Wednesday, October 7, 2015

{31 for 21} Comparing.

I have two kids.  My 4.5 year old has Down syndrome.  My 2.5 week old does not.  And while I absolutely don't compare them for the sake of value, there's not doubt that a medically complex pregnancy and childbirth of a first child are drastically different from a medically mostly-straightforward pregnancy and scheduled c-section with a second child.

There were some major differences prior to their births.

Ellie: Monitoring at least monthly including high level ultrasounds, weekly doctor visits with my OB and MFM for non-stress tests in the last couple of months, becoming twice a week by the end.  A very painful CVS procedure to check out her chromosomes.  Fetal echocardiograms and intense scans and an ever-changing birth plan to accommodate each medical issue.  A billion and five ultrasound pictures.

Caroline: Doctor visits for a grand total of four ultrasounds.  One was an extra because I was bleeding.  (She obviously was fine.)  Another extra doctor visit for a blood draw because Verifi messed up her Down syndrome testing by sending her blood the long way to California in a snowstorm.  Birth plan consisted of "Go have a c-section."  Very few ultrasound pictures, some of which big sister accidentally smushed while grabbing them.

At birth, there were some more differences.

Ellie: 36 hours of induced labor followed by emergency c-section, me in a total daze, baby straight to NICU and then transferred to Children's hospital.  Husband went with baby.  I recovered at the hospital where I delivered.  No new baby classes because I would get info in NICU.  Baby had surgery right away and couldn't eat for two weeks.

Caroline: Walked to OR for c-section, where I had a panic attack.  Baby roomed in with us.  I did a lot of throwing up.  Baby nursed right away.

Ellie, about 2 months old.

At home, there are differences:

Ellie: Started nursing at 8 weeks.  Nursed her quietly on the couch where she could be peaceful.  By the time Ellie came home I was mostly recovered from c-section.  Billions of photos.

Caroline: Wherever I nurse her, Ellie is going to show up and get in her face with kisses.  I came home in major pain and unable to lift carseat or preschooler.  Have my own photography business with exactly three pictures of Caroline and some bad iPhone photos of her.

Caroline, about a week old.

And similarities:

Both my daughters: Prefer to sleep while being held.  Eat like it's their last meal ever.  Look alike.  Make me wonder why we bought that expensive crib since it seems to be reserved for stuffed animals.  Make my life better.  Make me laugh.  Make the same faces.  Wear me out.  Don't have completed baby books (although I started one for Ellie).  Were small babies (Ellie, 20 inches, 6 lbs. 10 oz.  Caroline, 19 inches, 6 lbs. 13 oz.)
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