Jul 06 2011

When babies attack

Not really, the baby is great!  I’ve been promising a baby post, however, and so I figured that title was a good attention-getter.

We have been incredibly fortunate to get a baby with a personality that nearly perfectly compliments the other much more difficult circumstances we’ve been having to deal with, especially the cancer.  In her first three months, she has been consistently the calmest, most content, peaceful, quiet, and happy baby I’ve ever met.  I’d write myself off as one of those parents who can say no wrong about their darling little angels, except this feedback is the same that we consistently receive from everyone else who meets her as well.  Not to mention that she’s an amazingly gorgeous baby; the nurses all find excuses to visit when she’s here.  Even the wonderful and skilled hospital pediatrician in charge of our girl’s first few days of life, Dr. Kent, found reasons to stop by and get some visit time outside of the necessary check-ups.  (She was also one of the first people to encourage me to keep blogging about my experiences, and I thank her for that!)

It’s only been in the last couple of weeks that the baby has even started to have fussy periods regularly as her brain develops more complex needs for expression before the rest of her can keep up.  This is a fascinating process to watch, even if I’m not getting to see it every day like I’d prefer.

We couldn’t have survived the last month of taking care of her without my awesome mother, who’s been carting her home each week, making sure her needs are met, and bringing her back each week for visit and assistance time.  There aren’t thank-yous large enough to cover what Mom has been doing for us on this, but try to imagine them anyway.  Mom confirms we have the world’s best behaved baby, and is having a fun though exhausting time.  It’s also hilarious to look at old pictures of me and see how much she looks like I did at her age — there are a few pics where we look almost like twins!

As we get closer to me being able to go home (and more on that in other posts), we’re looking for more full-time/live-in help for both me and Wednesday (our daughter) and have posted an ad to that effect various places, so if you know someone in the Austin area good with cancer patients, infants, meal prep, errands, and other such goodness, send them a notice our way.  And to wrap up, here’s the story of Wednesday’s nickname (and middle name) for your entertainment…

While the little larvae was growing inside me (and unfortunately triggering the estrogen surge that potentially caused the metastatic breast cancer — it had been mis-diagnosed as non-estrogen-receptor positive tumors last year), we wanted to call it something while we didn’t have an actual name picked out.  As far as television families go, The (original) Addams Family is frankly one of the most loving and well-adjusted ones I’ve seen depicted (seriously, think about it for a few minutes and you’ll see my point — feel free to discuss it in the comments!)  So we figured we’d call it after whichever Addams kid it was gendered until we had time to find a better name, and so Wednesday she became once we knew it was a girl.

Around the sixth month or so, my husband mentioned to me that he actually sort of liked Wednesday as a name.  I laughed and agreed that I liked it too, but said that it was probably just a bit too odd to hang on her as a first name.  I pointed out that we could totally keep it as a nickname, or even a middle name, and we continued slowly winnowing down a list of other more suitable first names. (We thought we had three more months to decide at that point, of course, so weren’t in much of a hurry.)

Thankfully by the time things had gotten really bad pain-wise and we suspected something besides being pregnant was wrong with me, we had narrowed the list of possible actual names to a manageable page of choices.  We were still quite irrationally attached to Wednesday as a name, though, and so I suggested we test out the names to see how well they fit with “Wednesday” as a middle name (since the option to keep it as a nickname was always available regardless).

Then the pain got so bad that we had no choice but to take me into the hospital (the first time around) and find out what was wrong. (At this point we still mostly thought it was something structural since it was so much more painful than the first round of cancer had been and since “hip pain” happens to many pregnant women — though I knew in my heart that hip pain that bad had to be something else, or at least something more than just pregnant complaints.)

They did the MRI and found the hip tumor (along with several of the other tumors — they found more later with other scans once she was birthed) and suddenly the message changed from “we’ll have to wait a couple more weeks to term” to “we have to get this baby out and deal with these tumors”.  Since she was already at 36 weeks she was viable and we could reasonably hope that she’d developed enough that she wouldn’t have too many health problems being a month early.  That Tuesday evening we spent discussing the options of vaginal vs c-section birth given the incomplete information we had, and were going to wait until the morning to consult with the oncologist assigned to the case before making a final decision. (Dr. Carlos Rubin de Celis, best oncologist ever ever ever, seriously if you’re in the Austin area and need one he is amazingly skilled as well as compassionate, if I had to move away I would commute back to keep him as my doctor I’m that pleased with his abilities.)

At ten minutes to midnight, I coughed twice and my water broke, gushing in a veritable flood for what felt like half an hour as our darling daughter chose to help our decision along herself and no more of this dilly-dallying about.  And at 7:08 am, on a Wednesday, she was born.  Given that, and all the rest of the events, we felt that was the perfect middle name for her and quickly picked from the last three choices we’d narrowed down for the rest of her name.

Several family members and friends still call her by that, which we have no problem with as it is indeed one of her names, and we’re fond of the story behind it.  When she gets old enough she’ll be perfectly capable of expressing her own preferences in that regard.  Given her mouthful of a moniker, she has over half-a-dozen options for names and nicknames she can go by and I’m looking forward to seeing how she makes (and changes) that decision throughout her developmental years, as I believe it’s good for a kid to have a name they can get creative with in self-identity.  We also went with the “Nielsen Hayden” option of two un-hyphenated last names, and both the birth certificate and the SSA office did it correctly, surprisingly enough!

She was crying with full-powered lungs as she was removed from the uterus by c-section, and had only a bit of jaundice to deal with for 1.33 days while she was with me in the hospital, and is otherwise one of the healthiest, happiest, and prettiest babies you’ll meet.  I look forward daily to seeing how we’ll change each other’s lives by our mutual existences.

4 Responses to “When babies attack”

  1. Cherylon 06 Jul 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Yay for a wonderful baby!!

  2. Kevin Baileyon 08 Jul 2011 at 9:45 am

    Thanks for sharing that story of your little one with us!

  3. Mary Basson 08 Jul 2011 at 6:58 pm

    I’m the grandmother who calls her Wednesday. I shall always call her that I believe (if only in my heart) for however long I am here. Having wakened in the night — at her request — to feed her and change her which was my pleasure, I can attest to the fact that she’s been a very good-natured baby and only sounds out loudly when she is in need. I know this won’t last as she will need to fuss more to develop, will do so when she is teething, and at many other times; however, she has shown us all that she joins with many around her who have a strong spirit and can often be unruffled even when she feels seriously heavy stuff going on around her. Babies and children sense so much. God knows what He is doing and sent this little angel who has been so easy to care for to show all of us some joy during a trying time.

  4. Reesaon 09 Jul 2011 at 6:16 pm

    @Mary — It’s one of her names, feel free to use it! :) I suspect she’ll be pretty easy-going throughout her life, she’s a great person already and will just get better.