My sweet Prince Milo

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Milo Samuel MancaMilo Samuel MancaTo even begin to describe the last 9 days would require volumes of blog posts. The last "week" has been the most physically challenging thing I have ever gone through and with the greatest reward - my beautiful son Milo.

So many people told me that I would never know a love like this. They were right. Milo is unbelievable and so much a part of me. I am in love with him and will do anything to keep him safe and happy. I have a connection to him that exists with no other human being on this earth.

(Click any of these photos to see the complete photo album)

I had a hunch from the very start that Bun was a boy. I'm usually pretty good with my intuition. And since the start, I had gotten a sense that his personality was a lot like Mark's - very calm, mellow and patient.

But Milo didn't want to wait until June 1 to arrive into the world. He arrived 4 days early. With having taken 2 weeks off work prior to his due date, I was getting ready for him. I always have a list of things to do around the house a mile long, and the time off helped me make huge dents into that list. I had a incredible burst of energy leading up to the labor. I was planting flowers, cleaning the shed, rearranging rooms, getting ready for my family's visit and other things. I was totally on fire.

The Labor
Wed, May 27 was when it started. I won't give you the play-by-play, but the high level recap!Labor at HospitalLabor at Hospital

I could have sworn my water broke on Wed. I called the midwife and had her check it out. She assured me that no, it hadn't and to get more rest as Milo would likely be coming in the next week or so. Only when I went to bed that night, I woke up before midnight with new contractions - stronger ones that told me, "no, he's coming now!" Mark didn't believe me at first, but we used the cool contraction tracker (BB app) that he made to measure the time, duration and distance between contractions.

I labored at home for the next 15 hrs. Mark was with me the whole time, and the midwife, Jessica, from about 10AM onward. I coped during this part, mostly thanks to Mark for being so supportive and loving. It was hard, but more uncomfortable and a little scary as I didn't know what was ahead. During labor, I would reassure myself that no matter what, I wanted to come home with a healthy baby and that the baby and I were going through this together.

Around 3PM, the midwife said we were ready to go to the hospital. My contractions were every 4 min for nearly a min, and I was 7 cm dilated. I was getting more uncomfortable and knew this was it. Since it is our first child, we felt it would be best to be at the hospital. I could have easily stayed at home to deliver - another benefit of the midwifery which I will totally go to again by the way.

Mark and I left for the Montfort hospital where our midwives practice and got a very nice new room for delivery. We packed a cooler of good food and enough clothes for 3 days. Little did we know, we would be there for 5.

At the hospital
The hospital time went quickly. I had an epidural around 8PM because my blood pressure was starting to raise, and the baby's was a little up and down. I continued to progress, but the midwife noticed that Milo's head was slightly turned which would impact his delivery. They broke my water at this point, and found that baby had had his first poops already. This is not a good sign because it means that he was under distress. A funny little OBGYN man investigated the situation and threatened jokingly, "you've got one hour to turn this baby's head around, otherwise we have to do a C-section."

The midwives and I did our thing, and actually did turn his head when the doctor checked again. Now, I was ready to push, which we tried for 2 hrs. But Milo, being very much his own person, turned his head back resulting in no further progress. I was 10 cm dilated and now it was 2AM. With all these circumstances, Milo needed to come out soon.

They prepared me for surgery, and literally I remember so little. I was wheeled down the hall, and as soon as I saw Mark in scrubs, the baby started crying. I remember turning my head to see him. Mark said very quietly, "It's a boy.." I was already crying because I knew he was ok. We were so stressed that my blood pressure and the baby's was going all over the map. Milo had been textbook in every doctor visit during pregnancy, and my blood pressure was typically on the low side.

When I heard him cry, it was wonderful because we had both made it! Soon I would be able to hold him but needed to stay in recovery for an hour. I feel asleep exhausted. Mark took Milo and held him skin to skin. I could tell that it was the best therapy for Milo to calm him back down.

More hospital
Since I had now had a C-section, I would need to extend our stay for 2-3 days in another room. On day 2 and 3, Milo started to get very sleepy during feedings and his skin color was off. He had developed jaundice and would need to be treated with photo therapy (via UV light). It was definitely hard to watch him, and we lost over 24 hrs not being able to soothe him and look at his every feature.

Milo and me playingMilo and me playing

The therapy worked in addition to feeding him formula to help build up his body weight when they rechecked his billy rubin levels. We really didn't have a choice to supplement with formula so early in his development, but we had to. If he lost more than 10% of his birth weight, he would likely need to be put on IV.

Later that day, we both cleared for discharge from the hospital. The nurse staff wanted to make sure we were ok with leaving so late in the day, but we were so excited to bring Milo home finally! We packed and left the hospital around 11:30PM. Milo slept the entire time the second we put him in the carseat.

Life at Home
Everything at home is different now. With my instructions for recovery, I'm not allowed to lift anything but the baby, and I must stay on one floor all day - no going up and down the stairs. It is so strange being stuck in the bedroom all day. It's also strange that one little person can run 2 adults ragged 24 hrs a day!
Milo and me kissingMilo and me kissing

Milo, Mark and I are adjusting well to our new surroundings and roles within the family. Mark has been a rock, and even so despite getting no sleep. Milo and I are getting on a better feeding routine as I understand his cries and gestures more each day. He is truely beautiful. He looks like both of us, and he seems so inquisitive and thinking.

Looking at him, makes me wonder what he'll be when he grows up, what he'll feel when he experiences his first broken heart and could he possibly be the athlete that Mark and I never were? It's so exciting, and the best adventure of our lives.

I still can't believe that Milo is finally here and safe. He's going to grow so fast, and I want to enjoy every moment I can with him and with Mark, the most amazing husband on earth. I love you always Milo and Mark.

Hi Jessica and Mark and Milo,
Tony forwarded me the photos, they are awsome!
congratulations on your new little family :o)

Tara

Awww.. baby bun... err, I mean Milo is so adorable. Congrats to you both!!!

PS: This is Brad :c)

Jess! I miss you and wish that I could pop over for a visit to hang out and meet your beautiful baby boy. Your post and pictures moved me to tears. You all look so beautiful and happy. Let's talk soon.

Love you,

Jackie

Dear Jess, Yes, the birth of a child is an experience like no other. It is indeed a miracle of life. It is like having a hint of God's love.

Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us and for the pictures. It is almost like being there with the three of you. You were very brave and I am very happy to hear Mark was so supportive.

The arrival of Baby Milo has given us so much joy. What a blessing!

Chuck and I send you a big hug with much love,
Grandma Lupita

Jess, you are so brave and so loving. In the photos, the love is beaming from you! I can feel it as I look at them. I feel like I was right there with you -- your description of your experience is powerful. Thank you for sharing it. Much love to you,
Julie


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