After Jeff and I got married in October of 2008, we talked about one day starting a family. We knew we wanted to wait a few years before we had a child because it’s such a life changing event that we wanted to be a couple for a few years first. We decided that we would have two children. Of course, we would hope for one of each. The “perfect” little family of four. If we got two boys, that would be awesome. Two girls would be good too, but holy crap, that would be scary! So, in the fall of 2010, we decided to start trying for our first child. After just a couple months of “seriously” trying (I know, TMI), I took a pregnancy test the morning of Sunday, January 23, only to find it come back positive. I was so nervous to tell Jeff. I’m not sure why, but I was. I just had no idea what his reaction would be. So, after he woke up that morning, I showed him the pregnancy test and I got a reaction I hoped for. He was very excited and said “cool”. Our little baby would be due around the end of September, early October. According to the app on my phone, it would be September 30th.
The weekend after we found out we were expecting, we were going on a trip to Colorado with some of our friends, and we didn’t want to tell anyone yet, so I was sneaky all weekend “pretending” to drink. If I weren’t drinking, it would be a dead giveaway that I was pregnant (sad, I know!). Apparently I must have pulled it off because they didn’t suspect anything. For the next 6 weeks or so (until after our first appointment with my doctor), I had to be sneaky. I even sneaked non-alcoholic beer into a wedding reception in my bag, ordered a regular beer, went to the bathroom, dumped it out and replaced it with the “fake” beer. I know, it seems crazy now, but we just really didn’t want the masses to know for fear of jinxing anything.
That first appointment was amazing. I had butterflies in my stomach and I’m sure Jeff did too. I felt like I was going to throw up (or pee my pants) the whole time. Once we saw that little nugget in there, it was the most amazing feeling ever. It was really there. There really was someone growing in there. It’s just amazing. You don’t realize how absolutely amazing the whole process is until it actually happens to you. That all of these factors came together at the right times to form this human being. Amazing.
I had a very easy pregnancy with Carter. Of course, I gained too much weight and was crazy swollen through most of the pregnancy, but overall, didn’t have problems. My biggest complaint was the amount of heartburn I had. By the end, it was awful. Many people predicted that Carter would have a head full of hair based on the old wives tale that if you have heartburn, they have a lot of hair. In my case, it was true!
At my last appointment on Monday, September 26th, the doctor I was seeing that day suggested that we go ahead and schedule induction on Friday, September 30th (the due date). I was clearly pregnant with a very HUGE baby and it was time to get him out of there. So, that morning at 4:30 am, we reported to NKC Hospital so that I could get the magic drug that would make baby Carter arrive that day. After a long day, Carter B. was born that afternoon at 3:41 pm. Carter was 10 pounds, 12 ounces, 23 inches long.
That day was amazing (minus the contractions before the epidural…ouch). I think I was in shock for a while at his gargantuan size. It was so great to finally get to hold him. I could stare at him for hours. I told him over and over that he was the most handsome boy in the world (much as I’m sure every mother tells her children). The next four months and nine days were amazing. I was so lucky to be able to stay home with Carter for the first three months. This is my 10th year at Piper, so I had saved up a LOT of sick days just for this occasion. I was so excited to FINALLY get to use them. Not everything in those first months were amazing. If I said every moment was, I would be a liar. I had my days where I was exhausted and he wouldn’t take a nap all day, and I just had to leave for a while when Jeff got home from work. Of course, looking back, mostly what I can remember are all of the amazing things that Carter was starting to do. He was definitely starting to develop a personality. It was so cute. Every day when I came home from work in January, I would put him down to do tummy time (trying to “teach” him how to roll over…he just wasn’t having it), he would play with his little turtle, then about half way through January, we decided it was time he could start jumping in the jumparoo. He loved that. He would get to bouncing and just have the biggest smile on his face. It was so awesome. He would get to grunting and it was just so funny. One thing that I chuckle about it the amount of milk that he could down. He was drinking 7 ounces per feeding. I was always one to try to make him burp half way through his bottle so that he wouldn’t spit all of it up when he was done. He did NOT like that. He would just CRY, cry, cry if you took that bottle out of his mouth to try to get a burp. I eventually stopped trying because he would get to screaming so bad, it was pointless to try to burp him. It makes me smile to think about it.
All of those great times came to an end on Thursday, February 9th. I’ll never forget Jeff’s phone call and the panic, pain and uncertainty in his voice. I’ll never get the image of my sweet baby boy lying in that hospital bed for those nine days out of my head. In communicating with other SIDS parents, I feel lucky to have had those 9 days at Children’s Mercy with our sweet boy. Many of them didn’t have that time. They either woke up to a baby that wasn’t breathing or received a phone call from someone about their baby, but it was too late for all of them. Since I was out of town when I got that phone call, it makes me even more appreciative of those last nine days. I was still able to talk to my baby, kiss his forehead and his little piggies for nine more days than any of those parents had.
Jeff and my plans for the rest of our lives have changed. I was only supposed to have two pregnancies. Now, I’ll probably have to have two more pregnancies to get two more children (the thought of twins scares me to death, but it’s possible…and would be welcome just so I wouldn’t have to have two more pregnancies). Tomorrow (Friday, March 30th) is Carter’s 6 month birthday. The plan for the day would have been that after I picked Carter up from day care, we would have come home and I would have put his 6 month sticker on him and taken a cute little picture of him that would eventually end up on Facebook. Since the weather is so nice, we might have gone for a walk or gone to dinner somewhere that we could sit outside to enjoy the sunshine. Instead, I’ll be at work trying to hold it together all day thinking about what could have been. It’s really hard not to go there. Not to start thinking about what could have been. It’s something I try not to do too much of because there’s nothing we can do about the past. What we can do is make plans for our future. We loved being parents to Carter B. We were so ready to be parents and I think we were doing a pretty good job at it. So, to be back where we started is frustrating. It’s not fair and I’ll continue to think that for the rest of my life. When the time is right, Jeff and I will start making plans for what is next for us. We want nothing more than to be parents, so we can’t wait for that to happen to us again someday. To give Carter a little brother or sister…one day…
Happy 6 month birthday, buddy. Mommy and daddy miss you more than you can ever know.