A letter to my littlest love

Dear Baby Z, (Version 2.0)
Hello, my darling. Momma loves you.

Your daddy and big brother and I are going to see movies and pictures of you today and I wanted to write you a letter before we “saw” you for the first time.

You see, the very good doctor is going to be looking for things that are wrong with you.
But I already know that you’re perfect.
You could have three eyeballs or 12 toes or a large heart or a small heart or a sick heart and you will still be loved with all of my heart. You could be a little boy or a little girl and I’ll love you all the same.
You could have a name like Down Syndrome attached to your world. And guess what? Momma will love you and will do everything in her power to give you the best possible life, bigger than anything you could ever dream.

I need to start by apologizing to you, dear baby. You see, I’ve been unfair a few times. Aside from the Cokes I drink on long days and all the Mexican food I put you through a couple of months ago, I’ve also spent way too much time thinking about all those things above. I’ve spent more time wondering if you would be “okay”, knowing it didn’t really even matter, rather than talking to you, rubbing your little home and meeting you in a quiet, pensive place. I’ve sung Christmas songs since mid-November and have blasted Eminem too many times for your innocent ears to hear.

But do you remember the first time I told you I loved you? The day we found out you were going to be in our world, that September day that seems so long ago? I meant it then, but it’s grown in four months and, some days, I just want to scream it from the roof, even if I’m afraid of heights.

You have so much love waiting for you outside of that squishy place you’ve been calling home.
We have a house that we have made our own, with nooks and crannies for you to play and hide in and plans for a really lovely nursery we hope you’ll enjoy. You have a backyard and a great little quiet town with neighbors who will always wave “hello” when we go for a walk. You have three kittens who will tolerate petting and tail-pulling (although you’ll eventually get yelled at for that one) and two puppies that will keep you giggling when they go running past you.

You have a Daddy who is one of the funniest people in this world. He makes your Momma laugh all the time. He’s a little too manly for kisses and hugs sometimes, but never too macho to sneak in a back rub, a pat on the head and a whispered “I love you” when he thinks no one is listening. He loves sports and his little yappy doggy and most especially you, your brother and your Momma. He listens to a lot of country music and does a fierce imitation of Shania Twain on karaoke, but we love him just the same. I don’t believe there’s a better Daddy in the world.

And you have the world’s best Big Brother. Zack is going to be about 22 months older than you. I hope you two will be best friends forever. I hope you will help each other and love each other; call each other when you’re older and living apart and watching the stars together in the backyard when you’re kids. Zack may have a tough road ahead of him and I hope that you are patient and understanding and supportive. These things already have and always will get our family through the toughest times. There may come a time when you’ll have to show Zack how to do things, even though you’re younger than him — I hope you don’t mind, and I hope that you’re a great teacher! And there is a chance that you and Zack may have a lot in common, and if that’s the case, your Momma and Daddy will be ready. Your brother already has a very sweet, snuggly personality and has the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

I wonder what you’ll be like.
But I don’t plan any big plans for you. It’s not fair. To anyone.

I have dreams. And sometimes, I have nightmares where I worry about you and your brother. I cry a lot for you and I haven’t even met you. But I cry out of love. And lately, I’ve been laughing a lot more than I’ve been crying.

You have a lot of people waiting to meet you… friends and cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents all over the country just thinking happy thoughts for you and eagerly anticipating your arrival this spring. There are a few people who you’ll never meet; people I will tell you about all the time; people who loved you before they ever knew you; people who will always be a part of your life.

But for now, my love, relax and enjoy the ride. Sometimes I walk too far and drive too fast, but I’ll try to keep things comfy for you.

I can’t wait until I meet you.

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Oh, these cuddles

Z-Man came down with a bit of a stomach bug; his first real one, too.

When I came home from work last night, Scott looked exhausted and said he and Zack had both lost their cookies a bit. Sorry, honey, I feel bad for you, really I do, but the poor Little Man!

Needless to say, I ventured into a screaming boy’s room many, many hours ago, to find a truly disgusting sight, one blonde-haired boy sitting in the middle of it all looking oh-so-happy to see Momma in this crazy war zone.

I scooped him up, cleaned him from head to toe all the while humming to him. Once he was all tidied up, I set him down, cleaned the space formerly known as his room, (I’m pretty sure we have to burn it in order to get the smell out of the house), and finally, oh finally, I could do what Mommies were made to do in situations like this.

I  wrapped him in a soft, fleece candy cane blanket, held him in my arms in the recliner in the living room and just rocked him. At 4 a.m., it was a caress on my hand with his soft little fingers. Within minutes, the petting stopped, the breathing grew deeper and two little fingers stayed wrapped around one of my own for several long beautiful moments.

We stayed that way for hours, until Daddy and the puppies woke up to start their day. All the while, I just sat there thinking about this handsome child in my arms. The hair that is so blonde, so silky, so shiny. The little ears that hear me whisper “I love you,” imagining the day my own ears will hear those same sweet words from him. I thought of holding him like this all those many months ago when he was just an infant with a rough cold. I thought of how he would fall heavy in my arms during feedings those first few weeks and of our incredible journey in that time.

And as his chest rose up and down over my own, I thought of his little brother or sister inside of me, thought of the Big Brother Z-Man would be, the impact this younger sibling would have on his life and all of the colds and stomachaches and earaches and injuries and sad times to come. And how each of those offers a chance to grow stronger and to fall into the arms of someone they love… hopefully their Momma though.

It’s what I thought being a Mom was all about; it’s why we put our bodies through what we do; it’s why Scott and I aren’t suffocated by thoughts of Down Syndrome or diagnoses or special tests. It’s because we have cuddles and snuggles and cries and laughs.

We’ve been referred to a specialist doctor for my pregnancy and go there Jan. 3. I feel like we’re being shaken loose because of Zack’s diagnosis and Baby Z 2.0’s chances of a diagnosis. I feel betrayed. I wonder if Baby 2 will always be the younger sibling of a man with Down Syndrome; I wonder if my heart can handle judgement and pre-conceived notions.

To me, I’m carrying another opportunity for snuggles and cuddles and early morning Momma days and mid-evening clean-ups. Because that’s what it’s all about. But I know Scott’s right when he reminds me that the doctors have to think about heart defects and “what ifs” even if he and I choose not to. So we’ll start the new year with a trip to a doctor I never wanted to see. But it comes with a nifty 4-D ultrasound and answers to very important questions…

… like pink or blue?

… Alfonso or Esmerelda? (My father-in-law’s picks of the week)

… Love with all of my heart or love until the end of time, no matter what? BOTH.

I wrote a Thanksgiving post that had pictures and funny stories and warm, mushy feelings about family and friends.

And then I deleted it somehow and couldn’t get it back.

So, just know that it was a great week last week and that I’m thankful and happy and oh-so-content.

And now I must go spy on a blue-eyed boy who’s got me wrapped around his finger. Even if the finger smells like puke.

It’s a Mommy Thing.

Tootle-loo, 2010.

With all due respect 2010, you were fine and all, but it’s time you go.

I mean you gave me an easy pregnancy and a beautiful baby boy, but really, I can’t imagine all the grey hairs I’ve gained and the many, many times I held my breath in fear, sadness, absolute shock or a mixture of the three.

2010 is a year I will never forget. It’s also a year that was distinctly split into two sub-years: January through July and August through December.

I was invincible through July.

After August, I became vulnerable. But perhaps that’s the best part of 2010; the one true treasure the year brought to me. It’s OK to be vulnerable; it’s better, I think.

The year began by missing my midnight smooch with my husband because the Baby Z-2-B was slamming down on my bladder. I found myself flushing the new year in while Scott found himself alone. This year, we’re hanging out quietly in our home after a week of travels (updates to follow in the coming days). It’s a great way to cap off this year.This year was all about family, from just a few weeks before last New Year’s Eve, all the way to the moment I laid my son in his crib tonight, wishing him sweet dreams and reminding myself that sometimes life is all about a mohawk.

I am grateful to 2010. Here are a few reasons why:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who provided…

… love. faith. humor. inspiration. kindness. deep thoughts. belly laughs. photos. gifts. advice. grace. hope. kisses. hugs. smiles. visits. talks. friendship. selflessness…

… and did i mention love?

I hope that I may return the favor to you in 2011.

My resolution is simple.I want to be simple. Think simply. Live in a realm of simplicity even when life is not easy. Enjoy the small things. Relish the big moments. Stop worrying. Stop thinking. Just LIVE.

May your dreams come true, your love come alive and your heart soar with happiness. Every day. If it doesn’t just magically happen for you when you wake up in the morning, make it happen. And just live.

Happy 2011.

POSITIVE

It was one year ago today.

I came home from work that Sunday and opened our kitchen door to find a bouquet of flowers, with a note underneath that read, These are for you, Mommy.

It was the first day that I knew about Zack. The first day of the rest of my life. (No, that day wasn’t my wedding day — sorry Scott — and it wasn’t the day Zack was born. My life changed that weekend after I peed on a stick.)

Earlier that day, Scott was downstairs watching TV and I went up to get ready for work. I brushed my hair, put on my make-up and was just hit by an unbelievable urge to pee.on.stick.now. We had been trying for a couple of months and I was just absolutely crushed after that first month when the test, er all three tests, said NOT Pregnant. I don’t know why they can’t word it nicer.

Try again, perhaps. Or, better luck next time. But the NOT in front of that beautiful “P” word just made me so sad that month.

But back to the happy month.

I had been feeling a bit run down for a few days, but other than that, there really was no clue that a mohawked-baby was chillin’ out inside of me. I didn’t want to be hurt again and I didn’t want to get Scott excited. So, I just did it really quickly and nearly forgot about it. I was pulling my hair up into a ponytail when I happened to glance on the white stick on the windowsill.

Hold the phone, I thought. Does that say PREGNANT?!

I looked, and then I shrieked. Loudly and as if there was a five-headed, three-eyed alien in the bathtub.

Scott came up stairs in about three leaps.

“WHAT DOES THIS SAY?!?!” I asked him, shaking the stick in his face.

He paused, he smiled, he paused.

“Merry Christmas,” he said with a smirk on his face. (Because this was ALL Scott’s doing, you know…)

We didn’t even have a chance to celebrate. I had to get to work! I gave Scott a huge kiss and a huge hug and I think I even got a belly pat from him. And then I got in the car and drove down the Road O Life in the beginning of a huge journey I didn’t know I was taking.

I promised Scott I wouldn’t tell anybody and then picked up the phone and called a friend as soon as I got in cell service. And then I texted another friend. Then called another one…

I was on Cloud Nine when I walked into the office later. I couldn’t have been happier… or more naive.

I sat down and almost immediately, a co-worker confided in me about he and his wife’s struggles with infertility for YEARS. Like, drive two hours each way at last once every single week to see a fertility specialist. And did I mention trying for YEARS?

Some great guy up in the clouds reminded me immediately how precious and special this gift was. And how blessed I truly, truly was.

And I haven’t forgotten that lesson yet. I hope I never do.

I told Zack several times today, on this very special day, that he was the best Christmas present for me. Two years in a row.

I kept a journal all pregnancy in a book called Letters for Tomorrow. Here are some excerpts:

From Dec. 10, 2009: I am five weeks along and am still teetering back and forth between excited and nervous… You are so loved already.

That same day, Scott wrote: …Today was the five-week mark. I’m overly excited. It feels like time is moving so slowly, but I know it will fly by soon enough. We’re both excited to have you in our lives. But for now, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. And don’t worry, help is on the way. We’ll get you outta there as soon as we can. Love, Your Daddy. PS – Remember who I am. A popular saying of the time is “Who’s Your Daddy?” — Soon, you’ll know.

All I can do is smile.

Zack has been loved for a year. And will be loved until the end of time.