I will never forget the experience of Nathan being born a preemie. He couldn't regulate his body temperature and spent days in an incubator. He had severe jaundice and spent hours in the "tunnel". He was quickly losing weight and I wasn't allowed to let him nurse but rather had to supplement formula in a cup. We spent nearly two weeks in the hospital and I remember crying each and every single day. He had bruises all over his feet and hands from all of the blood tests. I didn't get to hold him or cuddle him because he had to be in the incubator. For a first time mother, it is one of the worst things that can happen to you. There is are very little words that can describe that type of helplessness.
Things didn't improve when we came home. He would cry - all the time. Who could blame him - he was hungry and wasn't allowed to nurse with a bottle. It would take us hours to feed him a few ounces. It was frustrating for everyone.
When Noah was born at "full term", I had no idea what to expect. I mean could a couple of weeks - 10 days really make such a difference. I feared the worst.
He took to nursing, but I was filled with self doubt. I wasn't able to nurse Nathan so I didn't know if I was even doing it correctly, but he gained weight. We were released from the hospital in five days. There was no jaundice. There was no need for an incubator. There were no blood tests. I was paranoid and kept asking the nurses and the doctors "is this normal?".
I am amazed at the tranquility that Noah has compared to Nathan. He wakes up once to eat at night. There is no formula, no bottles, no cups. There is no hysterical crying (from either him or I), and I feel like I know what I'm doing. I'm not sure if Nathan's prematurity had anything to do with this or they are just very different babies.
I hardly put Noah in his bassinet the first few days. I wanted so much to soak up all of the newborn magic that I didn't get to enjoy with Nathan. Those first few moments of life where the only thing either of us knows is each other.