They wheeled me to a recovery room after surgery. This is where I really got to spend some quality time with my little family. With Nash, I didn’t get this time, and I was happy to have it with Crue. It was obvious that the hospital staff had heard our story by now. They were very attentive and sweet. I know this is going to upset a lot of women, but I chose not to breast feed. I wish I had some better reason to give you but the truth is, it was a personal choice. I bottle fed Nash as well and took a lot of abuse from the nurses and doctors for not breastfeeding. I knew the staff had to know because the same doctors that gave me a hard time with Nash never batted an eye this time.
The nurse asked me if I wanted skin on skin time. I was so excited I almost stripped my clothes off. With Nash, they said there was no point because I wasn’t breastfeeding. When I told the nurse I never got it with my first son, she looked visibly upset. She explained that it’s good for the baby to regulate his temperature and bond with the mother. As they placed him on my chest and I felt his warm little body on mine, I melted. Every mother should get that time, no matter what. I took him all in, kissing him and breathing in that sweet baby smell. Todd never left our side. After about ten minutes, I asked Todd if our families had seen him yet. He smiled a mischievous smile and said, “I sent them a picture of the paper his feet were stamped on.” I said, “They are probably dying. We should let them in.” Todd looked at us and said, ” They can wait, take your time with him.”
He was right. I needed to stop worrying about everyone else and concentrate on this moment. This moment I had been waiting for, for nine long months. I couldn’t stop staring at him. In some ways he looked just like Nash, but in other ways he had a look all of his own. I don’t know what I expected. I just stared at him, searching for something, not knowing what. I felt terrible for feeling totally in love on one hand and completely empty on the other. As I looked at Todd who was grinning ear to ear and staring at him, I knew there was no question Todd was 100% completely in love. The only thing he was concentrated on was Crue, that moment and his love for him. I, on the other hand, felt less connected and incredibly guilty for it. I just stared at him, touching his cheeks and kissing him, trying to feel more than what I was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him from the first second I heard him cry, but at the same time I wasn’t feeling what Todd was and I knew it. I kept that to myself and figured I just needed more time. No need to say anything if this feeling passed soon.
About twenty minutes later, we let our anxious family members in and announced his name. I had no problem letting everyone hold him. I felt very relaxed about it, which, again, concerned me. Shouldn’t I want him in my arms all the time? Why am I so relaxed and willing to share him? Again, though, I put those feelings aside. There is, after all, no book of directions on how I am suppose to feel at that moment. I was in love with Todd’s smile and excitement. If anyone was having a hard time sharing, it was him. On a few occasions, I saw him snatch him out of someone’s arms (including mine) without a care in the world. As they wheeled us to the room we would be staying in, I wondered if it would be the same room we had with Nash. That room was very small and…well, ugly. No other way to explain it. It was your typical hospital room. As they pushed my bed into the room, my whole family was oohing and aahing. The nurse said, “Wow, they must like you, this room is usually for employees and special guests.” It was huge and more like a hotel room. Instead of the chair Todd made into a bed in Nash’s room, this time he had his own couch that switched to a bed. I smiled, knowing that Nash would only allow us to have the best for his baby brother. One of the nurses used to be Todd’s neighbor; it was then that we knew how we got the room. When we asked her she said, ‘No, when I saw you were here I went to make sure you had this room and they already had you assigned to it.” Made my heart smile.
Over the next two days in the hospital, I fell more in love with Todd than I thought possible. It was the same with Nash. There is just something about seeing your husband as a dad that is incredibly sweet and sexy. He is like a security guard with Crue though. When we were in the hospital with Nash, I wanted to kill him. I had just had surgery and was getting out of bed every hour when he would cry, and Todd slept through it all. When I would wake him, he would ask what I wanted. I said, “A little help please.” He would say, “I don’t know what he wants.” I wanted to kill him! With Crue, the bassinet was on Todd’s side of the bed and it was rare that his hand wasn’t on some part of him while they both slept.
We have a monitor called a snueza that we clip to his diaper. It is a movement monitor. If Crue doesn’t move every 15 seconds, it vibrates to make him move. If 5 more seconds pass without movement, an alarm goes off. Todd is a stickler about this device. If Crue falls asleep and it isn’t on him, he doesn’t care if he wakes him up or not, it’s going on. It was surprising me that I was the more relaxed one. I would rather not have woken him up. I would wake up randomly in the night and stare at his chest to make sure it was rising and falling, but other than that I felt okay. I was surprisingly still able to sleep, two hours at a time tops, but I could do it. Waking up in a panic is something I’m getting use to.
Staff rarely came into our room. I think they wanted to give us our space. All knew about Nash. One nurse in particular seemed to have a hard time not letting her emotions get the best of her. She came in often and was very attentive. I saw all nurses staring at Nash Bear. I could tell they didn’t know what he was and they probably found it strange that two grown adults were sleeping with a teddy bear. When the nurse came in our room the morning we were to be discharged, I explained what he was. Everything we did or said seemed to take her back emotionally. When she came in too read through our discharge instructions, she covered everything from how to feed him to safe sleep instructions, which I saw was uncomfortable for her to go through. She said, “I’m sure you know all of this but I have to say it.” I said, “We are all CPR certified. We have a movement and sleep apnea device and a bassinet that practically attaches to our bed.” I then smiled and said, ” We are always open to learning more though.” I found myself comforting her through the whole thing. When she was done she said, “I didn’t know if I could get through that without crying.” I pulled her in for a hug and thanked her for being so compassionate. She was so sweet. I was thankful she was our nurse. You can always tell what people our story touches and she was one of them.
As she wheeled us to the front to take Crue home, I almost lost it for the first of many breakdowns to come. As I saw Todd’s truck pull around to the front door, memories of doing this with Nash came flooding back. I stared at Crue in his car seat on my lap and literally choked back my tears as I tried to smile through the pain of what should be a happy moment. As she wheeled me out, the only difference was the very prevalent “Team Nash” stickers on Todd’s truck. We fastened him in the back, and as I got in I hugged the nurse goodbye and Todd came around with a handful of Nash stuff to give her. She looked torn between smiles and tears. She said through a shaking voice, “God bless you both,” and waved as we drove away. We were headed home. I thought to myself as I stared at Crue, “This is going to be harder than I thought,” and tears filled my eyes. After trying my hardest for about ten minutes, I finally got out what was killing me to say out loud. I said from the backseat as I was staring at Crue, “Todd…..how do you feel?” He asked what I meant. I said, “I feel sad and a little…disconnected. I’m missing his brother.” I saw Todd look in the review mirror at me staring at Crue and he said very concerned like, “It’s not Crue’s fault Shelly.”
I knew then and there for the first time ever that Todd may not be the person I could talk to about how I am feeling. He was protective and almost defensive of his son, as he should be. I, on the other hand, felt sad and alone…yet very much in love and guilt, oh that inevitable feeling of overwhelming guilt, had crept back in. How can I love him and be loyal to Nash? It felt like erasing him and my heart ached for the love I was feeling for this new little person.