Tuesday, December 22, 2009

3 Years, 1095 Days, 26284 Hours, or 1577040 Minutes...

No matter which way you say it,
time has gone by far too quickly.

It was that short blink-of-an-eye ago when my third baby came into this world after a whirlwind delivery--something out of the movies, with panic, chaos in the hospital room, and him coming so fast I worried no one would be at the other end to catch him (a nurse finally paid attention to my "he's coming!" screams and stepped onto homeplate in the nick of time).
my christmas baby

I woke early this morning with that memory on my mind. As inconvenient as it is to have a child with a birthday so close to the visit from Santa, I'll always be grateful for the opportunity to be pregnant during the Christmas season.
That year it took on new meaning for me. How could it not? How could I help but reflect upon another young woman who came thousands of years before me, who was also expecting a son? My mind wandered often to the similarities and differences between her experience and mine. Had she cradled her belly often with her arm, singing to her unborn child, as I liked to do? Had Joseph wept at the sight of the newborn babe, kissing the sweat from Mary's brow, as my husband did? How blessed I felt to be giving birth in a sterile, clean environment, surrounded by medical professionals, ready to help my child take his first breath--which, by the way, seemed to take forever--instead of being forced to lay in a bed of hay, without the comfort of having one to help me who had "done this before"! And on top of her anxieties regarding the birth itself, she was burdened with the knowledge that she was to raise the Son of God, the Redeemer of all mankind. Yes, Christmas of 2006 changed forever my perspective of the birth of Christ--I saw differently what Mary may have felt, anticipated, feared, but also how she must have loved. There was much in her life I could only imagine, but when it came to the love for her child, that, at least, I think I could understand, because I felt it, too, for my own little one.

Carson was due January 2nd, 2007, but was showing signs that he planned to arrive earlier--which was good for several reasons: A) what pregnant mother doesn't want to be unpregnant sooner, B) we'd already met our deductible for 2006 and it sure helped us out to not have to pay another one so soon in 2007, and C) my parents were in town and I wanted so much to share those first days of a baby with them. The timing was forecasting more and more that I would deliver either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning, so my heart ached to think I might not be home for the traditional parade down the stairs with my other two children, to see their faces light up as they saw the surprises Santa would leave them.
At exactly midnight, December 22nd, however, I awoke to terrible pain and wet sheets. My water had broken and I knew from the severity and frequency of the contractions that Carson was coming as fast, if not faster, than Wyatt had (which had been fast enough in our book!). We knew we did not have much time and the hospital was a healthy drive away, so we quickly woke up Grandma to inform her of the good news and took off. In an effort to keep Brett calm, I played down the pain of the contractions, but I recall thinking, "We are never going to make it--I'm going to deliver this baby in the car!" Upon our arrival at the hospital the nurses did not belive me when I tried to tell them this was happening very quickly and that my body had even begun to bear down. (Why do nurses never believe you? I understand they probably have women tell them that all the time, but when you say to them, "My other delivery was very fast, my contractions are less than a minute apart, and I feel like I need to push" do they not take you somewhat seriously? They still putter around, humming to themselves, asking you to sign paperwork when I'm thinking, "Somebody please catch this baby!") We'd been at the hospital for just an hour, changing into hospital gowns and receiving an IV. As they tried to monitor the heartbeats, the computer would not work, so ironically, when I could tell the baby was coming out, we had probably 5 nurses working on the blasted computer, but nobody taking a second look at me. After trying to politely get their attention, I finally shouted, "He's coming! He's coming!" and fortunately one nurse took me for my word enough to take a look under sheet. Her face grew into shock as she yelled to the others that Carson was crowning. Hmmm...suddenly the computer wasn't so important anymore. Nurses began running everywhere, grabbing carts, sterilized tools, and towels. Three agonizing pushes later (remember, no epidural) I felt the relief of less pressure and waited to hear my baby cry. Nothing. I don't know how long it was, maybe only twenty seconds or so, but it was an anguishing wait. They swept him away to the cart behind him, did their magic, and finally, a deep satisfying wail. Considering how short my labor was, though intense, I was surprised at how tired I was. As much as I wanted to see my son, once I knew he was breathing and safe, suddenly I could not fight the sleep. My eyes kept rolling into the back of my head in an effort to stay awake, but I was losing this battle fast. I remember when they tried to put him in my arms, I said to Brett, "Take him--I'm so tired I can't lift my arms and I'm afraid I'll drop him". I finally did hold him a few minutes later, with Brett's assistance as I didn't trust my weary muscles. I looked at Brett and saw that he was crying, quite openly. Of course I was moved, but also surprised, as he hadn't cried at any of our other births. He had been simply joyously happy with a permanent smile. Now, when I ask him about it, he says he doesn't really know what made him weep so. He thinks maybe it was because the room was total chaos and he didn't know how to help me when I was obviously in great pain, or maybe tears were for those seconds when time stood still and we waited for our child to breathe, or finally if he cried because we had talked of this child being our last, and that he was crying for the experience he may never have again. At any rate, Carson's entry into this world was a whirlwind of drama and excitement!
8 lbs. 1 oz.

It was heavenly having my mother and father there for the first week of his life. Sharing those moments with them is something I'll never forget, always treasure. I was actually scared for them to return home, they'd been such a help and a blessing! Carson's big sister and brother could not have been more excited to meet him and finally have him home.

When I became pregnant with Carson, there were things going on in my life at that time that convinced me his coming to this earth was definitely mean-to-be, definitely part of Heavenly Father's plan, and that was a great comfort to me. It felt wonderful to be an instrument in the Lord's hand, as it had felt in Halle's and Wyatt's pregnancies, bringing spirits to this earth who needed to be here. I know they will all three do great things if they will hold to the rod and try their best to do the Lord's will.
For my birthday, Brett took me to dinner at McCormick & Schmick's,
where they print their seafood menus daily. I had called ahead
and had them print at the top of our menu the news that
we were expecting baby #3! It was a fun way to share
the surprising news to my better half!
Carson is a beautiful child--always has been. It's funny how kids change...in the beginning, he was Daddy's little boy, preferring to be held by him over anyone else. But recently, he's taken a strong attachment to his mama, which I don't mind at all. Last night, while I watched Polar Express with the kids on the couch, Carson and I had a moment where we just turned our heads and instead of watching the television, just stared at each other for a long time, whispering "I love you". We have those moments often, and I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to know that there are slivers of time when he wants to look at no one but me. It reminds me of holding him in the hospital as we introduced ourselves to one another.
For now, we do think we have had all the children we're going to have. I'm surprised because I always pictured myself with more. It's a decision that could change someday, but at present Brett and I both feel very peaceful and good about it. However, it does make watching your "baby" get older a bittersweet experience. I can see how it's easy for the last child to be a bit spoiled...I hope we don't do that, but I can see how it happens. You want to cling to their babyhood as long as you can, because you know you won't have that again.
I love you, Carson. You are strongwilled, stubborn, and so bright that you are sometimes to smart for your own good! But you are also funny, energetic, determined, independent, and affectionate--all qualities to your credit and our benefit. I cannot express the love that I have for you, and the gratitude I feel that you came into our lives.

Hope Sig1


Brett said...

Oh how the little buddy has grown. Happy B-day Carson. Daddy loves you and wishes with all my heart that I was there with you.

Emily said...

Love the walk down memory lane! Such cute pic... You are an amazing mom- I just wish you were my neighbor so I could glean from all you do! Merry Christmas!

Kristi said...

Wow! I think one of my biggest fears is to have a baby anywhere but in the hospital. I had goosebumps the whole time I was reading the story. Talk about drama! That was really neat to read about your experience and relating your pregnancy to Mary's. Thank you for adding a little more Christmas spirit to my season.

Tif said...

So sweet! He will love reading this when he is older.

Happy Birthday Carson!

Jen said...

Oh, Hope, this totally made me cry. :) What a perfect post. Thank you for sharing this today. :) Happy birthday, Carson!

Mandy said...

I had NO idea that's what his birth was like! Maybe you told me and I blocked it out. :) What a crazy experience! He sure is a cutie!

Annie said...

Happy Birthday Carson! Your story reminds me of my experience with Zachary. Except I ended up having to have a c-section because he was breech, after all that pain. Thanks for sharing!

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson