As I reflect on all that happened during the last weeks of 2011, I'm again reminded that "hindsight (really) is 20/20". Things just usually, well, work out the way that they're supposed to. Like Parker's BIRTHday...
My friends can all attest to the fact that originally I really, really wanted my little guy to arrive BEFORE Christmas. For various reasons but mostly because at 38+ weeks I was really, REALLY done being pregnant! And wouldn't it have been fun to have a brand new baby at home on Christmas??? (Um, now I know that the appropriate question would instead be "Fun for who???") Because the truth is, I don't think it would have been that fun for any of us! Special? Yes. Fun? No. Because guess what? Those first few days at home with 2 older kids who've missed you, a newborn, and a stitched up incision on your abdomen are HARD!!! And painful!
But that's not what this post is about. And I don't want to sound negative. Honest but not negative. Because truthfully, the joy (and relief) that I experienced in that operating room 5 weeks ago was palpable. Intense. Feelings that I will not soon forget. And for that, I am thankful.
It was a different kind of joy (and relief) than I experienced when Grayson and Molly were born, stemming from the fact that my 3rd pregnancy turned me into a crazy person! A crazy, irrational worrier. I just couldn't shake the feeling that this time we were playing a game of Russian Roulette. As ridiculous as that sounds--I mean, seriously, TONS of moms give birth to 3, 4, 5, 6, 7+ healthy babies--here I was questioning if I was one who "deserved" 3 perfect babies. I mean the creation of life is so mind-blowing miraculous--what has to happen for a healthy baby to come to be is amazing and almost incomprehensible! And I just had such a hard time letting myself believe that I would be lucky enough to bring 3 HEALTHY babies into this world. Of course that doesn't mean that I wouldn't have loved a 'special needs' child with all my heart and risen to the challenge of that reality, but when was the last time you prayed, "Dear God, please let me give birth to a child with serious medical problems or birth defects."? Exactly. I didn't think so. That's not how my prayers go either. Instead I prayed fervently that my sweet Parker would be the poster child for healthy babies. But still. There were serious chinks in my armor (aka my faith). After all, I'm human. And remember? I already admitted to being a crazy, irrational human. So I worried. About everything! First I worried that he wasn't moving enough. Then I worried that he was moving too much! At one point I even, kid you not, found myself googling 'seizures in utero'! I'm not even sure those exist! And then, the big blow. Parker's ultrasound midway thru my pregnancy revealed that he had something called an 'echo genic foci on the left ventricle'. Say what?! I found myself sitting in the doctor's office--just me and my widwife--with tears streaming down my cheeks because honestly, as much as I worried, I never actually expected her to tell me that there actually was something wrong! And to hear the words "a 'soft marker' for Down Syndrome" left me literally almost gasping for air. But then in the next breath, she told me that the 'something' would likely turn out to be nothing. (She also told me TWICE that it was his BRAIN in question and not his HEART--it was his heart--but that, in itself, is a whole other (WEIRD) story!) So it was my call to make. Either go see a specialist to follow up on the finding or choose to trust the statistics that indicated that the odds were in our favor. I did neither. Instead I prayed. And prayed and prayed and prayed. For Parker's good health, yes, but mostly for peace. The kind of peace that would let me let go of the fear. And thankfully I did, to some extent, find that peace. Really I did. Most days. Some days, not so much. As strong as my inner sense was that my baby was fine, still if I let my mind go 'there', all those fears and worries would come storming back with a vengeance.
Then it was December 27th. Our scheduled day. I should have known better than to think that Parker would make his entrance early! In fact, I don't think any of my babies ever knew that was an option! Ha! Ha! Speaking of my other babies, I wanted to go into that day feeling confident that Parker's birth would mirror the wonderful birth experience that I had with Molly. Everything about that day with Molly just went right. I remember feeling after the fact that I wished I wouldn't have wasted so much energy being nervous. Because peace and calm truly blanketed me throughout the whole experience. I even got a great night of sleep the night before! This time around? Well, the prize was just as GREAT at the end, but getting to it was neither peaceful nor calm! Ugh. I think I'm still peeling off sticky tape residue from the 2 failed IV attempts in one arm and the one that finally worked in the other. Ouch! And then there was the anesthesia ordeal. Really if quitting (on my part) was an option, I think I would have! Darn curvy spine! It took so, SO long (though I must say that the anesthesiologist was so, SO nice). And thankfully, once everything was FINALLY in place, the surgery itself (aside from feeling like it took forever) went just as it was supposed to. I was so happy once Dave finally came in the room and was right there with me. And then...the tug, tug, tug...and finally...THE CRY!!! Lots of loud, loud crying! Music to my ears! And the moment I had hoped and prayed for:
Oh. I probably could have inflated a giant hot air balloon with the sigh of relief that I let out at that minute. In fact, right this minute, as I remember that minute and look at these pictures, I find myself once again breathing in deep in a "savoring the moment" kind of way. And then I breathe out, and I can't help but close my eyes, smile from ear to ear, and thank God (again) for our precious baby.
December 27th, 2011 - 8:26a.m. - 6lbs. 12oz. - 20 inches
Happy BIRTHday, sweet Parker James! We're so glad you're here!