Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life Lessons Month of October: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Big Sister,

Your brother Will was born at 7:44am on Friday, September 27 (weighing 7lbs, 3 oz and measuring 20.5in).  His birth was filled with much anticipation and anxiety (just as yours was as we have always been so nervous after losing your brother Kyle).  The hospital team was fantastic and Will was delivered with 80’s music in the background while I was holding onto your Dad’s hand.  Will had a full head of black hair (which I predicted with all of my acid reflux these past few months) and the loudest cry (which was the best sound ever).  After a quick clean-up, he was brought right over to me for skin-to-skin time as I was stitched up and that was heaven.  I said with you and Kyle, “I wonder what he/she looks like?”  It was a silly question to ask for all three of my children.  Just as with you and Kyle, when Will was born and brought over to me, it was like I knew him my whole life.  I knew all of my children and felt an instant connection.

Your Dad has been amazing- not only giving me reassurance to calm my nerves prior to delivery but in the days after as my body healed.  He became Mr. Mom and took care of all the household chores and became my nurse.  With all of my children, your Dad never leaves my side in the hospital.  He changes diapers, does the night feedings, and he is hands down the world’s best swaddler!  He truly gives of himself to his children and I. 

But really, what a week this has been for you… and you handled all of the changes so gracefully, maturely, and happily. 

Life Lessons Learned #31: Acceptance and love defy age.

The night before Will was born, we asked your Mimi and Poppy to pick you up for a sleepover at their house, as my c-section was scheduled very early last Friday.  They dropped you off at school to keep you in routine and for them to have a chance to make sure everything with the baby and I were ok.  Once I got out of recovery, they picked you up and brought you to the hospital to meet your new baby brother.

That first visit was a little hard for you (and me too I might add).  When you got into the room and saw me, you were very stand-offish… and I would have been the same way.  After having major abdominal surgery, I definitely wasn’t at my best and certainly couldn’t greet you in the way I wish I could have.  I had tubes and wires all over and leg compressors that looked and sounded really scary.  You kept your distance but were brave enough to stay for forty-five minutes.  We gave you your own newborn boy baby doll, that you also called Will and you mimicked everything we did with our real Will on your Will (feeding him, burping him).  But I have to say you were a bit less gentle with your Will (half the time, you forgot he was your baby and he was dangling from your hand upside down). 

Day 2 was a lot better.  To start, I was disconnected from all machines and I was showered so I looked and felt much better.  You came in for a morning visit and an afternoon visit that day and by the end, you were hugging me good-bye and felt much more comfortable.  In fact, you pinched your finger in the door on your way out and you only wanted me.  When I came to you (very slowly I might add), you said through tears, “I know you can’t pick me up but can you just give me a big hug?”  I didn’t want to let you go.  Your visits on this day were a lot more hands on with Will too.  You wanted to feed him and hold him yourself… and you were so gentle and sweet with him.  Ellie, Will is so blessed to have you as a big sister.

I was discharged on the third day, so your Mimi and Poppy dropped you off in the afternoon, which gave your Dad and I time to unpack and get organized beforehand.  You came in with so much more luggage than I sent you off with… I could tell you must have been super spoiled with your weekend away (and I will let Mimi tell you all about that in your next letter).  But know that I appreciated that you helped your Mimi and Poppy grocery shop and stock our refrigerator and cabinets for when we got home.  And I love that your Mimi got us balloons that you two hung on our mailbox to celebrate Will’s arrival.

The first night as a family of four in our home was by far the best ever.  I’m still in awe as I look at you and Will, both of my beautiful, healthy children.  Before we started your bedtime routine, you asked if you could read a story to Will.  You went upstairs on your own, picked one out, stood next to his crib and recited a beautiful story (even showing him the pictures).

The next morning, while I showered, I put Will in his vibrating chair and when I came out, you were laying next to him with your blanket and pillow watching him.  You told me that you were having a sleepover!

But the most endearing moment you had with Will is when he was starting to fuss last night while on my bed (I was changing into my pj’s and you were sitting next to him as I dressed).  You went over to my nightstand and got the piece of Kyle’s blanket that I saved.  You put it to Will’s heart and then his cheek.  You said, “Mommy tells me that this makes everything all better.”  Needless to say, I couldn’t stop crying but you, Ellie, knew immediately that my tears were happy tears (you know about Kyle’s blanket because you saw it a few weeks ago and asked me about it.  You wanted to play with it but I said it couldn’t leave my bedroom.  But I also added that at anytime when you are sad you can come in and put it to your heart or cheek for Kyle to give you strength.  More often than not, you use it to comfort yourself when I brush your hair!).

Since being home, you have been the biggest help to me- getting me bottles, diapers, clothes.  And you know that I have my limits with what I can do so you never ask me to come back upstairs after I put you to bed.  You are so compassionate Ellie.  With me, you ask if I need to hold your hand as I stand up from a chair (you can see the pain on my face I guess) or you offer your help when I am walking up the stairs.  You show such tenderness and kindness when you not only kiss your brother but you kiss my shirt where my “boo-boo” is.  Yes, Love really does make everything all better.

At three and a half Ellie, you have embraced Will just like your Dad and I did.  You have become his other mother and his protector.
I love you my sweetest angel,

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