We are overjoyed to welcome Alexander Charles! This is my blog about Sienna and F.O.P., but adding an entirely new family member to the mix is definitely worth a posting, and could be helpful to other rare families hoping to expand their broods. It turns out I had so much to say, this is a three-part post. In case you missed part 1, you can find it here:
Welcome Alex Part 1: Miracle Baby!
Alex made it to full term and more – going two days past his due date. When labor finally started, I labored at home for about 30 hours, going for walks to try to speed things up. Then after getting to the hospital, his arrival was quick but not without its own excitement. My epidural only worked on one side. Apparently that is a thing – I had no idea! It might as well have not worked at all since I felt EVERYthing. (And side note, I’m proud that I was able to endure the pain of childbirth. It was so intense it felt like I might split in half.) When it came time to push, the doctor and nurses were cheering my name as if I was rounding the finish of a marathon. It was also Saturday night, Kentucky Derby day, Cinco De Mayo, and we had ordered pizzas for everyone working on the delivery floor that night. (Thanks, doctor friends, for the tip! Ordering food for your medical team ensures a happy team!) It was all very festive and motivating.
But then, all of a sudden the delivering doctor yelled “STOP! CORD AROUND NECK!” And I stopped, every horrifying possibility flashing through my head. But after just a few seconds I got the all clear to push again and he came right out. They threw him onto my stomach and I clung to him, all slippery and warm. I remember calling out to the nurses to help hold him because I was so worried he would slide away. He didn’t cry, so again fear set in. Despite numerous ultrasounds, feeling him move all day long during pregnancy (so much that I nicknamed him “bruiser”), and perfect prenatal tests, a part of me still worried he wasn’t real. But he IS real and we could not be more grateful! He’s just not a crier (and we are also grateful for that)!
Here we are 30 minutes after his birth. I don’t have Kate Middleton’s glam team but think we did ok!
Less than 24 hours old! 7 pounds 10 ounces, 21 inches of baby perfection! Note the straight big toes – Alex does not have F.O.P.. Sienna was disappointed because she wanted him to be like her, but we told her they will have many, many other things in common! And since he is a boy, he already has different equipment so they could never be just alike…
Alex (Alexander Charles) is named for both of his grandfathers, and is the third generation on his father’s side to be born at Greenwich Hospital. (To Alex if you are reading this someday, the full stories of your wonderful grandfathers are in a letter to you in the back of your baby book. Be sure to read them, they are terrific! I’ll share just one highlight here about my dad (Alexander), your Grand Dad: He donated bone marrow in 1994 and saved the life of a complete stranger, a young man in Alaska. It was a thrill to meet him shortly after I graduated from college, alive and well because of your Grand Dad! Read your letter to learn more!)
On Alex’s second day, my mom brought Sienna to the hospital to meet him. The meeting could not have been any more perfect! Alex slept sweetly and Sienna was in love.
But a few hours later, he spit up, choked, stiffened and turned blue. I hit the panic button on the hospital bed and several nurses rushed in and suctioned him. I was a wreck. I think given our history I had just been waiting for the other shoe to drop. It felt like an out of body experience watching the nurses suction and pat his back, suction and pat his back. It was probably only a few minutes but it felt like days. Thankfully, the nurses cleared him out and he was ok. We are so grateful for their quick and urgent response. Apparently that is common for babies who didn’t require a lot of pushing as they still have fluid they need to get out, but I was terrified that it could happen again and that I wouldn’t know what to do. After that experience, we had Alex stay in the nursery with the experts and just come in for feedings and cuddling during our time in the hospital. The nurses also secured a late checkout for us the next day, to give him more time to clear out.
For his first couple of nights at home, Alex didn’t sleep much at night and I slept… not at all – watching him and making sure he was still breathing. Then we ordered the greatest thing called the Owlet smart sock. They had targeted me on Facebook with an ad and I snapped one right up – great marketing! It is a little wrap that goes around his foot and monitors his pulse and oxygen level, sounding an alarm if either get out of normal range. I no longer have to worry! (Though I do still check to make sure the base station is on and glowing green to indicate everything is ok, and also regularly look at his readings on my phone.) It also sings a little song if the baby kicks it off (which has only happened twice) and if the baby gets out of range of the base station (so also, no one can steal the baby!). This is not a sponsored post, but I truly love this product and the piece of mind it gives me. https://owletcare.com
An example of the stats it gives us.
Overall Alex has been an ideal baby. He started out with his days and nights mixed up, but now that he is 12 weeks old, he sleeps well (regularly going 8 or 9 hours, and once, 10 hours!). He’s smiling, belly laughing, rolling over front to back and back to front, saying “hi!” occasionally, has good neck control and is always in a good mood. Truly, always! He is remarkably alert and loves people. We thought that maybe we were biased, since he is ours and since we had waited so long for him. But our families, friends, and complete strangers always comment on his sheer delightfulness. I also think there is something charming about a sweet newborn when the other cousins on both sides (including our own big kid!) are old enough to talk back. Here he is being delightful:
All of us feel so lucky – we could not have ordered a better baby! Rare Dad and I still look at each other and marvel “we have a baby!” And Sienna has been especially thrilled to be a big sister! Here are some of their good times:
It has also been an adjustment for us since we’ve always had one person fully dedicated to Sienna’s safety, and on my maternity leave I’ve been managing both of them alone during the day.
I’ll fill you in on that tomorrow in Welcome Alex Part 3: Rare Plus One!