Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting out of the house with a toddler - The big one

Leaving the U.S., take off from Newark International Airport. July 2012
Once the lights below disappeared, I clobbered my thoughts of "We Are Flying Over The Atlantic Ocean Right Now And Will Be For Many Hours To Come" with a blunt object.

Jet lag. Szigliget, Hungary.

Traveling with a toddler was fine actually. Upon landing in a foreign land, my son was a bit clingy. Then there was that 1/2 hour at the beach when I was unmoored from my Hungarian-speaking husband  and in-laws - What's the word from "Women"? I really, really have to pee! and I'm really, really hungry. What was the name of the pastry I was supposed to find? Ummmmm. How about pizza for breakfast? My son obliged readily. 

Over Munich. The edges of the farm fields are straight, so straight. The lines in Hungary, our final destination, were ragged.

We were waved to front of many lines in airports, leaving and returning. A customs officer watched me struggle with my tired son for just a moment. "Returning U.S. Citizens?" "Yes." "Come with me." He reviewed our documents - our declarations: a box of candy and tee shirt. Big spenders. Stamp stamp stamp. "Welcome back," he announced.

We did it. The big one. International travel.

Helpful items:

  1. New, small, interesting toys - animal and people figurines
  2. Snacks, lots of snacks - mostly for my husband and me
  3. A small photo album of familiar people, places and things from home. It was interesting to our son and our relatives who we were visiting. Thank you to the experienced mom who gave me this idea. 
  4. Luck. My husband nicknamed our son "Sleep Genius." It all just worked out. 
Song sparrow sings from a peak at Liberty Village Outlets, Flemington, NJ

Whenever I go to the Flemington Department Store, just down the road from where our son was born, I ask my husband, "Mind if you watch Beren while I drift around?"

"Of course," he replies.

I wind my way through the aisles of pretty peasant tops, surfer chic hooded sweatshirts, Lucky Brand t-shirts, Levi's cowgirl flannels, and bins of jeans. I go to the Clearance section, and I look for bargains, never finding anything.

I glance up from the corduroys that drew my eye, always fitted too low and see the colorful section of nurse's uniforms. I feel a twinge. A little sucker punch.

Giving birth to my son was not easy. He, like he parents, does things on his own time. Not when current medical practice warns THERE MIGHT NOT BE ENOUGH AMNIOTIC FLUID, THE CORD MIGHT BE WITHERING, IF YOU DON'T GO INTO LABOR BY NEXT WEEK WE'LL INDUCE, SINCE YOU HAVE STREP B YOU MUST COME TO THE HOSPITAL AS SOON AS YOUR WATER RELEASES, I HEAR A DECELERATION IN THE BABY'S HEART BEAT. That was just the weeks before our son was born. That wasn't even the birth experience. 

Wait, wait, I thought the mantra was "Two weeks early, two weeks late, right on time." Women have been doing this through the ages, no? 

Every test we took out of fear, came out just fine. Every scare just scary. Months after my son was born ten days 'late' I hear most first babies are 'late'.

When we hustled to our care provider visit with our 2-day-old baby, our doctor said, "You have a calm baby. Look at how relaxed he is. It's because of you and everything you did. Now, go home and don't do anything else for the rest of the day."

I recall so clearly her voice when I called her from the hospital. My labor has stopped, what do I do? I was afraid and tired. We talked over the options. Black cohosh and blue cohosh. Shower, nipple stimulation. Pitocin. Sometimes, you just get tired. The body just gets tired. You're human, she says.

We decided to go with Pitocin. 

Away we went, wretched pain of inconsistent contractions. My little sunny side up baby was doing things his own way. 

Was it my fault? I had stared at the diagram called "Correct Birth Position" that I posted on the fridge.  Yet somehow, I fixed on what our birthing class teacher had said about the birth of her daughter who faced up rather than towards her spine. Back labor, slow painful. I could not erase her words from my mind. They were stuck on me.

In the birth class we took, we were advised to avoid horror stories. We did, except this one quiet detail. Fixing on negative details, can make things go wrong. The uterus need blood flow. Fear restricts blood flow, the teacher explained. 

It all made sense. Just this one pest of a detail trailed me. That, and the midwife's warnings. I felt like I was struck by arrows.