Friday, April 24, 2009

Something good happens

One year and one day ago:

I remember waking up in the early morning hours with labor pain five days before my scheduled c-section. Brian was already awake, getting ready for a business day trip. We had to determine if this was really "it" as I'd been having false labor in the days leading up to it--so we prayed to make a good decision about sending Brian off for the day or not. 5 minutes later my water broke, so we made a good decision.

Me: But it's April 23rd. He can't come on April 23rd. Nothing good happens on a "23rd."

Brian: Nothing good?

Me: Nothing good.

Brian: I was born on a 23rd.

Me: ......Oh. You're right. Well that's something good.

We all know women in labor must not be held accountable for anything said or done while in it, and I blame my oversight on compromised mental faculties. But I'm grateful for the two very good things have happened on the 23rd.

One year and 8 months ago:

It's strange how the hardest physical thing I've ever done required no movement at all.

Some people run marathons, jump from planes, lift cars, climb Everest. Not me. I laid in bed. 100% immobilized by the suffering that is HG.

But look at the amazing trophy I got in reward for my effort.

There's not a day of my life that I don't appreciate my baby in a sacred sort of way, knowing the process of getting him here was monumental. It definitely took a village: TEAM CAYMAN. We all played different parts, but it took every one of us. Him. Me. The family. The prayers. The friends that swooped in and helped us live our life in my "absence."

I don't like to bring it up too often, at the risk of sounding 'woe is me.' (Or 'woe was me.') But yesterday marked Cayman's first year of life, and I feel I pay tribute to the hallowed time spent creating that life when I reflect on the experience. The feeling may be akin to a cancer survivor who values life just a little more for having faced the real possibility of losing it. The battle with HG is different because you are not facing death literally, rather the mental battle of relentless suffering. And this battle does not always end well.

Ashli Foshee McCall suffered Hyperemisis Gravidarum so horribly that she terminated a pregnancy over it, a decision that haunted her from the moment she was rid of the suffering, and one she will always regret. She has spent all of her years since engaged in helping mothers who suffer the same illness to endure it well, to know their medical options, and never to give up. I admire her so much for turning her own heartache into positive energy that can change the course for others.

Her book was my lifeline during this time: Beyond Morning Sickness. And Ashli herself sent several personal emails to encourage me through the darkest days. She will never know the difference she made for me in my little corner of the world. (Or the bedroom, in this case.)

I marvel at the miracles that are children.

I have never felt closer to death than when sick in pregnancy, but have never felt more alive than when holding them for the first time. I have never been more exhausted than I am every day as a mother, but nothing energizes me more than my children.

A look, a smile, a laugh, an I love you, a pudgy little hand in mine...the greatest joys I've experienced. Their tears, their wounds, their heartaches...the most hurt I have felt.

Opposition in all things. You must know the bitter to experience the sweet, and there is nothing sweeter than little eyes reflecting back to you your deepest and purest love. It is worth anything it takes to get them here.

Now the fun part....


Just a simple family party. The kids were 'decorating and games' committee--they were awesome.

He liked the cake coming toward him when we sang and he cried when we moved it back to the table for his siblings to blow out the candle for him. Just you wait, kiddo...

See, you get your first piece of birthday cake!! (Wait, that was child number one. You've probably had cake five times already, but this time you get a piece of your own.) Could there be a better happy birthday?

Hmmm....nobody's taking it away from me. I could get used to this.

Darn. Cake seems to be gone. What should I do next?

Lick the plate clean, of course.

And since nobody's giving me more, I'll just go ahead and eat the plate.

Oh, it's so good to be ONE. And mommy is so glad dad is taking me straight to the shower.

Now onto the presents! You never thought you'd see this face clean again, did you?

That about sums it up. We love you, Cayman!


Holly Robertson said...

Hey, Joseph Smith and I were both born on December 23rd--the 23rd is definitely a lucky day. Glad cayman got to have his cake and eat it too. You were smart to have him eat it with a bare tummy--I didn't even remember to put a bib on Melanie. ;)

Tami said...

Yay for Cayman! What a handsome boy!

The Titmi said...

Still looking for a smile. . .I guess there was almost one when the cake was coming. I can't even imagine HG Amy!!

Hey Maughan said...

Kelly you make me laugh...he was waaaay to intent on that food to smile. He was sure if he didn't shove it all in fast enough it would get taken away :)

Natalie said...

From a mother who has never even once felt woozy in pregnancy, I so admire you! Happy Birthday, Cayman! I need to hire you for family pictures. I'll email you.

Lance and Kristi said...

I LOVE chunky babies. Happy birthday Cayman!

Music is my Life said...

He is SO cute!
this is kiara f:)

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Erin MacPherson said...

This is a great story adn you're right... you do have the best "trophy" for suffering HG ever! He's precious!