Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Carter: A Birth Story (7 years later)

I remember when I had Jaedyn, so many people would stop me in church, at school, in the grocery store, and what have you and remind me that these moments are fleeting. "Enjoy them because they are gone too fast." They would tell me. I don't think I really grasped that with Jaedyn. Being a mom in high school was hard work, and I had so many other things going on that enjoying much of anything was daunting.

With Carter, however, we were "ready". Ready as any set of parents with one of them prepping for a do-over. This time, I was going to soak in every moment, remember every second, register every milestone in the most reliable part of my brain......What I didn't do was journal everything I wanted to remember. I wish I had. I foolishly thought those moments were too good to forget, and it would all come back to me at the drop of the hat when I wanted to regale everyone with stories of my children's births. Unfortunately, my pre-alzheimer's brain is in full swing, and while I wish I had every detail to lay out on here, I do not. I can't even tell you what time my boys were born. HORRIBLE! So without further adieu, I will spill whatever I can remember, so that maybe when pre-alzheimer's turns into the real deal, I will have something to tell regardless of whether I can actually remember it.

Dan and I got married in May of 2005. Jaedyn was on the better half of one and would be turning two in a few months, and I was finishing up my freshman year of college. Dan and I had decided that we didn't want our kids to be five years apart and that it didn't really matter when we started to try. Knowing that I was going to be a teacher, and still being in college, we decided to start trying in August, just three short months after we had been married. Sometimes I feel very guilty even admitting that Dan and I never had any issues getting pregnant with either of our boys. I was pregnant right away, wonderfully timed (so I thought) so that Baby Wolfswinkel would be born in May, right as I was finishing up my Sophmore year of college.

If people didn't think we were crazy for getting married the week before finals, they definitely thought we were nuts for having a baby two days before the end of the semester. What can you do? This is how we roll. For the record, we would go on to buy a house and move in May of my Junior year. I know. Dumb.

We weren't very good at keeping this one a secret. We were super excited to announce his/her arrival. We decorated cheap, plastic dollar store frames with scrapbook paper and stickers to say "Reserved for Baby Wolfswinkel- Coming May 2006". It was a magical do-over moment, much happier than the slew of tears I remember when telling my parents I was pregnant with Jaedyn. Poor little lady does have happy stories, I promise. Jaedyn was incredibly excited to be a big sister and thoroughly enjoyed tagging along to doctor's appointments and ultrasounds.

My pregnancy was perfect, for the most part. I was never sick, and knowing that we had planned this pregnancy made me cherish each kick and hiccup I felt that much more. I was super excited that we were going to have the "Perfect, American boy and one girl".  As the months passed by, I became quite anxious. I started feeling the dreaded second baby syndrome and the horomones firmly planted themselves into my pregnancy for quite some time. They are horribly mean and incredibly exhausting. I began to cry at any given moment, weeping to my husband that I just didn't think we should keep this baby. There was just no way I could possibly love another human being the way I loved my daughter. It wasn't fair to this child. It was for the best if we gave him to a family that could love him the way he deserved. Countless times I would have this conversation with Dan, and countless times he would call my mom and tell her he needed her bum planted on my couch pronto. He couldn't deal with these hormones any more than I could, and I suppose he felt as though moms know best.

Eventually those feelings subsided somewhat, and in their place, carpal tunnel syndrome wreaked havoc on my hands. Miserable, painful syndrome it was, indeed. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. After many braxton hicks contractions, many sleepless nights due to both normal pregnancy and carpal tunnel, and a false alarm trip to the hospital for back labor, we were closing in on Baby Wolfswinkel's arrival.

Jaedyn had been an emergency c-section, and since Sioux Center is too small of a hospital to do a V-back delivery, I knew I would be scheduling my c-section for my baby. At the time, it was very convenient. We couldn't schedule it for Monday because Jaedyn had a program I wanted to attend, so we scheduled it for a Wednesday morning. Thankfully, I didn't let the reality of a normal c-section sink in until the night before my delivery. I had been given such a terrifying birth story just hours before I went to sleep for the last time as a mother of one. I still don't understand why moms want to tell such horribly scary stories to mothers-to-be so close to their due date. I'm sure I've said some of them myself, but I'm definitely more aware of the nightmares and anxiety it can give a mother now that it's happened to me.

A fellow college student and mother of 5 told me that she had a friend who had a scheduled cesarean delivery a few years back. She told me to make sure I hold completely still because if the fluid from the spinal shot goes in the wrong vertebrae, I wouldn't be able to move for a good 24 hours, and I would have the worst headache on the face of the earth. Talk about mind numbing information. I was so thankful that I had an anesthesiologist who made me feel so comfortable.

Dan was working the night shift at Pella at the time, and so my mom swung through Orange City and picked me up to take me to the hospital. We had dropped Jaedyn off at Robin's and said our goodbyes the night before, and now there were only 14 miles and a couple of hours between me and the little man who would make me a mom for the second time. Upon arrival, I realized that with a scheduled c-section, there comes a lot more prep than an emergency c-section. We had to get me into a gown, do a few things I don't care to remember, and sit down with the anesthesiologist to discuss how this would all play out. I'm fairly certain, this staff has never seen someone shake in such a violent way in anticipation for getting a needle to their back. I think they covered me with 3 heated blankets and tried to talk me off the ledge. (I may have said I think we'll just keep him in here a few too many times.)

To add insult to injury, Dan wasn't allowed into the operating room until I had been given my spinal. Apparently too many daddy's have fainted upon watching this "monstrous" needle go into their wive's backs. I also didn't get to hug my mom, so I became extra friendly with my nurse Alicia, who was miraculously able to calm my nerves by telling me that she had just found out she was pregnant with her first baby. Thankfully, all the fluid was put in the proper spaces, and there were no life altering migraines that followed. It was the weirdest feeling I've ever experienced to lose all feeling in every region of my body below "the ladies". I remember panicking when I thought I may never get that feeling back. The pictures my mom took of me were priceless. I was white as a ghost, and the anesthesiologist was rubbing my head, telling me everything was going to be alright. In that moment, I felt like he was an adopted grandfather walking me through one of the most important moments of my life. He will never know how grateful I am for keeping me sane in those moments when my mom and Dan were in the other room.

Doctors and nurses began pouring in. I didn't realize how many people were really involved in delivering a baby until I counted 15 people in the operating room including my mom, Dan and myself. It was overwhelming. The clipped up a blue sheet in front of my face so I wouldn't have to witness the cutting and pulling and prodding of my stomach in a million different directions. I can remember thinking that we would be waiting here for 15 minutes before we met him, but within half a minute, one of the nurses held up a mirror and told us to watch the miracle that was the birth of Carter Dean Wolfswinkel.

In the moments that followed, this perfect 7 lb. 13 oz little bundle of perfection was placed in my arms. He was pink and perfect and crying. It was heaven. I pulled him closer to my face as I kissed him over and over and over and let my tears roll down his face. In that moment, I forgot anyone else existed. In that moment, there was Carter and Dan and me. There were just the three of us, crying, smiling, laughing and kissing.

 As they cleaned him up and wheeled me into recovery, I remember feeling a tinge of sadness as I realized that he was no longer physically apart of my body. He was now exposed to the world, and all the outside elements that I couldn't protect him from like I could when he was cuddled up, warm inside my belly. I longed to hold him and to breathe in the scent of newborn baby. It ranks as one of the top ten most amazing scents in my book.

When I got back to my room, they placed him in my arms and I could have sworn his eyes locked with mine, and somewhere he was telling me "This is where I belong. Right here. In your arms." Eventually there was just Dan, myself, and this beautiful baby boy, all alone in our room. We soaked in his newness. His ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes. We gently rubbed our hands over his soft baby legs and held our finger in his hands so his tiny little fingers would close around it. I remember thinking how my heart was going to burst with happiness. That there was no greater feeling than being a mommy. I remember thinking that this was exactly what God had placed me on this earth for.To love these littles with every part of my being.

I don't know what else to add to his story other than it's raw, sacred ground. It's a memory that I want ingrained in my mind forever. Seven years later, these feelings haven't ended. There are moments when my mommy brain is about ready to explode, when I feel like I've had more than enough "boy" moments than I can handle, and then in the next breath, I'm looking at his handsome blue eyes, and feeling so incredibly grateful that God trusted me enough to be his mom.

Happy Birthday Carter Dean! You've brought us more joy than you will ever possibly know!

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