Happy Birthday to Him, Happy Birthday to Us

Tonight I am baking cupcakes for my son's 2nd birthday party at school. It is exciting, but it is also causing me to reminisce a lot about where I was at this time two years ago. I feel like I am walking in memory lane during each hour throughout the evening. Around this time 2 years ago, I was in labor and delivery at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange. I had an excellent doctor who is now moving to Texas to be closer to family. It is our loss and Texas' gain. I had thoughts that maybe the baby would be born by midnight, but my labor was a little unusual.

I had a different kind of labor. I wasn't in active labor when I was admitted to the hospital. I wasn't dealing with contractions and seemed normal. I went to the doctor for my 40 week check up on April 5, 2010. I was 5 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. This was really perplexing to the doctor, who sent me to the hospital to get checked out to see if there was any activity going on in my body, even though I assured him I was fine. He had sent me to the the week before, and I ended up going home that time. I was calm about going to the hospital again and didn't want to have to stay.

The nurses at labor and delivery debated whether or not to keep me there or send me home. They were about to let me go home since I wasn't having contractions, but my high blood pressure was the deciding factor in my staying. The doctor came to break my water to get things moving, and I soon progressed to 6-7 centimeters naturally. My plan all along was to get an epidural because I did not want to have the pain of natural childbirth with no medicine. However, I was  far along enough to make the nurses speculate that I would not be able to get the epidural. I was freaking out. That was not in my plan. I had maintained calm and handled what was going on with stride, but that was freaking me out. To my great relief, I was able to get the epidural even though I was still able to handle the pain well on my own. I thought it would get drastically worse, and I was afraid to face that possibility without some aid.

Of course the epidural slowed down what was a natural childbirth up until that point, so they gave me pitocin. I felt contractions and great amounts of pain, but I handled it like I handle all big events in my life-I went inward. I focused deep within myself when dealing with the pain and the people and what was going on. The epidural helped with the pain, but you can't expect it to eliminate it. No way, not for me at least. It did slow things down, but I was fine. It helped keep me calm and deal with it. When pushing time began, I pushed for 56 minutes and felt Caleb slide out. It was crazy to feel him leave my body like that. Caleb was born at 2:08 am on April 6, 2010.

It was weird mentally transitioning from a pregnancy brain to a new mother brain. It was just a different mindset for me to have because for 9 months, my thoughts were of making sure I properly nourished the baby through what I ate and drank, and once he was born, I had my body back! The next step was healing, healing, healing, and breastfeeding, breastfeeding, breastfeeding. My body was definitely in need of repair, and it took several weeks/months for that to happen. It was a huge process of learning to breastfeed well and getting used to toting a newborn around with a diaper bag. We first stayed home a lot. Then went on small walks. Eventually we went on small trips. I got to the point where getting out of the house at least once a day or every other day was a goal and need. We visited different parks, lakes, the beach, cities.

It was just a huge new learning experience that I took as much in stride as possible. And now that this baby is turning 2. I am proud of him. And I think, proud of us. Here we are, 2 years later. Caleb is expressing himself more than ever with his toddler talk and is more little boy than babe. Part of me can't believe we are here now instead of there. Like we made it on the other side and are now embarking on a new phase, with new learning curves and experiences. I miss the baby times, and now that I know A LOT MORE than I did, I feel confident and experienced with little babes. This new frontier of toddler hood puts me back to square one in a way. Luckily I am facing it with a boy I know, and luckily his dad understands him well. Caleb and Spencer are very similar and most of the time, Spencer knows what is going on with Caleb when I am not so sure. They roughhouse, and roar, and build, and destroy, and laugh, and make noises that I can't make. I try, but Caleb is usually not as impressed with my attempts. Not when his dad can bellow loudly and reach him much higher in the sky then I can. They are cut from the same cloth in these ways.
Helping his dad clean the car.  
Last year when Caleb turned 1, we were in the hospital for almost a week with him. I didn't reminisce during that time except for the irony of being back at the hospital at the same time a year later. Now Caleb has best friends at school whom he talks about on a regular basis. He knows about the birthday circle, birthday treats, and singing the birthday song followed by, "Cha cha cha!"  So it is exciting that this is happening tomorrow. For Caleb's 2nd birthday party with his friends at school. I am grateful for the 2 years we have had with this gorgeous child, and so thankful for the miracle of life that he is. Happy Birthday to Him, and Happy Birthday to Us. It is true, there is no job that is as rewarding and as challenging, as becoming a mom. And 2 years ago right now, I was becoming a mom. What a wild, beautiful, crazy, trying, and loving ride it has been.  I thank God for this life.