Thursday, August 25, 2011
So I bet you would like to know how we went from our normal On Blogging posts to suddenly throwing up a photo of a newborn announcing the birth of our little boy. Two things you should already know about us Bumbles - we like revealing happy surprises and we are private folks. So when we discovered we were expecting, I decided right away that the news would stay off the blog until our baby was born.
A part of me was paranoid. As a first time mother to be, I was of course anxious about the pregnancy and all the pitfalls that the medical community scares you with on a regular basis with tests and evaluations. In addition, I was a geriatric mother to be since I was well beyond the ripe old age of 35. Which means that my risks for all of those pitfalls multiply by scary numbers. So if I was worried enough to hold my breath the first few months and keep the news a secret from all family and friends, I certainly wasn't about to post about it here right away.
As things progressed and my pregnancy went smoother than silk, I was tempted to write about the experience here for posterity. But it was just as easy to document things privately with the same results. And so the secret remained.
At one point, when certain hurdles had passed, I did share the news privately with a few bloggers I have ongoing relationships with through collaborations or friendships or both. All were sworn to secrecy in order to protect our privacy. These folks kept things under wrap and even sent along generous gifts and words of wisdom to highly inexperienced Bumbles awaiting their baby. A perfect example of how the blogosphere can be a wonderful place to build relationships and find support.
Having a child was always something we welcomed but not something we went out of our way to accomplish. If it happened, it happened - so to speak. When we learned that at the age of 40, that baby we'd wondered about had finally decided to arrive, we were pleasantly surprised. It wasn't unexpected, but the particular timing did catch us off guard. Having always been a master procrastinator, I should have known.
When you are an old lady like myself carrying a child, there are moments when you do math in your head and worry that your procrastination may have been selfish when your child is going to grow up with parents who won't be around as long as most kids'. And then you remember that life is fragile for everyone and none of us know how long our time here will be. So who is to say that us old fogies will die off sooner than later?
Morbid thoughts, but they are hard to avoid when you are reminded of your age whenever you go in for a check-up. However, the perk of being an old pregnant lady is that you get to see lots and lots of images of your baby to be. I must have had a gazillion ultrasounds over the months. I have stacks of ultrasound photos - most of which look like sketchy weather radar maps instead of clear images of a nose or toes. But I did receive one of those fancy 3-D ultrasounds at one visit that showed me a photo of our child. With my nose - clear as day. There it was. Blew me away. This wasn't just a fuzzy grey blob in there - it was someone with features from me and from Andy. His big feet, my big nose. Poor kid.
I wanted to know the sex, in order to make the name selection an easier process. You would think that with 40 years to think it over, we would have had favorite names already in place. But no. Over the years I had favorite names come and go. And then of course since every person we know had a child at some point, a lot of the good names were already taken. Since Andy preferred to have the baby's sex be a surprise, we therefore needed to come up with two names. Andy referred to Baby Bumble as Stanley (be it a boy or a girl) throughout the pregnancy in honor of the Bruins' quest for the Stanley Cup which they eventually won. Instead of a diaper cake at my baby shower, I received a replica Stanley Cup made from diapers. In order to select official names Andy made lists. I made lists. We compared lists. I nixed all of his names. He nixed most of mine. In the end, for a boy, Samuel stood out. It has a sentimental family connection on my side and was a name we both liked - in all incarnations of Sam, Sammy or Samuel.
My pregnancy was pretty perfect. I never had a moment of morning sickness. No bizarre food cravings. My weight gain was gradual and within the healthy range. I continued to work out into my 9th month which kept me from having back pain or swelling. There were never any questionable test results. No scary pains or spotting. Nothing troublesome at all. My chart said I was a high risk patient but my physical being said otherwise. Being the worrier that I am, I kept waiting for the shoe to drop.
Perfection went out the window when my due date came and went. Even though things were healthy and normal, my old age kept hanging over everything. And my health insurance was changing within the week, creating a new deductible with it. Then there was the fact that this baby was projected to be a biggy - around 9 pounds most likely. Get that kid out, they said. Inducement here we come. Two days of trying to coax this baby out was not painful or worrisome - just two days spent back and forth in the hospital watching bad TV and playing cards. When my body and the baby's finally decided to get their act together and kick start the labor process, things progressed right quickly. So quickly that I hadn't finished hearing the explanation of the epidural process and pros and cons before that first contraction hit like a ton of bricks. My anesthesiologist was speedy and got me numbed up in no time.
Somewhere along the way I contracted a fever and the baby's heart rate spiked for a prolonged period of time. Since all the pushing in the world wasn't bringing that baby out quickly, I ended up in the O.R. with a c-section - a process that made Andy a bit queasy and stressed out. It was bizarre to be laying on a table removed completely from the action - without feeling anything or seeing beyond that blue tarp separating me from the rest of the room. Then suddenly this little messy head popped up over the top of that screen and looked down at me - my son. Baby Sammy. Off Andy went on the other side of the screen with Sammy and the doctors to cut the cord, clean him up and check him out (weighing less than 8 pounds contrary to projections). It seemed like forever before they came back to my side and brought him with them. I got to hold him while they wheeled me to recovery - my first private moments with him. And then he went up to Special Care to make sure my fever hadn't given him an infection - which it had not.
We spent most of a week in the hospital from the inducement and labor to c-section recovery time (discharged the day before our insurance changed - woo-hoo!). We likely met every nurse in the department. They taught us how to nurse, bathe and soothe our little Bumble. And then I hobbled home and struggled through some additional post-surgery developments while family and close friends pitched in to help us out for the first two weeks.
Andy went back to work and I sat here face to face with a screaming newborn. How strange motherhood can be. Another private moment - just he and I. He's giving me the old one-eye right now, waking from a nap whose quiet time is as luxurious to me as it is beneficial for him. But the alert time is even better - crying included. He was with me for 9 months - our own little dance between his kicks and my body that I knew so well. And now he is here face to face. Telling me what he thinks in a language I don't speak. But I'm figuring it out. Behind the blog.