Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Post #3 - The Imprtance of Being Positive

Here we are on day 3. How does everyone feel? More positive? Happier to be alive?

I decided to dedicate one whole post to my son, Dino. His name is not really Dino (that is short for Dinosaur Boy due to his love of dinosaurs), but you probably figured that I wouldn't expose him on the world wide web, huh?

Dino is the most important thing in my life. All the love, joy, fascination with life, and humor of the day is wrapped up in that little guy. I will find myself watching him sleep out of pure wonderment that he is mine. How did I get so lucky?

My son was born on a Thursday in November almost 7 years ago. He was a total breach, meaning his head was up near my breast bone, with his feet near his ears. In one ultrasound pic, you can actually see his stubby little fingers grasping his toes. Quite amazing. Due to the breach, I had two options - the medical staff could attempt to "turn" him, or I could schedule a c-section. Since I didn't want to put the poor thing in any kind of distress, I opted for the c-section. Early (and I do mean EARLY - 5 a.m.!) I was checked into the hospital and prepped for my 8 a.m. surgery. All was good then. MFE was attentive and nervous. We sat in the prep room talking about how we were never going to be the same. Our hopes and dreams of having a family were coming true!

I was wheeled into the OR and given an epidural. By the way, they HURT when the needle is put into your spine. Don't let anyone tell you different. And, when your lower body is completely numb, it is the weirdest feeling in the world...but I digress.

They started right at 8 a.m. Nothing if not punctual :) I was fortunate that the OR light was directly over me so I could see the surgery by reflection. They had a drape up, and would not allow a mirror to see the procedure for fear I would pass out or get sick. Little did they know that I watched surgeries on the medical channels all the time, but whatever. I could see everything in the light. I saw the doctor cut me, pull out the little legs. At this point, I didn't know what I was having, a boy or girl. I wanted a boy in the worst way. Can't explain why, except that my experience with little girls is that they were egomaniacal and fru-fru and that drove me nuts. Anyway, all I saw at first were little legs and a teeny butt. Then I made the mistake of saying "Hey! Look at the little legs! That is so cool." The doctor looked at me in surprise and then pulled the light closer to him, thereby removing my "view". I was disappointed to say the least. It was a minute or so later when they announced that it was a boy, but it felt like an hour. The next thing I knew, a chubby screaming bundle of energy was being wrapped in a blanket and handed to his dad. The joy and pride on the face of my ex was amazing. He had tears in his eyes. I did too for that matter. Who wouldn't? The miracle of creating another living creature and nurturing that being within the confines of your internals is quite mind blowing.

I won't bore you with the details of the next 72 hours that I was in the hospital. It was filled with joy, celebration, fear, dread, tears, love and more. I had a little breakdown at 2 a.m. on the second day when my darling boy was crying, wouldn't nurse, and I had NO IDEA what to do with him. I was lost in a sea of emotions. Can anyone say Post Partum? Ahem. Thankfully, a wonderful nurse was on duty that night and she was incredible with handling the sobbing quivering mass of nerves that I had become. Within a few moments, she had me calm, feeling strong, and holding my son to comfort him (turns out that he was really hungry - he had a latching problem so he wasn't nursing effectively).

We arrived home on day 4 and then it was a whirlwind of visits, diaper changing and naps. Dino slept pretty well. A little too well. I took everyone's advice and napped when he did. That was pretty often as it turns out.

Months (and now years) later, I would look back on those days and wonder how I got through it all by myself. See, the ex was not a "hands on" kinda guy and I was literally left to figure it out on my own. I was happy to do so. This was the culmination of a life's dream - I had a child and I was consumed by that.

Dino had some developmental issues. I was confused and hurt at first. He didn't nurse well, and I fought to keep the nursing going even when I had to supplement with formula. I felt like such a failure that I couldn't nurse my own child. When I finally got around to hiring a lactation consultant, I found that he had an issue latching on and tried to work with him on correcting it. Alas, it was not to be. By the time he was 8 months old, he decided that the bottle was just better than my breast. I felt good that I struggled to give him the best start possible in life, and I was contented.

Another issue was that Dino was slow to gain weight. His doctor classified him as "failure to thrive". Hello! Failure to thrive? The boy was on target for every milestone. Just because he wouldn't gain weight immediately? Well, duh, doc! Could the nursing issues having anything to do with that? Hmmmm, I wonder.

Anyway, it wasn't long before Dino was gaining weight and thriving just fine. I was fortunate that I could stay at home with him until he was almost 18 months old- working part time from home.

When Dino was 3, we moved to our new home in Delaware. My marriage wasn't the greatest at the time, but I felt confident in my abilities as a mom. Dino and I were thisclose. It was in his WONDERFUL preschool that my sisters and I discovered that Dino had some issues being on task, following directions, transitioning, and socializing. My dear nephews had been diagnosed with Aspergers and Autism, and so I started to watch Dino very closely. His preschool teacher also picked up on some things and we addressed them together. I had him evaluated and lo! and behold! my sweet boy had ADHD. Ok, so not a devastating diagnosis. However, the ex was anxious and agitated by this, so that made me feel unsure of it as well. I spent a year researching and educating myself. By the time Dino was in kindergarten, we had decided to start him on medication to help him be more successful. It was a hard decision, but it turned out to be a good one.

Now, in the first grade, Dino is doing excellent. His academics are above average (Go Dino!) and he is socializing much better. He is still timid in new situations, but I am helping him to come out of his shell by exposing him to new people and new places. Little by little he is growing.

I know this is a long post, but there are many things I want to share about my baby boy, soon to be a little man.

So, without further ado, the top 10 best things about Dino:

10. He tells me every day that he loves me.
9. He snuggles and hugs without hesitation.
8. When I am down, he offers me advice from a 6 year olds perspective - "Don't worry, Mommy. You can do it." Priceless.
7. He helps me see the joy in each day.
6. He gives me a reason to smile every day.
5. He is funny and makes me laugh.
4. He is giving and helpful, doing things for me to make my life easier.
3. His creativity and imagination are unmatched :)
2. He prays for me every night (along with everyone, including the dog).

And the number one best thing about Dino is:

He challenges me every day to be the best person I can be.

So as long as this post is, I have one more thing to add. My son is my joy, but I have found that there is more to me than just being a mom. In this journey, I am rediscovering who I am. Mother is high up on the list, that's for sure. But I am a woman, a friend, a good partner (someday), and a fun person. Just trying now to find the balance.

Today is only here once. Make your day positive!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sweet.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Dino is truly a sweet child and I would agree that he is thriving. (Not that I play doctor when I see your kid, I really do refrain on my free time, but he is just so amazing that it's hard not to.)