My pregnancy with Henry was very uneventful, at first. No morning sickness. I didn’t have that immediate pregnant feeling, I had with Hayden. I didn’t have many cravings or even gain weight, as quickly. I was tired, but I have very low iron, so I am almost as always tired. In fact, it wasn’t until I was about 18 weeks I even really noticed I was pregnant. It was Christmas Eve when I felt the first kicks and I was so relieved. I passed all pre-natal tests. I had several routine ultrasounds. I needed the reassurance of those ultrasounds. During the anatomy ultrasound, we found out we were having a boy. It was so obvious, without being told the gender officially, I said, “that’s a boy!” The tech smiled and said, “yes.”
The next day- I received a short, vague and downright scary follow-up call from my doctor. He told me I was being sent in 1 week to see a perinatal specialist. The appointment was made, and simply not to worry too much. The head of the department had reviewed my scans and concerned about pockets of spinal fluid on the baby’s brain.
Of course, I did what everyone else does, I looked a Web MD and I “Googled” it. On a rare occasion, pockets of fluid can appear and dissolve before birth. But in most cases, it signals Hydrocephalus, chromosomal, motor and /or learning disabilities.
This was just enough information given to a pregnant mom (over the phone) and enough waiting time to make anyone stressed. I cried for days. I assumed the worst, and also that since we had IVF and the embryos are rigorously screened- I must have done something. I caused this.
We as a couple, after many discussions, concluded that God will only give you what you can handle and we could do this. We could get through, whatever situation we were dealt. This baby would be cared for and loved no matter what circumstances or challenges we encountered.
That week was the longest of my whole pregnancy.
The appointment with the perinatologists arrived and we had a million questions, we had a very high-tech full anatomy fetal scan and learned… there were no pockets visible on his brain at all. In fact, he said we had absolutely no reason to be there. He was so sorry that we had been unnecessary worried like that. He noted all of the names of the techs and doctors who had sent me there- so he could “discuss” my case.
For a split second, I was angry. I wanted to tell my doctor how angry. Then, I was just thankful. So thankful.
None of it mattered, I wasn’t going to hold that anger. We could have been given much different news. We had already mentally reconciled with it. So finding out everything was okay- just made me let go of the anger. (Yes, I did recommend to my OB that in the future he either A. call the patient into the office with that type of vague information or B. maybe just recommend a repeat at their facility to re-check scans).
Over the next couple weeks Henry grew strong. Very strong. I hurt a lot. He took over my entire body, it seemed. He could kick in the lower regions and grab my ribs. At the same time. He would stretch as far as he could and stay there. He seemed to be a rough little man. Not playful like his brother, downright looking to get out.
This time, my blood pressure began acting up early. So in my 23rd week I was given steroid shots to make his lungs mature. My due date was supposed to be June 9th, we scheduled the C-section for May 31st (my dad’s birthday). I spent Mother’s day in the hospital due to protein levels rising in my urine, but I was released the next day. I really wanted to make it to May 31st, even though my body was falling apart and I was under constant fetal attack 🙂 On May 15th, due to preeclampsia at 34 weeks pregnant little Henry Sullivan was born.
Henry, named for my grandpa and also Chuck’s great great grandpa. Sullivan, was my grandma’s maiden name. His dad, chose his name.
He didn’t pass his initial tests, so I got a quick peek and we were separated. This time, my C-section was not problematic. I was given IV Iron supplements and I was ready to take care of my baby. However, he wasn’t doing so great . He spent time in an oxygen tent would periodically stop breathing. He just needed time to adjust. And I can’t sugar coat it, times were scary. The first night Henry was almost sent to a different hospital. We would have been separated. However he was, and is, a fighter. We spent an extra day in the hospital, while he continued to adjust to life on the outside of my body. I had further blood pressure issues. But once we were together, and home, we thrived. He was bigger in size than his brother had been, but younger in developmental age.
I am sad to say, I struggled with breast feeding and had to feed, pump and supplement- for 6 weeks, around the clock. I had a lactation consultant visit for 3 days per week. My milk production was just not high and he wasn’t gaining weight. We made the switch to formula. This time, I was sad but got to experience breastfeeding for six weeks! It was a choice, that was hard, but better for both of us. He needed to grow. And boy, did he grow!
Henry’s First Year
Since Henry is a second child, and his brother was just over two years, he often had to wait a bit longer for things. Hayden was a tough toddler and required much attention. Their relationship was precious, but Henry learned to self soothe quicker. During the day, anyways. He had a crib in our room for the first 6 months and never fully slept through the night until 9 months. He was a hungry guy. Mom and dad were exhausted. You don’t want tips on “How to help your baby sleep through the night” from us.
Henry’s personality differs a lot from his brother, though he watches with awe and adoration, every move Hayden makes. Henry is very active. He is difficult to photograph. Although always smiling, he is a man in motion and often I end up with blurry photos. He is a brut, he make his sensitive brother cry a lot. I am often saying “Hayden be careful not to hurt the baby!” Yet it is Henry, I am pulling off of Hayden. He is a babbler, a grunter and I can see the time outs beginning soon. However, when in public, he is a watcher. Never the center of attention, just a quiet man of mystery. He is pulling himself up on things now and as soon as he walks, I know he will be off on adventures. Mommy will have to learn to live with a bit less cuddle time.