So over dinner last night, I told Josh that I finally did it. I finally wrote that first entry to the blog I started a year ago. He asked me what it would be about and I was stumped. I guess I am interested in writing about parenting. My parenting ideas that pan out and the ones that fall flat. How my mistakes and failures shape the person Lennon becomes. How being a parent is changing me every day. How I somehow manage to cook, clean, study, work and occasionally get to take a shower or an uninterrupted bathroom break. [On any given day you can only count on 2-3 of the preceding list of tasks being completed.]
I think I am going to begin by telling the story of Lennon's birth and trying to dissect the blur that is the first few months of his life (as concisely as possible).
My little brother was graduating from nursing school on Saturday, May 8, 2010. My parents were in town and staying with Josh and I to attend the graduation ceremony. On Thursday before my folks came in on Friday, I was frantically cleaning everything. Then I started doing yard work. I squatted down, 36 weeks of baby belly between my knees, and pulled a bush that had bugged me ever since we moved into that house out of the ground. It took a few tugs, but I got it. I was filled with energy and strength. Then the cooking began. Oh, the cooking. I made 24 salmon croquets, meticulously wrapping them individually and then packaging them by fours. Then I baked a ham. While the ham was baking, I made 2 chicken pot pies, a lasagna, and a meatloaf and put them all in the freezer. Once the ham finished I carefully sliced it. Some thicker slices to have as ham steaks and some thinner slices to make ham sandwiches with, then I labeled each accordingly with a sharpie and put them into the freezer. Thursday night I slept like a baby (at that time I still thought that meant restful, deep sleep). Friday morning I woke up with considerable less energy, but was thrilled to see my parents. My dad and I walked around Glen Eagles neighborhood and talked about all sorts of things. Our favorite foods, music, the cows at the farm, gossip from Princeton, etc.
That night we all settled down to bed around 11pm. My back had been hurting all day long, presumably from that darn bush. By midnight, my back pains became more intense and began radiating from back to front of my spherical mid-section. I got out of bed once I realized that my tossing, turning, and moaning was keeping Josh awake and he had to work early the next morning. I went downstairs to the couch and was able to lay down for a few minutes and then I would pace for a few minutes. This went on all night long from midnight until 6am. At that time I went upstairs and told Josh that I think I overdid it on Thursday and I was going to try to lay in bed all day. As he showered for work, I lay in the bed trying to find a comfortable position. Then it happened. My water broke. I was ecstatic. Our baby was coming!
My mom stayed behind and like the saint she is cleaned up the amniotic fluid in my bedroom and we promised to call once we knew something more.
Fast forward 12 hours. At 9pm I had not made any progress. The contractions I had been battling for weeks had stopped once my water broke and I was not dilating. It had been a long day. My midwife decided to increase the pitocin they had started earlier and within 3 hours, I was begging for mercy. Though I was still not making much progress, the pain had become unbearable and the natural, drug-free child birth I had planned for months came to and end. I never saw the anesthesiologist, I still don't know his name, but I love that man! Once my epidural was in place, I apologized to Josh and to Gretchen, my nurse, for the dirty words I called them. For the next 6 hours, Josh and I closed our eyes but never slept.
All night long Lennon's heart rate would drop and my blood pressure would plummet. Around 6am on Monday, May 9th, my midwife decided it was time to start pushing even though I had only dilated to somewhere between 8and 9 cm. I pushed and I pushed. Until all the blood vessels in my eyes and forehead burst. Around noon, things started getting really scary, but not for me, I was oblivious. Lennon was six months old before Josh ever told me just how panicked everyone truly was. My baby was not handling the stress of 36 hours of labor including 6 hours of pushing. Dr. Campbell decided it was time for Lennon to be born, so during one last push with the help of the vacuum, here he came. 12:30pm. Lifeless and blue. Not breathing. It was the scariest 5 minutes of my life. I never heard him cry. I barely even saw his face before they whisked him out to the NICU.
En route to the NICU, Lennon began breathing and when they reached the 4 floor, he was doing just fine. Josh came to tell me and then joined Lennon for his first bath and his initiation into humandom complete with heal pricks, weigh-ins, and Hepatitis vaccines.
I don't really remember hardly any specifics of the next 3 months. He and I ate a lot, cried a lot, and slept a little. Everytime I would close my eyes, for weeks, Iwould hear the tha-thump-tha-thump-tha-thump of the fetl heart monitor. I spent those 3 months co-sleeping with Lennon in the guest bed. He would nurse off and on all night and I cherished those quiet moments we spent alone in the dark becoming best friends. Each night he would scream from the pain of reflux for 20 minutes to 3 hours. Josh and I would take turns rocking him and singing or reading to him trying to find something to soothe him, but nothing could. This is the hardest work I have ever done in my entire life. The paycheck is worth the work though!
Fast forward again, to today and we are in a new home, a new city, and a new (much preferred) sleeping schedule. We have somehow become parents to the happiest, loudest, cloth diapered, well fed, slightly spoiled, funniest, most opinionated, cutest baby boy in the world! I'm not sure how we did it. It just happened. Some of my big ideas about parenthood have worked out (we are still cloth diapering and LOVE it) and some of them didn't go exactly as planned (I had full intentions of breastfeeding until Lennon weaned himself). But nonetheless, it is perfect.