Wednesday, November 15, 2006

 

A strong, enduring leader

is the name we gave to our firstborn son on this day 11 years ago. But that doesn't quite roll off the lips very smoothly because, as generally happens, something is lost in translation. So we went with the Anglo-counterpart: Harrison Craig. I know, I know- that's a big name for such a tiny little bundle, right? But somehow it just fit.

So I woke before the alarm around 5:20. I felt funny, but I couldn't place why. I thought about all the stuff I had planned for the day and then noticed a very uncomfortable feeling in the stomach region. "This is the worst gas pain I have ever had," I thought. About five minutes later, another pain came. "Oh, SWELL. I bet my stomach is upset or I have a nasty bug that's been going around the school." After 20 minutes, it occurred to me that these gas pains were happening with regularity- every 5 minutes. So I nudged Rob- firmly :)- and told him. He said, "Do you think you could be in labor?" I looked at him like he was stark-raving mad. "LABOR? Seriously? Didn't you listen in our birthing classes? 90% of all first-time births are AFTER the due date." So smug was I for remembering this information. This smug feeling quickly wore off as another, stronger pain came. Rob said (quite wisely), "You know, if your stomach is upset, you would probably feel the need to pass gas." Oh yes, baby, keep those romantic words a-comin'. So then I remembered that Kay (my midwife) told me to assume any labor was false and go about my normal business. With activity, she said, false labor will dissipate. Okay. So on to the shower to shave (I know, how vain) and shampoo.

For some reason, my mom called at that early hour of 6:15. She didn't really know why she called, but she wanted to know if I was okay. I told her about the possible labor pains and she said, "You know, I never had a lot of advance notice with my babies, so you might not either. You probably want to call your midwife. Don't play around with this." I did not call and proceeded to the shower. Once in there, the pains got worse so that I had to hold onto the washcloth bar and bend over. *But I got those legs shaved*

I decided to call the midwife. Rob talked to her first and she said she wanted to talk to me so she could hear what I sounded like. Typical Southern gal that I am, I was careful not to let any hint of discomfort show in my greeting, because that's just not proper. She told me to call back once the contractions moved to 3 minutes apart. I am not even kidding you that the second I hung up the phone, the contractions started coming at 3 minutes. I called her back. She said, "Where do you live, again?" I said, "Covington." She said, "Go get in the car NOW and come to the hospital. Do not pack a bag. Come now and I will meet you there."

But I had to dry my hair first. My mother's words from my entire life throbbed in my ears: You will catch pneumonia if you go outside with wet hair. So I chose then to heed those words. After all, who needs pneumonia on top of childbirth recovery?

By the time we got into the car, it was 7:00. Just in time for rush hour. And we were going into the city. Rob tried desperately (in vain) to find a police officer. He finally gave up and just drove in the emergency lane. Ya know those grooves cut into the emergency lane? Well, try driving over them at a steady pace of 60 mph. NOT COMFORTABLE. We finally made it to the hospital and signed in about 8:00. My midwife spotted us and whisked us into triage. She told me to get into a hospital gown and up onto the bed. I was overcome with pain and Rob had to help me undress, get dressed, and on the bed. Kay came in and examined me and all I remember hearing was, "Oh my word. You are 9-10 cm dilated. We need to get you upstairs NOW." I was overcome with panic. What happened to 20 minutes in between contractions? What happened to going to the hospital, only to be told to go home? What happened to walking up and down the halls? Apparently, I wasn't to have all those textbooky things.

Long story short (yeah, right) our families arrived and, after 3 and 1/2 hours (yes, hours) of pushing (with no meds), our sweet little man was born to us. He was posterior (ouch), which explained why I pushed so long. He was completely silent, just intently gazing at me. Oh, the breathtaking wonder of a firstborn! My midwife wanted him to cry so she, um, provoked him (we won't go into how she did that- quite rudely though). When Harrison began to cry, he did so with gusto. But one word from Rob and he was instantly quiet again. Rob spent much of my pregnancy talking to my belly, so I guess Harrison was used to Daddy's voice:)

So, to my shining star, Harrison: You have continued to make me marvel at the spectrum of emotions of motherhood. There have been times when I have felt such a fierce love for you I would just go somewhere and cry.
*You were the most mellow baby ever. Everyone used to comment on how good-natured you were as a little guy.
*You loved to SLEEP. You would have slept the first 4 months of your life away if we had let you. Eating was of no importance to you. You ate only enough to last you till the next meal. How frustrating for a breastfeeding mom!!
*Your favorite baby food was spinach and potatoes mixed together- only homemade baby food for your palate!
*Some of your first "babble" was "a-a-a-A-da", which Grandpa swears to this day was, "Grandpa"!!
*You were our joy and entertainment when we moved to California. You were 8 months old then.
*You loved stairs- 'nuff said.
*You slept through every (all 4 of them) earthquake.
*You were Daddy's "study buddy" in seminary. You helped him by learning the Greek and Hebrew alphabet and you would say, "It's an aleph. It's a dalet."
*You were God's grace to us when we lost Owen. Had I not had your sweet face to kiss and chubby little arms to wrap around my neck every day, I fear I would have sunk into a great dark pit.
*You have always had an unexplainable understanding of the things of God.

As you live out this year of your life, my prayer for you is that you would continue to pursue the cross of Christ. It would seem that Christ has captured your gaze, sweet son, so persevere. I pray you will grow into the leader for which we named you and that you would lead others to Christ. You are such a gifted boy, and God has given you many talents. I love you son.

Comments:
Sherri: I remember with such clarity the day Harrison was born. I will never forget the way he looked each of us in the eye as Rob passed him from grandparent to grandparent. No crying, no fussing, just those big brown eyes taking everything in (that should have given us a hint of things to come). He has been such as delight. This grandparenting thing has been more wonderful than words can describe. Each time I look at all four of "our" beautiful babies, what I see each time literally takes my breath away. Thank you Rob & Sherri for these miracles we get to enjoy and to God be the Glory for His creations.

Mom/Grandma
 
Wow, what a neat tribute to your son. Can I say I might be a teensy bit jealous of your short labor? I just had my first child 3 1/2 months ago, and I was in hard labor for over 48 hours.
 
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