a couple of weeks ago, we had a big family vacation.  We do it every year, my sister and her family, my Dad and sometimes his fiance (she couldn't come this year) and my family.  This year, my sister had to sit in a therapy chair that did PT on her arm 3 hours a day while hooked to a tins unit.  This year, she had to ask me to put her hair in a ponytail, she couldn't hold her nephew other than posing for pictures, and she couldn't play with her children.  Maybe the Universe is taking her to school too, but I it sucks for her!  Because on top of that, we had an earthquake that shook the condo we rented and left us scrambling to get in touch with friends and family that were in the area where the quake hit.  Because if we felt it at the beach in North Carolina, we couldn't imagine what it was like where the quake was centered.  Thankfully, we reached everyone in great shape.
Kemper was great when we arrived, but no sooner had we unpacked he started getting sick.  He was congested and vomiting without a fever.  We treated him over the counter, but I have to admit, I was so happy it wasn't our carpet he was anointing, because it was nearly constant.  He improved over a couple of days, but we were new parent train wrecks.  Do we take him home to his pediatrician?  Do we wait it out?  We worried, fretted, took it easy with him, and worried some more.  Then all of a sudden, he improved to the point we thought we could just relax for the rest of the week.

Then... Irene caused some issues.  We had to end our vacation early because the island we were on was under mandatory evacuation orders.  My husband went home to our dogs and house, which was just out of the projected path of the hurricane, and I took Kemper and fled inland to a motel room.  I spent two nights there wondering if my husband and home and dogs were ok while trying to keep up with what the storm was doing.
Walking in the front door was so very sweet it competed with my return after seven weeks at Duke.  Home.  Ah.... a breather.  Then full force sick baby again.  He's been back to the doctor and had an Upper GI which of course, I have to wait through the holiday weekend for results.  Of course.
So in my defense, I'm trying really hard to roll with the punches and continue to throw the plan out the window, but it's not easy.  So not easy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You Know What Assume Means!

Being proven wrong. Not something people typically enjoy, but as one of the many Moms of a child with Spina Bifida, having my son exceed expectations in the simplest of things can be joyous. Many of the Moms I've met will post a picture of their child with the caption, "Take that, Spina Bifida!" Seeing these pictures makes my heart sing, fills me with hope, and allows me to celebrate with their family.

There have been so many instances where people have been wrong in their expectations with Kemper. I relish in these because he's busted through so many assumptions and limitations that people have projected on him based on the term Spina Bifida without considering him as an individual.

The perinatologist who told us about his diagnosis said he'd probably be paralyzed and have some mental retardation. She said his lesion was affecting 5-6 vertebrae and was very large. This is not true for my son.  He has movement and sensation in his legs and feet, he's right on track developmentally, and the lesion was less than a centimeter in diameter.

Nurses in the NICU told us that he would always "ooze" poop because of the nerve damage. That he would always vomit because of neurological issues. They didn't take into consideration the antibiotics he was on that loosened his stools or that he could have reflux, which he does.  When he was admitted to the hospital locally due to a GI virus, the nurse thought she was in the wrong room because he was kicking. She assumed he wouldn't be able to move his legs. 

His most recent accomplishment that says, "TAKE THAT!" He can bear weight on his legs.

Talk about having your heart soar. We were on cloud nine for quite some time on that one! 

He teaches me about making assumptions too.  We took him to the doctor a couple of days ago and I undressed him so he could be weighed.  I was telling the doctor how terribly constipated he was and as if on que, he pooped.  On their wall.  I still don't know how the poop ended up on the wall, but I was mortified. After we got him cleaned up I picked him up, he was still naked, and I was talking to the doctor about how he doesn't pee on his own anymore.  That's when he peed down the front of my dress. Talk about a flair for the dramatic to prove me wrong and teach me about making assumptions!

Every kid with this diagnosis is a kid. An individual. We take something out of them when we assume their capabilities. The only thing I really know for certain is that Kemper has my heart on a string.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Strap In!

Have you ever stopped in the middle of doing the 5784th thing for the week and thought "I want off the ride now!" I mean, it's not like you don't want back on, it's just a nice break to sit on the bench and have a shaved ice or an $8.00 Pepsi.  Then back to the nausea inducing pace, for sure.  Because that bench gets boring, and it's hot just sitting there without the whooshing wind just blowing your hair back on that exciting ride.  But when the ride gets scary, overwhelming, and stressful; I know I want a break.  You probably would too.

Right now, I'm kind of there.  I want to sit down and leisurely have a cool refreshing break.  Much like any ride that's already started, there's no way off until it's over.  So I am just going to throw my hands up and scream, which should be interesting if you see me around town, just wave.  There is a lot going on right now and the most anxiety inducing of all of them is a cardiology appointment for Squish.  He had a flow murmur and the doctor wants to see if it's closed on it's own.  If it hasn't there could be a heart surgery on the table.  For the sake of my sanity and the feelings of everyone I know, let's hope this isn't the case.  For that would be like that ride going off the tracks and plummeting straight into Hell for me.

Yes, I am aware that this surgery is common.  Yes, Squish is a freakin' rock star.  I know it would be temporary recovery.  Amid all the rational thought and reason there is this... I'm scared.  I don't want my sweet baby boy to have another surgery.  I don't know if I could handle handing my son over to yet another anesthesiologist as I kiss him goodbye and tremble with worry over the million things that could possibly go wrong.  Watching him wake up, swollen and groggy, is no picnic either.  But these things are nothing compared to him howling in pain when he's awake and whimpering pitifully in his sleep.  He hasn't slept well since his shunt revision.  He fights falling asleep and wakes up more during the night.  Is it related?  Probably not.  Does it make me wonder if he's afraid of what will happen to him if he falls asleep?  Sometimes.

In the end, it will work out.  This ride... life... will hit the bumps and smooth straight paths, and in the middle of the loop da loops somewhere you can close your eyes for a second and know that when it does end, you'll want to go again.  It's getting to the top of the hill, that clank, clank, clank of being pulled up, that gives you long enough to worry.  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Ugly Place

The internet can be a really ugly place.  Most of the time for me, it's for research, friends, meeting people, and sharing experiences.  Ok, I admit there is also a piece there for time wasting funny sites and games, but mostly I use the internet constructively.  So when a Mom I know from a support group was upset at the treatment her child received when he attempted to enter a store using his walker at a business near her, many of the group members were upset in turn.

A news station local to this person picked up the story and ran it on the news and their website.  Websites are open to comments.  Sadly, a lot of these comments were either intentionally mean or really ignorant.  When I voiced my opinions, a person claiming to be a relative of the business owner actually blamed me for my son's Spina Bifida, saying that according to other sites I have, I drank and did drugs and it was probably an unplanned pregnancy.  While that is certainly not true, I couldn't believe someone I don't even know could be so upset by my opposing opinions on the internet that they would lash out so personally.

It seemed impossible to me that people were getting so vicious regarding what I see as a clear cut issue and regarding a child.  How can people NOT understand this is discrimination?  My point of view is up close and personal so I took a step back... am I being overly sensitive about it?  The conclusion I came to is that no, I'm not.  ADA guidelines require businesses to be accessible to people with disabilities, it's Federal Law.

Then I realized that I'll be facing this sort of attitude on my son's behalf for a long time, but he'll face it for the rest of his life.  I'm profoundly saddened at the thought.  He's a sweet, lovable baby right now and with a lot of work and a little luck, I hope to see him grow into a bright young man of good character.  But there will always be people who will think of him as "less than" a person.  Those people are wrong, their attitudes stink, and a little education, if they are willing, would go a long way.  That won't always be an option, I understand that.  It's unfortunate that so many are comfortable with their closed minds and ignorance.

While the experience has led me to realize that anything can be taken out of context, some people are just jerks, and being open leaves you exposed to those jerks.  I'm thankful for the thick skin I'm developing, but I think I'll lay off the comment boards for news stories as I've found that the loudest voices there are the ones with the most tightly shut minds.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nowhere Land

Being a part of the SB community has been my saving grace time and time again.  There have been people to educate and comfort me, to tell me what to expect, to remind me to count my blessings, to listen when I rant and to listen to when they need to rant. The importance of this community in my life is vast. My desire to give back is also strong.

However my family doesn't always fit in with the community.  Adults with SB grow weary of parents asking the same questions over and over about their children. My son is someone with SB who is expected to walk. My son has only had 4 surgeries, and that may seem like a lot, but it can be a drop in the bucket for many in the SB community. We met a 12 year old who gets around in a wheelchair and has had 42 surgeries at clinic. How does one run to people with such patience and strength to whine about a shunt revision? The truth is, many of my peers in this community have much more to deal with on a daily basis. I do not have the energy or patience yet to tolerate rude strangers for the sake of being an ambassador for SB. Many people I've met in the SB community grit their teeth at the stares and intrusive questions and take time to educate people.

My family doesn't fit in with the non SB community either.  "He's all special and stuff," a family member said to me once, despite having no ill will behind it, it sticks with you.  Other women with babies around the same age post things about wishing their baby wasn't mobile, pushing them over with their foot because they aren't ready for them to move so much, or saying they aren't ready for the milestones.  I feel a twinge every time I read something like that, but I'm unsure how I'm supposed to react. I rejoice every single toe wiggle, wobbly attempt at sitting up and anything remotely crawl like. When you look at Kemper's pictures, everything seems fine, his development for the most part, is on track.  But it makes my chest hurt when people I love say, "You'd never know anything was wrong with him."

Lets get something straight, there is nothing wrong with Kemper.  He is not "special."  He is living with SB and has needs that coincide with that.  Will I be angry if you use the word cripple in front of me?  Yes.  Thankfully when this did happen I was able to take a breather and come back to discuss it calmly, finding out that the person who used it has family with disabilities who used the word cripple to describe themselves.  She meant no offense.  Will I dislike it if you use the word retarded the way I used to, without cause or care of how it may affect someone who overhears?  Yes. While Kemper's SB is a physical disability, my way of thinking has changed.  The world is bigger than my family, than the SB community.  Everyone deserves privacy and respect.

Still, this leaves us in a perceived no man's land, stuck somewhere between communities.  I'd like to say there are no lines, but there are.  Maybe one day I'll find my niche in blurring those lines.  But for now, I'm struggling not to rage on people who stare at Kemper's head incision.  Thankfully, no one has asked about it while we're out in public.

Truth be told, I don't look very approachable, but I never thought it would serve me so well.  Later on down the line, when I've figured out how to handle these things, perhaps I'll greet stares with a smile.  But I kind of doubt it. So, I'll just take a deep breath, enjoy my baby, and do what comes naturally, not worry about fitting in.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Revolving Door

I'm still playing catch up here! Sorry about that! I used to think that people were exaggerating how tiring, needy, and time consuming newborns are, I have since learned that they were actually holding back.  I've never been so tired in my life. I've never worn my hair in a ponytail for 6 months before, either!

Sorry, the point of this post isn't for me to rehash how rough having a baby is, but to catch up on my Squish! So we got him home from the hospital and had about 4 days before we had to take him back. He had a GI virus. He spent 2 nights and was home again.

About 3 weeks later, he developed a truly nasty UTI and was in the hospital for 5 days. I lost all composure at that point. It was a deep, dark hole thinking that this was going to be our lives. In and out of the hospital, back and forth to the doctor, watching Kemper be poked, be sick, be sad. I had to be peeled off the floor of the hospital bathroom, sobbing so hard I was unable to see or speak. Brett was beside himself, the doctor and nurses were concerned, and I realized I couldn't cope with everything he was going through on my own.He got out of the hospital, I started counseling. Things started to get back to normal. He started to thrive and it was awesome to watch.

Don't get me wrong, we've had a few ER trips, a few big scares, some tears and some anger, but overall, we're all doing well. I took Kemper to visit my sister's family and while we were there, his shunt site started to swell. He started to vomit a lot. I took him to Duke and he had to have a shunt revision over Easter weekend. But, we made it home on Easter and he even felt well enough to sit up for pictures.

This kid has been in the hospital or at a follow up appointment at Duke for every holiday since he was born in November. He was even in the hospital for the Super Bowl! It's Memorial Day weekend now, and I'm hoping he'll break that streak. Fingers crossed everyone!

That tough baby is growing, learning, hitting milestones and somehow making my heart grow with him. I've never been so full of joy. My husband and I are both in awe of this little child and the way we feel about him.When I walked into the kitchen and came back and he was across the living room floor from where I put him, I jumped up and down. He giggled at me. When he pulled his paci out of his mouth and passed it between his hands before dropping it and shrieking with glee, I clapped. When he started trying to push his body to crawling position, I was dumbfounded and rubbed my eyes. He looked back at me grinning and tried again as if to say, "Yeah, Mom, I'm doing this... get ready to be amazed."

Without our friends and families, this would be nearly impossible. Our families have supported us, despite any disagreements, hiccups, or hurt feelings, at the end of the day, we are there for each other. We have felt the kindness of strangers, the compassion of acquaintances, the love of our friends and we're so thankful. We've also felt the grace of God, whatever you envision him to be. We believe we are being watched over.

While we know that this is not the last trip to the ER and probably not his last surgery, we feel more prepared to get through them. We know that the doors to the hospital work both ways and when you go in, you still get to come out.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seven Weeks and One Day

That's how long we were in the hospital.  Seven weeks and one day.  That's a long, long time.  Five of those weeks were in the NICU.  The last Two and a day were on the pediatric floor, where I got to learn to be Squish's Mom.

The day after he was born, he went in for surgery.  Dr. Fuchs, a pediatric neurosurgeon came to see us and report that it went very well. When we were allowed to go see him, he still had a ventilator tube in.

That was the first of many ways I saw him that just broke my heart.  So tiny and helpless, covered in tubes and tape and leads.  However, he proved to me that he was much stronger than I was giving him credit for, he was awake and hungry within an hour.  My husband's parents were there, my Father got to see him, and his fiancĂ©e surprised me by visiting with her mother!  It was wonderful to share the joy of my baby's birth.

So much of the first two weeks is a bit blurry thanks to pain medication, but there was a lot of sitting bedside, a lot of pumping breast milk, a lot of smiling and tears.  We got to feed him, talk to him, sing to him, endlessly touch and count toes and fingers and stroke his soft baby skin.  We also learned how to diaper a baby with a back incision right above his little baby butt.  You flip it backwards, fold it down and fasten, and for added fun, we did it while he was on his tummy with a catheter in!  I cried many times on the way out to the car because I had to leave him.  I felt like I was just playing Mommy and visiting him, that he wasn't really mine and we'd never get to take him home.

On Thanksgiving, we got to hold him for the first time! That was a memory I'll never let dull... I relive it all the time.  The sweet weight of his body against me, the sound of his soft breathing, the feeling of his fine hair against my cheek and the tears I cried into it.  This little squishy baby, so fragile but so darn tough really was mine.

On December 1st, Squish had to have a shunt placed in his brain.  The ventricles of his brain were collecting fluid and a shunt keeps them drained.  It's a tube that goes into his brain and connects to a valve that is under the skin behind his right ear connected to another tube that runs under the skin down his neck, under his collar bone and into the cavity of his abdomen.  This was harder than the back surgery.  I knew that a shunt meant constant vigilance about making sure it was working, watching for signs that it isn't working and many of those signs are the same as a regular illness in a child.  Plus, it's never easy to think of having your newborn's brain poked around in... so it did make for a very tense wait.

After three weeks in a motel, my husband had to go back to work and left me with his parents.  We moved into an apartment and I began withdrawing.  I would have polite conversation with my in laws and use pumping as an excuse to sit alone.  Any time I was not at the hospital was time I was waiting to go back.  I called the NICU several times a day, before I went and after I got back to that apartment.  I was dropped off in the morning and picked up in the evening because my car went back with my husband.  When it snowed, I had to wait for them to feel safe to drive.  I lost my self reliance, I couldn't even go to the store without asking for a ride.  I was also very lonely but didn't want company.  I would sit at Kemper's bedside and cry, feeling sorry for him and myself and my husband.  My in laws were very helpful, but I still felt quite alone.  After a while, people began visiting, friends and family came and spent a few hours.  Sometimes it felt like work to have visitors, like I was supposed to be entertaining, sometimes it was easy and just felt great to have someone I related with to talk to.

Two weeks went by and Kemper had to have a blood transfusion, his back opened up, they wanted to do a skin graft, but when he was in the OR, the surgeon decided more sutures would be sufficient.  Kemper wiggled around so much he popped some of those sutures out!  He had been on his tummy so long, and he was tired of it!  Then the day came they told us he was going out on the pediatric floor.  I was terrified.  This meant less nurses, a door between the nurses and him and less careful monitoring.  It also meant I could stay with him.  At first, I was really scared because I didn't think I could do it.  Everyone told me I needed to sleep, I couldn't stay at the hospital 24/7 and I bought into that.  I spent the first night of his stay at the apartment, I never slept.  When I arrived at the hospital, I found Kemper in his crib in a filthy diaper with poop all over his incision, and dried poop all over the blankets.  After some very intense conversations with charge nurses, directors and patient visitor relations representatives, I vowed not to leave him again, and I didn't.  He was never alone after that.  I went to dinner with my friend Audri on New Year's Eve, and the nurse kept him with her the whole time.

During this time, I felt whole again.  I was Kemper's Mom!  I didn't have to ask to pick him up or feed him, I gave him medicine, bathed him, comforted him when he was upset, and learned how to be a Mother to a tiny baby.  It was grueling, but it was heaven to be there with him.  Toward the end of our stay, I succumbed to some Postpartum Depression.  I was irritable and cranky with everyone but Kemper, I was really hard on myself about making the right decisions for him.  I needed space, and when I got it, I felt better.

Then came the time we had all been waiting for... he was going to get to go home!  I got three days notice, my husband came and stayed until the day Squish was released!  He did a car seat tolerance test, passed beautifully, and was discharged!  He still had to sleep side to side and because of that, he was on an apnea monitor at night.  But we were going home!!!  However... it was snowing.  So we got a motel room and waited for the weather to clear.  I didn't care, we weren't in the hospital!  We were together as a family, just a regular old family and it was wonderful.

I rode in the back with Squish the whole way home and watched him sleep.  I was amazed.  He's sleeping and he's not in the hospital!  He's feeling the sun on his face for the first time.  I took picture after picture.  When we arrived, I went in and one of my dogs didn't recognize me.  I wonder if it was just because I was so tired that I wasn't behaving like myself.  She quickly realized she knew me and all was right with her world again.  We all got settled in and Brett and I piled up on the couch with Kemper and just sat there, smiling, watching him, playing with him.  We had our son, we were home.  All was right with my world again, too.

Monday, January 31, 2011

And Baby Makes Three

It has been an intense couple of months!  I fully intend on updating the blog and will do it in three parts.  This blog entry will cover delivery, the next will cover the hospital, and the third will cover coming home and going back to the hospital!

After that, I hope I'll have more regular updates and pictures! 

So our original date for Kemper's delivery was November 18th.  We packed, we prepared, we got excited, and we took our dogs to the bather so they wouldn't be stinky when we got home. One of them was injured to the point of needing surgery.  I cried, worried, made arrangements for boarding and surgery and we left.  We got to our motel room and tried to settle in.  The excitement and uncertainty kept us from sleeping.  At least I want to say that's what it was, not the totally ghetto motel we picked sight unseen due to super cheap rates.  We actually didn't want to pull the covers down to sleep in the horribly uncomfortable bed.

We got to the hospital and after hours of waiting around the amniocentesis results came back 3 points shy of what they needed to be.  Bummer.  We packed up and came home.  Our families packed up and went home.  Brett's brother had to fly back to Oklahoma.  I waited to hear from the coordinator about what our next step would be.  She called the next morning and told us to be back at the hospital Monday morning, no amniocentesis, no waiting.  He would be delivered that day.

So, we went back up Sunday night and got a room at a different motel, twice the price, twice the comfort, and no fear of being mugged.  We did the same sleepless anticipation in a super comfy bed.  The next morning we had grins so big our cheeks hurt in between periods of anxiety and when we left the motel, Brett promptly backed the car right into a delivery truck.  To his credit, it's usually me that wrecks cars.  After we picked up the pieces of my tail light, it was hospital and baby bound!

The hospital was a beehive of activity.  There were a million people in and out introducing themselves, forms to be signed, needles stuck, blood work done, the first of many horrible hospital gowns worn, and finally at 2:17pm, we heard our baby cry.  Talk about a defining moment!  Brett and I both cried from joy and the power of hearing your child for the first time.  It was what I would describe as the moment everything else in my life has been leading up to.

Because of the lesion, the nurses took him into the next room while the doctor started putting me back together.  They did let Brett go in and see him, and he took a picture and brought it back for me to see.  He already had sterile dressings put over his back and I never saw the actual opening.  The picture was of a squishy, sqwooshy baby boy with tons of dark hair and little hands reaching up, face frozen in a cry.  Brett told me he was kicking, moving his feet and toes and that he was perfect. 

Just a few minutes old!
I didn't get to see him until about 9 that night, I was beyond anxious.  I pestered everyone about going to see him and was bargaining about what they wanted me to do first.  When they said I could go, the wheelchair couldn't get there fast enough.  Then Brett couldn't push it fast enough.  My feet tapped on the foot rests with anticipation.  The minute I had to scrub my hands and arms to enter the Intensive Care Nursery was torture.  Never mind I was in a hospital gown and fuzzy pink bunny slippers, swollen and loopy, I would have gotten up and used my IV pole to vault myself to Kemper's bedside at that point!!  Seeing Kemper was my singular thought.  The memory of it is hazy because of the medication, but I did deem Kemper "My Squishy" that very night.  He held fingers and made little noises and captured our hearts.  He was lying on his side at that point, seemed content and was just super cute from the word go.  I kept thinking, he doesn't look anything like that 4D ultrasound!  We only stayed an hour since my eyes wouldn't stay open despite strenuous effort on my part. I didn't see him again until after the closure surgery, and that will be in Part 2.