Has it really been a week home with Charlotte?! I’m having a hard time believing it. As many of you know, we “roomed-in” at Children’s Hospital with Charlotte last Wednesday. It was not the best night/day of our lives. For most of Thursday morning/afternoon, we thought we were going to have to stay another night…and Ben and I weren’t taking this news well at all. But, God in His grace allowed the doctors to OK our departure. Oh the relief!! Our baby girl would be outside for the first time in her life, and then she would get to see her home. We stopped by my grandparent’s house on the way out, so I could feed her before the rest of our journey. Thank you Granny and Granddaddy! My wonderful grandparents opened up their home to us for two weeks. They gave us a comfy bed, many meals, and encouraging company. It was the hardest two weeks of my life, but I can’t imagine how it would have been had we not had their home as a resting place. God has blessed me with some amazing family!
We finally left Birmingham around 5pm. Charlotte was wonderful during the journey. The car seat seems to lull her to sleep. We arrive at our house with a wonderful greeting committee of Mike, Mary, Beth, my mom, and Lilly (our pup). Charlotte let me show her a little bit of the house before breaking down and demanding to be fed. That night, my mom convinced me to let Charlotte sleep in the crib promising that she would listen out for her. It made me a bit nervous (she looks so tiny compared to that big crib), but I knew I needed rest and that Charlotte was in great hands. The night passed with no surprises and a few sleepy feedings.
My wonderful mom agreed to stay with me for the week. How will I ever repay her?!! She says I’ll pay it forward; do this for Charlotte one day. She has been amazing, and Ben and I are pretty sad and scared that we only have one more day with her help. We always need our parents no matter how old we are. I really don’t know what I would have done without my parents through this trial. They have been such a comfort and source of strength for me. I love you more than words can ever hope to express, Mom and Dad!! My hope is that Charlotte will feel the same love, comfort, and security from Ben and me that I felt with my own parents.
Friday, my wonderful mother accompanied me to the Pediatrician’s office for Charlotte’s first check-up. Her discharge weight was 5lb 10oz and I was hoping that it was close to the same since it had only been a day. The nurse placed her on the scale and she weighed 4lb 9oz. I thought I was going to throw up!!! My mom gave me a look that said “something’s not right.” The Pediatrician checked her and then noticed the weight discrepancy. He assured me that even if I had not fed her at all she couldn’t lose a pound in a day. He then proceeded to weigh her again, she was a nice 5lb 12oz and I felt SO much better. I have worried and worried over her weight and eating habits. That is the hard thing about breastfeeding, I have no idea how much she is actually getting. We go back to the Pediatrician tomorrow to check weight gain. I’m hoping she is at least up to her birth weight of 5lb 15oz. I antagonize a good deal over it, but my mom keeps assuring me that she is looking chubbier and has plenty of dirty diapers.
Speaking of dirty diapers…Charlotte is a “good” baby. She is not super fussy, seems to sleep well, and is fairly predictable with feedings. However, she HATES having her diaper changed. She screams like mad most of the time, which usually forces a little more poop out. The other day it landed straight in my hand!! I think she did it on purpose. :) The only thing that will half way calm her is if we place her on her side. She feels the same about bath time which merely consists of a sponge bath. She is extremely unhappy till we place her on her stomach, and then it is like a switch, calm again. It’s funny how you think you will train your children but before you even realize it, they have trained you.
Another fun fact we have found out about Miss Charlotte is her ease with Lilly. Lilly does not particularly like Charlotte just yet. Really, Lilly is scared of her because of the crying, and I would say she is pretty jealous of all the attention Charlotte receives. However, Charlotte is doing fine with Lilly. Many things will startle her, but Lilly’s constant barrage of barks seems to have little or no effect on Charlotte. This is wonderful to me, because I was extremely worried about how nap time would play out with a dog in the house. I honestly think that Lilly will be a wonderful source of entertainment for Charlotte as she gets older.
I am greatly enjoying life at home. Many have asked me if the change is overwhelming. I have to say that even though life with a baby is a HUGE adjustment (selfishness kinda gets ripped out of you) it’s so much better than the weeks in the hospital. Yes, I am often exhausted from middle of the night feedings, but I’m getting so much more sleep than I did while in Birmingham that I really can’t complain. I’m sure there will be moments that make me frantic. I have no grandiose idea that the road ahead will be easy, but every time I look at her I know that every sleepless night and stressful day are worth it.
Ben said the other night that he still has a hard time believing we are parents. It’s funny; I have fully realized that I am mom to a wonderful baby girl. What I can’t wrap my mind around is that this little baby will grow into a walking toddler, a teenager, an adult. I am scared half to death of her getting older, though everyone keeps assuring me that every part of the journey is fun. I thought before I had children that I really wouldn’t enjoy the “baby phase.” I thought I’d find it boring and be longing for a time when my child was old enough to do crafts and such. I was wrong. I love having a baby. She is so innocent and dependent on Ben and me. I think this is why women have more children; because their child grows up and they miss the sweet simplicity of a baby. I’m sure there will be many moments when I’m praying for her to be old enough to sleep through the night, or tell me why she is crying. But for now, I find this sweet little baby filling my life with such joy.
We are headed back to Children’s on Monday. We will meet with our Neurologist, and Charlotte will have another CAT scan to check the ventricles in her brain. Hopefully, their size will be greatly reduced and the shunt will be performing to standard. I’ll try to keep you all posted with the news.
As always, I thank you for your encouragement, compassion, and prayers. I kept telling my mom and Ben at the hospital, “How am I ever going to thank everyone enough for all their support?” I realize that there aren’t the words to fully express our gratitude. May God bless you for all that you have done. Ben and I have truly seen the love and compassion of Christ displayed in your lives.