In 2010 my husband and I asked each other the question: to have more kids or not to have more kids? (We had a 5 year old daughter and a 2 year old son at the time.) After much consideration we went with have and not long after Christmas we were thrilled to find out I was pregnant.
After an uneventful, but very long pregnancy, I gave birth to another son. We named him Canyon Boaz and discovered he was a 9lb 9oz baby boy with bright blue eyes and only the teeniest bit of blondeish hair. My labor was intense and overwhelming and left my body broken and hurting for months. But our baby was here and he was healthy. Or so we thought.
At 12 hours old our son developed labored breathing and was taken to the NICU. We were told, “It might be cancer, it might just be a cold…we have no idea what’s wrong with him.” I remember the doctor who spoke the word cancer to me. I remember the feeling of hearing that word. I remember how my vision blurred and my chest constricted and the room spun. I will never forget that feeling. Our newborn endured a spinal tap, had his blood drawn so many times we all lost count and his i.v. site redone at least 4 times because every day he would pull it out. For 10 days my baby and I stayed in that hospital, his body so covered in needles and wires that I could only hold him within 3 feet of the bed he lay in. But he healed. (The doctors decided it was an infection he devoloped from something he was exposed to shortly after birth. They said it could have come from anywhere, anyone, anything.) The antibiotics they gave him are known to cause hearing loss. He failed his hearing test twice. We took him home.
Eventually he passed his hearing test; just in time for his pediatrician to tell us that he was not gaining weight and she was recommending we see a lactation consultant. Another long story short- our son was born with a high palette and a tongue tie and these had caused my milk to nearly disappear. For weeks my baby had not been receiving adequate nutrition from me. Its been almost 4 years but I still feel ill just typing that sentence.
For weeks following that devastating appointment I pumped around the clock, nursed around the clock and kept detailed logs of how much milk I was producing and how often he was eating and needing a diaper change…
We met with the lactation consultant 2 more times. My milk supply was restored. Our son’s tongue tie was fixed and eventually healed. But after a month of not receiving enough milk from mama and a subsequent month of receiving an abundance of milk from his bottles, my baby boy decided he had struggled enough. I battled his resistance until December before wearily accepting defeat. It would be a year before I stopped mourning.
When I sat down to begin writing the story of our last 4 years, I did not intend to spend an entire post on the details of my son’s first 3 months of life. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the trauma I experienced in those months are a significant part of the rest of the story. They are in large part the foundation of what was to come. There have been a handful of experiences in my life that have left me with “who I was before that happened and who I was after”. This was most definitely one of them.