Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Birth of a Mom

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.

Advertisements

Thankful For a Creative Mind

I had a pretty challenging morning today.

All my children are out of state this weekend.  So I am holding down the forts which consists of feeding and watering a cat and a dog at one house and watering plants at the other. The plants are tomorrow. Which was a good thing because after the cat and dog I was pretty much toast.

I let myself in the house without a problem and carefully put my keys down so I would remember where they were. Kitty was happy to see me. Wouldn’t let me walk far, twisting in and out around my legs. Eventually kitty was fed and watered, so I let myself out the back door to say hi to the puppy. He’s getting big, but his claws are still puppy-sharp.  We played a bit and I was done. Time to feed him, so I went back to the door and turned the knob….

It didn’t budge…

So I did what they always do in the movies. I wiggled the knob like that would do something. 

It didn’t. I am still not sure how, when I locked the doorknob after I let myself out…

So here I stood with a dog still bouncing like he’s on springs. Slowly I checked the options:

The only gate out of the yard is locked from the outside. Impossible to consider unlocking the gate to escape. 

Call someone to do so? No cell phone. In fact I had left the phone at home when I went to workout. Then I dashed to do animal check afterward. My husband had no idea where I was.

Okay, swallow that little bubble of panic.  It was time to put the old noodle to work.

That stockade fence sure was intimidating. I tried to get a foothold on a cross piece. I wasn’t letting myself consider what I would do if I got to the top. The dog was helping. Yeah. Getting over the stockade fence was not going to be an option.  

Ah, good news. That fence did not circle the entire back yard. On the east side there was a length of rather encouragingly droopy wire fence. The dog joined me to contemplate how to get over it. I was sort of afraid he would follow me, if I were successful. If? 

No, must. But I am so dang short. Could not hoist one of my stumpy little legs over the top. Time to find a climbing tool.  

Yay! Folding chairs. What if I broke it climbing on it? 

What if I died of heatstroke locked in the kids’ back yard? I can buy a chair.

Didn’t break the chair, didn’t break a leg! I was out of one yard. And in a strangers’ yard. I had noticed two cars in the driveway when I pulled in the kids’ driveway. Better knock and let them know what I was doing in their back yard. 

No one answered. There was no way over their fence there by the door. Only option–gate on the other side of their yard. Provided it was not…locked… And no one shot me while I slithered through their back yard.

No locks, no guns, no police. Just the poor puppy howling because I left him and hadn’t given him a thing to eat. I walked calmly and carefully to the kids’ house pray, pray, praying that I had not locked the front door when I went in.  It would be a long, hot walk home. And then there would be the issue of getting back in the house if there wasn’t another key other than the one locked in their house…

Too much worry.

I finally breathed when the front door opened. I promptly fed and watered the bouncy, sharp-clawed puppy, said goodbye to the kitty who was racing about the house like he was full of my initial panic, and got myself home so I could eat, too. All of the sudden I was very hungry, very thirsty and very tired.

All that to say, I find myself grateful for that ability to push the fear away so I could think, and the ability to think outside the box until a solution worked. Had there not been chairs, there was a gas grill that might have gotten me hoisted up and over that fence…

Gotta appreciate and take care of that fabulous brain, because when I need it to work, most of the time, it does a pretty good job!

Photo by Th Sid

 

Let’s Grow!

Life is a garden. 

Dig in!

Today’s post was I nspired by a local nursery sign. I have had veggie plants and flowers for awhile now, but was afraid to move them off my sheltered porch given our May showers ranging from torrential to frozen. But with my hubby’s help, we’re off and growing.

 

Onions and oregano, showing how it’s done

 

Front porch family

Little Learners

Thankful today for eager and creative young minds.

Photo by Anissa Thompson

Let’s work to keep those minds creative and excited about learning! 

Forever Changed

I am appreciating today one of those special events that are life-altering.

Twenty-three years ago, I was ready for my second child to make an appearance. Labor started late morning.  Because the second baby progresses faster, I called my midwife.  I don’t know when she arrived.  I do know it was sooner than necessary, which did not please her husband for some reason.  They had plans or he needed the vehicle. Something like that.

I didn’t see anyone else for most of the rest of the day, until the baby was born. My mother-in-law showed up and took our five-year-old for the day.  My parents drove down and parked in the living room. Was my sister there?  You know I find it awful that I can’t remember! I need to dig out the pictures! I think it was just my parents who waited for many hours in my living room for the arrival of a new grandbaby.

But in the room on the southeast corner of my house, it was just me, my husband-turned-labor-coach, my midwife, and the little one on the move.  I wasn’t as mobile with this delivery–not walking the block or the living room, like I did with the first one.  Things seemed a lot more intense, and I really just wanted to stay in one place. And labor.

It took longer than any of us expected.  I remember one point when my husband trying to be funny. When didn’t go over well, my midwife announced I was in transition.

Still things weren’t progressing like I wanted them to.  Or how anyone wanted them to.  There was a sense of uneasiness about the midwife as she listened to the baby and to me.  “Baby doesn’t like it when you lay on your left,” she would change and I would struggle to move.  Then it was “try this” or “maybe this would be better.”  Always smooth and steady, she was a rock who never issued orders or commands.  She trusted the process and she trusted me. Finally, I remember saying, “Well someone has to do something to get this done. I guess it has to be me.” Duh.

At that point I got out of bed.  The baby liked that. The end stages of labor were immediate and all-consuming. I pushed in a squatting position.  Once I decided to “do something” the  baby was here.  And very quiet. For just a little bit.

My husband,behind me, said he was staring at a very blue infant; he thought the baby was dead and the midwife was acting like nothing was wrong so she didn’t freak us out.  She started massaging and talking–that’s what I heard and I found it comforting as well–and finally, that welcomed cry came, his skin pinked up, and we were the proud parents of a new baby boy who was ready to be heard.

I do remember that the pictures show that my poor husband looked more tired from the ordeal than I did,  Such a trooper.

The umbilical cord had been wrapped around the baby’s neck and shoulder, which was what had made the delivery more difficult.  Not to mention that rather large head….

Once my new son found his voice, he exercised it with vigor.  As the midwife weighed him, and he was thrashing and screaming, I remember her saying, “This one has an attitude!”

His brother and grandmother came home soon after he was born.  Everyone took turns welcoming him.  I love looking at the picture of him gazing at my mother with that intensity newborns have when they are fully alert and learning who loves them.

Does he have an attitude?  Yes. It is easy to tell when he’s angry or upset, or feels an injustice has been committed. As a young boy and as a teenager it was sometimes a struggle to control the gut reactions that came with those strong feelings.

It is also easy to tell when his heart is fully engaged, which is often.  He cares deeply about people, and wants nothing more than to be of help.  He listens with devoted attention, gently offers some of the most reassuring words or suggestions. His smile and his hug come readily for anyone, young and old alike.

I remember getting my first kisses from him; I was standing in my kitchen holding him…
I remember being concerned that he wasn’t talking much when he was three.  Just as I started investigating speech therapists and such, he began talking. Not in one-syllable words, but in complete and complex sentences.
He took his good old time learning to read as well.  By then, though, I had learned that he takes his good old time learning just about everything, but he does learn, and then he becomes skilled quickly thereafter.
He has brought a darling daughter into my life.

So had the events of June 2, 1992 never occurred, the life I know now would have been very different.  I can’t be grateful enough for that day 23 years ago that brought the pain, the fear, the exhaustion, the cry, and the satisfying joy that is mIMG_0939y son.

What a precious present.