I have been obsessed with this idea since I first found out I was pregnant almost 3 years ago. I am addicted to the idea that I am shaping and forming this little being.
It all started from the moment I found out that I was going to have a tiny human being growing in my belly. I grabbed every pregnancy book off of the library shelves. I signed up to hundreds of parenting websites. I immediatly felt the urgency to know everything there was to possibly know about pregnancy. Why? I have no idea. My mother thought I was crazy, looking back maybe I was.
Fourteen weeks into my pregnancy, I got some bad news about this perfect child I was carrying. He was imperfect. He showed signs of a cleftt lip. What the heck is a cleft, I thought. The doctor barely elaborated. All those books I read and websites I joined never prepared me for this. A problem? That was not supposed to happen. None of the books talk about clefts. Placenta privia, maybe, but a hole in my child’s face, no. So here comes the tests. Fetal heart rate monitoring, amniocentisis, give me them all, make sure my baby is okay.
Not only was he diagnosed with having a cleft, they found some evidence of some ventricular megaly, basically his brain was filling with spinal fluid. Great… what have I done? This perfect vision I had of morning sickness and pickles and peanut butter, were thwarted with feelings of guilt and shame. Again, I turned to the Internet and the library for answers. Clefts are repairable, ventricular megaly can be reduced with the help of shunt inserted into the brain to release the fluid.
Now, I was scared to death.
The next five and a half months went rather smoothly. All we could do was sit around and wait for my baby to be born so we can fix all of this.
Finally, the day came. My son was born 6.15lbs and 19in. long. A perfect baby. They threw him on my chest for a mere 10 seconds, I think to ultimately scare my eyebrows off. The cleft was far worse than anyone could’ve ever imagined. He had a bilateral cleft lip and palate, which means that the entire top half of my son’s mouth did not fuse together. They whisked him away to neonatal because he was having trouble breathing. He ended up being transported to another hospital which was more adequatly equppied to care for him. Three long days and nights I was without my son, listening to the cries of the other newborns.
world. Nothing prepares you for the looks and sneers people give you when your child is born deformed. The gasps for breath make you laugh after the thousandth time.
Its been a long road, three surgeries later (the ventricular megaly disappeared on its own), I have the brightest, most charismatic child. He tells me jokes, that I actually find funny. Not just cute, but funny. His top lip still needs some correction, its larger than your average lip, so he has excess saliva all the time, which makes for the sloppiest kisses. He knows when I’m angry, yet he pushes me with the devilish eyebrows he has learned to form into a million different shapes. His eyebrows tell you when he’s angry, when he’s excited, and even when he’s lying. He loves dinosaurs and Blues Clue’s. He tricks me and I fall for it everytime. He tells me he wants the moon and reaches for it. At first he says “Mommy, I can’t do it.” He keeps trying and pretends he’s got it. He puts it in his pocket and tells me “ever, Mommy, moon stay ever!” “Yes Baby moon stay ever!”
You know, I’ve stopped reading those books and chatting in parenting forums. I’ve grown to learn that there is onlyone way you can prepare for motherhood and that’s that you can never be prepared for it. You can know about it, but you can never prepare for those tender moments that fill your heart with pure joy. Even if it is for a moment, you experience euphoria through the eyes and smiles of your child. And when the road is rocky, you feel their pain, you experience it eighteen times worse they do.