Happy 8th Birthday!

1 08 2012

This Sunday will be Cameron’s eighth birthday.  Eight! How did that happen?!  First of all, I’m obviously not old enough to have an eight-year-old child, and second of all, how did eight years go by this quickly?  It can’t be that nearly eight years ago, the doctor put him on my chest seconds after he was born, covered in white goo, with beautiful, dark, almond eyes, and I hesitantly asked, “It’s a… boy?”  I hadn’t heard the doctor’s jubilant announcement after his headfirst dive into the world, and I’d just never seen a newborn baby’s area-down-under.  In hindsight, duh.  In my defense, I had just given birth, so I was a bit tired.  Regardless, the next thing I said was, “He’s beautiful!”  Naturally, I am biased, but he was beautiful.  He still is.  He’s one of the few people on earth who can truly pull off a hipster newsboy cap, even though he says he looks “stupid” and “ugly” whenever we force one onto his head at a store.

It seems only natural that with his birthday coming so soon, I write about what it was like for us as new parents.  To give you a tiny preview, I can tell you that Jon and I were pretty sure we were going to stick to one child until Cameron was nearly three, and we realized he needed to be dethroned.  Yes, as you can imagine, Cameron was a difficult baby.  It all started with a delivery two weeks before his due date, which really isn’t that big of a deal.  However, my water broke and I wasn’t dilated at all, so they gave me Pitocin.  As someone who’d never birthed before, I had no idea what that would do to me.  Plus, I was trying to do a natural birth because I’d put in my head that an epidural might cause autism or something else.  This was not based on scientific evidence, it was based on the fears of a fearful, hormonal, pregnant, special education teacher; I was convinced that it was more likely my child would have a disability than not.  So, I was trying to do it all right.  I failed to consider the fact that I can’t even have blood drawn without nearly passing out, so the entire delivery process was not smooth. While in labor, I accidentally pulled out my IV while trying to relieve pain while on my hands and knees.  Then, they gave me the drunken-stupor inducing drug Stadol to “take the edge off.”  I recall saying, “Take the edge off, my ass!  Mama’s DRUNK!” while Jon laughed and literally took my picture.  Finally I caved to the epidural and was able to relax (as much a person whose mom is sobbing hysterically outside their delivery room can) before the two and a half hours of pushing began.  During the pushing, Cameron’s heart rate dropped, an alarm went off, and they put an oxygen mask on my face.  No one told Jon or I what had happened until we asked.  Finally, after more than 16 hours of labor, my beautiful baby boy was placed on my chest.  He slept so soundly for the first two weeks.  I said to my (now calm and helpful) mom, “I don’t want a good baby first, because then it’ll be so much harder if we have another baby.”  And with those words, I jinxed us.

My loving husband snapped this picture while I was drunk on Stadol.

Breastfeeding put me into hysterics with toe-curling, baby-resenting pain.  When Cameron was two days old, he ate eight ounces at once and the doctor said he’d stop eating when he was full; but for those of you who don’t know, newborns should only eat about two ounces at once.  He was clearly trying to calm an upset tummy by eating and eating. His upset tummy ended up being acid reflux.  Cameron had thrush.  I had mastitis.  I got an ulcer.  A physical therapist worked with Cameron to latch on correctly.  A lactation consultant worked with me to breastfeed correctly.  I surrendered, and opted for pumping for hours a day for months to avoid formula.  Another day, my new baby woke up in the morning and didn’t fall back to sleep until 10:00 PM.

Looking back, Cameron was a sensory-seeker from birth.  He loved being tightly swaddled, slept best after being bounced on a yoga ball while swaddled, loved his pacifier, and slept through a baby food making party with food processors running, people talking, and dishes clanging literally 10 feet from his door.  These are all things that babies can like without having any sensory issues, but these things, in combination with what we know now, make it seem like the writing was on the wall.  Once he grew into a toddler, the sensory-seeking continued.

It was a tough time, but it ended up not being so hard that we didn’t opt to do it all over again with a second child when Cameron was three-and-a-half. Into our family comes Amelia… or more accurately, in shimmies, dances, shakes, and sings Amelia.  All of the behaviors we saw in Cameron that we thought were difficult were confirmed as such with the birth of the quiet, watchful, sleeping, tolerant baby that was Amelia.  It feels odd to describe Amelia in that way, because we now have a loud, attention-demanding, awake, intolerant preschooler Amelia.  What Amelia helped us to see in Cameron is a different story.

Our sweet baby boy

So, happy 8th birthday to Cameron.  We could all learn something from him; he is genuine, kind, imaginative, and nearly always aims to do the right thing, except for when it comes to his sister.




2 responses

20 08 2012
Cammie Hronek

Happy 8th Birthday Cameron!! Hope you had a wonderful day!! Miss you all! -Cammie

21 08 2012

We miss you too, Cammie! I’m so glad you’re reading so you can see what progress he’s making. We think of you often. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I’ll make sure he knows.

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