Introducing Sprout

Sprout is here!
Mom and Theo
Actually, he has been here for a month. He showed up very early, five and a half weeks early, and was born on May 7 after about twelve hours of labor. Every sign pointed to his arriving late, so it came as a total shock when we left our second (of four) Lamaze classes at the hospital and were putting stuff in my car and my water broke. We walked back from the parking deck and, by the time we reached the desk, I was soaked to my knees. We were admitted right away.
They hooked me up to a monitor and we saw the baby’s heartbeat was fine and that I was having contractions, which I couldn’t feel.
Before I felt the contractions
The Professor was in his element reading the charts. I thought he couldn’t have worn a more perfect shirt that day. (It says “What part of BWA HA HA HAH HA don’t you understand?”)
The Professor enjoying charts and graphs
The doctors discussed what to do and decided it would be best to induce labor and bring Sprout into this world. We were delighted and shocked and woefully unprepared. We joked, “But we’ve only been to two classes–we don’t know what to do after the halfway point!” We were excited but nervous. Mostly, it was just completely surreal.
So they hooked me up to an IV with Pitocin and inserted a Foley bulb and got things going. The Foley was rather uncomfortable going in–I think the resident was grabbing me funny or something–and the tape they used to attach to my leg stung awfully every time they adjusted it, but the hardest thing about the whole delivery, honestly, was that the dang IV pump ticked. TICKED! It was my own personal hell, unable to escape the constant. steady. ever-present. horrible. ticking. The Professor asked the nurses for earplugs or cotton balls, but all they had was gauze, which was, alas, not at all effective at masking the sound. He then reminded me that my iPhone had an iPod, so I set it to my “Easy” playlist and set the phone on my ear and let Lionel Richie and Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack ease me into sleep.
We called my folks, and they arrived at the hospital around 2:00 a.m. We asked them to go to our house to gather some things (we had not yet packed a bag for the hospital, though it was next on my list) and to feed the kitty and to rest until there was action.
I had an epidural. It was awesome. I would definitely go that route again. As I mentioned before, the hardest part about the whole delivery was the maddening ticking of the IV pump. The second hardest thing was the Foley bulb going in before the epidural. I had a few contractions that were uncomfortable before I got to four centimeters dilated and was able to get the epidural, but really, they weren’t that bad. They only lasted about sixty seconds, and they were waves, hardest at the midpoint but otherwise not so bad. The Professor helped me with breathing, and they went quickly. My monthly cycle is worse than the contractions that I felt. Way worse.
I dilated from four centimeters to ten pretty quickly. The Professor called my folks and told them they better come right then! I had no idea how to push, but the doctors talked me through it. I did the breathing wrong the first couple of times but then got the hang of it, and in three contractions, fewer than ten minutes, our little Sprout was here.
Theo is here!
The doctors put him on my chest and his daddy put his hand on his back, and we got to hold him for a few short seconds before the nurses took him to evaluate his breathing and clean him up. Despite being early, he was a strapping 5 pounds 14 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long. He was breathing really hard and they had to put him on a CPAP machine to help. They wrapped him up carefully and let us each hold him a minute before they took him to the NICU.
Holding Daddy's hand for the first time
I told the Professor to go with Sprout, so I was left in the room alone with nurses coming and going. One asked me if I wanted anything to drink. I requested a margarita. Instead I received more ice chips. Which was close enough, really.
It was such a surreal feeling at that point though. Had I really just had a baby? I wasn’t mentally prepared at all. It hadn’t occurred to me he could arrive early–at least not that early. We had never taken pictures of my belly like we’d planned–it was such a lovely pregnant belly, if I do say so myself–and we hadn’t finished the nursery, and we hadn’t packed a bag, and we hadn’t filled the freezer with casseroles, and we hadn’t had a garage sale, and our house hadn’t been reassembled after the constructions, and we hadn’t taken all the classes, and we just weren’t ready. And now, after all that, there was no baby in my arms, not even in the room. Just me with a flatter belly. It was if the whole thing was a vivid weird dream.
Yay for epidurals!
It took a while to learn that his lungs were quite immature, and he was in the NICU for about ten days. Honestly, my sense of time is so utterly skewed, so I can’t tell you exact times. I do know that I was discharged on Mother’s Day and had to leave the hospital without my baby. Denial and adrenaline got me through. I kept focusing on the positive and what little I could do, such as pump milk. I don’t know that it helped as much as it allowed me to keep moving forward.
He was fed with a tube, and he was intubated for a while, through which they administered a surfactant to his lungs, which saved his life. It was hard to see him like that, especially because he kept tugging on the tube–pulled it out once. We couldn’t hold him while he was intubated, could just gaze into his isolette and perhaps cup his head or let him grasp our fingers, about all the touch a premature baby cares for.
Theo, with intubation tube
Later he was upgraded to a CPAP machine, which made his little face swell, but at least we were able to hold him.
Proud Papa holding Theo after intubation tube removed
Mom and Theo
Then he was eased to a cannula, then off oxygen altogether, then had the feeding tube removed, then moved to an open crib. As soon as he was able to eat enough by bottle in a set amount of time, we were able to take him home. First we roomed in at the hospital, where we took care of him all night in a separate room, but he was still hooked up to monitors and the nurses came in if we needed their help or if the monitors set off alarms. All of the nurses and doctors at Emory Midtown were fantastic. They all really seemed to care for the babies there and were patient and helpful with worried parents and made sure that we were as informed and involved as we could be. Sprout has already had a lot of guardian angels. We got a kick out of the fact one of the main nurses watching over him was named Buffy. We said we’d have to name him Giles. (We didn’t.)
We have no idea why Sprout showed up early. My best theory is that he kicked one too many times. I could feel his feet in my ribs all the time, as if he was stretching out in utero. And he’s a long-legged chap. He always likes to keep his feet out and often splays his toes. The cutest toes I’ve ever seen.
Finally, we brought him home, and he is growing strong. He is a very sweet baby. He almost never cries or fusses, but he does NOT like having his diaper changed or being given a bath, and he has a bit of reflux that burns, but hopefully the medicine his pediatrician prescribed will kick in soon. He has had all four grandparents visit and shower him with love and attention and gifts–and shower his parents with breaks and food and lawn service. Our pediatrician instructed us to be germphobic with him here at the beginning, and so on her advice we aren’t taking him to grocery stores or around children or allowing people to hold him without washing their hands, at least for a month. We did manage to get out and buy a sofa with him in tow, which has made all the difference.
I’m not sure I’ll keep keeping this blog. It’s been dying down a bit before my life changed so dramatically, and I don’t know that I’ll have time to update here. I hope I will, because I’ve loved sharing pictures and tales with friends and strangers, but I may be reduced to posting a picture or status update here or there on Facebook. I’m also a little fuzzy on how to put up boundaries on posts about Sprout. I have no problem sharing all my intimate details and thoughts with the universe, but I’m not sure it’s kind or fair to do the same for Sprout. It may not even been entirely wise or safe, but I don’t know. I haven’t even put his name on here. (He does have a name besides Sprout now! I will say that when I read the meaning of his name, I began sobbing like Ed in Raising Arizona and realized no other name would fit.)
About time to fit in another feeding, so I’ll wind this down and leave you with a picture of a very happy momma and wide-eyed Sprout. Thanks to everyone for your cards, food, support, prayers, and good wishes! XOXOXO
Mom and Theo and a very messy desk

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4 Responses to Introducing Sprout

  1. Dean Chasteen says:

    Enjoyed your journal of events bringing Sprout into the world. I don’t think he will ever loose the nickname you gave him so early after his inception.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing the story of Sprout’s arrival. I do hope to keep up with you and with him somehow whether it be on the blog or via Facebook. Even if you only update once a month, it would be appreciated. Take care and congratulations!

  3. Jodi says:

    Honey. So sorry his first month was hard for the three of you. But, gosh! So happy to see him! Congratulations, and so much love.
    I can’t wait to meet him the next time I come to Georgia.

  4. Susan says:

    Welcome Theo! Great job haning in there for the rough parts and hopefully things get better and better, it will be worth it I promise! When you get older you and dad can compare arrival stories, he might have already told you. 🙂
    Be assured you can play football in the fall and then have dad take you to Mexico for spring break to practice your salsa and cha cha for the Aug Ballroom Nationals. 🙂 Haha
    Congratulations to the proud parents!!!!

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