My baby is ONE!

Today, not only do we celebrate Father's Day, but also the day my beautiful boy came into this world.  One year ago, at 1:09 am, he changed my world forever.  Let's take a little walk down memory lane, as I remember his birth day.

It was June 19, 2009 at 9am when I woke up feeling strange.  I knew I shouldn't be in labor, being only 35 weeks pregnant, but still something wasn't right.  I felt like I was leaking, but only when laying down.  I called into the OB and they asked me to come in.  Since I'd had several "false alarms" throughout the week, I told Mauricio to stay at work and if it was the "real thing", I'd call him to leave.  Little did I know that I really was in labor!  When I arrived at the doctor and they did the oh, so comfortable internal exam, they told me I was 1 cm dilated and 90% effaced.  I was definitely having this baby today!
They wheeled me down to the hospital, but FIRST to the BILLING department!  Can you believe they make you take care of your bill BEFORE you have the baby WHILE you're in labor?  That's a crime!  When I finally got up to the maternity ward, and hooked up, I called Mau and told him it was the real deal. I then called my parents, who immediately took off in the car, a 12 hour drive, to try to make it before the baby arrived!  Then as we all know, is the waiting game.

Once Mau arrived, I was much happier, as he always puts me in such a good mood.  He snuck in some Chick-fil-a, which I devoured (against all recommendations).  But, it was a mistake... as soon as my contractions became a little stronger, up came all my food!  Carol arrived to be another moral support for me, since she's a veteran, and the three of us were having a great time.  I was able to walk, move around and sit in a chair... until my water broke... all over the floor.  Then the dr came in, checked me and said those 3 horrifying words... "Let's start Pitocin".  HOLD THE PHONE!  No one is giving me Pitocin without an Epidural!  Even though my contractions were not unmanageable... yes, I was grunting through them, but not screaming/crying... I refused to have the Pitocin make my body a mad woman.  I had my wonderful, fantastic, lovely Epidural (and I don't regret it one bit)!

After the Epi, it was a REAL waiting game.  There was nothing to do but hang out, watch tv (which is nice because we don't have cable at home, so we take advantage of it at the hospital!) and talk.  At around 9pm, the dr came in and told me that we were going to wait till I was at 10 cm and let the baby come down as far as possible on his own, before I started to push.  He estimated it would be about 4 am before that would happen and he told me to get some sleep.  Well, I didn't take his advice and continued to talk and watch tv for another few hours.  At around 11:30 pm we finally decided to try to go to sleep, but were all very excited.  So we turned off the lights and the tv, and all of a sudden I had an extreme amount of pressure... in my butt.  It was so uncomfortable that I COULD NOT sleep.  I told Carol to run out into the hall and tell the nurse that I wasn't feeling right, and to come check on me.  When she finally got there and checked, it was midnight.  She told me that the baby was already down and I had to begin pushing!  It was time!!

The way you see the pushing in movies and on tv is not at all how my experience went.  Mine was so easy and pleasant that I really didn't feel like I was having a baby.  It was all so surreal!  I would ask the nurse, calmly, "Can I push now", and she'd say yes, so I'd push 3 times.  Then we'd take a rest, talk and laugh, make jokes, and then I'd ask to push again.  It's really amazing how your body knows what to do. It's not just that you want to push... you HAVE to... your body is pushing for you!

At first Mauricio was standing to the side, feeling a little apprehensive about getting up close and personal with what was going on down there, but by half way, he was bent over, looking straight at it, screaming "I SEE THE HEAD!" Carol, on the other hand, was not at all apprehensive.  She was ALL UP in that bizness... we reached a WHOLE new level of friendship that day!

After 55 minutes of on and off pushing, at 1:09 am on June 20th, my beautiful boy was born.  He came right into my arms and even with all that goo and yuck on him, I gave him a little kiss on the head.  I knew something was not right immediately.  He wasn't crying, just whimpering.  I knew, being born 4 weeks early, that something was not right with his lungs.  After cleaning him up and having the pediatrician come in to see him, they sent him to the NICU.

You always dream that after you have your baby, you'll be allowed to hold him and cuddle and breast feed, but that was not the case with me.  After that initial hold, I did not get to hold him again for 2 days.  They didn't even want me to touch him.  He was breathing really laboriously and fast.  He was given a mask that had additional air coming into his face so he wouldn't have to pull it so hard from our atmosphere.  He had the mask on all day, with the exception of twice a day for a few minutes.  Here is the only picture we got of Marco without the mask while in the hospital.

He stayed in the NICU for 6 days... the hardest 6 days of my life. (It really gave me an appreciation and admiration for the parents who spend months in the NICU).  You never think you'll go home without your baby and when you do, it's a very empty and sad feeling.  But, we had our homecoming!  
Marco thrived throughout his first year!  Even though he was a premie, he kept up with all of his milestones.  He's been a little low on the curve chart, but that's a blessing for me!  I'm not strong and have loved having a light weight baby! 

He smiled at 7 weeks:

Had a fun loving personality right from the start:

Sat up (tripod) at 5 months:

Always wants to be just like Dad:

Future musician:

And as we celebrate his very first birthday, we took a few photos to commemorate! 

The first birthday is bitter-sweet.  I'm going to miss my itty-bitty baby, but at the same time, I've been so blessed to have watched him grow and flourish.  May God bless Marco with many more birthdays, and may He give me the health and life to see it as well.