Our son Ethan was born at 4:40pm on December 29, 2010 — two months before his due date, February 26. Read the
probably too detailed account of this day here. He was 3 pounds 8 ounces and 18 inches long. It was the wrong date, year, time, weight, length…everything.
It turns out, though, that it was all exactly RIGHT for Ethan. And I wouldn’t change one single thing.
Yes, we spent 6.5 weeks in the NICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Yes, I cried more in those weeks then I had in my lifetime.
Yes, we lived in a constant state of fear/panic/stress for every day our baby was not home.
But through all of the craziness, we learned so much about life, love, and our perfect little man. We learned about the resiliency of babies and their strong will to survive even in the toughest conditions. We also learned that babies are born prematurely ALL. THE. TIME. Until Ethan came along, we had never heard a single preemie story. Not one. Then suddenly, we were not only surrounded by preemies in the NICU, but our friends and family had multitudes of stories to tell us about early babies. Every one of those stories comforted us in ways we couldn’t even begin to describe. Finally, we learned that while serious and scary, our situation was far from the worst — we were so very very lucky.
Now, looking back at the pictures from Ethan’s first few days, I can’t believe he was ever so small. It is absolutely terrifying to see the cords, wires, and tubes coming off of his tiny body. At the time, those things were invisible to us…they were just part of our every day life, along with the constant bells and alarms of the NICU. All we saw was our precious little peanut growing with each passing minute.
The doctors and nurses promised we would smile about our hospital experience someday. They swore up and down that, even though it felt like it would never happen, Ethan would indeed get home safely before we knew it. And sure enough, on that sunny day in February, the doctors released us and the nurses walked us to the door. And we just drove away. It was the strangest and best feeling in the world.
It sometimes feels like it was all a dream. Like we just imagined the first two months of Ethan’s life. To look at him now, you’d never know there had ever been a day of unrest over his health. Then I’ll take him to the pediatrician and terms like ‘adjusted age’ and ‘delayed development’ will pop up and it all comes rushing back like a giant wave. We rarely worry about these things though…Ethan will do what he needs to do in his own time.
This blog started as a fun little project for infrequent pregnancy updates, but became my ‘journal’, my connection to our family and friends so they could follow Ethan’s progress. I don’t know how I would have survived without it. I guess I would have been glued to my phone!
If you want more details about our time in the NICU—I’m talking WAY too many details—check out this link for a list of our daily update posts.
Thanks for joining us. Hope you follow us in our journey!