Happy Mother’s Day (a day late) to my beautiful wife and Ben’s mom!
It has been forever since we’ve posted last. And look! it’s a new year – Christmas has come and gone, and Benjamin is quickly approaching his second birthday. What has Ben been up to? Let’s see:
- Ben got better at eating (but still a pain in the ass)
- Ben visited some old friends at CHONY (but slept through the whole thing… sorry Dany, Amy and Leora!)
- Ben got to meet Santa (but was more interested in feeling the candy bag)
- Ben got way too many Christmas presents
- Ben hung out with family
- And friends
- And had a lot of fun
- And Ben finally hit 20 pounds! (just today actually)
Anyway, happy new year – and I hope to post more frequently in the coming weeks.
Today is June 3rd, the first anniversary of Benjamin’s original due date, or his supposed-to-birthday. That makes him 1 year corrected today (just about 16 months actual). Ben had a fun weekend seeing both his grandmothers as well as some friends in from out-of-town. He also had his first subway ride on Friday and got to visit FAO Schwartz. Our friend Scott played the theme to Elmo’s World on the big piano (made famous in “Big”) to entertain the little ones. Ben also enjoyed watching the Queens Pride parade today – so much music and dancing!
Before we look at new pictures of the supposed-to-birthday boy, a flashback to last year at this time:
Oh what a difference a year makes! Here’s Ben today:
Benjamin has been in an amazing mood lately – all giggles and smiles. He just cracks us up.
Occupational Therapy finally started and the therapist and Ben are just getting to know each other now. She is going to help Ben with feeding skills as well fine motor and life skills. I might ask him to take note – I could totally brush up on some life skills.
But most importantly – today is Mother’s Day! Happy mother’s day to all the moms out there. Ben got to spend the day with his momma, Gram and Grandma today and got lots of kisses. I personally want to wish Amy a happy mother’s day too. She is an amazing mom and I could never do this with anyone else.
One year ago… We had just come back to New York after spending a few days with Carol and things seemed stable enough to go home. That next day was a Monday and I had hardly gotten through my morning emails when Carol called to say they were bringing her to delivery for an emergency c-section. Amy got in the car, picked me up and we headed to Pennsylvania as fast as we could. It was very hard to imagine this ending well. The doctor called us when we were just outside of Lancaster. Our baby was born just after 1pm. He was critical but stable. The doctor urged us to get there quickly.
We named him when we saw him for the first time in the NICU. A tiny little nothing hooked up to a million machines. The doctors looked pretty glum and everything they said was an “if” and a “we don’t know”.
When he was first born, some people didn’t know what to say to us. They didn’t know if they should say “I’m sorry” or congratulate us – because they didn’t know what the next day would bring. But Amy and I knew that no matter what we had something to celebrate. Every extra hour we had with him, even in the little plexiglas box was an hour more than we thought we had.
And all the “ifs” became “whens” and Benjamin surprised the doctors at every turn.
And now a year later. There were a lot of days we didn’t think we’d be here. Benjamin home, healthy, growing. A little laughing silly guy. A one year old!
It was an amazing year and we both look forward to another year of getting to know our little guy. He’s going to keep on surprising everyone, just you wait.
We have had a fun weekend with Benjamin getting to see lots of family. First Carol and family visited and her kids got to meet Ben for the first time. It was really nice to have everyone together. We played some games and ate some NYC pizza and Benjamin had some stories read to him and showed off all his new tricks.
And the next day we celebrated Amy’s brother Kevin’s birthday. Ben’s Gram got him some Giants gear and since the Steelers are out Ben thought it was ok to root for the Giants with his uncle and the rest of Amy’s family. Turns out he’s a good luck charm and the Giants won.
All this visiting does a number on Benjamin though – it really screws up his eating for some reason. The smallest change in schedule and level of stuff going on throws him for a loop and then the next few days he makes it so hard to feed him. Hopefully this will get better but right now it is super frustrating.
One year ago this week began a seriously scary time. It was then that Carol’s water broke – PPROM – at 19 weeks. I don’t know how much you know about PPROM – but it happening at 19 weeks is bad – like almost no hope bad – like assuming that infection or bleeding will end the pregnancy within hours bad.
We talk a lot about Benjamin’s prematurity and the challenges involved but that month before he was born changed everything. PPROM (Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes) is scary. But if you read the support sites or the facebook groups for the women going through this – you will be amazed by the hope they share and the strength they give each other. Carol had that hope and that strength times ten and she never gave up on our baby. No one would have ever blamed her if she did. I think part of each of us imagined we were just prolonging the heartache – the odds were so slim.
Carol (for those of you joining us mid-story) was our gestational surrogate – she carried our embryo (later fetus, later Benjamin). To a lot of people the idea of a surrogate is strange. Some imagine it is some sort of business relationship or a situation we would later hide from our child and pretend never happened. But let me tell you this – I cannot imagine another person, who we only knew for a few months, who would have done everything she did for our son. When we started, Carol might have been our surrogate, but by the time we got through it all, Carol was family. And Carol’s family was family. She was amazing throughout the hospital stays, the never-ending bedrest, the time away from her husband and children and doing everything she could to last one more day to let Benjamin cook.
The month between the PPROM and when Benjamin was born was rough. I don’t think any of us slept much, we were scared of the phone ringing, Amy and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves. But every time the doctors did another ultrasound (which was pretty much constantly) they seemed surprised Carol kept going. And go she did – just over the border of viability. 23 weeks, 3 days.
So, though we have said it many many times- Thank you Carol, thank you Carol’s family, thank you Carol’s friends and everyone who supported her and us and Benjamin.
And if you have stumbled upon Benjamin’s blog because you or someone you love are dealing with PPROM – please stay hopeful. While Amy and I would never have gotten to be parents without doctors and science – they only get you so far. That last stretch was all faith.