I look back on moments in my life and wonder, "Where was Ryan during that?" and remember that, hey, he wasn't here yet. That's how big a part of my life he has become. Five years ago today, it was the day after Thanksgiving 2003. I was 34 weeks pregnant and was preeclamptic. I had already been in the hospital on mandatory bed rest for one week. The problem was that the bed rest wasn't so restful and only made me more stressed out than before. My OB wanted me to hold on for at least another week, two or three if possible, but when my blood pressure spiked to 160/110, they decided that it was time to get the baby out before I had a stroke.
Ryan Madison Hatter Tissot was born around 5:20, November 28th, 2003. He was six weeks early and only weighed 4 pounds. He came out in one push. I got to spend about ten minutes with him, cooing and crying, before they whisked him away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Texas Women's Hospital in Houston, Texas. I didn't get to see him again (other than in a polaroid his NICU nurse took of him and sent to my room with Sam) for another 16 hours.
When I was released two days later, I was told that Ryan would have to stay in the NICU for awhile. He was eating and breathing just fine, but he wasn't gaining any weight and he wasn't able to maintain a normal body temperature. It could have been so much worse, I know, but it was bad enough. The hardest moment in my life so far up to that day was getting in my car and driving away from that hospital, leaving that tiny little baby behind. I felt like I was abandoning him.
I went there daily to take him breast milk I had been pumping around the clock and within a few days, he began to gain weight. He was slightly jaundiced, so they had to give him UV treatments making him look like a little tiny Jimmy Buffet after a couple of days. After a few days, they let me try to nurse him, but his mouth was so tiny he couldn't latch on. And when I finally did get him to latch, the effort was so great that he would tire after just two minutes and fall asleep on me.
Ryan spent 12 days in the NICU, but had finally gained a few ounces (he was about 4 pounds 6 ounces when we brought him home) and was doing a good job maintaining his body temp (though we were on temp watch and had to montitor his temp every three hours to make sure).
The first eleven months were very hard for me. I didn't realize it, but I had a BAD case of post partum depression. I thought I was just being me, but that I was a bad mother. Maybe I just wasn't cut out to be a mommy. Still, I pumped my milk every three hours and I tried daily to get him to latch on. It took three months to teach him how to nurse and finally put the bottles away in storage.
All that is past now. Ryan is my little man. He did everything late. Crawling, standing, walking, talking. But he does all four of those non-stop now. He's taller than many other kids his age and has become bilingual in just two months. He's dramatic (melodramatic, too), artistic, stubborn, inventive and sensitive (all from me). But he's also mechanical, mathematical, scientific and sensitive (all from Sam).
Again, I can't imagine what I ever did without him. And I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have him and to have spent this half a decade with such an incredible little person.
Enjoy the pix...