The other day a stranger saw me at the store with Harrison and after commenting on how cute he was :) said "He's so tiny! How much does he weigh?"
My response? "Umm...uuhh...he was 8lbs 2 oz when he was born."
I find it crazy how totally thrown off my game I was by that simple little question! When Charlotte came home from the hospital she was accompanied by a baby scale that we used to weigh her each and every morning. We needed to make sure that she was effectively gaining weight and also that she wasn't holding on to fluid (evidenced by rapid weight gain) as lots of kiddos with heart problems do. With her I could have told you her exact weight on any given day...no hesitation. The last time Harrison was weighed was at his two week appointment. That was a week and a half ago and I haven't given it a second thought since that day.
That simple question from a stranger really got me thinking about just how different things are this time around. I understand that welcoming a newborn, healthy or not, is life changing...but sometimes this whole journey feels so simple compared to what we adapted to last time around! The differences are almost too many to name, but I'll give you a little bit of an idea.
-First and foremost, we left the hospital with our child after only 3 nights. No surgeries, no intubation, no 4 AM phone calls to check in with nurses. I remember walking to my car each night after having said my "good nights" and "I love you's" to Charlotte in the PICU. My eyes were usually filled with tears, my heart heavy. I just wanted her home. I longed for nights that were sleepless because we were up caring for our child, not sleepless because we feared for her life. I was so jealous of the families that got to leave with newborns tucked safely in their car seats...but this time around we were one of those families.
-Speaking of car seats...Harrison has one! Because of concerns with head control and the potential for obstructing the blood flow thru Charlotte's shunt, she "got" to ride in a special car bed until she was 3 months old. With a car bed the baby is restrained in a flat position rather than sitting upright like with a traditional car seat. She hated that thing. So did I. Good riddance car bed.
-With Harrison, we lose sleep because he wants to get up to eat. With Charlotte we lost sleep because we worried that she wasn't eating enough. This is by far one of the biggest changes this time around. I actually BREATHE when I feed Harrison. It's relaxing. It's stress-free. We don't have to measure volumes and keep records of how much he eats and when. We just feed him when he's hungry. Heck, we even let OTHER PEOPLE feed him! Wow. Who knew that something so normal as giving my child a bottle could fill my eyes with tears!
-No medicine, no twice daily shots of blood thinner, no peeling tape off of sensitive baby skin for dressing changes...oh how our little girlie got picked on. I promise baby girl, it was all because we loved you.
-He may be a little boy, but my oh my does Harrison look good in pink! Pink skin that is! I find myself just staring at his perfectly pink toes, lips, nail beds...it's a color that I'm not used to seeing. Charlotte had less blood flow to her lungs. Less flow = less oxygenated blood = more blue blood than red blood. Even on her best of days when I thought her color looked awesome, it never came close to Harrison's rosy hue.
Things this time around are so very different. A part of me wants to say that they are "better"...obviously I would choose this heart-healthy life for any child...but I think that different is a more fitting description. Yes, life with Charlotte was challenging, but so is life with Harrison. One is not "better" than the other, they are simply different courses to which we have had to adapt. I learned so many things by being her mommy and am using them all to be the best mommy that I can be to her baby brother.
Every day is something new. I may not know his exact weight or keep intricate notes on feeding schedules...but one thing I do know is that I'm head over heals in love with Mr. Harrison Paul.