He's officially 3, which means all baby-ness is gone. We have entered the big-boy years.
But in the spirit of April 15, 2006, here is how Little J came to enter the world:
Many of you know we had quite an ordeal with the wondertwins. Being born at 25 weeks gestation and all, we lived between our home and our beloved St. John's hospital for six months. And when we did eventually bring those trouble-makers home, they were connected to feeding tubes and oxygen tanks and heart monitors that would go off like an air raid siren at all hours of the night. I believe I know what it is like to live through war after that experience.
Needless to say, three months after our twins escaped from the NICU, we found out that Denckhoff #4 was on his/her way. Shocker. Especially considering that we did in-vitro to have said wondertwins.
Life went on as normal for a while...until my pre-term labor caught up with me, and one day on a routine visit to the OB, the nurse practitioner thought I might actually birth the baby in their exam room. I was OBLIVIOUS. Yes there was pressure. Yes there were contractions. That was everyday of my life. Apparently that was also pre-term labor.
Enter in to my two-week hospital stay, at my beloved St. Johns. Fun times for Mike, who now had non-walking twins (one of whom vomited after every meal) and a three year old to tend to on a 24-hour basis (picture #2, above, is just to show you the herd we were bringing a newborn into). My hospital stay really should have been just for a couple of days of observation, but wouldn't you know it, full-blown labor actually reared it's ugly head HOURS before my release.
After 2 weeks, when the contractions were under control with a strict dosing of meds, and after much begging/crying/promising, they did actually let me return home on strict bed rest...where I remained plastered to a Lazy-boy for three more weeks. Easter Sunday I was cleared to resume life (36 weeks pregnant) until my scheduled c-section, or the onset of labor.
My water broke in the early morning hours of Saturday...between Good Friday and my promised freedom on Easter. I thought I was having a girl all along...looking back, only a boy would cause such a riot.
Little J was born at 6:15 that morning...exactly a month early. There was no water left in his amniotic sac by the time I was rolled in to surgery...and even with a beautiful epideral, I can still remember feeling him crawling under my skin. That kid was moving...even my doc commented, and we all took a second to watch him fitfully squirm, as if trying to find is own way out via my ribs. His arrival was attended by one of our beloved NICU nurse practitioners (we had not even been out of the NICU a year), who declared him healthy enough for the 5th floor.
He threw us into a panic a couple of times by holding his breath and turning blue, had a little trouble holding his temperature, his blood-sugar levels were all over the place and he was losing weight like no ones business in those early days...which led to a killer fight between me and my pediatrician. But he survived. He slept for a month straight and then literally took on the world screaming. This kid is the baby, and he knows it.
And I know it. I'm patient with him in ways I haven't been with the other 3...I cherish his now non-existent baby-ness in ways I never did when the older kids. He's my fighter, my poop-disturber, my attention hog. My Joshie. He likes things on his terms (explains my pregnancy); he is a BEAR if you wake him; he throws a fit if you touch/look at anything in the house he considers his (which is everything). He is also the best surprise we've ever received; awesomely cuddly; full of "I Love Yous"; his fierce independence met with amazing passion for all things he loves, like puzzles and chocolate milk and riding his bike down the hill on our street.
Happy Birthday Little J!! You are officially a three year old!!