Full and Content

I feel like these days are going by in a blur.

The minutes tick by into hours, the hours melt into days, and pretty soon I’m like, “Holy crap, y’all it’s Thursday!?”

And you’re like, “nooo, it’s Monday. Get your head in the game, Beckey.”

And I’m all, “Monday??”

To which you nod condescendingly, and repeat “Monday.”

Dumb.

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Because that’s the thing about the newborn stage. It’s all blurry and my boobs are rocks, and it hurts to laugh, and should I be sweating this much?? No really, this is a lot of sweat. This can’t be normal.

I’m in the hard part right now. The part where I want to yell and whisper and then cry and laugh. The part when I get out of bed after not sleeping all night and throw a tantrum the whole way into the bathroom. Because what about me?! What about my needs? Why about my sleep? My recovery? It all gets overlooked. For now.

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For now. I remind myself. This isn’t forever. It’s just for now.

He wants to eat every hour–just for now.

He cries when I don’t hold him–just for now.

He won’t sleep in the co-sleeper–just for now.

And pretty soon our now will be different. And all this will change.

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But I want to remember it all. All the wild tears I’ve cried, because it hurt to fart, or the container of my pain medication was empty. I want to remember all the sleep I’m missing out on, because feeling a tiny baby is what dreams are made of. Even if they are the ones that rob you of those dreams. I want to bottle it all up so I can guzzle it down when Silas grows bigger, and starts really pissing me off. I want to bottle up all the coos and squawks he makes while he’s laying in my arms, the way his legs snap up and into his body when I change his diaper, and the elfish noise he makes when he sneezes.

It goes by so fast, and I’m not going to be making any more babies. I’m not going to be pregnant again. This is my last newborn. My baby box is closed for business. The main reason is because my uterus ripped open, and I really can’t trust an organ that is going to tear open willy nilly. The other reason is because I don’t think I can handle anymore babies. Three is good. I’m comfortably full. Like when you go to a good restaurant and you order just the right amount of food, AND THEN you order the creme brule and a decaf.

That’s how I feel.

Full, and content, with sweetness in my belly.

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16 Candles

In the midst of having a baby, spending 5 days in the hospital, and walking around in a perpetual fog due to a hearty amount of narcotics, I’ve somehow forgotten Zoey’s birthday.

It’s not like I spend a great deal of time or energy celebrating her any other year, but I do enjoy acknowledging her. Generally, this takes the form of me singing to her, which I think is the most fun because it’s always sort of awkward to sing to your dog. She sits there and waits patiently until I finish, and she’s always sure not to make any sort of eye contact, then she’ll excuse herself to the couch where she’ll lick the same spot over and over again. I’m positive that that is her way of communicating her deepest gratitude. You’re very welcome, Zoey. After that, we like to take her on a long, heart-attack-inducing walk, where she usually needs to be carried intermittently throughout, because she is so chubby and out of shape. Then the pièce de résistance, the ultimate grand gesture, is a hunk of cheese or old lunch meat that has spent a questionable amount of time in the fridge is all hers to devour. Like a toddler who just turned one, she smashes her face into it, and makes an adorable mess. Photos are taken (Ehh, no, not really), memories are forged, and she turns another year older. LIke I said, it’s not much of a celebration, but she feels loved, and has a warm spot in her tummy, but that might be her getting a little queasy from the old cheese…

But this year, her eighth year, we straight 16-Candled her ass.

I’d like to think n this scenario, Pat is Jake Ryan, because um…hot. I’m Long Duck Dong, because the resemblance is uncanny, and Zoey is the incomparable Samantha Baker.

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Happy birthday Zoey, maybe next year we’ll remember you.

The Transition

He is beside me. I’m used to seeing him inside me, rolling around, not being able to determine if that was an elbow or a butt cheek. But now he’s here, right here. Tucked in tight.

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I like to watch the rhythmic rise and fall of his breath underneath his warmly swaddled blankets and under his tiny jammies with veggies on them.

It’s different not having a labor to go through first before having a baby. The transition for me was off. Strange. I went to sleep pregnant and woke up with a baby. It happened softly in my mind. Nothing abrupt, but more of a slow stirring. I know around me it was not soft. Instead it was hard, and fast, and loud and sharp. But for me, and maybe for Silas, it was soft.

My other two labors I got to experience the excitement of going into labor. Water breaking and contractions getting closer was a way to transition out of pregnancy and into a new brain space. But this time, I didn’t get dramatic increase of hormones that tell me I’m a new mommy, I didn’t get the contractions, dilation, and anticipation. And strangely, I have to mourn that.

But what I got instead is a baby. A perfectly healthy baby. Oh, and I also got to keep my uterus. Which is pretty fantastic news, because these things usually end with a hysterectomy. And even though my uterus failed Silas and me, I think I’d miss it. We’ve had some pretty good times together.

Sure, I wanted a labor. I wanted my lady bits to be swollen and unrecognizable. I wanted the gigantic hemorrhoids, and all that fantastic natural dopamine that would make me sob and blubber at a crappy auto insurance commercial.

But what I got instead is greater. Because it allowed me to consider the loss and appreciate the gain that much more.

Silas is my calm. Even though this shift from mothering two to three was sudden, abrupt and scary, he stayed calm. Which, in turn, calmed me. It’s like he knew things would turn out all right. We’ve slowly gotten to know each other. The day he was born I got to spend 30 minutes with him. Then my arms turned floppy and my eyes refused to stay open. The nurses dialed more meds into my I.V. and I went back to my recovery room and ate green jell-o.

After that first day, each time I visited him I would fall asleep because holding him made me crave rest.

Now that he’s home, he finally feels like mine. He doesn’t smell foreign, I’ve picked all the stickers, band-aids and bracelets off him. The wires have been removed and tags have been cut.

He fits right into our crazy life, and he’s perfect.

Silas Schumann

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Our baby boy was born on November 10, he was 2 weeks early. I was not in labor, instead my uterus ruptured. We were at home when it happened, and we didn’t really know what was going on. My body was shivering and blood was gushing out of me. We could have been faster getting to the hospital, but again, we didn’t really know what was going on. We didn’t understand the severity.

When we finally made it to the hospital, staff buzzed around me, four people tried to get an IV line established, and an ultrasound machine was being lubricated on my unceasingly tight belly. I went inward. I recessed into a small corner of my mind that I never knew existed. A place where the noise was just noise, and I remained calm and quiet. I took the pain and anxiety and let it roll off me. I made peace with my baby not making it. Because I heard his heart rate on the ultrasound and it wasn’t good. I made peace with what God was doing. Because that was the only choice I had. Soon I was wheeled into the operating room, a mask was placed over my face, and I was out.

When I woke up, I heard the noises again. This time they were calm. Except for my frantic mother who managed to abruptly whizz into the room, saying something like, “I’M HERE, BECK!” Soon she was escorted out.

I tried to make sense of what had happened.

Was I a mother of a third child?

Where is my baby?

Is it a boy?

***

Yes.

He’s in the NICU.

And yes, a boy.

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I’m trying to find the right words for how I feel about all of this. But nouns and adjectives get pushed around in my mind and all that comes out of my mouth are a fresh set of tears.

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Because I never expected this to happen. Who does?

I expected a natural labor, I expected to hold my baby after birth, I expected to hear his cries, and nurse him right away.

The crazy part is that when uterine rupture happens the mother is typically already in labor, and in the hospital and has quick access to medical help. For us, we were at home, playing legos with our kids, and taking our time to get to the hospital.

For the women who are not already in the care of a hospital, they experience a much worse outcome.

Somehow I survived.

Uterine rupture happens to such a small percentage of women.

And it happened to me.

I could have died.

My baby could have had severe brain damage or be dead.

Everyone in the hospital is amazed that we are all doing okay.

Our baby is not out of the woods yet. He’s still being monitored closely but for the most part he’s doing amazingly well.

We named him Silas.

It means emerging from the forest.

It means third.

Because he is our third who is strong, and fighting, and emerging.

The Meat Counter and the Petting Zoo

I had contractions last night.

For seven hours.

Ones that came and went every 10-12 minutes, ones that made me stop what I was doing and pay attention.

I’m only 37 weeks and I’m not ready to have a baby yet.

So I took a bath, drank one gallon of water, and contemplated a glass of wine.

My other two babies came right at 40 weeks, so this 37 week business is messing with me.

“It’s not time,” I kept telling my round belly. “Stay in there…Please.”

Eventually my fetus listened, because he/she knows I’m the boss.

But then it dawned on me. Three. THREE. THREE!!!

There’s really no turning back, I’m going to have three kids, and the part that is the most terrifying is having a newborn in my house.

They cry. And need things all the time, and I don’t know if I have the energy.

I keep trying to warn Berlyn and Hudson. Because they live in a dream land where babies are just for cuddling and making coo-noises at.

“The baby is going to cry a lot.”

They nod.

“Mommy needs to feed the baby a lot, and that means I can’t help you all the time.”

They nod.

“They baby will wake up a lot a night, which will make mommy a sleep-deprived, fire-breathing monster all day.”

They nod.

I think they understand. Actually I think they understand more than I give them credit for.

12 consectuive Thomas the Tank Engines? Sure!

Bowls of cereal for dinner? Oookay.

Halloween costume to the park? Nooo problem!!

They’re pretty smart.

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I asked Hudson what he thinks we should name the baby. He said, “Roast. Like roasted marshmallow.”

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Berlyn loves the name Lucy. And has recently added Daffodil to her short list after meeting this fluffy bunny.

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Although it’s strange to me that she’s only offering up girls’ names, because they are both convinced the baby is a boy.

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The lady at the meat counter at the grocery store stopped me while I was purusing potatoes.

She rubbed my belly. Which I thought was strange, especially after just handling 5lbs of sausage. And then she had me hold out my hands.

“You don’t know what you are having?” She asked in her thick Mexican accent as she looked at my hands.

“No lo se,” I replied. Because I enjoy using my small amount of Spanish when I can.

“I know,” she said proudly.

“Tell me!”

“Issssa boy!” She proclaimed.

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I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Hopefully in three more weeks.