Our November Blessing

Andrew 7

On November 16, I awoke with a horrible headache. And by horrible, I mean the worst headache of my life. It was so bad, I couldn’t keep any food down. I was already in the hospital on bed rest for preeclampsia. The medicine we had been using to combat my constant headache had stopped working, so my OB ordered a shot of morphine for me to help with the pain. That’s how bad it was.

Then, she made the decision: It was time to deliver Andrew. I got word that I’d be having a c-section about an hour before it was scheduled. I frantically called The Nerd, who was at work 45 minutes away.

I don’t remember much of the preparation. I remember being terrified. I remember being in the OR and a nurse asked me if my husband was going to make it. I remember bursting into tears, sputtering, “I don’t know!” I remember the horrible pain as they gave me the spinal tap/epidural — I vomited during the procedure. I remember the surprise on the anesthesiologist’s face and her exclamation that she’d never seen someone do that during the procedure before. I remember losing the feeling in my legs and being completely and utterly afraid.

I don’t remember much of the procedure. I pretended to be somewhere else. Anywhere else. I was so afraid — afraid for my baby who would be born six weeks early. Afraid for myself — I didn’t want to know what they were doing to me. I remember The Nerd sitting by my head (he made it in time!) and asking me constantly if I was ok. I don’t remember what my answer was.

And then, they handed me this beautiful baby boy. I remember being so shaky and out of it and sleepy that I said, “I’m going to drop him!” and handed him back. I remember The Nerd asking me if I was sure I didn’t want him to stay with me. “Go with the baby!” was my response, as they wheeled him away to the NICU.

Soon, I was returned to my room in Labor and Delivery, where I would have to stay for the next 24 hours. They had me on magnesium, which does CRAZY things to you. And because I was on magnesium, I was told I wouldn’t get to see my baby until it was out of my system the following day. They don’t like to move you when you’re on magnesium.


My parents and my grandmothers came to meet the baby. Because he was in the NICU, only four people (besides me and The Nerd) were allowed in to see him. He was doing great. He was breathing on his own and regulating his temperature. They did have to give him a bit of oxygen in the beginning to help him expand his diaphragm, but there were no major problems. That was a blessing in itself.

Andrew James was born at 11:40 am Nov. 16. He weighed 4 lbs, 2 oz and was 17.5 inches long.

On Thursday, as they were moving me from Labor and Delivery to Postpartum, they took me to the NICU to see Andrew. In the NICU, the babies are given five “touch times” where you are allowed to hold them. Because I was being moved, we didn’t visit during a touch time and the NICU nurse told me I wouldn’t be able to hold him. I burst into tears. But my L&D nurse came to the rescue and told her that I was going to hold my baby — I hadn’t seen him since he was born. The NICU nurse relented, and I got to hold that precious little man in my arms.

Andrew 6

I was in the hospital for the next three days, recovering from the surgery. I cannot tell you how hard it was to watch The Nerd and my mother go visit the baby every touch time and be left in the room alone. Because I was still recovering, I couldn’t go down to see him but twice a day. That’s been the hardest thing for me: having others dictate when and how I can see and hold my baby.

Andrew 3

Because he was so small, Andrew was in an incubator for a while. He lost a little weight since birth (that’s normal in most newborns) and had to get back up to 4 lbs. But once he was there, he got to move to a big boy bed!

Andrew 5

Our biggest struggle has been bottle feeding. According to the NICU nurses, babies develop the ability to suck, swallow, breathe around 36 weeks gestational age. Andrew was born at 34 weeks, so he has to learn how to eat from a bottle. He has been doing great, though. Yesterday morning, he completed his first bottle and then finished two more that same day. They are giving him four bottles a day right now. He has to complete six bottles a day before they’ll consider sending him home.

While yesterday was a great accomplishment, the nurses cautioned us to not get our hopes up too soon. Often, babies will do really well with bottle feeding for a few days, then tire out and regress. They just need to develop the strength to do it, and that takes time.

Andrew 2

We go visit the little dude in the NICU every chance we get. That’s been good for me, because it’s forced me to heal a lot faster than I think I would have otherwise. He’s so small and so fragile and it breaks my heart thinking of him sitting in his crib for hours on end with no one holding him or loving on him. I know he’s in the best place he could be and he is being taken care of. But it’s hard to come home every night without my baby.

He’s just got to take some time and grow big and strong, then he’ll be home soon. And I can’t wait for that day.




  1. I hope the little guy comes home soon! My daughter was in NICU when she was born. I left the hospital once 🙂

  2. How scary!
    What a beautiful boy he is!
    I’m so glad he is doing well!
    Take care of yourself too Mama!
    He’ll be home before ya know it! 🙂


  3. What a precious gift. Congratulations on your son.

  4. Congratulations, what a beautiful baby boy! Scary story, but glad you are both doing well now. Hope you get to bring him home very soon!

  5. Congratulations! He’s absolutely beautiful! I hope he can come home soon. I’ve had friends and family in the same position you are in and they’ve also said how hard it is to leave their baby at the hospital when they go home. But, they said it’s worth it. 🙂 I’m glad you’re doing well enough to be home.

    Just a little fun thing I thought about when I read your post. My husband’s birthday is Nov. 16 and I weighed 4 lbs. 2 oz. at birth. 🙂 I feel like this little guy is a kindred spirit!

  6. What a story. You made it through it and everyone is healthy and happy. Congratulations, Arena!

  7. He’s a beautiful baby! I’m so glad to hear he’s doing so well, and I hope you’re able to bring your bundle of joy home soon!

  8. I am so glad that you are doing well and know that sweet thing will be home soon too. As hard as it is to leave him at the hospital and go home, it would be scarier to go home before he was ready. You are blessed to have extended family that can be there. Even though he is in the NICU, ask them if you can do his bath or help them bathe him. Get all the sleep you can – you want to be a rested Mama when he comes home. Bless you and your new family.

  9. Congratulations! He is beautiful. Sending lots of prayers and good thoughts that you’ll be home as a family soon. 🙂

  10. Arena,
    You’re in my thoughts and prayers. Our daughter, Olivia, was born at 30 weeks due to my preeclampsia. I know that Magnesium- ugh!

    She stayed in the NICU for over 5 weeks and I believe in my heart it helped all of us to be strong and courageous, which is vital in parenting. I also believe it put her on a schedule, allowed me to get rest – things that don’t always happen automatically with a newborn. She’s 4 now and amazing and perfectly healthy!

    Our birth experience also allowed me to truly treasure the gift and blessing this baby is and I know it does the same to you. I think you and I now know a little more about love for our child than some parents out there.

    I’ll continue praying for Andrew and all of you. Stay calm, get your rest and strength back. Remember the joy.


  11. Thinking about you and your new family! Stay strong. He’ll be home soon and you and the Nerd will have him all to yourselves to enjoy. Congratulations!

  12. when i was born i was 1 pound 13oz…sometimes small babies are the strongest. He wanted to be here in time for the holidays!! god bless him i will keep you in my prayers. congrats

  13. congratulations Arena! What a precious baby boy!

  14. You had the baby! And oh my goodness what a crazy story!!! I’m so glad both of you are OK and what a little trooper! Praying he continues to eat well, and for you to heal so he can be home with mom and dad very soon! You’re going to be a wonderful mom. =) xoxo

  15. Congrats Nerd Family! Hope you are recovering well…just know that women are built tough and our bodies are strong. Sweet baby Andrew James! Wow what a great name for a sweetheart!

  16. Congratulations on such a cute little peanut! Take care of yourself and know that you will have this precious baby in your arms before you now it! I too had a bad first child delivery and was jealous of everyone else around me that had babies and could have them all the time and they felt great, while I could hardly walk or hold my baby. That was exactly 30 years ago on Nov.17th, and she has grown to be a beautiful young women with two children of her own.I think I have always held her alittle closer in my heart than my next three children, because I gave so much of myself to have her.Hearts are a great thing, they have so much room to love,enjoy filling yours!

  17. absolutely precious! *congrats*

  18. Congratulations Arena! You have a beautiful baby boy to join your beautiful little family… And I have to say, this post made me cry a couple of times. I’m so glad everything came right in the end after the painful beginning. I hope little Andrew continues to feed well and can soon go home so you can settle in to your new life together. Oh, and I’m very much looking forward to your first photo of him in his Baby Nerd get-up, in his Baby Nerd Lair! 🙂

  19. Ok, I came to your site to get the oatmeal raisin cookie recipe, but I read further. I’m a new Mom too, just had Harrison on 1 Dec, and know about your angst. I also had an unscheduled C section and was scared shitless because the whole procedure was done in German (I live in Munich) and my German isn’t all that great…the whole hospital stay was in German! I was so lucky to have delivered a really healthy (and very late baby, we were almost at 41 weeks). I can’t imagine how you feel about having an early baby, but he will be ok. Just keep on having faith in him and he really will pull through this and be home with you soon. I do know how you feel about not being able to hold, love on him and do all the things that natural birth Mommies get to do. Just hang in there, you’re him Mom and no one can replace what you mean to him. Talk to him, he knows your voice. You’ll be surprised at how calming your voice is to him. Good luck with Andrew, I’m praying for him. Thanks for the oatmeal raisin recipe, it is the best ever!!

  20. Congrats Arena!

    I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to blog hop the way I’d like to!

  21. I saw that Andrew was born 6 weeks early. My daughter was actually born 8 weeks early at 3 pounds. Can you believe how amazing babies are. My husband and I are actually doing the March of Dimes walk this year. I just wanted to say your son is beautiful.

  22. Lindsay Ward says

    I just read your story and I started to cry. My baby was 30 weeks and was in the NICU for almost three months. She has been home since August. She took a long time to eat and thats one reason she was there so long.Nobody knows how hard it is to noy get to take your baby home and anyone who hasnt been thru it will never understand. I just wanted you to know it is very very hard but hang in there it will get better and you will get to take your beautiful baby home.


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