Our sweet baby boy, Rylan Louis Shepherd, was born at 8:59 a.m. on Saturday, June 21. This is his birth story…
Rylan was scheduled to arrive via a C-section on Thursday, June 26 (a week before his July 3 due date), but he decided to arrive on his own terms.
On Friday morning, I woke up feeling really queasy and I felt really sick again that night around dinner time. I felt better before bed, but that was the first sign that something was up. Then I woke up at 5:30 to go to the bathroom...and my water broke.
It was such a surreal moment because it wasn't supposed to happen this time around. I mean…I still had five days to go…food to cook, a house to finish cleaning, and a hair color appointment. But happen it did, and Rylan was on his way.
I woke Josh up to tell him that my water had broken, and he popped out of bed faster than I have ever seen. We called the doctor who said to come right in to the hospital, but consented to me taking a quick shower (I knew it would be the last one for a couple days). After calling our parents, we spent next few minutes frantically calling around to see who could come watch Ava until my Mom could get here. Luckily, Tori was able to come to the rescue!
Since I wasn't having any contractions yet, I drove myself to the hospital while Josh waited for Tori. He gave me explicit instructions to not have the baby without him :).
We managed to snap two final belly pics before I left. (Here are the pics of me at 40-weeks pregnant with Ava for comparison.)
Josh arrived at the hospital not long after I had been admitted. They checked to make sure my water had broken, and confirmed that it was go-time.
I was prepped for surgery and given a combo epidural-spinal block, which hurt way less than I thought it would (with Ava, I was in so much pain from the contractions that I barely noticed the epidural). Shortly thereafter, we heard Rylan's sweet little cry.
The nurses checked him out, and I was shocked to hear how small he was…6 pounds, 4 ounces, and 20 inches long. He also had a full head of hair just like his sister.
After what felt like an eternity, I got to see the little peanut.
And I finally got to hold him.
After a couple hours in recovery, we settled into our room.
Once we were in our room, they took Rylan to the nursery for a more thorough check-up. And he was down there forever! We finally got an update from the nurse, who informed us that they were keeping an eye on his oxygen levels due to the fact that he was having some respiratory issues. Josh went down to stay with him in the nursery, and reported back on a regular basis as I was very concerned.
Around this time, my Dad and sisters arrived. Unfortunately, they could only get a glimpse of Rylan through the nursery window.
A few hours later, the doctor told us that Rylan would need to stay in the NICU at least overnight for observation. Since he was born early and via C-section, he hadn't got all the fluid out of his lungs. They assured us that it was most likely nothing serious (aka just the "Wimpy White Boy Syndrome"), but we were obviously worried nonetheless.
In addition to the worry involved with Rylan being in the NICU, it also presented logistical problems. Instead of being able to snuggle and feed him in our room, we had to go down to the NICU throughout the day to see him. So every three hours Josh would wheel me down the hall where we would have to sign out in one location, wait for them to open the door, sign in on the other side, and then wait for another door to be opened.
Once we were in his NICU nursery, I would try to get Rylan to latch on and breastfeed, which was most often unsuccessful, before feeding him what I had been able to pump plus some formula. Then we would cuddle for a while and talk to the nurse about his progress before heading back to our room so I could pump and then try to get a little sleep before repeating the whole process.
It was exhausting. But totally worth it.
It was so tough to see Rylan hooked up to all those monitors, and even harder to watch his oxygen levels drop when he would get upset. However, we felt very lucky considering the state of most of the other babies in the NICU.
On Sunday, my Dad and sisters came back up to the hospital before heading back to Austin, and they were able to see Rylan one at a time in the NICU.
After two nights in the NICU, they finally released Rylan to our room on Monday afternoon (but the NICU nurses continued his care "in room" for the duration of our stay). I can't tell you how happy I was to be able to snuggle with this little guy as much as possible.
With Rylan back on our room, Ava was finally able to come up to the hospital to meet her little brother. She came in the door and wanted to hold him immediately. And seeing him in her arms was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. Talk about heart melting.
Bunny finally got to hold the little man as well.
Baby Brother also gave Ava a gift (a Frozen water bottle and pajamas).
We had a few other visitors on Monday, including Jill (sorry I didn't get a picture of Jill…she was busy videotaping Ava meeting Rylan), Rachel, Sarah, and Erin.
Unfortunately, Josh's parents couldn't make it up to Dallas because his Dad also had a hospital stay that weekend (he's doing great now).
And after enjoying our last night in the hospital...
It was time to head home...
And with that, it was time to officially begin our life as a family of four.
I can already tell that it is going to be quite the adventure.