Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baby Ben Joins the Family

Benjamin Charles completed our little family on September 16 at 2:17am after a relatively short 8-hour labour. It was tears all around when he was born and our repeated "is he healthy?" inquiries were met with a resounding YES from the doctors and nurses. They all knew about Joey and the fact that there was no way to predict if this baby would have the same disabilities and shared in our joy when it was obvious that Ben was 100% healthy. A few pictures of the moment...I remember not being able to see for a time because I was crying so much:

So I got my wish...a "typical" hospital birth, baby beside my bed, visitors, and a healthy baby. I didn't realize that the typical birth experience is served up with a healthy dose of adrenaline, accompanied by complete insomnia, exacerbated by an over-crowded birthing unit and maternity floor. Every planned induction and c-section for that day was sent home and rescheduled...except for us. Though I was scheduled to be induced at 7:30am it didn't happen until 6pm, but Dr. S was unwilling to postpone my induction to another day because of the cholestasis.

Joey came later that day to meet his new brother, however he has determined that if he doesn't look directly at Ben he must not exist. We did manage to get one shot of actual eye contact:

And how cool is this? 2 similar photos taken of Joey and Ben at almost the exact same age. The resemblance is crazy!



36 hours after birth we headed home. I was pretty much delirious with exhaustion, not having slept for even an hour in over 2 days. The first few nights were rough, but it must be said that it had nothing to do with Ben. He is a SUPER easy baby, so much like his big brother in his contentedness and lack of crying, just minus the severe disabilities. I had really psyched myself up for a colicky baby after how easy I had it with Joey, but so far he is fantastic.

Ben developed a bit of jaundice after he had been home for 2 days, so we had to return to the hospital on Saturday where they discovered that his bilirubin was up considerably to 242. They sent us home but we had to go back the next day to re-test, at which point it had risen to 252. On Monday we saw our family nurse practitioner, who re-ordered the test, and on Tuesday it was finally coming down and was at 219. His colour is much better, he is eating like a champ (what a treat after dealing with severe feeding issues for 3.5 years!) and he has gained enough weight to be back up to his birth weight of 7 lbs 13oz so there are no plans to re-test.

For the first few days Jason was home with us, and when he returned to work my Mom came and stayed for a week. She just left today so starting Monday I am o my own with my two boys. I am scared and excited all at once. It will be nice to develop my own routines but not having any help on a daily basis will be a big adjustment. Jason is pretty good at sharing nighttime duties which in turn allows me some sleep, and when I am rested I can do anything. When I'm not, well....lets just say you wouldn't want to be around me.

On Thursday I returned to our nurse practitioners office just to have Ben's weight checked and was met by our nurse and family physician who were eager to meet him. Our nurse, who has been so supportive of me, always asking how I'M doing first rather than how Joey is, asking after Jason and how we are coping, asked me a very frank yet interesting question...did Ben's birth make me sad about Joey? I thought about it for a second and realized that the exact opposite is true. Ben's birth has somehow "vindicated" the difficulties and challenges we've experienced with Joey, and having a child now that will likely develop typically makes me feel like I get the best of both worlds. I have said it so many times before, we are SO LUCKY to have Joey in our lives, the things he has taught us, the people he has led us to meet, the patience he has inspired and the satisfaction he has with himself are all amazing things that most other families will never get to experience. I'm sure a lot of people look at us with some form of pity, or fear that having a disabled child could happen to them, but in a way I feel sorry for THEM, they will never know what having a kid like Joey brings to your life, but I get to experience that AND having a typically developing child. So anything I feel like I was robbed of before has been returned to me through Ben, and I'm sure he will have all kinds of stuff to teach us too.

- P, J & J


Sandycove Whittakers said...

Happy to see that your are blogging again. Congratulations on the addition to your family. I am sure that your very open comments are an inspiration to other families who may be experiencing a similar situation.

Nanny Sue and Nonno Joe said...

Beautifully said Pam!

amalia said...

Hi there! I don't know how I stumbled on your blog but I have a 12 year old boy with cerebral palsy that sounds very similar to your little guy. An agency that has helped us immensely is Check them out and my wonderful angel. Blessing, Amalia

amalia said...

By the way congratulations on your new little angel...

Isaac's Mom said...

Congratulations!!! I love seeing the 2 pictures of your LO's and how similar they look!! Plus Joey looks very excited to see his little brother! So exciting for you!!

Anonymous said...

I am SO happy for you! What a beautiful baby boy; now you're blessed with two amazing little ones. I'd say life sounds pretty awesome right about now. Yay!