Harvey Andrew Jackson

As you can imagine, having a baby makes things a little chaotic and normal routines and tasks get pushed to the side. Having a baby in the middle of a pandemic makes it that much more challenging. We were blessed to be able to have my mom and dad come visit and help us during this time, and truly we couldn’t have done it without them. We were told Andy wouldn’t be able to come and go from the hospital, which was our plan if my parents couldn’t come. My nextdoor neighbor was willing to watch our kids, but we didn’t want to burn bridges with someone who lived so close, so having them watch our kids for three days and nights straight seemed too much to ask, though they seemed willing (they’re just that nice).

Having my parents was such a blessing. We ended up being there three nights and 2.5 days. Our kids did great with my parents and unfortunately we had to go back to the hospital after Harvey was born for a 24 hour light blanket. Harvey’s bilirubin count was too high and so they wanted to knock out the problem as quick as possible. However, due to covid, only one of the adults could go with him and it seemed, at the time, to make the most sense to send me since he was exclusively breast fed. Looking back, I think I would’ve rather pumped and let him do formula for 24 hours because I was so exhausted from giving birth that I was not the best option for that kind of intense care. They put us in the internal medicine portion of the Eisenhower Hospital. They were not used to, nor equipped for NICU patients. It took them an hour or so just to hook up the light bed and Harvey was not happy about it. It was hard and flat and he had no actual blanket on him. He was warm enough from the lights, but the comfort of a swaddle was denied him. He would take a pacifier, but only if I held it in his mouth. I stood by his NICU light bed and kept my hand on him for comfort so he would get as much light as possible. As soon as I’d move my hand he’d fuss. But not even that lasted long. He began to fuss even with one hand on his belly and the other holding the pacifier in place. I tried nursing him and putting him back on the light, but the second I’d place him on that hard surface he’d wake up and cry again. He has an active reflux system and would promptly spit up half of what I’d just fed him all over the paper mesh covering. On top of his discomfort from the hard shell of a bed that he had to sleep on, he was now sleeping on his cold wet spit up. I called the nurses. They didn’t have any extra covers. Like I said, they weren’t equipped for newborns. They called around and said they’d get one delivered. I patted the cover dry with paper towels, but it wasn’t a great fix. I had given birth three days prior. I was weak and exhausted and I couldn’t sit down. His cries of discomfort broke my tender heart. The nurses finally returned and said that the delivery wouldn’t make it while we were there. I told them they needed to find a different solution because this wouldn’t cut it for this poor baby to be wet and cold. They disappeared and an hour or two later appeared with a makeshift paper mesh covering that looked taped together and cut in odd places. I wasn’t sure where they got it from, but it would have to do. I told them I just couldn’t keep this up. I was too tired, he was too uncomfortable. They said that when the evening shift came on that they’d give me a break and take the baby so I could rest.

I didn’t get enough photos with my parents when they came to help with the kids. Mostly because I was in the hospital half the time, but also due to just focusing on recovering and my dad worked a lot. His job keeps him plenty busy.
Mom got to come for Mother’s day and then stole our kids for two weeks- it was amazing! Andy and I haven’t gotten that much done… ever…
One month photo

I let my stubborn self put off receiving help until about 10 o’clock when I couldn’t stand any more. They came and wheeled the baby out. I had pumped some milk for them and went to sleep. I slept for four hours and never in my life has four hours of sleep felt so good. I woke up, took him back, nursed him and put him back on the lights. They took him away around 4 for another bilirubin check. I tended to him another two hours and just as he settled and I had climbed into bed, the intern doctor came in to tell me his bilirubin count was down enough for us to be able to go home, but we’d have to wait for the attending to actually get discharged. Another long three hours past and the doctor came in and I hopped on the phone to have Andy come rescue us. I did bother showering despite smelling like death, spit up, and who knows what else. I went home, showered, ate, and slept. Simple self care had never felt so great.

His little mask wouldn’t stay on, so we ended up using medical tape to keep it on there to protect his eyes.

Now, Harvey is two months old and you seem to quickly forget the whirlwind of the hospital stay and recovery. In some ways it seemed like yesterday that he came into the world, but when I see how alert, strong, and smiley he is, it is a reminder that I too have regained my strength for the most part. I still have weight to lose and strength to gain, but I’m on my way. Like many people have reminded me, it took him 9 months to get here, so now I need 9 months to get my body back.

Already two months! He’s a smiley, easy going hunk of love.

It gets harder with each baby, but I feel more determined and hopeful with him. I’ve had a lot of acid reflux “episodes.” I call them episodes, because when I first experienced one, I thought I was having a heart attack. After the fifth one and I was still alive, I began to trust Andy’s diagnosis that it was a severe case of acid reflux. I’ve been faithful at taking emeprezol since then and have only had one more “episode,” though there are days I can feel the pressure and know without the drug I’d be experiencing that excruciating pain once again. I truly felt it was worse than child birth. I’m hoping as I get into shape and lose some more weight that I won’t have to take the drug to avoid that pain.

Harvey is a sweet heart. He is easy going and smiles quickly and easily. I frequently hear him laughing in his sleep and despite his sister’s best attempts as rough housing with him, he doesn’t complain much. In fact, he’s already been on a plane and did better than Bev by far. He loves car rides, music, his baby swing, and cuddling with me. I love it too for the most part, though it does make it difficult to get things done. It was nice going to Utah and having my mom hold him so I could feel human while I helped make or cleanup dinner. She didn’t mind trading tasks either. I’d see her on her porch swing with Harvey and they’d both be smiling at each other, in their own personal heaven.

My other kids loved Utah as well. We had more cousin time than we even thought we were going to have. Two of my brothers were very strict with quarantining and told me they wouldn’t be able to see me when I flew in. I told them I understood and would respect their desires to stay in quarantine. However when I went to drop cookies off at one brother’s house, they quickly gave in. Jieun couldn’t resist holding Harvey and then we got to spend a good amount of time with them that week. Nik’s family took a little longer. Sara’s grandma passed away and after a weekend with Sara’s extended family, they decided they could spend some time with me.

This was one of the best photos of the group of 18 grandkids. It was hard to get them all to look forward and sit down.
By the end of 2020, my parents will have 20 grandchildren!

We did a lot of out door play dates with Adrienne’s family and after the third or fourth time playing together, they were good friends. Crista made the trip down to my parent’s house two times. It was great both times to be able to let our kids play together and catch up. I got to know Jordan a bit better since I only really got to meet him for the first time at their wedding. Jennie cut all of our hair (except Bev and Harvey— it wasn’t needed). And I got to know Nate, Caitlyn’s friend from high school that she’s began dating. My kids quickly grew to love him and would fight Caitlyn for his attention. Even Maverick was laying claim to Nate being his “boyfriend.”

Bev ended up starting her nap while riding behind the boat on the raft.
The kids enjoyed visiting great grandpa, at least running circles around him.
Jennie cut the boys’ hair and they look so handsome!
Maverick and Bev fighting over their “boyfriend.”
The boys kept their masks on the whole day of traveling (minus time to eat), Bev chewed on hers so much it was a safer option to let her go without.

Since we’ve been home I’ve been playing catch up on errands and chores and preparing for our next adventure with the Jacksons. I feel very blessed in this crazy time to have such a wonderful family and so many comforts when most things are more complicated.

One Comment

  1. Harvey is a beautiful baby. I’m sorry you had to go through such an ordeal putting him under lights, but I’m grateful you are both recovered and thriving.


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