Soooo here's what I got to do over the weekend!!!
I got to meet my newest nephew, Clay Christopher Lonergan! Clay must have known we were anxious to meet him because he made his debut at 33.5 weeks!
This isn't my story to tell, but in a quick recap, my sister, Michelle woke up around 2:00 am (California time) with some mild cramping. She thought her water had broken but wasn't sure (not a gush like she had heard about), but when the painful "cramps" started she knew she was in trouble. By about 3:30 she and Scott had packed and sped to the hospital (think of the movies and the speeding there while grabbing the handles in the car from pain). They checked in around 4ish and while they did confirm her water had broken, they also told her she was 9.5 cm!!!! Scott called my mom to report and said, "I don't even know what 9.5 cm means!" So cute- love those first timers!!
By 5:33 Clay was here! And weighed in at a whopping 5 lbs, 11 oz- which is HUGE for 33.5 weeks along! He was screaming crying (another good sign- great lungs!). He was 18 inches and overall super healthy. They took him up to the NICU and to this day (the fourth day of his sweet little life) he hasn't even had one breath of oxygen support. Talk about miracles!
As soon as we found out he was on his way, my mom threw a bag together and headed to the airport. I made her reservations for her on the way there. After he was here I chatted with my baby sister and told her I had made arrangements to head out Saturday morning. She said, "I mean, we have some miles we could give you. Any chance you could make it tonight?" DONE! I changed my flight to Friday evening and started packing!
Since Molly is just over three months and nursing, I knew she was coming with me. We made plans for Anthony to keep the big kids over the weekend and Anthony's mom was coming in to help with them for the first part of the week.
Molly's first flight!
So the fact that Molly really likes to not be held all the time makes her an easy baby 99% of the time. She prefers to sleep in her carseat, swing, or rock and play. She doesn't like being held for long periods of time either, and much prefers to kick around on the ground. All of these are wonderful, until you are crammed in a tiny seat on an airplane for 3.5 hours. Talk about MISERABLE. We were hot. We were crammed. She wouldn't nurse under a cover. She sucked down her bottles quickly during take off and landing but had none left for "passing the time." She squirmed. She fussed. She never outright screamed and cried, but she made this momma work hard. In fact, I even went to the bathroom and nursed her in there. Yup- disgusting. And the looks I got after being in there for 5 minutes?! Ugh. Oh, and she pooped twice on the plane (homegirl doesn't even poop every day- but twice on the plane of course). It. Was. Miserable.
But we made it through and zoomed to the hospital. I got to snuggle my baby sister and catch up and hear how wonderful of a job she was doing. We let them sleep (ha- you know how sleep in a hospital post partum is!) and headed to her house.
Saturday morning I was able to meet sweet Clay for the first time. I held him for about 30 seconds before they were ready for him to be back in his bassinet to rest and grow. The hospital was great, but they are STRICT with their NICU rules! Eesh!
But Saturday I basically spent the day supporting Michelle- just being there for her to talk to and hang out with while she pumped. Saturday night my mom and I made a Target run for some essentials she thought she might have some more time to get.
This girl was a TROOPER
These poor new parents... They have no clue what's in store!
One side trip on Saturday was a lunch break for us- we walked around Robertson Blvd and found a little sushi place where we gobbled a ton of food and brought back a good amount for Michelle. No celeb sightings, but I was on guard!
Sunday morning I was feeling super refreshed and excited about the day! My mom and I would be on hospital duty and would be getting the house ready for Michelle's discharge that evening. Helping with finishing touches for the nursery, cleaning up, making some meals for her to have, etc...
Unfortunately I woke up to a text from Anthony's mom saying that she couldn't make it down to Houston because Anthony's sister was sick and her husband was going out of town. I totally understood, but man, I was crushed! I was definitely not ready to leave and Michelle was definitely not ready for me to leave either. But I changed my flight for that evening and packed up to get ready to head home.
Anthony was probably the sweetest thing ever- he had already called my sister here and tried to make arrangements for child care for the bigs so I didn't have to come home. He knew I was going to be devastated (I hadn't talked to him yet, his mom had called him, too, to let him know). Anthony isn't a "make plans" kind of guy, so for him to make arrangements so that I could stay longer was like the biggest thing in the world- I seriously cried after he told me all the work he had done to make it work for me. But I knew I didn't need to put my oldest sister out with a family and kids of her own to stay out with Michelle, so I made the decision to come home. I'm not sure if it was the right call, honestly. Should I have just accepted the help from others? Probably. But I HATE putting people out. Just hate it so much. I hated that Anthony had to change his next few days, I hated that Jennifer had to take on extra work. I just felt bad. When I facetimed my kids around noon that day and saw Charley Kate crying saying, "Mommy! Come home pwease!" I knew my decision was made. My littles needed me more than I needed to be there. Sigh (and pout pout pout). :)
Anyway, I got a really good snuggle session in with Clay and even got to fee him a bottle! Yippee! I also took lots of pictures of him in the monogrammed hat I brought out. PS- as soon as the monogram shop opened on Friday I dashed there to see if they could do a quick hat for me. They had just recently decided on his name and he had nothing. Luckily I'm their "Best Customer" and they did it for me in a few hours! YES!
I called him Pope Clay in this one. I mean, how cute and teeny!?
Molly and I headed to the airport that afternoon around lunch time and I was dreading flying with her again! Ack.
Luckily there was no one right next to us this time. However, the flight home was far worse than the flight there. She refused to nurse at all. I had a teeny bit of formula for the take off and a teeny bit for the landing to help with her ears. She was just OK for the majority of the flight- same as the way there. Just squirmy, fussy, bored, etc.. But she didn't even want to lay down on the seat next to us or play with any of the toys that worked on the way out there, so we got desperate. And by desperate I mean I gave her a lentil cracker to suck on and eventually tore it in chunks and fed it to her. She's 3.5 months. This was her first taste of food. And it was lentil crackers on an airplane. Poor third kid. :(
In another act of desperation I put her on the floor between my feet to "kick around and play." Surprisingly this lasted a good 10 minutes. Win! Or fail. However you look at it.
And in a final desperate moment... She was hungry and starting to fuss. She wouldn't nurse. I went to the bathroom and tried. She wouldn't. So with about 30 minutes left and our descent starting, I gave her the teeny bit of formula I had left. She sucked it down. But the descent was still going on and her ears were still popping. I tried nursing again. Fail. So I poured some of my water into her bottle so that she would at least have something to swallow to help her ears. She took a few sucks and started wailing!!! For the last 15-20 minutes of the flight she scream-cried. Between her ears and my attempts at water in the bottle, it was horrible. I felt so bad and knew everyone around me hated me. I truly wanted to crawl under the seat and hide. Once the plane landed and the lights came on, I stood up and apologized to everyone around me.
I must say, people can be really awesome. Not one person was ugly to me. Everyone around me told me not to worry and that they saw how hard I was working the entire flight to keep her from fussing. They all laughed and joked that it was rite of passage as a parent and everyone was so forgiving. I wanted to cry and hug them all. Seriously. People really can be good sometimes.
I am missing my sister and Baby Clay today. But waking up to my kids this morning was such a sweet little moment.
I am so thankful to Anthony and my sister for helping while I was gone. Anthony never complained once and actually sent me an email this morning that said, "... I'm so glad you got to go see Michelle. I know how important that was to you..." I mean, he definitely earned Husband of the Year. Never complained once, never flinched about me hopping on a plane across the country. Nothing.
What a guy.
And that baby Clay?! What a doll! They call him the "Man of Steel" in the NICU. No one would have ever expected a baby so early to do so well. He's such a champ and is expected to go home SOON!
And I'm so proud of my little sister. She is SUCH a natural. She is so loving and patient and smart and level-headed as a mom. She is doing a wonderful job already. I can't wait to see her again!