On the day you were born I checked in to the hospital for my scheduled induction. The nurses were expecting me. My chart had been tagged because it was guaranteed that you would come fast and easy. Pitocin was started around 8 and you were to arrive by noon. The doctor came in special just for your delivery, but he didn’t mind because you were going to come fast and easy because Iwas already 4 centimeters dilated. Your brother had come after one half hour of pushing. Your 9 lb, 8 ounce sister came after a couple of pushes and the ever eager Anna was caught by the nurse when she didn’t heed my warnings about doing that one practice push. You were going to be easy. It didn’t matter what you threw at me, we had done this 3 times before. We had experienced colic, “being on the spectrum”, chronic ear infections, reflux, allergies. We were ready for you.
On the day you were born you broke all the rules. Noon came and left and you still weren’t here. You seemed to be in no hurry to arrive. In fact you didn’t arrive until nearly 4:00 pm; well past the time we had scheduled you to come. By the time I started to push the epidural had worn off, but that was no big deal because I was certain I was only going to have to push a few times. Only I pushed and pushed and eventually your head got caught up and refused to budge. I have always prided myself on being the Mom who is pleasant in labor, but this time I wasn’t pleasant. I screamed, I whined, I eventually refused to push. It wasn’t until days later that I asked your Daddy why they brought out the oxygen mask. Your Daddy had to point out that I claimed I couldn’t breath. Everything about your birth was unglamorous and not what I’d planned for. They refilled the epidural with a stronger med. It had no affect. The next med was so strong I had no control from the waist down, but once the pain was under control you arrived with one or two pushes. I was shaking uncontrollably when they placed you on my chest. With each of your sibling I had quickly made an attempt to nurse, but with you I had no strength. With every other child I reminded your Daddy to take a picture of us together. With you it never crossed my mind. So Buddy, this is the closest thing I have to a picture of you and I on that day. They laid you on my chest and we cried and sobbed together. I stroked your cheek and spoke words of comfort and you calmed at the sound of my voice. We both just lied there exhausted. And it was good enough, because you were finally “with me”
Once Daddy got to hold and snuggle you he went off to get the other kiddos; leaving just you, me and the nurses. They bathed you and then rolled us to our recovery room on a gurney because I still couldn’t sit up. It was nothing like I had expected. I don’t remember how long it took, but I eventually attempted to nurse you and you refused. Your brother and sisters came to visit with Daddy and then it was just us again for the rest of the night. For 25 hours straight you refused to nurse and I pumped milk into a spoon and dripped it in your mouth. My mind was overwhelmed with concern. I couldn’t imagine what would keep you from nursing. Sometime in the middle of the night you began to gag and choke. You had swallowed so much amniotic fluid that you literally felt full. The night nurse showed me how to suction it out as it came up. I did the only thing I knew to do and removed all your clothes and laid you across my chest and prayed. I couldn’t figure out how to feed you, but I could keep you warm and close until you decided to eat. I wish I could say that after 24 hours that journey was complete, but you were my first little guy that required a lactation consultant. The next few weeks of our life involved scales, pumps, bottles and jaundice tests. And when those were over you started to reflux. Those weeks were long, but we kept you close and we got through them. They were full of questions and concerns which was not quite what I had expected the 4th time around.
These memories are fresh on my mind today. We just finished up a day of doctor’s appointments and weight checks. Once more, you refuse to nurse and I have no real explanation why. The last week has been filled with stress and worry and while I have no doubt you will be fine, the week has been long; just like before. Only now when you cry and refuse to eat, you push me away. And my heart breaks a little, because I recognize that your life will be filled with moments that I don’t know the answers and in your frustration you push.
I wish I had eloquent words for you, Asher, but I don’t. There is something about a child’s struggles that brings forth all the inadequacies and all the clumsiness of a parent. On the day you finally read this I just want you to know that while I may not have the answers; I am absolutely committed to lying in the mess with you until we find our way out. There are easy babies out there… I’ve met a few, but the only one I really want is you. We may be clumsy and trip a long a bit in our journey, but you are mine and that is more than enough.