Two weeks with Dax Wesden

I hardly know where to begin …

After MUCH patience, at 40 weeks +2 days, and multiple days of being in labor that would progress and then stop (thanks to him being “sunny side up”), I was standing in our kitchen swaying through a contraction as David was starting the bedtime process for our sweet Jayden girl (3 years old.)

I remember saying to him, “Whoa. This is a big contraction … and it keeps getting stronger.”

And then all of the sudden there was a “pop” and water gushed everywhere. There was no mistaking that my water ruptured. We both laughed and our toddler looked at me in horror scanning her eyes from the floor up to my face thinking I had just peed myself, saying, “moooooomy!”

There had been days of frustration, thinking that labor was happening and this baby was coming, only to have it fizzle out throughout the night. SO, this time, we knew it was game on and we were actually having a baby! (I was fairly convinced I might just be pregnant forever … And I’m only half kidding.)

My parents were 45 min away, on their way home after waiting around for days. (As I was in labor days earlier, we called them to have them come help with our daughter while we were going to be in the hospital.) They turned around to head back immediately and we packed our bags after talking to our doctor and doula so that we could head to the hospital as soon as they arrived.

It feels a bit unnecessary to get into all the details (message me if you want to know!) but after 14.5 hours of labor and an hour or two of pushing, our baby boy was born via cesarean the morning of July 26th. He weighed 8 pounds exactly and was 21 inches long in perfect health (even though they had all the NICU trauma teams in the room, prepared.)

There were LOTS of tears through the process … his birth was a bit traumatic for me, but he and I are both here alive and well thanks to modern day medicine. For years before having my own babies, I always imagined having this euphoric experience, birthing my babies at home to Iron & Wine, surrounded by candlelight, peacefully embracing the pain with an unmedicated birth. (I’m a total hippie at heart.) To be honest, I think it’ll continue to take me years to come to grips with how opposite of that both of my birth stories have been. My respect for modern day medicine has grown tremendously, and my gratitude as well.

The first week of his sweet life was a total blur for me. I felt numb. I felt a bit disconnected. I felt, well, in shock.

I found my heart starting to grow with love and affection for him slowly through those days, but my body was in so much pain and my emotional state was wrecked from the traumatic experience I had just endured. Thankfully, though, he was absolutely the easiest baby I had ever been around … and I’ve been around (and photographed!) a LOT of babies over the years! He was immediately sleeping for long stretches of time, whereas our daughter would only sleep for 45 min MAX for the first 1-2 months of her life. It’s like he knew I would absolutely crumble if I was up all day and night everyday on top of the birth experience we had just endured together. I’m so thankful he was/is so easy.

Fast forward to around 10-11 days old. He went from pretty much never spitting up (again, the total opposite of our daughter!) to suddenly vomiting a LOT. At first we just thought it was something he was sensitive to … something I ate … or that first margarita I enjoyed. By the following day, though, I knew something was up.

We scheduled an appointment to see his pediatrician even though we had just been there 36 hours earlier and mentioned the spitting up. By the time the appointment came, he was doing much better and my concern was limited, but I knew it was still worth going and mentioning.

We went from that appointment straight to get an ultrasound to rule out something called pyloric stenosis. We walked into the outpatient childrens hospital, were told not to nurse him anymore even though it had been hours, and they quickly got us in for an ultrasound. I remember the ultrasound tech having a very serious expression, and she didn’t make any small talk as she took imaging of his stomach and intestines. She went to get a doctor, and he came in and said the words we were hoping NOT to hear …

“Your baby DOES have a condition called pyloric stenosis.” he said.

He rambled on about it (and all I heard after that sentence was white noise and rambling because I couldn’t process it) until I eventually interrupted and asked, “That means surgery, right?” as I chocked back the tears that were waiting to burst forth.

“Yes.” he replied

“We need to contact his pediatrician and get in contact with the surgeon, but we will send you straight over to surgery from here.” he told us

I left the house that morning for a checkup and didn’t return that day … we were admitted to the hospital within hours and our newborn baby that we were “supposed” to be home cuddling was to undergo anesthesia and surgery at just 12 days old.

I’m choking back tears even now, as I write this … how a momma’s heart (and a sensitive one at that!) is supposed to watch her 12 day old baby go through that when her own body is still a wreck and hormones are in full swing is beyond me. And yet you do it because you have to … and because you would do anything for such a tiny, tender little life.

I’ll never forget watching the surgeon, anesthetist, and nurses wheel him down the hallway away from us …

Nor the tears that couldn’t be contained as we wandered back up to the hospital room that would be “home” for the next day or two.

I’ll never forget collapsing into David’s arms, sobbing, as he held me close and wiped away my tears.

It was the first time we left him with someone, and it was with total strangers. Strangers that had the ability to save his tiny precious life.

To say that the last few weeks have felt like a blur seems like the world’s largest understatement. When friends ask how we’re doing, it truly seems like we’ve been living out this strange dream.

Thankfully, he is recovering well (as am I), and we’ve been able to venture out together in an attempt to slowly find a new normal as a family of four. Jayden is completely smitten with him, and it’s the sweetest thing to witness as she coddles him and does everything she can to help with diaper changes. She comes running to me anytime he’s not in my arms and she hears him crying, saying, “Mommy! He’s crying!” with her sweet little voice of concern.

I’m so incredibly grateful. We have SO much to be thankful for. I’m not at all unaware of the many, many times throughout the last few weeks that things could have gone differently and ended tragically. My heart is swarming with so many emotions, but thankfulness and gratitude fills my soul.

Thank you to all of you who followed our journey on instagram and sent your love and prayers. We are truly grateful. This community is such a gift to us.