|Who would be able to wait to kiss those chubby cheeks, right??|
I hardly slept the night before I was induced. I was daydreaming about Owen's sweet sonogram face, trying the remember that amazing feel of newborn skin and the wash of emotion that runs over you when you hear the baby cry, and to be honest- I was also remembering labor and would become wide-eyed and sweaty thinking of the inevitable that would be taking place the next day. True to form, my cool and level headed husband was able to share a couple words of excitement, say goodnight, roll over, place a pillow over his head and fall right asleep. It was just me and my emotions over meeting Owen for the first time for most of the night and I couldn't wait for morning.
|Ungodly hour, April 11, 2012|
Well, the morning was smooth and we arrived at the hospital and things got into motion right away. I was made comfy in bed and looking forward to the ice chips in my future. I had hardly gotten in the room when we met out amazing nurse who gave me the best advice ever, "would you like me to call for an epidural now?" Please keep in mind, I am not even in labor at this point in time. "Now? Already?" She explained I was already 6 cm along and once she plugged in the Pitocin- well, it would all be downhill from there.
I trusted her expertise and the epidural was called the moment they started the "wicked stuff" into my IV. I sat there and waited for labor to kick in. And I waited some more. After about 45 minutes of waiting, I confirm with my nurse that I am actually in fact receiving Pitocin- not just fluids. She confirmed contractions were happening- I didn't feel anything. It was bizarre and completely the opposite of how I felt with Jamin.
Well, right in the midst of this confusion of "how can I be in labor and not feeling a thing!?" the epidural people arrive. They kept reassuring me they would help "make me more comfortable" and "take the edge off." I just nodded and smiled. No one wants to reveal the big secret to the epidural people that for some reason you are cruising through labor. I knew what was to come. And I knew I wanted that epidural.
Well, let me tell you. If I thought I was really comfortable before the epi- I was REALLY comfortable after. I decided to listen to some music and play around facebook. (Really, anyone that know how I felt giving birth to Jamin knows how absurd this would seem to me!). I even played on Instagram and took a nap. It was amazing.
|Feeling good,listening to Keith Urban, and taking Instagram self-portraits.|
Well, true to form again, my husband seeing how comfortable and content I was offered some encouraging words and decided to relax a little bit himself.
I practically had to be woken up from my mid-morning snooze to be checked to see progress. 9 cm! The nurse seemed to get an extra bounce in her step and called for the Dr. and began setting up the room. I watched her calmly still wondering to myself how this all could be so easy.
To spare gruesome details- basically, the Dr. came in and decided I was ready to go. Pushing began at 11:55 and Owen arrived into this world 12 minutes (and 3 contractions) later. 12:07 pm- 22 inches long and 8 pounds 10 ounces. He was perfect with his chubby cheeks, long fingers and toes, and that amazing first newborn cry.
And just like that, life is changed, and we became a family of four instantly. I had that flood of emotion and was so thankful to have that baby boy in my arms. They let me hold him like this for about 10 minutes before they took him to be looked over. I am so thankful for those 10 minutes of amazing happiness and perfection because I would be so filled with worry over the next two weeks to come.
It took me just over two weeks to write this post because I wanted it to be a true reflection of how I feel but also keep some perspective. I debated even writing this portion into my blog because I don't want to illicit a pity party, nor do I want people to think I am trying to gather sympathy for something that is treatable, or just assume I am being over-dramatic or self-indulgent. I want people to understand that I know I have a healthy baby boy but I am a momma- and a momma looks after, daydreams about, and worries about her babies.
When they looked Owen over they mentioned his right ear seemed to be "folded over." My first thought was not much of anything.."weird! unfold it!" She mentioned the pediatrician would be sure to come take a look at it. I wasn't worried at all. I was in happy baby bliss. Visitors came and we all swooned over the new arrival.
It wasn't until some of the fresh excitement faded into calm that we really took an extended look at Owen's ear. It wasn't just simply folded or squished up from birth- there was obviously a deformity in its shape. Even at this point I couldn't be brought down from my blissful baby place. We had already been assured by the Dr's that his ear could cosmetically be corrected. (As a side note, isn't it strange that this was told to us almost instantly- but no one mentioned anything about his hearing ability? It wasn't until later on we were informed this kind of "birth defect" could result in the absence of an ear canal- which severely reduces hearing ability.) It took a little bit of time, and some more information on this condition, to bring me to moments of sadness, worry and tearfulness that would begin to make my heart ache.
What Owen has is called Microtia, and we now know he does not have an ear canal, which is called Atresia. I have become a full blown expert in this the past two weeks. I was fueled by so many emotions to constantly be reading medical articles, support group comments, reconstructive intervention options, information on hearing loss/speech delays. I could not stop- even when I knew it was getting the best of me.
There is a 1 in 10,000 chance of a being being born with Microtia. Believe me when I say that my life is beautiful and happy- but incredibly ordinary. The fact I gave birth to a child that was 1 in 10,000 confused (and at moments still confuses) me. I felt so much guilt, although I have been assured through numerous medical articles the occurrence of this is sporadic, and nothing the mother does during pregnancy can cause (or avoid) this happening. It is not genetic. It is not from eating fish one time at PJ's during my pregnancy. It's not because I got a little lazy with my pre-natal vitamins as the pregnancy went along. It was not caused by the X-ray I had before I knew I was pregnant. It simply, just happened.
The little cells the form your ears develop week 4 of pregnancy. That was the week I found out I was pregnant. My Owen, before I even knew he was going to be a part of this world, was already created just the way he is. It was this little baby, with all of his individual characteristics all along, the entire time.
I worry now about him facing surgeries, being teased and making the right decisions for him. I worry about speech development and bullies. I wish I could talk to the adult Owen and ask what route he would like us to take. There are many options- all with benefits and risks.
A family friend gave me a card and the words really stuck with me-
"Your son is here not by chance,
but by God's choosing.
His hand formed him
and made him the person he is.
God compared him to no one else-
he is one of a kind.
Your son will lack nothing
that God's grace can't give him."
But as I worry about my little boy, as any momma would, I am beyond thankful. My son will have the ability to walk, talk, hear, see, play sports, drive me crazy, bug his older brother, drive, go to school and fall in love. He will be able to still be that little boy with a runny nose and skinned knee that I daydreamed about the night before he was born. He will be able to grow into a charming and handsome man. There is not much more you can hope for as a mother. He is still perfect.