Aiden holding his head up on his due date.

June 24th, 2012. Since October, we had been planning on a little boy to arrive around this day. Well, little isn’t probably the most accurate word – we, ok I, were bracing for a 10 pounder.

On May 23rd that all changed, though. We were at a follow-up appointment just to check to make sure Baby G’s heart looked great (which it totally did) after an arrhythmia was detected the week before.  Arrhythmias are apparently fairly common and often correct themselves at birth, which they were confident would be the case with his. We were on our way out after getting the all clear when the tech noticed Baby G’s stomach was measuring two weeks behind.  When they called the specialist back in, he rambled on about some technical term that pretty much meant the placenta had crapped out, resisting the blood flow coming from baby.  It was nothing we could have done differently or prevented. Sometimes these things just happen. Since we were already at 35 1/2 weeks, the specialist was actually excited because baby could be delivered safely, and he told us it was much safer to have a premie and treat baby outside the womb rather than try to ride it out since it’s so important the placenta works properly for baby’s well-being.

So around 4:00pm on Wednesday, May 23rd, we found out we were going to be parents… and in just a matter of hours (it ended up being 5 1/2 to be exact). And Jeff was scrambling trying to notify the necessary people, including my parents who were also celebrating their 31st wedding anniversary that day. First grandchild equals best present ever, yes?

We had the car seat, but it wasn’t installed yet. That was the one thing our dear friends who were also pregnant told us to make sure we did well before the due date. They learned that the hard way with their first – they hadn’t installed it prior to going to the hospital and it wasn’t the easiest thing to accomplish. And apparently the hospital won’t let you leave until baby is safely secured in the car.

We had been attending birthing classes, but still had two to go. One class yet to come was the one that involved the hospital tour. At least the class we had just attended the night before taught us all about epidurals and c-sections. With that,  the videos and the breathing techniques already crossed off the list, I figured we had at least made it to the important ones.

I had just washed a handful of baby clothes the week before… but I did not have any premie clothes and maybe only had one or two newborn outfits. After all, we were expecting a 10 pounder, so we basically started registering for 0-3 month clothes.

But even if we had had premie clothes, I had yet to pack the hospital bag… after all, we were still a month away!

But at least we had accomplished the last big project for the nursery – the bookshelves. Baby G had a room. He probably wouldn’t use it for the first couple months of his life, but at least he had a room.

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Now that the scary parts of delivering early are over and we have a healthy and beautiful baby boy, we chuckle from time to time about the beginning of Baby G’s story. Even before he was born, he made it clear to us that he was a very determined and strong-willed boy. He was incredibly active in the womb, which is why I am not surprised that the kid was practically born holding his head up, and that made obtaining photos and information at the ultrasounds interesting.

There are two moments I remember the most vividly from the first ultrasound at 19 weeks. One moment is the first time I saw Baby G’s profile. I had to burn this image to memory since he did not cooperate for photos at this appointment, but thankfully we got one more shot later and it was exactly as I had remembered it. The other moment is the temper tantrum he threw towards the end, when he was obviously done being messed with. It was so funny to see a baby standing up inside of me, stomping his feet as he hid in the furtherest corner in me he could find. Since this was my first child, I didn’t know exactly what I was feeling or if what I thought I was feeling was accurate. But there were several times when I told Jeff that it felt like Baby G was stretching completely out from head to toe, stretching my insides, and it was so funny to see how right I was on that screen. I don’t think we ever saw him completely in the fetal position. What a little busy body.

And with his birth he once again reminded us that we can plan and plan all we want to, but things don’t always go the way we hope nor do they always happen when we want or expect them to. And I am sure this is a lesson he will teach us over and over again as he gets older.

I don’t wish it on any parent to hear the words “we need to deliver” weeks early, nor do I wish them to hear on the operating table “if your baby doesn’t cry, we will have to take him away and you won’t see him.” I have never been so thankful to hear a baby cry or to hear everyone attending to him in the room laughing because he was peeing all over them.

Aiden Jeffery: May 23rd at 9:29pm. 4lbs 9oz and 17.5 inches long.

But despite those scary couple hours on that Wednesday afternoon and evening, I would not change a thing about our story. It is the story God had already written for us and knew would come to fruition. And He was obviously present in every moment of Aiden’s birth and every minute since and before. I didn’t think we would ever be so thankful for an arrhythmia, because had we not been monitoring that, we would have never caught the placenta issue (or caught it later when things could’ve already started going terribly wrong).  We would not have been continuing to do ultrasounds. And we got out of that hospital with Aiden never once being treated like a premie, but getting to room in with us from the very first night and never needing any intervention other than a little bit of supplement to make sure he was getting enough food.

Because everything went so “smoothly” at the hospital, it was difficult to really appreciate all that had happened. It wasn’t until we brought Aiden home and he was left solely to our care that I would be overwhelmed sometimes with thoughts of all that could have gone wrong. We brought home a four pound baby and four weeks early too! That’s just plain ridiculous. It has overwhelmed me to tears many times, and I just have to thank God for blessing us and Aiden and taking care of us. It is undeniable that God has big things in store for Aiden – he is definitely supposed to be here.

And as much as I try to make time stand still with photos and mental pictures because he’s already changed so much as he grows and fills out, going from premie to “normal” baby, I am finding that I’ve already started taking this precious gift for granted. In the middle of a couple of our rougher days, dear friends came to meet him. Seeing them hold him and rock him and love on him as if he was one of their own grandsons, I was reminded of what a gift his life is and that I need to soak in every moment and stop wishing it away. Even when he’s fussy and crying and I am exhausted, I need to not wish for days where he can better communicate with me or not be on a 2-3 hour schedule. Because with those changes also comes growth and the passage of time… and I want to make sure I take advantage of every moment God has given me. Every moment.

Thankful I’ve already known this lil’ man for a month and been able to do this every day since.

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