Friday, March 31, 2006

The birth of Tiny Boy

4/16/06 This was started a few weeks ago, published only now. This is a hard time of year for me - birthdays and death anniversaries really take it out of me.
We spent Elijah's birthday on Kauai, one of his favorite places on earth, and easily his mama's.

Three years ago I had just come out of a six week stint in the hospital...I had what appeared to be preterm labor and it was decided, after a helicopter ride to another hospital in San Jose, that I would be put on some tocos - drugs to help slow or stop labor. And there I was, a captive audience, for SIX WHOLE WEEKS. I felt very very sick on one of the drugs in the cocktail chosen for me - magnesium sulfate - and constantly asked if it was poisoning my baby, as I felt so toxic on it. I was constantly reassured that it was 'fine, fine' and would they want me to take something dangerous to my baby? Really? And then they took me on tours of the NICU just in case I didn't believe them....they wanted me to see all the micropreemies with heads the size of tangerines so I would clam up and do what they wanted me to do. Take the drugs and stop asking questions.
So I told myself that if I just stayed put, just stopped complaining, just realized it was all for the best for my baby....then it would all work out okay. So I tried. I tried really hard. Meanwhile, my then 18 month old attachment-parenting-raised supergirl spent SIX WEEKS AWAY FROM ME. I do not need to point out how heartwrenching this was.

I stayed put until my baby was 34 gestational weeks old, and was taken off all the drugs. After failing to deliver on the predictions that I would, in fact deliver a baby, I was released.
Three weeks later, Dh and I packed up the jog stroller and Supergirl and headed off for a luxurious lunch and hike in Point Lobos. We had to drive halfway there for the routine prenatal appointment with OBfriend, so why not? I mentioned that it would be our last chance to take just one child out for a lunch and we should do it while we could (I was 37 weeks pregnant). When we got to the hospital for the visit with OBfriend, she said that I was going upstairs to have a baby - she was going to induce labor. I didn't question why at the time because everything about the pregnancy had been so atypical that I took it in stride (not my usual MO by a longshot). I said that was great, but we were on our way to Carmel and the beach, so could we come back after lunch? She said nope.

I was started on pitocin at 3:00 pm. We called my friend Suzy-the-doula and I felt fine. I had been having contractions for nine weeks, so I really didn't start to feel anything until the membranes ruptured, around 5:30. Then I just wanted to go into the bathroom to pee. I had just been checked - 6 cm. Once I was in there, it was dark and nice and nobody else was in there. I refused to come out, and politely informed dh and Suzy-the-doula that I had changed my mind, I would in fact like a spinal. Then I started complaining that I could not do this, helphelphelp...and still refusing to come out of the bathroom. After about 10 minutes of this, and some really intense contractions, doula-friend asked me if I wouldn't like to come out now, just for a short minute, and I answered with a surprisingly guttural, "nnno."
Which was interpreted by Suzy-the-doula as a pushing sound, and in one swift motion I found myself being yanked out of the bathroom and onto the bed, as she paged the nurse and screamed, "she's PUSHING" and was met with a nasally intercom response, "but I just checked her..." and as she heard me in the background came bustling down the hall 'anyway'.
Suzy-the-doula had interpreted correctly - I was 10 cm and pushing. I had never had that sensation with Supergirl's birth so it was news to me, and then, remembering what lay ahead of me (the pushing OUT of a baby's HEAD), I shouted to the bustling roomful of nurses and doctors, "WHERE'S MY SPINAL?????"
OBfriend walked in at that moment and smiled. "It's time to push!" she said just a little too cheerily.
"Oh yes, really - he's right there!"
"NO! Want. Spinal."
"Oh no! He's really right there! Just one push, come on!"
OBfriend feels for head. "Okay, don't push."
"FINE!" I angrily reply.
Then, "Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" as much as I wanted to hold out for the drugs, my body would not comply.
6:30pm, 3/31/03:
"There he is!"
"He's beautiful!!"

"That's it? It's over?" (this was me)
And there, on my belly, was a tiny little doll-faced baby boy.

Elijah Brooklyn
4lbs, 13oz
16 inches

He had the most perfect little heart shaped face, with curiously bright blue eyes and a tiny mouth, and the most beautiful head of curly white hair I have ever seen. And he smelled like cedar.

Happy Birthday, my dear tiny boy.
Happy Birthday Elijah.
If you were here today I would be putting three candles on your cake.
These kisses I've blown to the clouds will have to do.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Everything is illuminated

This morning I was woken up at 7:13 am by Supergirl lying next to me, whispering* urgently in my face,
"Mama! Mama!! MAMA!!!!!!!"
"Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? huh? what?" (one eye open)
"Mama!! Guess what?! If you hold your breath forever.......(dramatic pause, eyes widen).....'ll EXPLODE!!!!!!!!!!"

*have you ever heard a four year old whisper?

Friday, March 03, 2006

when a 4 yr old's nap goes bad

Supergirl, upon waking from an enviable nap, attempts to dress herself in a teeny tiny sundress period. In another glimpse at freak california coastal mountain winter, it snowed today, so I suggested that she find something to wear under or over the lovely garment.
This was her response:
Surlygirl: (shouting)This is a problem!! I don't want to wear something warmer with this and I don't want to change!! I want to wear this dress and I am not comfortable!!!!
Gwendomama: I wish I was a faerie to take away all your problems and make it all work out perfectly.
SG: I am glad you are not a a faerie because I HATE faeries and I don't even BELIEVE in them for REAL!!
GM: Wow, I hope the faeries didn't hear you say that.
GM: I said I hope the faeries didn't hear you say that you hate them. Not cool.
SG: I HATE YOU!!!! (no, she has never said this before)
GM: (calmly, I swear) If you are going to say that could you say it a little more quietly? Your brother is trying to nap.
SG: (hiss) I HATE YOU!!!!
GM: That's a little better. But really you should say 'I don't care for something' instead of 'I hate'. And, just so you know, if you said that to anyone else it would earn you a time out. But since it was me and I know you are being ridiculous, you're off the hook.
GM: I don't care for ridiculous.

What would YOU have done?!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy 4 months with Bubbles

You're four months old, little man of my dreams. I know, it came up really fast - but February always does that to you.
Four months ago and one day I thought I knew what you looked like. I thought I knew who you would be and what you would be see, I had to. I had to try and have some picture of you that created the essence of life for me to look forward to - because I have spent so much time worried about not getting to hold you in my arms, not getting to keep you, having to give you up. No matter who you were, before you were even conceived, I spent so much time wanting you and fearing for you. But those were my fears, founded or not, and they were not about you.
And today I can say that you look nothing at all like what I thought. Nothing like what I had created in my maternal fantasies. And that is great, because first of all, you're sooo much cuter than I ever could have imagined, and second, it lets me discover who you are, not who I thought you would be. Well, Duh, you might say. Third time around and your mama's just figuring out the obvious stuff like each child is different NOW? Yep. You got yourself real prize mama here, little feller!
I am going to tilt the mommyblog-gag-ometer here and say that you are the biggest joy in our lives - bigger than you will ever be able to imagine - and I hope you always feel that love in your core. The beginnings of your life, which is all I can speak for right now, are so filled with loving you that you smell like kisses.
Speaking of joy, you are full of it.

You are the happiest baby I have personally ever produced, and every smile you toss my way earns you more gold stars than a roomful of potty trainers.
You smile for me, for dada, for your personal fairie, aka supergirl, for the goddesses ( those would be my breasts). You have a great sense of humor. You giggle at dancing and just today gave yourself hiccups laughing over the sheer hilarity of the word 'muddy' (repeated over and over). In the mornings, after you have been snorting and tossing and sucking and turning for about 3 hours already and I am still tired, you watch me from the crook of my arm where you were 'sleeping'. I know because one of my eyes is slit open. When I finally open both eyes, you grin the happiest dopiest silliest grin I have ever seen and thus begins our day.
When we brought you home from the hospital, your least favorite thing in the world (in your two day experience) was getting your diaper changed. You would scream the scream of the unholy night creatures, and we would have to endure this about 8-10 times a day, just to get a fresh huggies on you. Now you actually like having a little fresh air, and love to get a change so much that sometimes when you are fussy, I just put you on your changing altar and take your pants off to fool you into thinking that you are getting a change.
You love your changing station so much that you poop first thing every morning so that I have no choice but to get up and carry you over there to be changed.

You are grasping and batting and cooing, just like a baby your age is supposed to be doing. But you do it with far more style! Your favorite word to say is 'ning'. I am not sure what this means, but you really favor the effect it has when said repeatedly, "ningningningningningning" and I am pretty positive that that alone is a sign of great intelligence.
You love to stand and bounce on mama so we tried out the bouncer the other day and you loved it. You also love your bumbo seat (so do we) and your baby crack bouncer. The key with you is to mix it up. At four months, you get bored easily.
You love your mother earth lullabies and classical music. You don't like your sister's preschool head banging ditties so much. You nurse well but not with distractions. You are a light sleeper. You prefer to be in mama's arms, well, most of the time.
You look so much like your big sister did at this age it is frightening. You gaze at her with the confidence one uses when addressing one of their own clan. You are, this very moment, curled up in her spooned warmth. I didn't think I would see this much love between the two of you so soon. You two ooze it for each other, and this makes my heart swell and ache.
You are a pro at nursing, throwing your head back to get a running start on your latch, then forcefully shoving your whole face into my breast to get your hookup. You get frustrated if the milk doesn't come out fast enough, and flail and growl like a little baby tiger until it flows more freely. Then you noisily chow down, occasionally looking up to lock in to the nursing gaze, and then you grin, the corners of your mouth turning up as you grasp your lunch in between.
Thank you so much for choosing our family!
You are growing, you are healthy, and to top that all off, you are also fabulously fun to be with AND adorable.

You are loved.