I thought I would write this down finally, if only because I’ve been putting it off for so long and I want you to know about how you managed to come into this world a year ago today.
We weren’t expecting you in May. The doctors all said you would be joining us sometime in July, with an expected due date of Pioneer Day, the 24th. Had you decided to wait that long, your birth would have been welcomed with fireworks, as that’s the day here in Utah that we celebrate the arrival of the pioneers back in 1847. Alas, you are anxious and decided to come a bit early instead.
It started on Friday, May 15th. Your mom wasn’t feeling all that great, which seemed to be the theme of her pregnancy with you. She went to the local clinic, was told to call her doctor on Monday, and came home. Unfortunately, she didn’t feel any better Saturday morning, so we went to the emergency room at McKay-Dee to get checked out and hopefully help Mom feel better. Luckily, Mom had taken the weekend off from her job at the Home Depot call center to get a break from that horrible job, so we didn’t have much else to do that weekend. She was admitted, which is what hospitals tend to do when moms present themselves in similar situations, and you and Mom were hooked up to a monitor to make sure everything was going to be okay.
Dr. Johansson stopped by Saturday afternoon — after handing out water at the Ogden Marathon in the morning — to check on you and Mom, ordered up some medicine to be picked up at the pharmacy later, and we were expecting to be released that night, with Mom most likely being placed on bed rest until you decided to show up. That didn’t end up being the case. That prescription was never picked up, and we ended up getting moved to a more permanent room for at least the night to keep monitoring everything and make sure that you and Mom were okay. I went home to make sure the cats weren’t completely losing their minds, but, as I’m sure you are aware, the cats only cared because I am the giver of treats and food, so after grabbing a couple of things to make Mom more comfortable at the hospital, I went back to spend some more time with her to make sure she was well taken care of.
Saturday turned into Sunday, and you sure were being a little stinker. You would move away from the monitors, so the nurses and doctors had to keep bothering Mom to readjust those annoying little monitors. Luckily, having babies is pretty big business here in Utah, so the accommodations at the hospital were pretty good. Mom got to eat a lot of good food that they brought right to her bed, and Dad, well, he had to pay for the same delicious food, but at least it wasn’t millions of dollars.
Things weren’t really getting worse, but they weren’t really getting much better, so the doctors told Mom that she was going to have to stay another night at the hospital. Luckily, we had Mom’s tablet with us so we didn’t have to miss that night’s episode of Game of Thrones, though it was a little weird to have that show on when nurses kept coming in to check on Mom (you’ll understand why when you are a little older). If things weren’t dramatically improved that night, they were going to make plans for you to show up the next morning, which was not something I think we were ready for.
After a final check at about 4 am, they decided that you were just putting up too much of a fuss to be an inside baby anymore and that it would probably be better for both you and Mom for you to make an appearance a little early. They called up Dr. Johannson, started prepping Mom for surgery, and got ready for you to make your appearance about 10 weeks early.
Meanwhile, I was kind of a wreck, at least on the inside. Had to be strong for Mom, but she was eerily calm the entire time. That’s why she’s the rock star that I fell in love with. I was super nervous the entire time, and reality sunk in that there was a chance, even if it was pretty small, that you or Mom wouldn’t survive. The doctors in the NICU later told me that a baby born at 30 weeks like you had a 95% survival rate or something close to that, but at the time, as they were prepping your mom and getting ready to help you out, I was scared.
I had spent the previous 7 months or so waiting for you to get there, and now that it was actually happening, I was worried that I wouldn’t be a good dad or that I wasn’t actually ready for you to be there. My dad, your grandpa and the man whose name is part of yours, had only been gone for five months and I was still kind of dealing with that, so it was a little overwhelming to say the least. But we all got through it, partly because of the amazing nurses and doctors, but also because we had someone looking over us I’m sure.
You were born at around 6:49am on May 18, 2015. You were all of 2 pounds and 10 ounces, and about the length of my forearm. You were a tiny little man, but you were our little man, and the doctors and nurses rushed you away to make sure you were okay. When I saw you for the first time, I started to cry, not because I was sad, but because I was happy that everything had gone so well. The nurses and doctors worked to get you breathing and everything else in the other room, and we heard you — and Mom saw you — for the first time as Mom was wheeled into recovery. The neonatologist came in soon after and said you were doing great and in the NICU, and we settled in for a few more days at the hospital while your mom recovered.
It was then that we told everyone of your arrival. We had kind of gone radio silent except with a couple of people all weekend, so the announcement of your birth was a surprise to many people, especially for those not expecting you to show up until July. Once Mom was feeling a little better, we were able to come visit you in your temporary home in the NICU, where you were already exceeding expectations. You didn’t need much help breathing, and by the next day, you were off forced air altogether, raging against the machines from inside your glass box of emotion:
Every day was met with incremental improvements, and you soon became the favorite baby of all the wonderful NICU nurses and doctors. For a kiddo so small, we were pretty much just waiting for you to get a little bigger and get better at eating with a bottle so we could take you home. After about ten days, you no longer had an annoying IV in your head or foot, making it so much easier to hold and cuddle you:
You were a fighter, fighting mainly against that dang feeding tube that you ripped out a couple of times because you just wanted the bottle. You spent your first 6 weeks or so in the NICU, and we were finally able to bring you home.
The past year has been full of growth and development, and you are no longer that tiny little baby that came into our lives early on that Monday morning. I could post hundreds of pictures of you and your many steps along the way, but if you want to see them, you can just ask Mom. She has them all saved. I’ll put a couple more here that I think really share the personality that you’ve developed over the past year:
Every day that I get to be your dad is the best day, and even in your most cranky moments, you are still in the top two best things to ever happen to me (meeting your mom will always be number one). I hope that you can look back on this post someday in the future and understand how much you’ve made this past year the best ever. Despite all of the other stresses in our life on a day-to-day basis, your mom and I love watching you grow up a little more each day. You will always be my little man, and I hope that you know how much I love you and how much I try to make your life incrementally better every day.
Thank you for filling our life with so much love this past year. I hope that the years to come are just as full.