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A Birth Story-My Sequel: Part 3

1 Feb

photo (30)When we left off, I was being wheeled into the OR in the afternoon for a surprise C-Section, 4 days early, at 38.5 weeks and scared as hell.

I am a very superstitious person and look for signs all around me. During the scary, unknown part of my first unexpected C-Section with my daughter, I was feeling helpless and hopeless and the doctor said “The baby is about to come out” and my Nanny’s favorite song, Desperado, began to play in the OR radio. That was a good sign and even though my daughter had been in distress, her chord around her neck twice, she was OK. Because my angel had told me so.

So for my second go-round, I had my husband in my lucky socks, and was looking for similar signs. First, I liked the date. I am a numbers person and like that 2 is my mom’s lucky number, 4 is my sister’s and added together, 6 is my dad’s. That seemed to me like a good sign.

The second sign was my med student, Anna, who stood by my side the entire time, was named Anna. Anna is a very symbolic name for me, as it represents the name of my other angel, my Superman, for whom my daughter was named. Then I met my new anesthesiologist. His name was William. That was the name of my husband’s late grandfather. I felt like this was another sign, that our angels had gathered together to watch over my surgery and this birth.

The final sign was that William’s last name was Shepherd. Dr. Shepherd. McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy. That had to mean something.

But despite these comforts, I was still scared to the point of shaking uncontrollably. And dear, sweet Anna, Doctor Anna, hugged me and held me, and told me I was in good hands, and she even hugged me, as I had to curl my spine over in order to receive my epidural. After having explained my aversion to my previous spinal, Dr. Shepherd decided to give me an epidural instead of the one shot spinal, and it was a much slower onset, which I preferred greatly. They also gave me pain medicine and some anxiety meds through my IV, something that he equated to a glass of wine (as I did not want to feel too out of it, but definitely needed to take the edge off).

At this point my OBGYN came in to “Get the party started” and because an epidural works differently than a spinal, I could feel so much for. So much so that I heard them say, “Time to insert the catheter” and I shouted, over the blue screen that they had put up between my face and surgical site, “I can still feel my vagina!”

The next part is somewhat of a blur; they opened me up, my husband was allowed back in with me, my blood pressure kept dropping, I kept feeling scared, I literally felt myself lift off the table as they yanked the baby out,

I kept hearing them talking about things like seeing a hand and adhesions and blood and I loved it and hated it all at once

and then,

all of a sudden,

a cry.

I had a son.

And I looked at the clock. My daughter was born at 2:22 am, a hard time to beat in my book (for my lucky number is 11, so 22 is double 11. I know that I’m weird, by the way.)

My son was born at 4:11pm. 4/11 is my birthday. Could not have gotten better.

And speaking of numbers, he came out weighing 7 lbs 12 oz. The exact same weight as my daughter.

What is more interesting is that he was 7lbs 12 oz at 38.5 weeks, while she was full term at 40; so apparently my uterus hands out an eviction notice at just that size. They were only a half inch a part, him being 21.5 inches to her 21. I make solid babies, it seems.

And, because I had asked for it beforehand, they brought him to me, and I saw that he had fair hair and a cleft in his chin (like many of the men in my family) and I swear when our faces touched he smiled.

And then the world disappeared. I know this sounds like one of those hokey, cliche things, but everything else melted away as my husband, son and I cuddled up, as the doctors were still working to sew me up, and we sang to him. We held him and sang a song that my PopPop made up for us years ago.

Mommy loves the baby, 

Daddy loves the baby, 

Everybody loves the little boy. 

I remember wanting to be out of the OR, and holding him in my arms, and eventually we got there and he latched on immediately as I held him and nursed him and sent a text to my friend saying “I have a son.”

My pregnancy with my son was not nearly as magical or enchanting as that with my daughter, but I must say, the birth and the time right thereafter was extraordinarily special.

But there was one milestone left to happen; we needed my daughter to meet her brother. She had been having a great time at her best friend’s house, so much so that she peed her pants in all the excitement. So I am proud to say that my daughter met her baby brother for the first time wearing her boyfriend’s Cars underpants and cargos.

And at around 6 o’clock that evening, my little girl, who suddenly seemed so big, walked into the recovery room and over to her brother and said, “Hi baby. I love you. Don’t cry. Maybe I can carry him?”

And then there were four.

I will never, in all my life, forget the feeling of wholeness that that moment provided for me. All of my fears about not being able to love a second child, or a boy, washed away. I was, instead, swathed in rich, deep feelings of love and gratitude.

So that’s how it all went down. It was not easy, but it was beautiful.

And I am never doing it ever, ever again.

So instead of saying The End to this story, I will say something far more appropriate:

The beginning…

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“OMG,”

6 Dec

said he. “Do you know how many stars the TV guide gave Something Borrowed?! One. I do not agree with that.”

 

Aaaaaaand. Need I say more?

Love Notes/My Reply

30 Nov

You may remember my recent discovery,

in which I was able to give new life to (/soak in the beauty of) my husband’s old love notes.

Well, it happened again. Except, this time, the love notes were from yours truly.

I know. Right? You didn’t think I had it in me. Ahhhh, way back in old ’06 when I was just a babe in the woods.

(Or, you know, had two free hands at once, on the reg.)

So here’s how it went down: Once again, I was cleaning out and packing up my basement.

And feeling all sentimental, for a couple of big reasons.

First, the move is imminent. Imminent as in come 2 hours from now, the couch that I am sitting on as I type this story will no longer be in my house, but en route to an old Middle School friend of mine in Ohio. But, again, a story for another day.

Second, I am supa sentimental about things love and marriage for one pretty spectacular reason. You ready? TWIN is getting married. My Twin. I know. I can’t even type right now without crying. Dear Go Go will be making an honest woman out of my girl. My sister. My better half. But this is most certainly another may-jor post for another day. Because, as I said, I have tears to dry, and because, as I said, I have a UHaul to load. But let me just give you this teaser: My Twin Sister is getting married to the most spectacular man + a week ago today she made me ugly cry (with joy!) with some wedding related news + we are planning the most epic pre-wedding-night-sleepover-EVER for late this summer….and, I must be saved from myself. You see? Once I get on the subject of Twin getting married, I can’t stop. And I have a story to tell. A different love story. So the Twin story is coming…but for that you must, as my Twin herself says, “Wait with breath that is bated.”

Sob.

So back to today. I was cleaning out a bunch of boxes when I came across my guy’s old wallet. I saw it and immediately got a case of the sentimentals, as this was the first ever real gift I bought for him.

(In case you’re wondering what the first ever fake gift was, it would be this package, delivered to his doorstep on week 2 of dating: King Kong DVD, a paperback copy of In Our Time and a package of homemade brownies. I know. Now you can sleep tonight. Phew!)

I peaked inside (secretly hoping to find a hidden 20 stashed in that sucker!) and came across a little bundle of papers. Small, crumpled little papers.

These:

notes

My guy is sensitive. And sometimes, when he had been faced with a challenge– the first day of a new job or a seemingly insurmountable task–I liked to give him a little reminder that my love would be with him. And so I gave him little notes; affirmations; poems; I gave him my heart,

in the form of a heart shaped post-it.

And as I sit here and reflect upon that sentiment, I realize that I can do the same thing for myself now;

I am moving to a new house, and about that I am unbelievably excited. But also a bit nostalgic. This house is the place where we brought our daughter home from the hospital. This house has held our memories and kept our secrets. This house means something to me. But all of that, all of the memories, all of the love, can come with me as I move on.

They may not be able to fit into a wallet

or an album of hand-drawn declarations of love,

but I know they will continue to live in me. In us. In the new home we create.

So, while I wish I could write more,

it’s time to get off the couch. Because this couch has some new memories to make.

And so do we.

So,

here we grow.

Love (notes) and marriage.

16 Nov

This evening, as my husband was putting the baby to bed, I went down to the basement to go through our belongings.

I am cleaning things out because (gasp!) we are planning to move. But that’s another story for another day.

So in an effort to purge all things (I) deemed unnecessary, I took a few moments to gather my thoughts. And my belongings.

And in looking for junk to dump, I struck gold.

I came across a photo album, each flimsy plastic slot filled with a neatly folded love note.

A note from my guy,

to his girl. To the me I used to be.

***

Here’s the thing. Partnership is an amazing thing; a gift, a joy, a treasure. It feels good to have someone’s back, and to feel your own weight supported by another. Marriage is beautiful. But, like any other great thing (an exciting job, a child, a new home) it comes with it’s challenges.

Being the parents of a toddler is it’s own unique flavor of hard. It’s hard to talk over a temper tantrum. It’s hard to juggle the demands of the day. It’s hard to make time.

***

Lately, I have found myself getting sentimental about my relationship. Starting many sentences with “remember when”s and reminiscing about our days of old. Because truly, we’ve grown up together. Not just in the literal sense (as neighbors all our lives) but because we met as young people, and have faced some unimaginably hard things together. We’ve lost opportunities, lost jobs, lost loved ones. He cheered for me when I graduated from college. I’ve held him as he’s cried.

That’s what happens when you have history with someone. For someone.

And maybe it’s because we’re making a big life change,

or because our little girl is growing before our eyes, or because we are about to travel back to our special place,

or simply because quality time for us right now often consists of 15 minutes alone together at the end of the day,

with me pointing out a couch I like on Houzz

and with him giving me a kiss goodnight as I doze off during Homeland;

it’s easy to sleep next to the same person

year after year

but it’s hard to always remember how you’ve gotten there.

***

Tonight, as I cleaned out my basement, I unearthed my memories. I read note after note, lingering over each word. Words of love, of hope, words of a future still unknown. Declarations. Promises.

And in reading, it did not feel as though I was seeing these words for the first time, but it felt as though I was understanding their sentiments in an entirely new way.

I picked up a note from this date six years ago. In it he drew a cartoon, and wrote “…You are the greatest caretaker and friend anyone could ever ask for! You are always there for me to help me when I am sick, to make me smile when I am sad, and to do something silly for a laugh. It is just one of the many reasons that I love you so very much…”

My husband tells me he loves me every day. In the morning. From work. On his way home. Before bed. I am no stranger to those words. But these notes told me why.

Because, when it comes down to it, when he gets home from work and I’m in my velour sweatpants, hair up in a ponytail, stirring a pot of soup as I chase after our daughter and dog,

it’s hard for me to always believe that he loves that me. That me that I now see.

Even though he tells me. And shows me. And looks me in the eyes and promises me how lucky he feels that I’m his.

Reading these notes helped me. They reminded me. They did exactly what he promised to do, as he scrawled in permanent marker on the inside jacket to the photo album. He wrote, “The pages of this book hold letters that are the hard copy proof of my love for you. They will always be here for you as a reminder, or when you just need a smile. I am yours, now and forever. I love you.”

***

Marriage is hard. Being a parent is hard. Moving is really freakin’ hard.

And sometimes, you need years and years of memories to envelop you, to make you feel safe, and to make you feel loved.

And sometimes, you just need a little album.

Dancing on my (our) own.

11 Nov

So, today, we had a moment;

a little chunk of time during which we were feeling crummy,

feeling blah,

and a bit overwhelmed.

Maybe it was a case of the Sundays,

or a post-champagne-funk,

but it wasn’t fun.

So,

obviously

we had to dance it out.

To Robyn.

And really, it made things better.

Because,

at the very least,

I can delight in knowing that,

if nothing else,

we have now officially turned into

(And I’m totally the Marnie.)

We’re the three best friends that anyone could have

22 May

The Beach Edition:

And we’ll never ever ever ever ever leave each other.

Chag Purim!

8 Mar

Today, I wore my wedding dress in front of the entire school,

the baby went grocery shopping in a tutu,

and we ate donuts for a mid-morning snack,

as we took the “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” spirit of Purim and ran with it.

When I dressed as Queen Esther two Purims ago with a “Queen In Training” sign displayed on my big belly,

little did I know how true those words would become.

All aboard for Shushan!

(and bottoms up!)