Sunday, October 08, 2006

Baby boy basics

Now that my son is a whole four days old, I'm astounded at how much I've learned about the difference between boys and girls. Some things are obvious; the anatomy is decidely different. Other things, though, aren't quite so obvious, like how to check a diaper for wetness.

Having changed thousands of diapers over the last 11 years, my habits are well established. Since every one of those thousands of diaper changes were on girls, I had no idea my habits needed to change. Now, I know.

When I check the diaper of a little girl, to see if it is wet and needing to be changed, I simply grab the front of the diaper and squeeze. You can't do that with little boys! That lesson I learned the hard way, though I think it was more painful for my son because he was the one that cried. Now, I'm perfecting an alternative method of checking for wetness, and being VERY careful in the process.

I'm also learning to be very quick with wetness protection maneuvers. Girls don't react to cold air the same way boys do. It is one thing to be told; it is completely different to understand. So far, we have changed multiple outfits, blankets, socks, and my pants. It could be worse. Most of the diaper changes are happening on my bed, and I've yet to need to change the whole bed, though I have a feeling it will happen sooner than later.

The other difference I've noticed is appetite. My husband has a big appetite. He should. He is a big boy (6'5") who works hard. My son also has a big appetite, but he isn't that big (9lbs, 20 inches long) and he isn't working hard. Still, he thinks he needs to eat every two hours. Sometimes I can push it to two and a half, but not without lots of coaxing. To be honest, I don't mind. There are few more enjoyable ways to spend time than with a baby whose arrival has been so greatly anticipated.

Somehow, I doubt my lessons on the difference between boys and girls are even close to being done. What a privilege to be learning such lessons, both because I've been blessed with a baby boy, and because I've been blessed with children at all. It is a wonderful and humbling experience to be the mother of a such a precious family! Children really are a blessing from the Lord.

Birth days and babies

As I write this, I am most joyously not pregnant. Instead, I'm holding perhaps the most perfect baby boy ever to grace the planet. Yes, I am biased, but he is really cute.

The occasion of this little guy's arrival is most notably wonderful because of one thing; it finally happened! After failed and frustrating attempts to have a baby on my time, God blessed me with a safe and successful delivery not even a week past my due date. And, everyone joined in the celebration.

Struggling with exhaustion, my labor went in fits and starts for a while. Finally, the wonderful OB nurse caring for me arranged for pitocin and an epidural, in that order. The pitocin went to work immediately. The epidural took a little longer, since the anesthesiologist wasn't in house. Still, once he got things in place (after one failed attempt and my husband's near black-out), life was wonderful, for about two hours. Then two things happened in quick succession. First, the doctor checked to see what was happening, then very pleased with my progress, went to change into scrubs for delivery. Second, the contractions started hurting again; picture Marlin from Nemo, "Good feeling gone."

Not realizing how close I was to delivery, I asked for the epidural to be turned up. The doctor, who had just returned from changing his clothes, said "No. You need to push." Then he told the nurse to turn up the pitocin! I said, "I don't want to push. It hurts." But, next thing I knew, my body was doing exactly what God designed it to do; pushing! Someone told me they could see a head of dark hair, and I pushed really hard. Within minutes, I was holding my new son.

We're settling in at home, celebrating the birth of our baby with balloons and cards; celebrating the births of our oldest and youngest daughters with cakes and balloons and cards. In the end, we're celebrating the gift of life, and rejoicing that we have such a privilege.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Celebrating Birthdays that Weren't

As I write this, I'm very pregnant, having carried my baby four days past my official "due date." Though I am anxious to deliver this baby and finally hold him in my arms (our first boy, after five girls!), it isn't as big a deal as it has been in the past. What is entertaining, though, is all the birthdays this little boy WON'T celebrate.

Because of a back injury, the last few weeks of pregnancy are miserable. I'm so tired from not being able to find a comfortable position in which to sleep, my brain quits functioning and the littlest challenge is too great for me to manage. It has gotten worse with each pregnancy. So, this time, I had a plan. Because of my back problems (I broke my back about 10 years ago), and the estimated size of this "little" guy (probably on the larger side of 9 lbs), the doctor was willing to induce me a week before my due date.

Expecting that my efforts at control would be effective, I made all sorts of arrangements for my five other children, called parents, and made sure my sister could break away from her commitments when the need arose. But, the need never arose. God demonstrated that while I can plan my way, ultimately, He directs my steps. His direction didn't include delivering a baby early. His direction didn't even include delivering a baby on time! In fact, at this point, this baby is going to be very late!! Try explaining that to your five year old when she says, "Mommy, you said you were going to have your baby today."

Thus begins an on-going saga of expectation and disappointment that culminated last Wednesday when my fourth scheduled induction was canceled, three hours after I arrived at the hospital. Having finally gotten the clue that maybe I should wait on God's timing instead of trying to wrest control from the Creator of the universe, I signed my discharge papers and scheduled a regular OB appt with my doctor for the next Tuesday.

This morning (Monday), about 8am, the hospital called, wondering where I was! I was scheduled for an induction at 7:15am and I was very late. Since no one had informed me of this appointment, yet another induction was canceled! All together, our little baby, who seems very content to stay where he is, has missed five different birthdays; September 21, September 22, September 26, September27, and October 2. When we finally DO get to celebrate a birthday, it will be a grand occassion, indeed. Unless we have to keep celebrating birthdays that weren't. Then, by the time this baby comes, we'll all be off doing something else and he'll have to celebrate on his own!