The other day, my precious one-year old boy gave me a life-lesson without even knowing it. I’ve always marveled at the things he sees and finds. More than once I’ve dug random bugs, fuzzies, or whatever else out of his mouth. One time, after digging out a bug, I exclaimed to my husband, “Where in the world does he find these things?! I never see these bugs around the house, but somehow they end up in his mouth!” My husband replied with, “Babe, remember, he’s a baby. He’s only two feet tall. He’s a lot closer to the ground, so naturally he’s going to find things we don’t see. His perspective of the world is much different from ours.” Yesterday, I let our son run around in our fenced-in backyard, while I followed closely behind. You would have thought he was about to go on a roller coaster ride. He was so excited and darted off the moment his feet touched the grass. We have these three large trees in our yard that have begun to drop some beautiful colorful leaves. Ian saw one and immediately picked it up. He held it in the air, and I knew what was coming next . . . the exclamation he makes every time he sees something that amazes him. His lips formed a little round circle and out came a long “ooooo.”
I couldn’t help but smile. He was just too darn cute! He then turned to me, and with the same “ooo” sound, held the leaf up for me to see. A burnt red on one side and a golden yellow on the other, the leaf, I had to admit, was very pretty. Once he got my approving “oooo” in response, he continued to walk on. I watched as Ian carried that leaf around the entire yard. It didn’t leave his sight once. If he sat down, it was in his hand or by his side.
As I continued to watch him, I suddenly felt a guilty pang in my stomach. Here, my son is making such exclamations over one single leaf. He recognized beauty and fell in love with it. How many times do I run from the house to the car and drive around, not once recognizing or even noticing the glorious beauty of God’s creation surrounding me? I get so caught up in life that I don’t take a moment to “ooo” over a gorgeous sunset or thank God for the beauty of the grass and the trees. I imagine God was smiling down with pride on our little man who was taking a moment to be enamored by a small sample of His beauty. Thank you, son, for reminding me to be more appreciative of the beauty God has blessed this earth with. If more people could see through your eyes, the world would be a better place.
I know, I know. Me, at a loss for words? Yes, it’s possible. Have you ever had those moments, days, weeks where you just have nothing to say? So much is going on around you. Your life seems to be spinning in crazy mode. Yet, at the end of the day, you sit down and your brain goes blank. For the past week, I’ve come to my blog and opened a new post page. Every time, I’ve ended up just sitting there, staring at the blank page, waiting for words to come. I’ve even tried walking away and coming back to it. But, even several moments later, the page remains blank. A lot has been happening with our life lately, a lot of frustrating military-related stuff. I could write multiple posts about that, but for some reason, I just don’t feel like it. Perhaps it’s my mind finally wrapping around the fact that military life isn’t normal and never will be. You’d think that I’d have accepted that fact well into the first year, but my brain tends to go into denial mode. It’s not that I hate the military lifestyle. I love it! I’m extremely proud of my husband and what he does, and I love the unique life of being a military wife. I wear the honor of that label proudly! That doesn’t mean I have to be happy about the frustrations it brings. I think one of the big reasons for my blank mind is the recent mundaneness of my days. Last night, my husband and I were talking, and he apologized for having not lately asked me how my days were. I laughed and said, “Well, you probably don’t ask, because you know I’ll eventually tell you anyway. And besides, it’s the same thing every single day. Not much changes, except for Ian’s mischief. I could tell you my day in a nutshell, and that would be pretty much it. The same. Every day . . .” And then I proceeded to tell him what my average day looks like. After I finished, Evan’s eyebrows raised and his lips formed a long, silent “woooooow.” I’m pretty sure he was bored to tears before I even got to 9 A.M. I’m not used to this. I’m not used to not being on the constant go. I was always that crazy girl in college, taking multiple credits and doing one too many things. My usual college semester consisted of 21 credits, working 30 hours a week, choir, band, acting in and attending plays, an occasional choir tour, several concerts, and still finding time to exercise and hang out with friends. (Sleep, of course, was nearly non-existent.) I was always busy, and I loved it. I thrived on the thrill of it all. That, and several pots of coffee. Now I find myself at home, doing the same thing, every day. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy being a stay-at-home mom. I love the fact that I’m providing the best love and attention our son could possibly get. But, I need something more. I need something to help me get that constant go-go-go feeling again. I suppose I could just drive places, to like Barnes N Noble or something like that, but gas is just so stinkin’ expensive. I also just end up finding myself spending money on things we don’t really need. So, I confine myself to the house. Ian provides a lot of entertainment, but he’s at that age where he thrives on a schedule. Babies his age need a schedule in order to feel like things are right. But, I find myself living on his schedule, just waiting for Evan to come home so that things can switch up a bit. People try suggesting I work on crafts or get back into writing my novels and plays. If only it were that easy. Just because my schedule is mundane doesn’t mean I have free time. Besides, try working on crafts with a one-year old consistently wanting/needing your attention and trying to grab at everything you’re using. I don’t like to write while he’s awake, because I always feel guilty lingering at my computer too long. I don’t want my son to ever feel like he doesn’t have my full attention. I don’t want him to have a tv nanny. Not to mention, the moment I take my eyes off him, he’s getting into something he shouldn’t. Due to my persistence of keeping away from the computer, Ian and I have been able to share some cherishable moments together, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I’ve decided that I’m going to volunteer more on-base. I want to get more involved with other Marine wives, outside of the friends I’ve made through Evan’s unit. I want to make myself expendable to people who might just need someone to talk to. Along with all this, I want to build our photography portfolio more and eventually get our little business off the ground. I want to do more, be more. Perhaps this is just a life-lull, but I hope I get out of it soon.
Two days ago marked a milestone in my son’s life. He turned ONE year old! I can hardly believe it! Where in the world has time gone? This time a year ago, we were all still in the hospital waiting to be released. It seems like just yesterday we found out we were pregnant. We had only been married for about a month when I started feeling funny. I became tired ALL the time, was nauseous around noon every single day, and found myself in the bathroom every hour. I never knew it was possible for someone to pee that much! Two weeks of feeling this way and with my little friend being three days behind, I decided it was time to try a pregnancy test. I’ll never forget that day, because not only was it the day we found out we were pregnant, it was also the day Evan re-enlisted. A baby wasn’t exactly what we had in mind for a re-enlistment bonus, but hey, that works too. 🙂 Evan and I ran (okay, drove) to the grocery store and picked up a pack of pregnancy tests. We giggled the whole time, joking about how crazy it would be if I really was pregnant. Before breaking into a full-fledge re-enlistment celebration, we crowded into the bathroom. The directions say to wait up to two minutes for results. Less than twenty seconds went by and BAM! Those two little lines flashed back at us with full intensity. My jaw dropped. Evan’s hands flew to his mouth, trying to stifle his excited laugh. I nearly threw the stick in the sink and said, “I don’t believe it. We have to do another one.”
I was in the sheer denial stage. I grabbed the car keys and demanded that we go get another pack of tests. It had to be a different brand. That brand must’ve been defective. Smirking, Evan appeased me, and we drove back to the grocery store and grabbed another box of tests (a different brand). We went home, and four positive tests later, there was no denying it anymore. I was pregnant!
I staggered into our bedroom, trying to process it all. Evan hugged me, not sure whether or not he should act excited. All of a sudden, I fell to the floor, sobbing. Why so soon? I had plans! I’m not ready to be a mommy. I don’t even know how to be a mommy! I was terrified. My husband, the tender, sweet man that he is, knelt on the floor in front of me and grabbed my hands. He said we should pray, and so we did. We prayed for our baby to be healthy, for God to provide everything we needed, and for us to be able to deal with the shock of it all. After Evan finished praying, and I had stopped crying so hard, Evan lifted me off the floor and said, “Let’s celebrate!”
I wasn’t quite ready to celebrate yet. I was still trying to process the fact that we were pregnant. I didn’t even know the first thing I was supposed to do. I soon got enrolled in the prenatal section of the Naval Hospital and began the first of many visits. Once we passed the first trimester mark, we felt it was safe to announce the pregnancy. By that time, I had finally come to terms with the pregnancy and was very excited for our little one. Seeing his tiny 9-week body on that screen and hearing his heartbeat set my heart on fire. I became so in love with this little being that was growing so small inside of me.
The pregnancy progressed with few complications. I was blessed with an easy pregnancy, not ever dealing with morning sickness or extreme swelling. I only dealt with the regular issues. You know, mongo boobs, gas like a team of football players, and acne like a teenage boy going through puberty. I continued my daily routine of going to the gym on base, even well into my 7th and 8th month. When I was about 7 1/2 months along and growing quite large, I hoisted myself onto an elliptical machine at the gym. A very sweet Asian lady came over to me, and with an excited, concerned voice, said, “How far along you?”
I smiled and replied. Her brows furrowed and she exclaimed, “You shoul not be here! You shoul be in bed, feet up! Why you here? You crazy! You shoul be sleepinggg!”
I laughed and told her I was fine. Every time I saw her at the gym after that, she gave me the same lecture. I enjoyed it. Her broken English made me giggle, and it was just nice to have a momma bear looking out for me.
Around the same time, Evan had arranged a surprise for me one weekend. He wouldn’t tell me what it was but that I would love it. We started driving to who-knows-where, and then I found us sitting in front of a 3D/4D ultrasound studio. I cried, I was so excited! We didn’t have a very good 20-week ultrasound experience at the Naval Hospital, and I so badly wanted to see our son again. My heart raced when we saw this beautiful little face come up on the screen.
I’d never seen something so amazing and so precious! My heart swelled. Evan and I just watched in amazement. Our son moved around, showing his precious little hands and little feet. We even got to witness him yawn. It was spectacular! I walked away from that studio feeling fulfilled and extremely happy. This was our little baby, our son! He had the cutest cheeks, the cutest hands, the cutest feet!
Time seemed to soar after that. My belly grew bigger and bigger each day. Two weeks before Ian was due, I got a picture taken of myself. My stomach was huge! It looked like Ian was standing straight out in front of me! See for yourself . . .
That night, I went to bed feeling strange. My heart kept skipping beats, and it was taking my breath away. I couldn’t sleep; It was bothering me too much. Finally, at about 3:00 in the morning, I woke Evan up and told him that there was something wrong with my heart. I’ve never seen that man move so fast! Within minutes we were in the car, racing to the hospital. Evan nearly broke 100 miles/hour and went through three red lights. We even passed a police man. I’m amazed we never got pulled over. We went to the emergency room, where they discovered that I had high blood pressure. Well, you’d have high blood pressure too if your husband was driving that fast! They gave me some medicine and put me on monitors. Four hours later, my blood pressure finally went back down to normal, and they sent me home with instructions for coming in the next day.
Exhausted, Evan and I dragged ourselves up the stairs to our apartment. All of a sudden, I felt like I peed myself. Sure enough, my pants made me look like a large, incontinent pregnant woman. Frustrated and tired, I complained about the fact that I couldn’t even hold it till I got to the bathroom. Then it occurred to me that I still felt like I was peeing but I couldn’t control it. I made a phone call to the Naval Hospital, through which I learned that my water tore and that I should come in as soon as possible. An hour later, Evan and I found ourselves on the road again, making the same trip as that morning.
It didn’t take long before I was admitted into a delivery room. Because my water had broken, they expected my contractions to start shortly after. Three hours went by, and I still wasn’t feeling anything. So, they decided to induce me. It wasn’t long before I was feeling heavy contractions and very ready for an epidural. Well, that ended up being a huge FAIL for the Naval Hospital. The anesthesiologist tried inserting the epidural four times, but it didn’t stick. All the numbing agent went to my right leg. The rest of my body was keenly aware of the pain wracking my body, but my right leg sure had a hayday. That moment, the anesthesiologist informed me I would be delivering our son naturally. Whaaat?! This was NOT in my birth plan! I had asked for no pain, not pain at its worst! It didn’t matter. I had no choice.
The next eight hours produced a wide range of interesting things, such as my desperate attempt to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” Trust me, singing done by a pregnant woman in labor sounds like anything but. The nurses tried giving me several different pain killers, but nothing helped. Finally, during the last hour, they gave me a pain killer that pretty much knocked me out. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep between the contractions. During one of the contractions, I woke up to a nurse putting an oxygen mask on my face. She said that I was crashing so hard between the contractions that I wasn’t breathing. This whole time, Evan stayed with me, being as supportive as he possibly could. He couldn’t touch me, because my skin was too sensitive. The best he could do was just stand there and speak encouragement in my ear. Finally, the time came when I felt I couldn’t bear it anymore. It was time to push! After the first push, the pain had let up so much that I literally fell asleep. The doctor yelled for me to stay awake and push, but I just protested, saying that I was too tired and wanted to sleep. I obviously was not in my right mind. A short moment later, they got sense in my head, and I began to push again. In ten minutes, our beautiful little son entered into this world!