WTTM Jennifer Garner!

Today I had two posts in mind — it was going to be either Gavin’s birth story or the harrowing results of his preschool admissions process.  Those will have to wait.

Last night I received the wonderful news (ok, not me personally, but through E! Online) that my soon-to-be BFF Jennifer Garner welcomed a boy into her brood! And on Gavin’s birthday no less!  See, we are getting closer to a real friendship every day.

Even though it’s not her first child, I want to welcome Jennifer Garner to the wonderful world of mommying a boy.  It’s a whole different world than the pretty pink one you’ve been living in my friend.  Get used to bruises, toy car crashes, and a whole new relationship with urine.

Let me tell you, those tiny fire-hoses spray everywhere.  During the diaper stage, it’s best to anticipate the projectile pee at every change.  Even with those nifty tee-pee things, expect to get a shot or two in the mouth.

I know I said I wanted to be a model, but this is not what I had in mind. I need a new agent. Where's Jerry Maguire?

During the potty stage, you know your face will be safe, but that’s all.  You will find pee on the seat, over the seat, under the seat, in the bathtub, in the bath toys and on the vanity.  Pretty much anywhere in the general vicinity of the bathroom is fair game.

Just be happy I'm actually in the bathroom.

You can also expect your son to love you in a way that a daughter can’t.  Your daughters will model you and need your help and guidance, but your son will cherish you and need you purely for love and comfort.

Welcome to the Motherhood of boys Jennifer Garner!  I eagerly await the release of your perfectly crafted baby name.

And if it’s Gavin, I may just have cause to have that restraining order reversed (who’s stalking who now?).

Watching them grow (happy birthday)

Aside from the day my children were born, yesterday was the most amazing day of my life.  Gavin’s first real birthday party.

I want to tell you all how wonderful it was, I want to transport you to the festivities, I want to share the experience with you all.  But I can’t.  I have no words.

How do you describe the feeling you get when you see your baby turn 3?  When you see him with 20 of his classmates and friends dancing and laughing, sharing and playing?

His legs are a dancing blur!

When you see him get kissed for the very first time, by a little girl, the one in his class that he has been saying for weeks is ‘so pretty’, and he looks directly at you mommy, with stars in his eyes?  In that instant you see him at 15 with his first of many broken hearts.  I make note to remind him of the bruises on his legs at 3, they hurt when you get them but fade with time.  Don’t stop playing.  Never stop loving.  Keep that open heart baby boy.

How do you describe the humbling feeling you get when his eyes sparkle and you ask if he is having fun and he says, ‘yes, mommy!  this is awesome!’ in that breathless way that you praise him and are excited by every new discovery and every new experience you have together?

How do you describe the feeling of pride you get when you really see your child for the first time?  When you know he belongs to others in this world besides just you.  When your heart hurts with pride more than nostalgia until the musician plays the Beatles song you sang to him every single day he had colic and then the pride and nostalgia are equal and produce tears in your eyes.

How do you describe the feeling of bittersweet love when all you want to do is kiss him and hold him and tell him you are amazed by him and the boy he is becoming but you don’t and you can’t because you need to let him play, let him dance, let him practice being that phenomenal boy that he is?

Star of the party -- and my heart

There is only one word to describe all these feelings:  motherhood.

 

Hey, what about me?!?!

Oh yes!  I forgot, it was Chloe’s party too.

Don’t worry, she had fun.  She always does.

All for me!!!!

Heated arguments, drug pushers, soulmates finding each other. No, it’s not a show on the CW. It’s your birth story.

Dear baby girl,

You were born on a Saturday but your story begins on a Wednesday.  Your brother came down with an ugly stomach virus.  He threw up all night long.  Every hour, I nursed him to health one tablespoon of Vitamin Water at a time.

Thursday:  By morning he was fine.  And then I got this ugly stomach virus.  Liquids spewing out both ends.  10 months pregnant.  It wasn’t pretty.  I nursed myself with Vitamin Water all night long.

Friday:  By morning I was fine.  And then your daddy got it.

That’s when shit got hectic.

Saturday

1am.  I wake to hear your daddy covering the entirety of our four square foot bathroom with puke.  As I wonder who is going to clean that up, I notice that in the 5 minutes I have been awake I have had 5 contractions.  Seriously.  But they aren’t strong, so I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep.  Good luck with that one.

3am.  I call the doctor.  Thankfully the midwife is on call.  We speak for 10 minutes, debating what to do.  Clearly I am not in much pain but the contractions are coming regularly, one minute apart, and second babies come quick.  I insist I want to stay home as long as I can.  Your daddy is still locked in the bathroom.

5am.  The contractions are farther apart, but stronger.  I call the doctor again.  Three minutes apart.  Yes I can still talk, but they stop me in my tracks.  Get ready, she says, and call soon.  I know that your dad can’t accompany me to the hospital in the shape he is in, so I call your eagerly waiting nana.  She lives two hours away.  I ask her to leave now.

7am.  Stepping over the mess that was my bathroom floor I shower and pack a bag.  The contractions are getting stronger.  I know I am in labor.  It feels oddly calming.

8am.  Your nana arrives.  She isn’t sure what to make of my calm so she freaks out.  I insist that I will walk to the hospital.  This only elevates her freak out level.  She pictures you being born in a puddle of Starbucks, dog urine and late night pizza scraps on the corner of 31st and 2nd.

815am.  We leave the building to make the half mile trek.  And then I remember, “oh, I need a bagel and juice!  They won’t let me eat at the hospital!”  Your nana’s eyes bulge out of her head.  We have to go!  I ignore her and walk in to our regular bagel shop.  My friend behind the counter asks when the baby is coming but he doesn’t expect me to say “right now” as I double over with a contraction.  We make our way out.  There are almost no cars on the road.  It is a quiet Saturday morning.  It isn’t cold for February, but it is so windy.  The contractions are getting stronger.  I feel you moving down.

840am.  We arrive at NYU reception.  They take one look at me, how calm and relatively pain-free I am and send me to triage.  “You aren’t ready to be admitted but we’ll have your doctor check you.”  I go to triage where they hook me up to the fetal monitor.  Every moment of sitting is sheer pain.  Stabbing feeling in my abdomen.  My doctor comes in.  The one who saved my life (but that’s a story for later).  She checks me.  5 centimeters.  She knows I want more than anything to do this with no medication, no intervention.

9am.  “Walk around the hallways.  Do not leave.  I will check you again in two hours.”

Elated that I don’t have to be admitted yet, I jump up to walk around.  As soon as I pop up, a gush.  My water breaks.  And so does my calm.  In a split second I am S-C-R-E-A-M-I-N-G my head off.  THE PAIN.  I DEMAND an epidural.  I cry about how tired I am from the events before, I haven’t slept in three nights.  The sickness left me drained.  I stand, I jump, I shush everyone.  I squeeze my eyes shut.  My toes curl.  The pain.

910am.  WHERE IS THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST??  I screech.  A 12 year old boy who swears he isn’t Doogie Howser and that he is old enough to have completed med school comes in.  He barks some legal mumbo jumbo.  I say yes, yes, yes, whatever you need, just BRING IT NOW.

My doctor hears my screams and wants to know what happened.  “Her water broke,”  Doogie explains.  She checks me.  “Carinn, you are 10 centimeters”.  Oh God, what?  I’m still in triage!

915am.  My doctor, two nurses and the jilted anesthesiologist beg me to sit in the wheelchair but I am busy swaying and jumping and doubling over and curling my toes.  It’s not an option to walk so I climb on like a petulant child who won’t sit in his stroller facing you and instead faces the wrong way, kneeling and grabbing the back of the seat.  But I am not smiling, only wincing and writhing with pain.  One of the nurses finally notices the pad that was discarded.  The one I was sitting on as my water broke.  “MECONIUM” she screams.

MECONIUM they echo.  PEDS (short for pediatrics)!  PEDS, PEDS PEDS they yell to reception as we race by.  There was meconium in the water.  WE NEED PEDS HERE NOW.  I swear they were only yelling so loud to drown out my screaming.  My primal, guttural, indescribable shouting.

920am.  There were no delivery rooms available.  They are quite literally wiping blood off the floor of one as they wheel me in, still kneeling, still hollering.  They push me in and the team disburses.  Doogie leaves with his unsigned waiver.  I have a moment of “holy shit I am really going to do this without any meds, all on my own, not even hooked up to a freaking monitor.”

One nurse scrubs in while another grabs instruments and another gets the baby blankets ready.  My doctor scrubs in.  All this activity fades as I realize an important piece of business that needs to be taken care of before we get on to delivering this baby.  I’m in my head trying to figure out how I can ask this at such a tenuous and inconvenient time.

“Can I please go to the bathroom real quick?  Bathroom?  Please?” I say to no one in particular.

“Um, I HAVE TO POOP!”  A little louder this time.  “Can someone help me to the bathroom?”

It’s like I have never seen 80,000 a few episodes of TLC’s A Baby Story.  I truly believe I need to go #2.  My doctor explains that is the baby making me feel that way and if I was a little less delirious from the pain I would have shot her a dirty look for saying you are making me feel like shit.

Lightbulb.  Oh.  The baby is coming!

925am.  The nurses are still getting ready but I climb up from the wheelchair on to the hospital bed, still kneeling, and begin to push.  Completely unattended.  The nurses take time from their busy work to notice my silence and signal to each other.

“Somebody better get her, she is pushing,” their masked mouths whisper.

I finally realize I don’t know where your nana has gone.  Wait – she’s in the corner on the phone.  Really?  I see her hang up and put her coat on.  REALLY??  Not sure this is the time for a coffee break.

She explains.  “Ian and I are going to switch off.  He has stopped throwing up.  I am going to go home to watch the baby (your brother was the baby right up until the minute you were born).  Ian will come now.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  This baby is coming RIGHT NOW!”  I shriek.

Not that I blame her.  Last time I pushed for 4 hours.  She thinks she has time.  But I know you are coming now.  I know you will not wait.  Not for your brother to feel better, not for your daddy to arrive, not for anyone for anything.  This is your time baby girl.  Your time, your terms.

935am.  I ROAR.  This is not an exaggeration.  I ROAR and your perfect little head peeks into the world for the very first time.

939am.  You are born.  Small and pink with bright blue eyes.  You make your presence known instantly with your strong baby lungs.  Flailing and agitated, you don’t settle until they put you back in my arms.  Physically, you look nothing like me, but the connection we have is deeper.  It’s evident in the way we stare at each other in silence and awe.  It’s in our DNA.

Welcome to the world my beautiful daughter.

Epilogue

940am.  I feel more amazing and alive than I have ever felt.

I am a self-professed adrenaline junkie and this feeling surpasses any other.  I feel more vitalized than I did after swimming with sharks in Tahiti.  More exhilarated than after jumping off a 30 ft. cliff in Maui.  More inspired than when I finished writing my screenplay.  It’s like I can actually feel life coursing through my veins.

It’s transcendental.  Pure euphoria.

I call your daddy before they even cut the cord.

“I’m so sorry, I couldn’t wait!”

“It’s ok, I’m coming now.”

“She is amazing, Ian.  A real force to be reckoned with!”

——————————————————————————————————————

The natural high eventually faded, but in that moment it brought me real clarity.  Because one year later, those words I uttered just minutes after your arrival, they never felt truer.

This is what a real force to be reckoned with looks like on her birthday.

This ain’t the Boy Scouts. You will be prepared for nothing.

I just overheard this conversation:

Man 1: are you going to Florida with the guys next weekend?
Man 2: (regretfully) No.  My wife is very pregnant and I am trying to limit the number of nights out of the house.

Clearly their first baby.

Six google-able words in that one simple sentence but three bold face lies.

Lie: my wife is very pregnant.  Truth: she is due in 7 weeks.  Which means she’ll deliver in 9.  An entire season of Survivor will begin and end before that baby comes.

Lie: I.  Truth: my wife.

Lie: limiting the number of nights out of the house.  Truth: my wife insists I suffer through every moment of this with her.

Bless his expectant dad heart, I know he is trying to do the right thing.  I wish someone could tell him “get out of the house as much as possible now because it will be entirely unacceptable for a year minimum after the baby is actually born”

I also wish I could hug his little first time pregnant wife.  I know pregnancy is hard.  Even an “easy pregnancy” involves, oh how do you describe it, CREATING LIFE.  It’s hard on your body, your back aches, you can’t sleep.  I’ve been there sister.  You know the only thing harder than creating life in your body for 10 months?  SUSTAINING it OUTSIDE your body for the next 12 months.

As you approach parenthood, you spend so much time reading books, creating a nursery, buying baby “gear” – all in an effort to prepare for the un-preparable.  And by 36 weeks you think you know – no – you are sure you know.  You know how you feel about breastfeeding, you know how you feel about co-sleeping, you know how you feel about pacifiers, crib bumpers, tummy time, TV, strollers, slings, solid food and swaddling.

But you don’t know.

You don’t know that all of that knowledge could fit in the thumbnail of the body that is shaking with fright over this new chapter in your life.  You don’t know how it is going to feel to see your baby, to hold your baby, to care for your baby.  You don’t know what it’s like to actually BE a parent, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I can say all this because in hindsight I know how sure I thought I was and how clueless (read: scared) I ended up feeling.

With Gavin turning 3 this month and Chloe turning one, I am in a groove, a comfort zone.

But thanks to this amazing post, I now have foresight of how clueless (read: scared shirtless) I will be once again.

If a mother ran the Boy Scouts of America they would change their motto from ‘Be Prepared’ to ‘Always Be Armed with Snacks’.  It’s really the best you can do.

Tantrum diverted only by throwing an entire box of snacks her way

 

What day is it? Tuesday?

It’s Valentines Day!

An array of Valentine's Day-connotated candy d...

While I loathe the holiday (but for the candy of course), I thought I would celebrate the day with two things I love — lists and my husband.

Did you think I was going to say my two kids?  Oh yeah, them too.

Why I adore my Valentine:

1.  He is an above average dancer.

2.  The “Jagger” incident (and all those before and after).

3.  For our very first Valentines Day he bought me a dress.  No candy, no jewelry — a dress.  And not a Pretty Woman dress, something I could wear and love and it was even the right size.  How thoughtful is that?

4.  We travel the world together.

5.  My daughter’s blue eyes.

 But the most important reason I love Ian (drumroll please!)

 He chose me and I chose him.  It’s as simple, difficult, rewarding and challenging as that.

that day, this day and every day...