February 18th, 2013

A Beginning and an End

Pregnancy Surprise #7 trumps them all: seven months into our pregnancy, no more pregnancy.

Our baby, Adeline Anna Witchger, had to be taken out by emergency c-section at 29 weeks, exactly one week ago. She and her mother are doing fine. (Steph has bounced back so quickly that even the medical professionals seem shocked. She’s now able to provide far above the average amount milk for a situation like this.)

Over the last few weeks, the “New Year’s Bleed” that I described last month turned into a whirlwind of sleepless stays at three different hospitals, consultations with countless doctors and nurses, and a harried and particularly…let’s say “crimson”… last 48-hours of gestation, but it all resulted in one very tiny but also very loveable and very feisty baby girl.

Many people have told me to write out the birth-story now, as I’ll start to forget what happened. I think I have to hold off on that for a while. It was a particularly long and hard road getting here and if I tried to put every detail in writing now, I’d end up with something in the War & Peace-ballpark as far as length. I don’t think even I’d ever want to read something that long over again.

I do think that I will retain the best parts of the story of my daughter’s introduction to the world for a good long while. And one day I probably will put her birth-story down in writing. But I’m already far more interested in, and concerned with, her life-story.

She seems, to me, to be a fighter. I’ve seen it down the line, from when, right out of her mother’s womb, barely moving, I put my finger in her hand and she latched firmly onto it, ’til today when she repeatedly swatted away the uncomfortable tube the (amazingly skilled and patient) NICU nurse was trying to reinsert into her body.

Addy will have spend the next two-to-three months in the hospital before we get to take her home. We are saying she’s on “layaway” — we’re excited about eventually getting to have her and take her home, but we’ve got to make payments for a while by just visiting her for short periods.

It is not how we thought this would go, but we’re learning the key parenting skill of rolling with these unexpected events. (We are also learning the key parenting skill of trying to interact with people and do things while being very, very tired — we’ve had very little sleep in the past few weeks.)

A case in point: Addy came out so early that we do not have a room set-up or any of the typical baby supplies amassed yet. As late as a week ago, being so unprepared for something so important would have really bothered me. Now I just look at that as stuff that has to get done, and therefore will get done, when Addy, Steph, and I aren’t spending time together.

There’s the cliche that your child teaches you as much as you teach them. One thing this baby has taught me so far, that I can feel in every fiber of my body is: there’s time.

I used to get a sensation of intense restlessness whenever I had to just sit still and pass the time. I couldn’t stop thinking about the minutes/hours/days I was wiling away not accomplishing anything…or at least thinking about accomplishing something.

I do still want to get things done, but now I just see myself eventually getting said things done around time that I spend with my new family.

Right now it seems like my daughter and I have so much time to spend with each other. I hear it won’t last, but I want to hold onto it for as long as I can, because I’ve never been happier about anything in my life.


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