Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Three Years Ago Right Now...

...I was getting ready to leave my house and head over to the hospital. I'd been having contractions for hours...well, days, really. They'd started on my birthday, nice and strong but a full half-hour apart. My friend A had come to take me out for a birthday lunch, and she wound up walking me around the local mall for hours, in hopes that it would make the contractions speed up a bit. It didn't. Neither did a lunch of spicy Thai food. I did have flu-like symptoms, which made me hopeful, but as it turned out, I actually had the flu. Bleh.

The next morning, my due date, was January 25th. I got up and realized that my voice was about to go--I was really, really hoarse. But, determined to nest just a little bit more nonetheless, I went to the supermarket, where the contractions really kicked in, stopping me in my tracks every eight to 12 minutes. I was quite a sight. Big doesn't even begin to describe me; I'm all of 5'1", and I'd gained 50 pounds during the pregnancy, all of it in my stomach, which stuck straight out. I wish I knew how to attach a picture, because I have some taken in the last days of the pregnancy, and I really do think they ought to be used in high schools 'round the country as natural birth control.

Anyway, I knew it was going to happen sooner rather than later, so I put in a call to my friend C, who had agreed to act as my doula, because my first birth hadn't quite gone the way I'd wanted. Now, mind you, I knew this was the worst possible day to have this baby, as C had a meeting she couldn't cancel, and lived three hours away. But, lo and behold, the meeting got cancelled, and C said she would grab her stuff, hop in the car, and be on her way.

By early evening, C had arrived and was walking me around the house, much to my displeasure. She made me some pasta, because the contractions still were kind of far apart, and we both figured it might be my last chance to eat something. It was delicious--at least the part of it I could eat in between contractions. Then it was back up on my feet to do more laps around the house.

By eight or nine o'clock that night, my brother-in-law had arrived--he was going to watch E for us--and I was in a warm tub of water. That would have saved me completely, if only it had been deeper and wider. As it was, I could only rock on all fours with my belly hanging in the water, and after a while, my legs were ready to collapse. So C got me up onto my bed, and was trying to keep me relaxed.

Baroy, however, had other ideas. The whole rocking and (very hoarse) moaning and moaning and crying thing was really making him nervous. He kept suggesting we head over to the hospital, especially since by then the contractions were less than five minutes apart. C wanted to keep me at home longer, for reasons obvious to almost anyone who's had a hospital birth or two, but they gave me the choice to make, and I was well beyond decision-making. So I abdicated to Baroy, and off we went. I remember we left the house at 11 pm on the dot, which is almost precisely what time it is as I'm typing this paragraph.

The trip to the hospital was horrendous (potholes+contractions=YOWCH), but we got there. Things went downhill from thereon in--think monitoring and decels that were a sign of things to come--and by 3 am on the 26th I had an epidural, nasal oxygen, and antibiotics due to a fever. Less than 12 hours later, I was ten cm dilated (a first for me--E had been a c-section after failure to progress, among other things), and ready to push. Except for the little issue that we were having with the baby's heartbeat, where it was, you know, disappearing during contractions. And I mean disappearing--these weren't just decels. My doctor (a pretty young thing who, as an aside, was apparently wearing a black thong that Baroy could see while she was bending over examining me, which I think put her at an especially unfair advantage) apologized up and down to me about letting it go this long in the first place, which she did just because I'd really wanted to have a vbac so as to hold the baby immediately after he was born. (With E, she wound up with a 6-day NICU visit at a different hospital than the one she was born in, and I didn't get to hold her until she was 36 hours old.)

In any case, they rushed--and I mean rushed--me into the OR, and at 3:20 or so, N was born. (I will never completely forget the pure terror of being restrained on an operating table, awake, about to undergo an operation, and realizing that my voice was so completely gone that if something were to go wrong, if I could feel what they were doing, or whatever, I wouldn't be able to tell anyone.) N's first apgar was a 3 (!), making us all glad we'd gone for the section, but he quickly pinked up and his five-minute was a 6 or an 8 or something. They took him to the NICU for a checkup, and kept him there for about five hours, but after that, he was all mine.

God. I loved that squishy-eared, round-headed, gorgeous bundle o' boy from the second I laid eyes on him. We had a pretty rough start; I had a nasty case of baby blues for about a week and a half, and he had some fierce gas issues for about six weeks, until I finally got my diet figured out. But after that...bliss. He started sleeping through the night--and I mean six, eight hours--completely on his own at four months, and has never really backslid. He was the kind of baby who woke up happy and cooing every morning, who giggled and smiled and entertained himself. We had all sorts of quasi-medical issues with him in his first year and a half, and those took up a lot of our time and focus. But it all just rolled over him. I will never forget him having a blood test when he was about a year old. He laid quietly on the table, staring at the lady about to poke him with a needle. And when she did, not only did he not cry, he didn't even flinch. It was amazing, but it was just how he was. He was The World's Easiest Baby.

Then came 18 months, and the personality started to shine through. I don't know what happened, but he went from World's Easiest Baby to Officially Challenging in about sixty seconds. But it's funny...no matter how challenging he gets, almost everyone who knows him says that he's even more loveable this way. Easy Baby didn't have quite the same force of personality that Offically Challenging does. And it's quite the force, let me tell you.

My boy at three is talking all the time. He's loves sports of all kinds, and sits and watches basketball with his dad. He can hit a ball off a tee like nobody's business, and knows instinctively how to throw different balls in different ways. He picked up a frisbee the other day and threw it nearly perfectly after watching me do it once. Astounding. He also loves to draw and cut paper and paint. He loves Blue's Clues and Maisy and Zaboomafoo. He loves construction equipment and fire engines. Given the option he'd ride his tricycle up and down the block all day. He's going to flip over the junior scooter my mom got him.

He's still a total snuggler, would rather be carried than walk on his own, would rather sit in my lap than sit on a chair by himself. He refers to all of us as his: my mommy, my daddy, my Emmy. "Where my daddy go?" he'll say when Baroy goes off on his own. Or, "My Emmy go to my Emmy school," when E heads off in the morning. Our house is "my house," and the cat is "my Buttons" and the rabbits are "my Zaboo and my Pumpkin." Even Baroy's PT Cruiser is "my daddy's new car," despite the fact that it's over a year old.

I love it. I love being 'owned' by a despotic preschooler. He makes me crazy, but he also makes me smile--heck, he makes me beam--absolutely every day. He makes our family complete. And he's turning three today (well, today by the time anyone reads this). Happy birthday, Boa boy. Your mommy loves you to pieces.

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