So after falling asleep that Monday night after a long weekend of moving, I felt the tell tale signs of labor – again at 11 pm. I tried calling my doctor who was by herself in her practice to no avail. By 1 am I woke up my partner and we took the 30 minute trip down to the hospital where I expected another showcase showdown between the doctors and my son who already was a trouble maker before he even took his first breath. The nurses didn't even told me my water broke until 4 am. And of course by the time I was 7 cm dilated about 6 am and screaming for the epidural … the doctor was busy with quads and my OB reminding me this is why they call it labor. 4 hours and 3 pushes later our son made his grand entrance at 10:12 am, exactly 32 weeks. The irony of it was I later found an appointment card with my doctor with that very date for 10am, and while I didn't make it to her office, she didn't disappoint and had been there watching over me since 6 am.
He was quickly whisked away to the NICU and would spend 3 weeks there – including his first Christmas and New Years. He finally came home on the 2nd of January and it was a balmy 60 degrees outside – not exactly Midwest winter temperatures. That night we learned that no amount of preparation can prepare you for the lack of sleep. The fact we had a preemie didn't help, he came home in preemie clothes that looked like they'd fit a doll. The drama was just getting started.
After he was born, I had only had him home for 3 weeks when I was forced to return to my job and send him to a daycare a mile away from my office. By this time my partner and I were still working for the same company, had the same boss in the same IT department but he was in a different location and I was still in the building that we first met. I was working Desktop Support and he was doing more infrastructure architectural work.
Our son was constantly in and out of the doctors office, and even had his first PICU visit when he was 8 weeks old for pneumonia. Chronic ear infections and respiratory issues plagued our son. He had tubes put into his ear at 15 months, but he still had issues with his lungs which required nebulizing twice a day and sometimes every 4-6 hours – thus lasted until he was 4 and finally grew out of it. There weren't enough Baby Einsteins to keep his still sometimes. I remember one occasion when he was about 8 months old, he flew his head back while I was holding him while I held "Mr Bubbles" mask over his nose and mouth for his treatment and his head slammed into my nose, if he didn't break it, he came awfully close.
It wasn't until he was 18 months that his health gave us the worst scare a parent could experience. Because he was constantly sick, he slept between his dad and I for comfort. One night my mom instinct woke me up, I felt my sons head and he was burning up. He then started to seize violently, stopped breathing and turned blue. His father called 911, and kept his composure and by knowing me better than he probably knew himself gave me directions that the 911 operator gave him. The seizure had just ended by the time the police officer arrived and I held him while the ambulance transported us to the hospital, his dad followed. Diagnosis: Febrile Seizure. Unfortunately it wouldn't be the last one. You know you have a sick baby when your pediatrician gives you their direct cell phone number – which is exactly what happened.
Going through those first years with our son were a jolt of reality – but no matter how exhausted we were, we took him everywhere. Every single weekend we'd be at a museum, or the zoo, or the park. Apple picking in the fall, pumpkin picking would follow soon after. It was in 2007 his father and I finally got married after 7 years of trials and tribulations, our son almost 4 at the time. Even the wedding sounded like something out of a reality show.
Because we had a toddler, and we were very family oriented, we decided our wedding reception would be in a forest preserve and it would be like a giant picnic with bounce houses, horseshoes, and picnic type food, our guests came in their casual attire as requested. Sounds great right? Well here's a summary of went wrong during the festivities:
- Reception site flooded the night before with no backup site available. Park rangers were using pumps to try and pump the water out.
- Because of the strong storms that came through 2 days before the wedding the hotel that my bridesmaids and I had initially booked for the rehearsal had no power and had to be rebooked elsewhere. We were late to the church for rehearsal because of it.
- Maid of Honor had the stomach flu
- Junior Bridesmaid vomited at the rehearsal dinner.
- Cancun, our honeymoon site got hit with Hurricane Dean 2 days before we arrived. That just happened to be the ONLY trip my husband didn't take insurance out on.
- Our photographer who was a professional, studio and all – was daft. Every picture that wasn't posed was blurry. I was so upset I didn't even bother putting my wedding album together.
Yeah… like I said, at these the drama was free.
Then like all relationships – they need work. Because we were so focused on own son and his myriad of health issues, it left little time to focus on us. I waited 7 years to marry the man of my dreams. We had walked from hell and back, we made it work. Even a lengthy stint in marriage counseling couldn't help my husband see what behaviors I needed him to adjust to make us work. But neither one of us did the homework and after almost 3 years of marriage, I walked away.
To be continued….