Four years ago, 2 hours and 14 minutes shy of Mother’s Day, Carter was born. He took one look around, expressed his distaste for the cold bright world he was born into by crying about it and then promptly peed all over the doctor.
He was four pounds four ounces and seventeen inches long, born at the gestational age of thirty-one weeks and six days. To us he was a big baby, weighing twice as much as his brother Cody’s birth weight and was an additional three inches longer.
Due to Cody’s very early arrival, my pregnancy with Carter was treated as high risk. I was placed on “modified” bed rest. I was told to do as little as possible. I should limit my walking. I should not lift anything over five pounds. I should not vacuum (hooray!) Most of this was very hard to do (giving up vacuuming was surprisingly easy) considering I had an eighteen month old who had speech and physical therapy along with many other medical appointments. Then there were my many appointments and all of these required getting him in and out of his car seat without lifting him. I learned that collapsible stools are quite handy.
I could prattle on about the painful injections of 17-hydroxyprogesterone caproate I had to have in my rump every two weeks (Hi, it’s nice to see you again, please bend over) or the transvaginal ultrasounds I was subjected to every two weeks as well. With each ultrasound I had to drink what seemed like gallons of water several hours before the appointment and then try not to pee on myself or the technician while they first did a abdominal ultrasound. Yeah, good times right there. I could tell you about the many fetal fibronectin tests taken and how we held our breath waiting for the results. All of this just to keep baby in.
And then there were my hopes of having a natural birth. This was my last chance. The hospitals in our area covered by our insurance did not do VBACs so my only hope was a birthing center over an hour from our house. It was a very nice place and I was really hoping it would work out for us. The only problem, other than the distance from our house, was that the baby needed to be born at the gestational age of thirty-two weeks or later. I remember jokingly asking the nice doctor if I could give birth there if I was thirty-one weeks and six days and he very non-jokingly said that I may not.
So it was that I started having regular and heavy contractions exactly one day shy of thirty-two weeks. Eight hours shy to be exact. We dropped Cody off at the place where he went for in home day care a couple days a week, friends and neighbors of ours, as we headed for the hospital. I cried all the way there, selfishly wanting a nature birth and at the same time terrified for our baby.
Once we got settled into a room and it was apparent that we were going to be having a baby sooner rather than later I realized that they could not make me have a C-section. My doctor, a woman I had never met before, told me what I already knew about the hospital’s policy against VBACs. Then with a wink and a nod she gave me some paperwork to sign that stated that, while my doctor recommended a C-section, I was choosing not to have one. I was told that since I was refusing a C-section in a hospital with a policy not to do VBACs there would be no chance later for me to change my mind and get an epidural since they would not have an anesthesiologist on call for me. That was fine with me – bring on the natural birth I so wanted.
Holy crap! I don’t know how women do that. To state the obvious, it hurts. A lot. I was not in full on, primal animal sound, hand crushing (sorry about that Husband), get this f-ing thing out of me right now, labor for very long. In fact they tried to get me not to push as they were waiting for the pediatric respiratory therapist, who was at home and on call. One simply can not wait to push when the time is nigh.
Carter pretty much breezed through his stay at the level two NICU. He was only there for three weeks. I think we got some strange looks at first as we were pretty calm about the whole thing even when he required intubation and a PICC line. He was a strong little guy. His heart murmur did not get to the point of requiring a PDA ligation. He did not suffer a cerebral hemorrhage. The long and scary laundry list of awful medical things that can happen to preemies just did not happen. He was just under five pounds when we brought him home.
I would like to say that he was an easy baby but that would be a HUGE lie. He was colicky to the point of crying for hours every evening. Nothing, nothing, would console him. After his long colicky babyhood he became a terrible two well before he was two. Our sweet boy sure knew how to throw a tantrum. We have a dent in our freezer to prove it. Don’t ask.
Somewhere along the way Carter became pretty rad. He is funny and smart. He is sweet, often telling me several times a day out of the blue that he loves me. Husband and I quite often look at each other and ask how did this happen, when did he get to be so _____? (cute, sweet, kind, angelic, handsome, awesome). Don’t get me wrong, he still can throw a tantrum with the best of them he just does it less often.
I can’t imagine my life without him. Happy Birthday you sweet amazing little Carter boy.