Welcome to my little parenting blog. I know, I know, there are a million and one of these things out there and here’s another to throw onto the heap.
I’m a stay-at-home mother, who, before her child was born, wasn’t really all that great in the working world. That’s not to say that I wasn’t a hard worker or didn’t try my best, but sometimes I feel like my brain was destined for something other than the words, “detail oriented”. I was the assistant manager of the embroidery department of a branding firm here in the lovely state of Vermont and loved the people I worked with! LOVED! They were my second family, as I had worked there for seven years and really grown attached.
But because this blog is about pure, gut wrenching honesty, I’m going to safely say that I was not that great at my job. I made mistakes and forgot things that needed to be done. All in all, I’m a pretty flaky person, ask anyone who knows me. I think the only time I had ever felt at home was behind a word processor or on stage performing comedy. So when I became pregnant, the choice to be a stay-at-home was an easy one.
Before my son, I was at a point in my life where I really had to make a choice, what the hell do I do for the rest of my life? I loved doing comedy, improv and character work and so set my eyes on moving to Chicago and attempting a dream of breaking into Second City. My husband and I had already bought tickets to go and paid for our tuition in the summer intensive they hold every year.
But every night before and after I bought the tickets, my mind clicked away. You’re turning 30. How long will it take for you to get to where you want to be? You have always wanted to try for biological children. You have a limited time before that is no longer an option. Comedy will be there forever as long as you want it to be. My mind was severing in half like some kind of 80’s horror movie.
My mother got sick a month before we were supposed to leave and so the trip was canceled. It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made.
One night after my mom was feeling better and things had calmed down, my husband and I were walking our greyhound Chuck, the best dog the world has ever known. We were talking about the Chicago trip and how we could try to go again and I just turned to him and said,
“I really want a family. What do you think?” He smiled a huge smile. It was as if he had been thinking the same thing right along.
Good bye crossroads! Thank God!
Two months later, I was pregnant with our son. I loved it! I loved every minute of it! I loved feeling him move and playing music for him. I loved talking to him and thinking about what he would look like. I don’t think there had been a happier time in my life before this.
We went to child birthing classes and made a birth plan. I was so excited to see if I could make it through the process. Andy and I are a great team and I knew that no matter what happened we would be strong. I found myself watching child birth video after child birth video, always crying when the baby took its first breath, still do. It was beautiful to me, as cheesy as that sounds, the entire thing was beautiful. I couldn’t wait for it to happen, for the labor to be over, for them to place him on my chest and for that rush of hormones to make me instantly fall head over heals for this tiny stranger.
Then, three weeks before my due date, in the middle of the night, I felt this horrible pain in my side and lower abdomen. Never having experienced labor before, I was sure this was my son’s early arrival waking me up. But a midnight trip to the hospital showed that I was not in labor at all and this pain was a complete mystery to all the doctors and nurses. The doctors determined that the only way to find out the source would be to c-section my son and do exploratory surgery.
Goodbye birth plan!
So my son was taken out and the doctors saw immediately what the problem was. Here goes folks, this is a little gross, it was a cyst on my fallopian tube about the size of a baseball that my son was pressing on and causing blood to fill up the tube. OK, gross part over, mystery solved Scooby Doo!
But something happened. They had held my son up before taking him to the NIC and I felt nothing. No hormones, no bonding. Nothing.
He was in the NICU for four hours, while others kept saying they couldn’t wait to see him, I lay there and thought, why am I feeling numb to all of this? They wheeled him into the room and I saw my little boy for the first time and… nothing. Tumble weeds. Crickets.
Oh God, this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. I’m supposed to love you. I’m supposed to feel this cosmic connection and fireworks are supposed to go off. Nothing. The cosmos is still and the fireworks were all duds.
This was the scariest moment of my life. I was terrified of this little 8 pound boy in a white hat.
Other things happened, my milk didn’t come in right away and we had to do SNS, a process of snaking a tube down the baby’s throat while attempting to breastfeed and pump formula down the tube as to “trick” the baby into believing he/she is actually breastfeeding. It was a nightmare and so scary to be snaking and pumping things down the throat of something so small and fragile.
I left the hospital feeling horrible, terrified and not like a mother at all.
Weeks went by, I began the rhythm that every new mother does. Feed, diaper, clean puke, scarf down something, repeat. That’s how it felt, no connection. I felt enough to keep the rhythm going but was lost at feeling that sacred bond, I felt sure, during my entire pregnancy, would be there.
I became a crazy woman. My son had lost 15% of his weight in the hospital instead of the normal 10% and so this made me crazy that he was losing further weight. I would obsess over it. I would drive him to the pediatrician just to have him weighed. Every cry made me think he was sick or I wasn’t feeding him enough. I started to believe that things I was or wasn’t doing were going to inhibit him from walking, using his hands, talking, even smiling. There is probably an entire file on me with lots of red pen at our pediatricians.
Then one morning, I was holding my son and I suddenly realized, these months of cleaning and worrying, two hour feedings and bouncing had lead me to looking down into his face and realizing I would take a bullet for this little 9 pound boy in a white hat.
I had fallen in love with my son. It was then that I knew that love, just like it does for partners and spouses, comes in the same form for your children. Some fall in love at first sight and simply know they are meant to be together. Others do a dance through dates and phone conversations or in my case, over Boppy pillows and doctors scales and find they are kindred spirits who need each other.
This is my son’s “birth” story or MY birth story, I suppose. I’m 29 weeks pregnant with our second and last, a little girl. And I would be kidding myself if I didn’t say those fears of not connecting weren’t kicking around in there a little. But mostly, I know that as my son is a part of my husband and I, so will our daughter be. And as everyone knows, missing parts and pieces always have a way of finding each other, no matter how rocky the road between them is.