Sunday, May 25, 2008

The gift of Luke

Becoming a mother or a father is a life changing experience. As for my children, Rose is the child who caused my life to make a 180 degree turn for the better. And Luke is the child who brought together his mother and his father which, in turn, resulted in the creation of our family.

I was alone and in labor at the hospital when the nurse noticed that Luke's heart rate was dropping. My mother had been with me at first, but I encouraged her to leave and go teach her class and come back later because the doctor said it was going to be hours before Luke would be making an appearance. I had convinced the doctor, who was trying to send me home because I was only 3 cm dilated, that I should stay at the hospital because of my relatively speedy delivery with Rose. I was told when Rose was born to remind the doctor of this during any future child births. And good thing I did. I don't even like to consider what would have happened to Luke had I left the hospital and not been hooked up to the monitor that caught the drop in his heart rate.

The doctor was called in to assess mine ond Luke's situation. He broke my water to put a monitor directly on Luke. The nurses gave me oxygen and repostioned me, but nothing helped. So, in a matter of minutes, the doctor ordered an emergency c-section and I was wheeled into the operating room. I was trying not to panic because I knew I needed to breathe in as much oxygen as I could for Luke, but it was unbelieveably scary not knowing what was going on with my baby and if he was going to live. I remember tears pouring out of my eyes as what seemed to be an army of doctors and nurses swarmed around me hooking me up to various monitors and then the anesthesiologist quickly putting the mask on me as I was fearing the worst. I was not only thinking of Luke, but also of Rose. What if she was about to lose her mother, the only parent she had at the time?

When I awoke, I awoke to the pain of the incision and surgery because I had not been given a local anesthetic. I was in such pain that I didn't want to even open my eyes and acknowledge reality. The first thought I had, after the shock of the pain, was of Luke. Without opening my eyes, I could feel the presence of a nurse in the room. I was so afraid to let her know I was awake because I didn't know if I was ready to hear the news she would have to tell me about my baby. Finally, without opening my eyes, I whispered, "Is the baby okay?" And much to my relief, she said that he was well.

It was hours before I saw Luke. I knew he was okay and I chose not to see him until I was well enough to sit up and hold him. I couldn't bear the thought of seeing my son for the first time and not being able to have him in my arms. A nurse asked if it was okay for Luke's father and his family to see him. They had been waiting outside my room, watching Luke through the nursery window. And, although, a father has every right to see his child, it was my choice whether or not this would take place at the hospital. Yes, it would have been unnecessarily harsh of me to keep Luke away from his father, but, considering my relationship with his father at the time, it would not have been unfathomable. Luke's father and I were not together and I had chosen not to be in contact with him despite his many attempts to reconcile with me over about a 6 month period of time before Luke was born.

During my pregnancy with Luke, I had acted out of fear. I wanted to protect myself, my daughter and my unborn son from a man who I thought had misled me. I thought I could not trust him and, therefore, I did not want him around until Luke was born when I knew his presence would be inevitable.

Allowing Luke's father to see him at the hospital was the first brick that fell from the wall around my heart. Rob's presence at the hospital was constant and considerate. He was there, but he did not make a scene about anything. He was glad for any and every chance to spend time with his son.

The first night that I spent in the hospital, one of my aunts stayed with me. The second night, I did not want to trouble any of my family or friends, so I stayed alone with Luke. It was a difficult night. I was still having trouble moving around because of the pain. I was weak. My son was so beautiful and sweet, but it was so hard to get out of bed to pick him up to nurse him and change his diaper. The next morning I was in tears because my body was so broken. I had little strength. Before Luke's birth, I prided myself in being very independent, capable of taking care of everything on my own. Now, I needed help. And there was a man sitting in the waiting room right next door to my hospital room ready and willing to help. The third evening in the hospital I climbed out of my bed, wheeled my i.v. out the door of my room and stood in the doorway of the waiting room and, as hundreds more bricks fell from the wall, I asked Rob to help me.

He stayed with Luke and me in the hospital room that night and he went home with us the next day. It turned out that Rob was the same man that I had fallen in love with. He had not misled me. I could trust him. Luke's birth set into motion a chain of events that knocked down the wall around my heart.

I believe that only God could have designed this scenario in which my body was broken and my heart was opened to seeing Luke's father in a different light thus enabling the creation of our family.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Rosie child

There is about two and a half years of Rose's life that she doesn't remember. This time period began when she was born and ended around the time that her father and I got married. What she doesn't recall is the time when it was just the two of us. The memories from this time are some of my favorite and most treasured. It was a difficult time in my life, but one of the most joyous as well. Rosie came into my life and magically changed it forever for the better.

Here is something that I wrote when she was two.

My daughter is in love with Peter Pan (the movie not the character). She was watching this movie tonight in her room just before she emerged into the living room. As I was sitting on the couch, she walked over to me and started pulling on my arm (wanting me to get up) and saying something that took me a minute to understand (she is 2 and sometimes I have difficulty translating her version of English). Finally I realized she was saying “I gonna fly.” She was tugging on my arm because she thought that maybe if I got up I could help her accomplish this task. At first I resisted her urgent demand for help in this matter. I almost uttered the words “you can’t fly” as I sat there. But she was very serious about her desire. She was pointing up toward the ceiling with such determination and she had this ardent glimmer in her eyes as she kept saying “I gonna fly up in the sky.” It was then that I realized that to be quite honest I wanted to fly too. So naturally the only thing I could think to tell her was “I want to fly too.” So I got up from the couch and we flew around the room as best we could.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rob and roma tomatoes

I think it is a true sign that a person is in love when he/she develops an acute, previously nonexistent interest in cooking at the onset of a relationship. This was the case for me when I started seeing Rob. I called my mom so frequently for recipes and cooking help that my dad made the comment at some point, after many phone calls, that I must really like Rob to be cooking for him so often. Well, he was correct. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach is cliche, but must be derived from a primordial truth. A mate who could provide edible food at meal time had to be more desired than one who could not. Therefore, one would want to display this ability when attempting to acquire a mate. And now, presently, even though this cooking trait is not necessary for survival, I think it is still preferred.

So much of dating seems to be centered around food. Whether cooking for one another, going out to dinner, or grabbing a quick bite to eat on lunch breaks, couples spend much time together eating. I remember back in the early days of our relationship, Rob and I routinely had lunches together at my apartment in between his teaching and my attending classes. We used to make these yummy sandwiches with Hawaiian buns toasted with mayo and cheddar, brown sugar ham, cucumbers, roma tomatoes, sometimes spinach, and maybe a little vidalia onion dressing. We looked forward to these sandwiches and the brief time together during the middle of busy days.