Today is my son’s birthday. My beautiful, loving, funny, happy, smart, energetic, inquisitive, science loving, dancing, singing, joke telling, imaginative son. He truly is both my sun and my moon. I will never know how I came to be so lucky. He keeps me going and he makes my life so wonderful. Parenting is so much harder than I ever thought it would be, and it is also so much more rich and rewarding than I ever imagined. Every single moment – even the hardest ones – are a gift. Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love him more, or my heart couldn’t possibly get bigger, it happens.
Last night we were talking about his birth story. We used to talk about it a lot. He loved to hear it. I realized a crazy thing. That story – it’s not really his at all. He doesn’t remember it, he doesn’t hold it dear like a fragile, precious thing as I do. He looks at me in wonder, not sure what to think of it or how to imagine it. He asks if he was really that small. That story – it’s really mine. And my mom’s. And it always will be. And the craziest thing is, my mom would have told it even differently than I can. Everyone’s perception is different after all. So this momentous, amazing moment in my life, it’s really all mine. All my memory – all my precious, wonderful thing.
I wanted to write it down, because today, I am so so happy to have my son, to have this little fire ball of a person in my life. But I am also a little sad – maybe nostalgic. Because this story is also a special thing for my mom and I – and I lost her this summer. My son is at school this morning – talking about the party he had yesterday and handing out cupcakes. So for that little time I will allow myself the sadness, and then he and I can have a special day together.
When I was 7 months along in my pregnancy, my husband went to Russia. Yep, you read that right. His family is there and his dad was going to be having heart surgery in the spring, and we knew he wouldn’t be able to go for a little while after we had the baby. He was supposed to be there a month, and we figured he’d be back in plenty of time for the baby. Well, that didn’t happen. He got stuck in Russia because his Russian passport had expired and it took longer than we thought to get him home. So, here I was, 7 and 8 months pregnant, not working, trying to get things ready for the baby, having a baby shower, sitting around watching a lot of tv, waiting for my husband to come home from another country.
I ended up on bed rest at about 36 weeks. The baby’s head was giant, he kept flipping up and down, his head in the right place one day, the wrong place the next. The doctor said my hips were narrow and she was worried I wouldn’t be able to have him naturally. He was like a little contortionist in there. The doc kept saying that he shouldn’t be able to turn over anymore – there wasn’t enough room in there, but he didn’t listen.
So, my mom came down to help me. She had been here over the weekend for my baby shower, then the day after she went home, I was put on bed rest and she came right back with her work and computer and phone. She tried to work and I laid on the couch or in bed. All day and all night.
At 37 weeks (still waiting to hear from my husband about when he could come home) the doctor decided we had to induce – and we would schedule it for 38 weeks. She was concerned we would have to do a C section at this point anyway, because of the size of his head. For a few days we ran around to appointments, first we thought we needed to turn him – manually (ugh) – but when we got to that appointment he had put himself back into the proper head down position. We went to the hospital to make sure I was checked in and everything. We called my hubby (I was stressed out about him not being there until the actual labor started). We got my bags ready and finished with the baby things.
3 days before we were going to induce, I went into labor. It was a hard, long labor – I didn’t progress like I was supposed to. I had to have medicine to help me dilate. I was at the hospital for 3 days before he was born. My contractions were 4-2 min apart that whole time – painful and strong, but I have a body like my mom’s and I just had to have some help. My epidural didn’t work. They were worried I would have to have a c section because we couldn’t get him down where he should be. Finally, at the last minute, everything came together he dropped, I dilated, and after a couple hours of pushing, he came out. He did have the cord wrapped around his neck and we lost the heartbeat for just a few scary seconds. My mom was screaming at me to push – the nurses and everyone else too, but my mom is who I heard. She was there the whole 3 days. Holding my hand, tucking in my feet, telling me to breathe, getting me my ipod, changing the channel, talking to my husband, telling me to stop screaming at the nurses.
My mom was the first one to see him. She cut his cord. She followed him to be cleaned up and check his fingers and toes. I held him first, but she saw him first. She helped me nurse. She helped me dress him, she helped me take him home. She was there. For his first bath, for his feet being printed, for his first pictures, for his first everything.
I am so thankful we had that special time together. Honestly, I’m glad she was there and not my husband in some ways. I hate that my husband had to wait 3 weeks to see him. Had to wait a few days to see pictures. Had to wait to touch him. But I am glad my mom was with me and she wouldn’t have been if my husband was here. He would not have been the rock she was – he wouldn’t have known what I needed.
Those first few nights home she helped me getting up and feeding him. She changed him and burped him and put him back to sleep – I nursed and slept. We were both exhausted and both up all hours of the night.
The first night home he was screaming and screaming like a banshee and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We had gone through all the problem solving – hungry, gassy, cold, hot, are his clothes hurting? What was wrong? My mom figured out his diaper had slid down his bum and his little tushy was hanging out. We pulled them up and the screaming stopped. We had a lot of good laughs about that.
I am so thankful for my son. I know now how my mom felt about me. There is no love like a mother’s love.
I am so thankful I have those memories of my mom being able to help me.
I am so thankful for the strength and sunshine my son has given me these last few hard years. It seems an awful burden – to be someone’s reason for living – but he is.
I love you, little man. Like you can never know.