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The brutal truth of me, without all the sugary coating.
Here I am just me, UNCUT and UNEDITED.
I talk about my family, my divorce, and a lot about MAKEUP.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Two years later

Humor me and turn this song on while you read. It's beautiful.




I've been asleep for so much of the last two years, it hardly seems real that it happened at all. It's more like a dream. Each morning when my kids wake up, and there's three of them, I'm still a little surprised. Quite honestly, I hardly remember having that third one at all.

He's a charming little monster. He would charm me into loving him even if I wasn't his mom.

In case you don't want to watch the video here (which is probably just as long as reading this post), I'll give you a brief(ish) history of Max, in case you weren't around in those (miserable) first months.

Pregnancy is horrific for me. Let's just say that if the symptom exists, I experience it in an extreme manner.
At the end of my pregnancies, I've had contractions almost constantly for 2-3 months. Early labor with 2 of 3 kids.

My doctor did what lots of doctors are doing these days and convinced me (the miserable, swollen, out-of-her-mind, contracting pregnant lady) to have a C-section 4 weeks before my due date. I was "measuring big". (Soapbox: Girls, if you ever hear a doctor say this, change doctors. He's just preparing your mind for an early induction/c-section so he doesn't have to deal with you for another month. There's no such thing as measuring "small" or "big" - EVERYONE is different.)

Anyway, so after a very long night of intense contractions, I let the doctor take me in for a c-section.


Unfortunately, the doctor had miscalculated my due date to begin with, so my baby was actually 5 weeks early. He was a 6-lb baby, the biggest in the NICU, but he couldn't breathe.

I don't remember anything about the delivery except hyperventilating on the operating table. (I have anxiety and a serious fear of blood and pain. Why did I think I could consciously survive being cut open?) 

I don't remember seeing my baby for the first time. I know I was in a hospital bed and he was in an incubator. I know he had more tubes than he had facial features. I remember hearing the nurse tell us, "Now this is very important," and then going on and on about something... but I couldn't for the life of me concentrate on making her sounds into WORDS. I'll never know what was so important. 

Fortunately, Husband was there obsessing over the monitors and stats. 

I remember choosing his name. No matter how many names we tried to attach to him, Max was the only one that would stick. He just WAS a Max. I remember the little tiny sign the NICU nurse made for his bed. 

I remember everyone saying he was the cutest baby in there. 
I wonder if they say that to everyone. 

The first time I held him was more than a week after his birth. I don't remember much, but I will NEVER forget that moment. That particular nurse even allowed us to do Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin contact) because she believed in the healing power of it. I will forever be grateful to that woman for breaking those rules for me and for my baby. His health really did improve after that, and so did mine. The fifteen minutes I got to hold my baby boy in my arms meant so, so much to me. 


Max was born November 19th, 2009, and we finally got to bring him home December 2nd. Two weeks after he was born.

His brothers were so excited to meet him, and I was terrified I would break him. He was still just a teeny little guy who had a lot of trouble eating. They only released him from the hospital because I finally agreed to let them feed him formula. Breastfeeding was so important to me; it broke my heart to give that preemie baby artificial food. After 14 days in the hospital, I finally went to them, weeping, and told them they could give him whatever they wanted if they would only LET US OUT OF THERE. 

He did a LOT of this: 

A lot of this: 

...and a tiny bit of this: 

In fact, I mostly just remember him like this: 

 

I will forever owe my mom for getting Joshua through that school year and holding Max for hours while I slept or tried to get my mind back on track. Husband and I were split up at the time, and that baby never, ever slept... without my mom, I don't know what I would have done. 

One day, before we moved in with my mom, I found myself unable to pick up the baby. 
He cried, I stared. 
He cried harder, I stared harder.
Asher plugged his ears. "Mommy, I don't like it when the baby cries." (He still says this.) 
I stared.

And then I cried. And I couldn't stop crying. Husband tried to figure out what my problem was, but (as I said), we weren't in the best place... so I just... sobbed. 

I called my mom. My mom and I haven't always gotten along, but when something is wrong, she's always the first person I go to for a solution. She's a problem solver, and she cares deeply for my family. She's also an RN who specializes in women's health. I told her I couldn't stop crying. I told her I couldn't get out of bed or hold the baby. I told her if I had to feed that baby ONE MORE TIME I'd kill myself. I told her she had to take me to the doctor because I needed help NOW. 

I was still sobbing when she picked me up. I cried most of the way to the doctor's office. 

See, I wasn't just depressed. (But I WAS depressed.) 
I was going through an ugly divorce. 
I was losing my apartment. 
And my baby was starving to death. 

See the chicken legs?
Monitors and machines
At six months, my Max only weighed ten pounds. They called it Reflux. Now I know it was a milk allergy, and by continuing to breastfeed him with milk products in my system, I was causing his Reflux. In addition, I was sharing parent time with Husband, so my baby was away from me 2 out of 7 days every week, causing my milk supply to dwindle down to nothing. 

Finally we were able to start feeding him "solid" foods. Baby sweet potatoes, to be exact. I don't remember much, but I won't forget that argument. 

Me: Everyone knows you start babies with bananas or something mild.
Husband: I want him to have sweet potatoes. He'll like them.
Me: He'll puke them.
Husband: He'll be fine. He's having sweet potatoes. 

Nervously, I watched. 
And my baby, who had always been a sickly little thing, kept the food down. 

And he GREW. 

 This skinny little thing...

...turned into this chubby little thing in only two months


8 months


I am so proud of those fat rolls, I could just cry. My horrible, screaming child who never slept and puked his guts out constantly turned into the sweetest, happiest little guy! We went from seeing a doctor twice a week to regular well-child check-ups. 

And with the threat of losing my little baby boy out of the picture, I started to wake up. 

I started to actually see colors again. Hear giggles. Return smiles. 



...appreciate those gorgeous eyes. 

Two years later, and I still find it surreal that I have three children. But I thank the Lord that my little, fragile baby is now: 

Watching movies

Playing the piano

Enjoying normal food

Playing with brothers

Sledding

Riding in wagons

Terrorizing my house
Charming us all. 

And this week, he went 2 WHOLE DAYS drinking REGULAR milk, and he didn't get sick or anything. My sweet, sick baby is finally out-growing his allergy. And he's healthy.
Miracles happen, even to people like me.

3 comments:

  1. Holy cow lady, that song was perfect choice to accompany that post! Of course I am an emotional guy so there could be something to that.

    Kids are amazing aren't they!

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  2. This was a BEAUTIFUL post! I loved LOVED reading it!!! ♥♥♥

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  3. Thanks so much. My little girl had five heart surgeries in her first year. She is two and a half now and I am only now letting myself feel some of what I went through that year. I feel cheated out of what other new parents get to enjoy, like being at home with their baby.

    ReplyDelete

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