Jackson Graham- Week 1
The time has officially come for weekly blog posts for little Jackson Graham! I can’t believe he has already been with us an entire week! We are soaking up every second and enjoying each new day with him.
Jackson’s Birth Story
Let’s go back a little bit before the day Jackson was born...
Because my blood pressure sky rocketed after we lost Roman, I had been monitoring my blood pressure at home throughout the third trimester. Everything was fine and completely normal until Week 33. I woke up one morning and suddenly my blood pressure was just over the threshold it needed to be under. I already had an appointment scheduled at the hospital that morning, so I just went a little early to see if maybe my monitor was off or something. When I arrived, the nurses quickly took me back to check my blood pressure, which they confirmed was indeed high. I immediately burst into tears fearing what it could mean for Jackson. I asked to hear his heartbeat, and quickly breathed a little sigh of relief as I heard his steady heartbeat coming over the monitor. That ultrasound and monitoring all came back normal, but given my history of a very sudden abruption/stillbirth, everyone has been ultra cautious with this pregnancy. They decided to send me up to L&D for more monitoring and lab work.
So that was the first of many days I would spend in the hospital before Jackson was born. For some unknown reason, my blood pressure was randomly spiking over the last few weeks. Every time I would go in, labs would come back normal and Jackson and I were both doing great. So I was then placed on bed rest in hopes to try keep my blood pressure down. This took a tremendous toll on our family, Ron in particular. Ron was absolutely amazing through that time though. Not only had he started a new job the day before I was first hospitalized, but he would then come home and take care of everything at home. He served our home with such love and grace, never complaining. And Aly & Fynn were quite the troopers as well. They were shuffled around so much as I tried to manage increased doctors appointments, unexpected hospital stays, etc. It certainly wasn’t an easy few weeks. We were yet again reminded how much our community of friends and family love and care for us; we certainly couldn’t have gotten it through it all without all the help we received!
A day shy of 35 weeks, we celebrated Jackson’s upcoming arrival with a little Sprinkle in Central Park with friends. I remember saying to many people that day that I my blood pressure had been pretty stable for almost a week, and it was starting to feel like maybe we could handle the bed rest thing for another 2 weeks. Then the next morning I woke up to high blood pressure readings again. They wouldn’t come down all morning, so eventually I made my way back to the hospital to go through what was now a routine of monitoring and lab work for the entire day. Once again, everything came back normal, and I went home that night. The next day, I had an appointment at the hospital and my blood pressure was still high there. My doctor wanted to keep me overnight to watch my blood pressure, and she wanted to begin the first dose of steroid shots in case we needed to deliver the baby early. In those few days, the plans of when were going to have Jackson changed multiple times. Though Ron and I definitely wanted to induce even earlier than 37, it still didn’t seem like that was going to be an option. We knew the risks, but also knew we would feel better knowing he was out safe and alive. My doctor was so amazing through all of this. She advocated for us like no other. Between her and the head of MFM, they were able to convince the department, it was time to get Jackson out.
I was getting ready to get my last steroid shot on Wednesday night, and then I was hoping to be headed home. I was exhausted and so over being stuck in a hospital and ready to see my kids and Ron! And then I got a phone call from my doctor who had just got the approval to induce me the next day, if that was what we wanted. Ron and I discussed it and decided that we did. Suddenly we went from being two weeks out, to just a day! Thankfully my mom had just flown in to help us while I was on bedrest, so she was already ready to step in with the kids while I was having Jackson.
So on Thursday September 27, Ron met me at the hospital mid-morning. I was still in my hospital room, and we were just waiting for a room to come open in L&D so they could begin the induction. We were told that would probably be around noon. By 3:30, our patience (and spirits) were low. When Ron inquired about the room status, we were told that I had been next, but that someone in active labor had taken my bed. So we were back to waiting. We were beginning to wonder if it would even happen that day. It had barely been 15 minutes since we had been told there was no bed, when the nurse came in and said, “A strange change of events has happened and there’s a room for you now!” I knew that had my doctor written all over it. And she confirmed later, that yes, she had called the charge nurse herself and did quite some convincing to get me in! It was certainly evident because I have never seen the L&D floor so busy before. It was a mad house! When my nurse wheeled me to the desk, they said they didn’t have a record of me having a room yet. While they were figuring it out, another nurse slyly pointed us to the direction of a vacant room where I was quickly wheeled into. So all that to say, I am grateful for my doctor, sneaky nurses, and all the prayers going up that got me into that room!!
Around 5:30, my doctor showed up. I was a bit surprised to see her because she was not on call that day. In fact, she had been on call for 48 hours straight, worked all day in the office, and then came straight to the hospital just to be with me and deliver Jackson. I cannot express how grateful I am for this woman, she is truly one of the best doctors I’ve ever had.
So at 5:30, they started the pitocin, and I got an epidural around 7. Ron and I watched Back to the Future while we waited for things to progress. My doctor came in around 8:30 and said she’d come back at 9 to see how dilated I was. Just a few minutes shy of 9, I began to feel a lot of pressure, and Ron went to find our doctor. I didn’t think it would be time to push, but I just wanted to know how things were progressing and possibly up my epidural some haha. Well, when the doctor came back, she simply looked and said, “Yep, there’s his head!” She told me to hold on for two minutes and not to push while she got ready and they called for a pediatrician to come. The next contraction came and despite my efforts not to push, Ron frantically said, “Uhhhh he’s coming out!!” The doctor turned around quickly and got Jackson, as he came out all on his own, without a single push from me! And just as she placed him on my chest, the pediatrician came rushing in. Within a minute, she was able to determine that Jackson wouldn’t need to go to the NICU. That was such a huge relief!
Jackson was born at 9:11pm, weighing 5 lbs 15 oz.
I had spent much of the day trying to mentally prepare myself for what labor was going to look like. I knew that I might not be able to hold him immediately if he needed to go to the NICU, or that he might need help breathing or regulating his body temperature. But in that moment of Jackson’s birth, I could tangibly feel everyone’s prayers for our little man. People have been praying for him for the past 8 months, and I could see it displayed over and over again as doctors were all amazed at how well he did while in the hospital. Much to our surprise, Jackson only had to spend 36 hours in the hospital. He is such an amazing little guy! He even figured nursing out quite quickly. We had to feed him expressed milk by syringe for the first 2 days, and we were told it could take a couple weeks for him to figure out how to latch/suck/swallow, but as soon as we were home, he figured it out!
Jackson’s First Week Home
This week with Jackson at home has been surreal. We are all so in love with this little guy and just can’t get enough of him. Aly & Fynn have been so great with Jackson. We knew Aly would love having a baby around, but Fynn has really surprised us with just how much he loves Jackson. He constantly wants to hold him, he reads to him, smothers him with kisses, and loves to tell him that he’s his big brother! It has been so wonderful to see the kids together.
Jackson is working really hard to figure out how to eat successfully. It certainly hasn’t been easy, being a preemie, but he is doing well. He’s currently 5 lbs 6 oz, and we are going to start supplementing some expressed milk over the weekend for him, and hopefully he’ll start gaining his birthweight back soon.
Newborns are sleepy, but apparently preemies are extra sleepy haha. He is pretty much asleep around the clock. He has just started having some awake time over the last couple of days. Jackson definitely prefers to sleep when being held (which we do often!!). He’ll sleep in the bassinet during the daytime if we put him down, but at night, he is not all about the bassinet. I think he’s only made it about 1-2 hours in the bassinet during the nights. The rest of the time, someone has to hold him! Needless to say, we are tired haha.
Jackson, like his siblings, is an incredibly chill baby. He only cries when he gets his diaper changed. When he was first born, he didn’t even know how to cry properly haha; he would just let out a squeak that sounded like he was speaking dolphin! I’m sad that I never caught it on video, because already a week later and he’s outgrown that!
I am desperately trying to take in and cherish each moment with Jackson. He is such a wonderful gift, and we are incredibly thankful for his life and that we get to be his parents.
I feel like I could say a thousand more things about him, but already this post is too long haha.
Until next week!