My life as a mom started right smack dab in the middle of 1987.
My life was already in tumult. Nine short, endless months before we had uprooted and transplanted 1,500 miles away from family and friends. I knew from past experience that becoming part of a new fabric, if you will, was not an easy thing for me. In the past, though, I had been able to go home to familiar voices and faces and routines after a day of new surroundings and faces.
Not here. Not here where it rained and rained and rained, and where the traffic snarled like badly wound skeins of yarn, and the roads were quite similar. I was surrounded by friendly people who were eager to make me feel welcome. But their shared history was a foreign language to me. To them, naturally, mine had little relevance. In time we would make shared memories. But for now…
I was going to be a mom. Here. Just myself and my husband and the little one. Alone and more than just a little scared.
Things fell into place in my behalf quickly, however. One of my new-found friends was having her baby at home. Once I met her midwives, a skilled team with hundreds of births under their belts, I was able to set aside my white-coat panic and developed a healthy respect for what my body was capable of. I was at ease with them from the start.
I did have to endure a little standard-procedure pressure from the doctor who agreed to do backup, so that if complications developed, I could get into the hospital perched on a hill just minutes from my doorstep. This doctor was fond of C-sections and warned me at four months that I was too small to have the baby naturally. My midwives laughed and reassured me that I wasn’t small. I certainly wasn’t feeling small! My concerned melted away.
Until I was three weeks past the due date. My husband came with me on my last visit to see the backup doctor. She naturally wanted to do a stress test. Hubby asked what we were looking for–what we did or didn’t want to see. The test came out great. Doctor was not pleased. We got lectures on the breakdown of the placenta; hubby countered with further questions, the answers to which were more in our favor than hers. When she insisted I should be admitted, he made a deal. If the baby wasn’t on the way in 24-hours, we would come back and do as she asked. She reluctantly agreed. Thank goodness.
At the advice of my midwives, I drank a chocolate-castor-oil-milkshake (never, ever, ever, ever again!) and that got things started. Walking around our block again and again and again kept things going. All other details have been lost except that moment my son was here.
Unbelievably here, resting on my chest, so tiny and breathtakingly remarkable. No evidence of being overdue, or having been in any kind of danger. Here now without the use of drugs, much less surgery. I heard that my backup doctor was in surgery when my midwives called to let her know I would not be coming in. It was announced to her over the loudspeaker that the Dekat baby had arrived, safe and sound. To this day, I wish I could have been there to see her reaction.
The dangerous part, if there was one, came when I didn’t produce any milk for him. None of us had dreamed that would be a complication, given how well everything else had gone. I have never been quite as relieved as I was when we found that his little body did well with goat milk. The trial-and-error series leading up to that discoveryhad been exhausting for us both. My pediatrician told me later he could not explain exactly why he hadn’t put him in the hospital the first time he saw him, but he said he didn’t want to undermine our confidence as parents and felt he could trust us to turn things around. Which we did.
Finally, finally the chaos died. The midwives were on to their other moms-to-be. Daddy was back to work. I was alone in my house or our negotiating the winding roads of Danbury with a thoroughly enjoyable little companion. My days were filled with watching him learn, my nights with early-morning feedings and lullabies. When Dad got home from work, he took over–diapers, feedings, reading, all of it.
My little one helped me meet people. He became part of the new fabric I was weaving. Here in this place far from home, I was creating my own home. My own family.
To this day, I love his company. He is laughter and energy, quick wit with a little goofy mixed in still. He has brought endless adventures and a treasured daughter into my life. He will always make my heart overflow with love and joy like nothing else I have ever known.
June 30, 1987. Happy new being-a-mom year, one of the best new beginnings ever.