As I sit here anxiously awaiting Timothy’s first day of Playschool tomorrow I know deep down what I’m most anxious about.
Timothy is our last baby. The last “firsts” we will experience with a child of our own. And although there were many times I wished we were “on track” with other kids, I relished the extra time I got with Timothy needing me. I got to carry him a little bit longer and to snuggle him to sleep just those few extra times. I got to drag out the last of our firsts.
Now everything is about to change. I’ve seen it coming the past few months. The leaps and bounds forward Timothy has made. And it’s amazing, truly. But it’s scary too.
Playschool is going to open so many doors for Timothy. The help and services he will receive is what we’ve hoped for these past 2 years. But it also means that he is about to grow into a little boy, the last traces I have of my baby slowly going away.
I know that now comes the growing up, the independence, the need for me a little bit less. I know that now comes the letting go.
Naming your baby is one of the first big decisions you will make for your child.
A lot of people have names picked out for their future kids at a young age. Something from a book or a movie, someone they look up to, or just a name they heard that stuck with them.
I had several names that I liked over the years but never really one specific name that I knew I wanted to name my children. It actually took quite a while during my pregnancies to decide on their names. But I wasn’t the type to wait and see what I felt fit when the baby was born. I’m way too indecisive for that, my children would have been nameless for months.
I had thought I settled on a boy name I really liked before we found out that Charlotte was a girl but then it became the most popular boy name around. And when I found out I was having a boy for my third I just couldn’t imagine having my son be the 7th Noah in his classroom every year haha. So we were back to square one. Except this time I did have a specific name I wanted to include, two actually.
Something I haven’t talked about much on here before is the fact that I have lost two of my brothers. Eddie in 2010 and Tim in 2017. So finding out we were having the first grandson in the family was emotional for many reasons, and it was important to me to honor the memory of my brothers in someway.
James and I spent months going over hundreds and hundreds of baby boy names. All while trying to accommodate two middle names. Mixing and matching names to figure out what order flowed the best and what went with our last name (not a lot does – trust me) but we could never agree on one that felt right.
Then one day the thought came to me to just skip an original first name altogether and use one of my brothers’ names as his first name and one as his middle name. It was an emotional choice. Something I felt the pull to do as the loss of my brothers has shaped my life in so many ways. I also really wanted to keep the names together because it didn’t feel right to have one without the other. It was something I tried out in my head for a few weeks and kept to myself until I was sure I wanted to bring it up as an idea. I mean was James really going to say no to something that sentimental and meaningful? Of course not (there is also some sort of batman connection to the name he liked haha) but I was still nervous because I wanted him to feel like that was the right name for our son.
Once I felt like it was the only name I could truly think of using I decided to bring it up and luckily James agreed that it felt like the perfect fit. We also decided out of respect we would ask my immediate family how they felt about it because we wanted it to be a nice way to remember my brothers and not a constant painful reminder of their loss. Everyone was on board and it made welcoming the first grandson even more special and emotional.
Now everyday I get to remember two people I love deeply through my little boy who is the most special person I’ve ever met.
It was the first big decision we were making for our baby and it was made out of immense love. I can’t wait until the day I can tell him all about the two uncles he got his name from.
We decided on three kids early on. We also decided we wanted to try to not make the end of the year anymore expensive than it already was so we’d aim for a spring baby this time haha.
The plan was to try from August to November and if it didn’t happen then we’d wait till the next year. But on August 21 2018 I decided to take a pregnancy test I had at home. I don’t know why I chose to, I hadn’t missed my period yet and I wasn’t feeling any sort of way. I just took it one evening after dinner. And it was positive.
I wasn’t shocked exactly but I was surprised. I didn’t really have the feeling I was pregnant that I had with my girls. So I went downstairs where James was playing with 8 month old Charlotte and tossed him the test. Baby number three was on it’s way.
The nausea hit pretty quickly but luckily it was mild compared to how I felt with Charlotte. The baby bump though? That hit even quicker. By number three my body just assumed position.
At my first ultrasound I was dated to be due on May 2nd. A true spring baby. But anxiety of Charlotte’s early delivery had me doing the math to be prepared for a baby at the end of March.
I was high risk this time due to my eventful second pregnancy and since it would be just under 18 months since my emergency c-section, I decided I would schedule a c-section this time.
I was followed earlier and more often by the same high risk OB as before but she said she felt my energy was different this time and that it would be a smoother road. And it was for the most part.
At 16 weeks I decided to sneak away during my lunch break at work to go for a early scan to find out the sex of the baby. I knew James would be happy either way but I also knew having a boy for our last baby would be the cherry on top. I had a feeling it was a boy but I couldn’t cling to it because there were no boy’s in this generation of our family. We have two girls, and 7 nieces between us. So when the ultrasound tech found it was a boy I was elated. We were having a son, and the first grandson on either side.
That night I gifted James a little newborn varsity jacket and baby size football. He couldn’t wait for his baby boy.
After that things were pretty calm for a while. We started to plan his room theme, Batman, and we picked out his name. It was a nice change of pace from my second pregnancy. But I still had that anxiety in the back of my mind about an early delivery.
As I started getting closer to the end I noticed I felt a lot heavier this time. My belly was bordering on painful to carry around. It was low and massive. I was measuring 7 weeks ahead by fundal height. So off to another ultrasound, the one where I figured the other shoe would drop.
But it came back all good. I had a big baby in there (no surprise as Charlotte was too) and my fluid level was teetering on polyhydraminos (too much amniotic fluid) but not over the cusp where worry should set in…but it did. The extra fluid and the heavy baby had me having contractions on and off almost daily when I was still only 30ish weeks along. I tried to remain positive that I would make it to at least 37 weeks, my personal goal, but I also prepared not to.
Then on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) at 33 weeks and 3 days the contractions became increasingly painful and weren’t letting up. I knew they weren’t Braxton hicks (practice contractions) and I was terrified. That was 2 weeks more premature than Charlotte. I went to L&D still hoping to be told I’m fine go home. But I wasn’t told that. I was dilating and contracting somewhat regularly, I was in preterm labor. They told me I would be going for my c-section that day but they also decided to try a medication to slow contractions. Over 32 weeks this medication doesn’t always work but we figured it was worth a shot. And it was, as it slowed things down enough to have them cancel the c-section and just admit me overnight for monitoring.
Things stayed calm and I even got to have a 3D scan of my cute chunky little man before I was sent home where the ultrasound tech affectionately gave him the nickname “Timothy the tank” haha. He was weighing an estimated 7 pounds already which is what they suspected was putting me into early labor.
My OB decided we should just accept the fact he was probably making an earlier than anticipated entrance (definitely wouldn’t be making my scheduled c-section for April 24th) and that maybe I wanted to consider a new birth plan just in case. Choosing to try a vaginal delivery would maybe buy us more time, even in hours, if we went into preterm labor again.
I wasn’t sure as I was scared from things I had read about trying to have a vaginal delivery less than 18 months after a c-section but the idea of an easier recovery and most importantly the chance to actually hold my baby before he was whisked off to the NICU was appealing to me. James and I discussed the idea and concluded that I would decide if I wanted to try in the moment.
We also decided to move our maternity photos up a couple weeks, just in case. We moved them up to March 30th. I would be 35 weeks and 2 days then, and I had Charlotte at 35 weeks and 3 days. So it felt safe.
I never did maternity photos with my other kids but it was a request I had for my last baby. I wanted to have them to remember that time. The day was really fun, I did my hair and make up, I got the girls all cute, and we went to the park and captured this special time in our lives. There were some jokes that the walking was going to put me into labor but I was feeling really good, no contractions, just enjoying time with my family of 4. Until we got back home…
Around 6 in the evening the contractions started again. Like St.Patrick’s Day but stronger. I got myself into a warm bath trying to ease the discomfort but I knew it was time. Although I was trying to convince James that it wasn’t, I wasn’t ready yet, I didn’t want to face the NICU again, it couldn’t be time. But my contractions were coming every 4 to 5 minutes and were intense. So we called my sister to come over for the girls, and headed to the hospital.
When I got there I was 4 cm and they knew there was no stopping it this time. And as discussed, in the moment I decided to ask if I could try to deliver without a c-section. As long as I could get an epidural because OUCH. I was told they actually prefer that with VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) in case it needs to become a c-section urgently so we signed the papers agreeing to the plan. And moved into L&D.
An added benefit of not having a surgery was that I could have two people in the delivery room with me. So we called my mom, who was fairly bummed she wasn’t going to be there, and had her join. My mom has been there for all of my deliveries.
Labor hurts a lot, in case no one has told you that. And due to a busy night on the ward I was waiting hours for my epidural, at which point I really regretted my choice (if I had a c-section he would be out by now!). But eventually it was my turn and after missing it twice (not a fun feeling) he got it in place and I could finally breathe a little. The hours ticked by, and after 2 am the Doctor came in to check me. She said I was about an 8 but if she popped my water it might help things along. Alright. She broke my water and started to leave the room but had to turn right back around, it was time to push.
I had only begun pushing when there started to be some heart deceleration’s in Timothy. They told me if I didn’t get him out in the next two pushes we might need to consider switching to a c-section. No way was that happening. I did not go through these last several hours of pain just to end up with a c-section still. And so I did it. I got him out in 8 minutes of pushing and behind him a tidal wave of extra fluid (RIP to James’ shoes haha).
And then I finally got to hold my baby boy. Born on March 31st 2019 at 2:43 am. At 35 weeks and 3 days just like Charlotte, and weighing 6 lbs 10 oz just like Hailey. He was perfect. He is perfect.
I remember telling you by putting together a little gift. Complete with a baby sized football and little varsity jacket we had bought back when I was pregnant with Charlotte.
Yes I’m sure. No I’m not joking.
I went and found out on my own because I was so nervous. I knew how much you wanted a son and I really wanted to complete our family with a little boy. And we did.
And for five months you imagined all of the things you would do with our son. Everything you would teach him.
First on the list: how to build things. It’s what your dad taught you growing up. And now you would teach your own little boy.
I knew your dreams of him playing high-school football like you did. Or maybe even following after your footsteps career wise.
I saw the pride in your eyes when you held him in the NICU. I saw all the hopes you had for our son and all your determination to make them come true.
When I was pregnant you would always say how he was gonna be your little buddy. And as soon as he was born I could feel your child like anticipation for him to grow just enough to be your sidekick.
And then in what feels like a second, everything shifted.
Our little boy was born blind. And at 3.5 months old we discovered he may never play football in high-school like you did, and he will never follow in your footsteps career wise. Building things would not only be extremely difficult, it would be extremely dangerous.
Everything you had imagined for a son disappeared.
But yet I still saw the pride in your eyes when you held your little boy. I still saw all the hopes you had for our son and all your determination to make them come true.
I still knew everyday that he was and always will be, your little buddy.
Thank you for loving our little man unconditionally.
Dear Timmo, Tiny, Teeny, Timotee, or one of the many silly nicknames you get called:
I can’t believe your first birthday has come and gone already. When I think about your first year it feels so long and stretched out and like it went by so quickly all at the same time.
Timothy, you entering our family changed everything for us in so many ways. You are the first boy in our little family but also the first grandson on both sides of the family so there was a lot of excitement to have a little man join us after so many (adorable) little ladies. You are also what we plan to be (never say never) our final baby and the completing piece of our family. And then of course there is the fact that you were born blind.
I was so excited to be having a baby boy but also very nervous. I have 2 younger sisters, I have 6 nieces, and I have your 2 sisters. Girls are kind of what I’m used to. I wasn’t sure if our bond would be different than the one I had with your sisters, and quite quickly after you were born I learned that it definitely was different but not in the way I expected. There is something about being a mom to a little boy that is a whole new kind of magic.
Your presence had a sweetness to it from the very beginning and it is what I love the most about you. You are the best at cuddling, always getting so close and curled up against me or dad (or some of your other favorite snuggle buddies) and letting us soak in all the baby love you have to offer. You never want to be too far from us and I love watching your little hands reaching out to find us and pulling yourself closer.
A very close second to your sweetness is your pure joy. Your smile lights up the room and your laughter is contagious (even more so than COVID-19). I would do just about anything to make you laugh your deep belly laugh and see that bright smile on your face. When there were tough days during the months we were awaiting a diagnosis I remember that every time you would smile I knew that no matter what you are the perfect little boy for our family and that you will be just fine.
Watching you grow this past year has been the greatest privilege and blessing. You have changed everything in our family and made us stronger, kinder, and more determined people than we were before. Most importantly you have taught us about love in ways we never could have imagined without having you in our lives.
The way you trust us to catch you whenever you decide to be a little braver than you’re ready for shows me that we are doing a good job because we are your safe place. And I hope as you continue to grow and learn and get even braver, you will know that you can always trust us to catch you. We will forever be your safe place, your biggest fans, your greatest supporters, and your loudest advocates. We love you so much buddy, just the way you are.