Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Heart on the Outside

I was laying by Larkin this afternoon, trying to nurse him to sleep. He kept shooting me a sleepy but mischievous smile and trying to flip over and crawl away. Little devil. I turned our little white noise machine from the rain to the heart beat setting, hoping the change in rhythm would calm him down. No go, but the noise brought back a memory.

I was 23 weeks pregnant, and we were back in the hospital. My contractions had increased again, until they were coming every couple of minutes. I called my doctor and he ordered me in to L&D for monitoring. It was midnight, so our fears were compounded by sleepiness. The nurse made small talk while she hooked me to an IV for fluids, and strapped me to the monitors. She flipped a switch and the sound of Larkin’s heartbeat filled the quiet room.

She checked me for amniotic fluid and dilation (both happy negatives) and we sat and watched the green beeping lines as the machine tracked the rise and fall of my contractions. Jonathan paced and watched a muted DIY decorating show on the little TV as the nurse patted my hand and encouraged me to rest and relax while we waited for the doctor to come check things out. As she stood up to leave, she switched off the speakers that were broadcasting the baby’s heart beat into the room.

“NO!” I said. She looked back, and understood what I meant exactly. That sound was the only link I had to my impossibly pre-term and in distress baby. I couldn’t yet feel his kicks and squirms.  I couldn’t hold him and kiss him. That sound was the only sign I had that he was doing okay in there. His heartbeat wasn’t going to keep me from resting – it was the only thing that would allow me to rest at all.

She switched the speakers back on, and I lay back on the hospital bed. I listed to the whoosh of fluids and the patter of a tiny heart. I closed my eyes and thought how he was hearing my heartbeat the same way I was listening to his, and hoped it was offering him similar comfort.

I spent many hours throughout my pregnancy being monitored in L&D. The nurses on the floor came to remember my request to always leave those speakers on. I, of course, no longer get to listen to the sound of his heartbeat (I guess I could put my ear to his chest, but that would require him to sit still, which isn’t going to happen any time soon). Instead, I get to watch the frenetic movements of an obviously healthy little boy.

It’s intimidating to be a parent. The second that baby is born, you realize that you now have to spend the rest of your life with your heart wandering outside of your body. It’s an excruciatingly vulnerable feeling. I know that my emotional well being is forever entangled in this little pioneer.
Yes. Yes, you are.
Daily, I make decisions for my son. I chose where he goes, what he eats. I make choices that impact his afternoon and choices that will impact his entire life. From who I chose as his pediatrician to whether he is ready to play on the tile floor (update – he thinks he is, but his forehead may disagree). It’s intimidating. Every day, I pray for wisdom, that I may make wise and informed decisions. Decisions that I (and Larkin) will hopefully never regret.

That being said (I don’t have a smooth transition here, so I’ll just move on along to the next thing that is circling my sleepy little mama brain), I thought I’d make an update on my little firecracker. He’s been making developmental leaps like crazy. In the last week since I wrote his May update, he’s learned to sit up by himself (from laying down), has almost got crawling down pat, has learned to clap (SO.CUTE!) and has learned to give ‘real’ kisses (actual puckering, not just open mouthed slobbers).

Yeah, I got here by myself. Ain't no thang.

I see something I shouldn't be getting into. Let's go check it out!
 He has also continued developing that little spitfire personality. He has turned into quite the drama king, and has a whole new range of facial expressions to express his displeasure (in case his shrieks and bellows don’t clue you in). 

He's actually howling. I've always preferred vampires, but he may be the cutest werewolf ever.
Lucky for him, they are all pretty cute, although the hollering is wearing thin. Stay tuned for videos! He’s quite a character, this little boy of mine!

1 comment:

  1. Such a sweet post. I am so sorry you had to go through such a terrifying experience while pregnant. Larkin is such a precious little thing- can't wait to see him crawl.