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Five years ago...

August 21, 2012 - Jennifer Brookens
On this Tuesday afternoon, the clock reads shortly after 1 p.m. Exactly five years ago at this moment, I was facing what was probably the scariest moment of my life.

I was in labor with our second child, a boy. It was his due date and labor was induced. From sitting there watching lame daytime TV and counting contractions, to a swarm of nurses and assistants swarming around me, sticking an oxygen mask in my face and messing with every gadget around my bed. Then my doctor comes in and says, "We're going to perform an emergency c-section. His heart rate is dropping with every contraction."

As the chaos swirled around me, with no one really talking to me, the worst of the worst situations were coming to mind: was my child's life in danger? What if I don't make it? I'll be leaving my 3-year-old daughter motherless. I tried to reassure myself that women have c-sections all the time, it's not that big a deal. But I found myself praying and pleading silently to God, to my recently passed father's spirit, and any other good forces that would listen.

I remember that they were in such a hurry to operate that I wasn't fully numb when they went to cut for the first time, and I screamed bloody murder. "You could feel that," the scalper-wielder asked, bewildered. "YES," I snarl back, too stressed to feign niceties. I'm sure they were regretting not being able to totally knock me out to shut me up, but I guess time was of the essence.

Finally, my husband in scrubs arrived by my side, and a big curtain was put up to protect me from seeing the gory scene that was about to be my body. This time I could feel things being cut loose and moved, but the numbing finally took effect. I felt the baby, The Boy, being pulled out, but I couldn't hear anything. I was holding my breath... Then I heard the screech: the pterodactyl screech that would define him throughout his toddler years, and still comes out when he's angry about not getting his way. After a few screeches, I heard a nurse say, "He's absolutely perfect." And in that moment, even though I was in the midst of major surgery, all was right in the world.

Five years later, The Boy is still letting loose his screech for having to be put in time out on his birthday. New toys for him, yet he's still taking and fighting dirty for what belongs to his sister. He came into this world with chaos, and he usuallly gives me a dose of it on a daily basis. Would I have it any other way? Well... honestly, yes. But it's what makes The Boy who he is, and I still love him through it all.

Happy Birthday, Brendan, my boy. And yes, you'll still get cake later.

 
 

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After the storm: The Boy hours after he was born. We were both worn out...