Dear James and Jackson:
As of last night at around 6:30pm, you have been home for one week.
Oh, what a difference a week makes. I fully admit, after the first night I was convinced we might be in over our heads, but both of you were incredibly patient with us.
“Honey, I’m a little nervous,” your Daddy said.
“Why?” I asked, sitting next to him in the NICU holding Jackson.
“Right now, it takes both of us to feed ONE baby.”
When I say there was a silver lining in the NICU stay, this was it. Your Daddy and I got a full week of professional infant care training. Even though I would cry every night leaving you in that Giraffe incubator — looking back now — I realize what an incredible group of nurses and doctors helped you learn to suck, swallow and breathe all the way to your 36th week. I am grateful for all of them.
Putting all we learned into practice at home was an entirely different story. I thought I had systems in place, and things organized — but upon getting you home I began to realize I had not discussed any of it with you. After some minor adjustments, we are now officially in sync for the most part.
The first night you were home I spent the entire night staring at both of you; making sure you were still breathing. It was the first time since you were born that you were not attached to a monitor telling me your heart was beating and your lungs were working and your blood pressure was okay.
I know they would not have let you out of there if they did not believe you were ready, but we were nervous nonetheless.
I do not think your Daddy and I collectively got an hour of sleep that first night.
After one week of observing you, I can now spot so many things you were doing in the womb.
James, you are a very still, zen sleeper. Sometimes when you sleep, you look like a little Buddha. You hardly ever stir, but your face — oh, that face says everything. You tend to smile a lot when you sleep, and sometimes I would swear you know exactly what I am saying. You keep Daddy and me in stitches.
Jackson, you are still except when you are not still. You tend to writhe your whole body and raise you head, your leg, your rear end. It’s almost like you are trying to go up into down dog. Now I know what you were doing up there under my rib cage. You still do it — roughly once per hour or so. You also pucker your lips as you raise your head. You’re going to be the kid that starts out at the top of the bed and ends up with your head at the foot of the bed by morning. Or possibly, on the floor.
This is how much you have moved towards your brother since I took the picture at the top of the post.
I have to admit, after spending eight nights with you at home, I never imagined it could be this relaxed. I’m not sure if it is because you’re amazingly mellow, or I am just ready for the task at hand. I think it is a little bit of both. I have waited a really long time for this moment, so I am trying to savor all of them. Even the ones where I am half asleep.
Our living room looks like a showroom for the Fisher Price Snugabunny line. It makes us laugh as we alternate which contraption to put you into for your next rest.
I had a lactation consultant come over and help us out on Saturday. Apparently if you can get this whole latching thing down I won’t have to pump so much. You are both doing great. I am happy to say I need no supplementation for you, as I am producing more than enough milk — but I have to give you bottles to measure your intake until you are a month old.
I wonder how Mamaw Wines managed to have two sets of twins within a five year span without Fisher Price or a lactation consultant? I’m not sure they had much of anything in Clay County, Texas — but somehow she did it.
Regardless, I am grateful for every contraption and professional consultation we have available. Sometimes I think we are so used to having gadgets help us, that we have to be taught that which is supposed to be instinctual. All of our advancements have somehow rendered us not entirely ready, but with each practice session instinct begins to kick in more and more for both of us.
You’ve been to the pediatrician twice this week. As of yesterday — your two week birthday — you have both surpassed your birth weights. Jackson, you weigh 5 pounds and 13 ounces and James you weigh 5 pounds and 11 ounces. Of course, the minute they got both of you off the scale you peed everywhere.
It was not my first, nor will it be my last run in with your stream.
Having you both in our lives is nothing short of a miracle. I have to pinch myself every morning when I get up and realize you’re here. You’re actually here.
I pray every day I don’t screw this up. I suppose all parents do.
P.S. I hope you’re always this close. It makes my heart happy.