Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mother of Two

I’ve been wanting to write a post to share with everyone how things have been going since Sam’s birth.  One thing is for sure, I’m going to have to be very intentional about carving out time to work and write now.  My days are inexplicably fuller and more satisfying being the mother of two.  Now that Sam is one month old, I didn’t want more time to go by without writing down my thoughts about becoming this new kind of mother.  
Sam was born on May 20th and arrived at 12:33 pm.  He weighed 7lbs 4oz and was 20.5 in long.  His arrival was just like the last week of my pregnancy - completely uneventful.  Sam was laid back in-utero, and accordingly, his birth was surrounded by absolutely zero hype.  We arrived at the hospital with Luke and both sets of our parents at 10:00.  I got my IV and my epidural and they were wheeling me back to the OR by 11:45.  I was extremely uncomfortable with my epidural while everyone was prepping for surgery.  It seemed like forever before they let David come back to the OR with me.  I started feeling a little better with David by my side.  Then I heard my doctor say, “It’s almost baby time!”  and then in another minute, they were showing me Sam over the curtain.  David left my side then to go help take care of Sam, but I focused on listening to Sam’s crying.  After just a few minutes, David brought over to me a swaddled, very pink, very healthy Samuel Mark Chisholm.  
When Luke was born, he was immediately taken to the NICU, and David followed him.  This time was so much better.  David held Sam and sat next to me for the rest of the surgery.  Then David carried Sam into the recovery room with us and I got to hold him and nurse him as soon as we were settled in recovery.  The next two hours was amazing.  I nursed Sam and held him the whole time.  Every time I looked down at him, the realization that he is mine, he is here, and he is healthy would wash over me anew.  It was so hard for me to let the nurses take him away for his bath and first examination.  I’m not sure how long he was gone, but it seemed like forever.  I might have been a little loopy, but I called the nursery at least twice to remind them that I wanted him brought to me as soon as they were done with him.  It was so hard being apart from him.  They finally brought him to me and we had plenty of cuddle time and nursing time for the rest of the afternoon and evening.  
One thing that was very difficult at the time of Sam’s birth was Luke’s reaction to being at Medical City.  We had been to Med City so many times for blood draws and x-rays in the previous two months that Luke was extremely nervous about being there.  He would not come over to my bed to look at Sam or even hug me.  It was very difficult for him to tolerate being in the hospital room for very long.  It was hard on me to miss my big boy so much during the hospital stay and not to get loves from him when he was there with us.  
Let me write an aside to tell everyone how Luke has been adjusting to becoming a sibling.  At first, Luke ignored Sam.  Every once in awhile he would walk by Sam’s basinet and poke him, or drop a toy in there.  Within the last week or so, Luke’s started to be more interested in his little brother.  Sometimes when he wakes up in the morning, he says “Go see baby Sam.”  Last night he tried to climb in Sam’s basinet with him.  When I wouldn’t let him, he gave Sam a hug and a kiss instead.  The other day I asked Luke who he loves, and he answered “Baby Sam!”  Luke has frequently wanted to share his toys and letters with his little brother.  He’s warming up to Sam, I just have to be very vigilant so he doesn’t crush or hurt him with his enthusiasm.   
Our last night at the hospital was very special to me.  Gigi and Guapo took Luke home early in the afternoon, and my parents had already gone back to Albuquerque.  The hospital room service prepared a special “celebration dinner” for us, which was awesome.  David and I sat in the hospital room and ate dinner together with Sam sleeping in the bassinet a few feet away.  After that, the three of us went for a walk around the floor.  It was nice to process together how wonderful and different the experience with Sam has been.  As much as I missed Luke, it was so nice to have a few nights bonding with Sam and making him a part of our family.  
Thursday morning, we started making preparations to go home from the hospital.  When the time came, it was very surreal.  We packed up our stuff, David installed the car seat, then it was time to go.  I sat in the wheelchair and held Sam while they wheeled me downstairs.  Putting Sam in the car was so low-key and unceremonious.  I could hardly believe they were letting us just walk out the door with that precious bundle and put him in the car, when taking Luke home as a four and a half month old was so complicated and took a week of coordination before hand.  
So many of you reading are probably thinking something like, “Why is she writing all of this?  This is so boring!”  Exactly.  I am so utterly thrilled at the lack of drama in my life right now.  Everything is so much different than it was with Luke’s birth and homecoming.  Sam eats, sleeps, has diapers, cries, spends a little while alert and content, and then we do it all again.  It is such a novel and glorious concept to me to be able to feed him when he’s hungry, hold him when he cries, and not have to wonder where he is or how he’s doing when I wake up in the middle of the night.  
I’m of course tired much of the time, but I’m adjusting well to the decrease in sleep.  I don’t really mind getting up to feed Sam in the middle of the night.  It’s such a sweet time to spend praying and cuddling with my precious baby.  When he cries, I don’t mind because it’s another opportunity to hold and comfort him.  I don’t mind changing 10 diapers a day - it’s much easier to change an infant without tubes and wires coming out of his body every which way.  Not that I minded changing diapers, or performing all of the medical tasks that Luke required as a baby.  It’s just so much more enjoyable this time around. You have to understand that I wasn’t able to do any of those things “normally” with Luke.   I couldn’t hold him without medical personnel in the room until he was 5 months old, and by that time he didn’t want to be held.  I never got to nurse him.  I didn’t hear him cry more than twice until he was 15 months old.  Taking Luke from his crib to the living room took 15 minutes because we had to gather his oxygen, ventilator, pulse ox, and suction machine everywhere he went.  It’s so novel for me to be able to carry Baby Sam with me all over the house.  As you might imagine, I don’t put him down for very long.  Last night I held him while I was brushing my teeth.  If someone at church holds him for more than a couple of minutes, I get antsy.  Maybe I’m warping him.  David says I’m spoiling him because Sam really likes to be held and cries to be picked up when he’s awake in his bouncer or swing for more than 10 minutes.  I’m not apologizing though.  This could very well be my last baby, and I’m snuggling, nursing, holding, and rocking enough for both of my sons.  
I am honored to be Luke’s mom - to perform all the duties that he requires.  I’m so blessed to have Luke in my life, and I will never love him less or say anything to detract from the privilege it is to raise him.  But I LOVE being this kind of mom.  I love the simplicity of nursing Sam when he’s hungry and holding him when he cries.  I love that David and I are solely responsible for him instead of having to rely so heavily on nursing care.  It is so satisfying.  My bliss and contentment still wash over me periodically.  I sometimes still can’t believe that Sam is here, is healthy, and is mine.  
Thank you all so much for your prayers that were answered when God gave us a healthy baby.  As much as I have wanted to have another baby from very soon after Luke was born, God’s timing has, as always, been perfect.  He allowed us to be finished with all of Luke’s surgeries and get his trach out before he gave us Sam. All the better to get to hug and kiss and enjoy him without the stress of hospitals and surgeries and the work of maintaining Luke’s trach.  You might be thinking that everything is so easy and peachy keen now.  It’s not.  There are definitely times when I’m overwhelmed, confused, scared, worried, tired, or grouchy.  Of course it’s not fun when Sam’s fussy at midnight and won’t go to sleep.  But through it all I’m overflowing with joy and thankfulness.  Luke’s illness has definitely given me a unique perspective that allows me to enjoy the simple things in caring for my two boys in a special way.
Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this.  We have so appreciated  those of you who have shared in our joy with your visits and the meals you have brought over the past month (I think I might need the manual to remember how to fire up the stove to cook a meal!).  We always thank you for your prayers and ask for your continued prayers for our family.  We treasure your love and friendship.


Rachael, David, Luke, and Sam
 Holding Sam in recovery, just minutes after he was born.
 Luke loving on his little brother
Our future Green Jacket winner at one month old!