Last night I laid down with John for a bit at bedtime. When you are such a kinesthetic soul as he is, settling down for sleep can be a challenge. We are trying a bit of melatonin for a while and it's making a huge difference in dreamland at our house....in a good way. Anyway, we spent this time talking (as he gets sleepy is one of the best conversation times between us) with enough dim light from the nightlight that we could clearly see one another's face.
My boy looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Mom, would you be honest with me about anything I ask?" With anticipatory flutters in my tummy I answered, ''of course'. Still looking straight into my eyes, he took a deep breath and asked me...."Mom? Is Santa real?" Believe me, I know that 11.5 years is a long time to have a child in today's world believe innocently in something so magical. I considered lying to my child (it would've been just a little white lie). I had overwhelming thoughts of what the truth of this matter would mean to him. I didn't have much time to think, and I remembered I just promised to be honest about anything he asked. I asked John what he thought. He told me that answering a question with a question was not being all the way honest. So, deep breath in...deep breath out and I said, 'no baby, Santa is not real." He was calm and cool as he asked about the Easter Bunny. I told him that Easter is real, and there are real bunnies on Easter. Then, the tooth fairy. I pictured the wonderful collection of poetry from Ruthie Ruthie, the fairy of all toothies and I wanted to answer him from my heart. "Honey, Ruthie Ruthie isn't a real fairy but she is your Momma and she meant every word in those poems and your Momma just wants you to have a little magic in your heart because this world can be hard and.......!" Before I could answer, my boy - his eyes burning straight to my soul asked if I was alright? Why did I look sad? He sweetly placed his boy turning young man hands on my face and told me he loved me and it would be okay. He said, "Mom, some kids in my class have not believed in Santa for a long time. There is a boy in my class who doesn't believe in God either. But I do believe God is real, I try to convince my friend but he won't believe me." We had a heart to heart about this and I wanted to freeze frame this moment forever. John promised not to tell his sister about our Santa talk (although I think she plays along for our benefit) and I told him how fun it would be to have him join in on the pretend fun.
The other day, Nathan said that he would give his Toyota Tundra to John when he got his license. I thought, that's so far away. Reality...it's five years down the road. Ouch. Time flies.
It was just yesterday (the kind of yesterday that was 11 and a half years ago) that this child came into our lives and forever changed our trajectory. Actually, it was more like the second we found out about his existence that things began to change. Nathan and I were married for a year and a month and we began to plan having a family. I probably had been planning this since I was five, but now I had a cooperative accomplice. We went through all of my cardiology appointments to make sure that it was safe for me to carry a child. I expected all along they would tell me no and we would adopt; we were both okay with that. When I really had to go through the testing it hit me how badly I wanted to create a child with my husband and I was somehow surprised by all the tests I had to undergo. Finally, I got glowing approval from my cardiologist and on the heart end of things, all was supremely well.
Three weeks after that approval began sudden vomiting, sleepiness and a positive pregnancy test. I didn't believe it and at a previously scheduled dr appt, they did another test. It was positive! Still in my gown, I jumped up and hugged the doctor. I will never forget the surprise on his face. I was trying to plan all of these special ways to tell Nathan when he got home but when he called from work, I was so excited I told him! He thought I was joking b/c surely I wouldn't break this big news on the phone....I sure did and I sure was!
On the pregnancy side, I puked day in and day out for seven out of nine months. I was quite moody and it was a hard time in our marriage. All that aside, I would do it a thousand times over to have this child in our lives.
We attended a Christian childbirth class, the director was Chris Maricle (pronounced Miracle) and that's exactly who she was in our lives. I was strongly opposed to having an epidural because I am so terrified of needles and because I just wanted to fully experience the birth of my child. I have always reacted oddly to medications, so being exposed to something new medicinally terrified me. In this class, I was comforted by knowing childbirth and pregnancy really were natural and beautiful events and I could go for what I wanted but also had to have a strong level of trust with my medical providers and in my God.
We thought of many names, changed our minds weekly. Nathan loved Gunther (means warrior). It took me a while, but I did agree to seriously consider this name. I didn't fully understand why Nathan was so intent on a big, strong, German name b/c this wasn't fully our heritage and this is not how I pictured my son. But I was willing to keep it in mind....We called our baby "Bean" from the time we found out about him and Dr. Gibbens said he was about as big as a lima bean. It made sense, because later we would wrap him like a bean burrito in his blankets. I'm not sorry for this nickname, but beware of going public with nicknames unless you don't mind everyone calling your baby that name the first two years of their life! I always thought I'd have a little girl first, but there was not a doubt in my spirit that this child was a little boy. I dreamt of him often. His look, his smell, his laughter....
Bean was busy from the time I first felt him move late in my 24th-ish week. Oh my gosh, what a feeling. What a tremendous gift. Nathan would read Dr. Seuss to him and I would play music to him through my belly. Late in my pregnancy I would push on my swollen belly just so I could watch my Bean move a body part across. Nathan would get so upset with me, and worried that I would hurt our child. We would hold flashlights to my belly and delight to Bean's movement.
Around 35 weeks, my sweet child was still in a breech position. Because I so desperately wanted a natural birth, an inversion was schedule for 38 weeks. I was told that it would hurt badly, I would be black and blue from the pushing on my belly. I would go in and get an i.v. incase an emergency c section was needed, an ultrasound would be done and then the inversion would happen. I had to choose either this or a scheduled c section (or a special physician in New York who would perform natural breech births). Being given all of this information, my huge fear was the i.v.. My doctor said we could just wait and see but she had rarely seen a baby flip at this stage of pregnancy. The night before the inversion was scheduled, we went to our birthing class. They all laid hands on us and prayed for Bean to move in a head down position. I went home and had the most restful sleep I'd had in months. We went to the hospital in the morning. I got the i.v.. I was so strangely calm and shocked to find out it wasn't horribly painful. Dr. Gibbens came in to do the ultrasound and low and behold, Bean had flipped into a head down position. No inversion. Just to prove his point, he did this twice more before birth, once as my dr. watched in awe on the ultrasound. I never felt discomfort during his acrobatics. God was so good to me in this. It sounds small, but when we went to the hospital for the real event, knowing that the i.v. was no big deal was a BIG DEAL to me.
August 27, 2001 - sometime in the middle of the night - I wake my husband and tell him I think I was having contractions. I had many previous Braxton Hicks and asked my dr. how I would know when they were real contractions. She assured me I would know. I knew. Nathan told me to go back to sleep and we could do this in the morning. BAHAHAHAHA! I probably got a little louder than usual but I got my point across. Off we went to St. John's hospital, my parents in the car behind us.
Nathan dropped me off at the entry door of the hospital. He and my parents went to park the cars. I stood there with my bag breathing in the warm and heavy Oklahoma summer air. I was giddy with the excitement of meeting our son. I looked down to see a large packrat sitting next to the length of my left foot. I screamed! We had arrived.
The next hours were some of the hardest and most joy filled moments in my life. We were surrounded with countless friends and family who were there to support us and meet our little guy. I arrived at the hospital dilated to three, just as I had been for a few weeks. You know time at the hospital just passes odd...night turns into morning and morning into day before a blink of the eyes.
I get so wrapped up in the details of the story...the beautiful and the ugly, the mundane and the unique and yet as I look back, this was such a wee part of the whole story. I got to be a part of creation with God and for that I am forever changed.
August 28, 2001 - 10:40 somethingish a.m. After going from 3 to 10 centimeters in a little over an hour, my son came bursting into this world. His energy began at conception, his energy abounds today. He is a mover and a shaker; he is a thoughtful, passionate, opinionated, affectionate, athletic, inquisitive, intelligent, perceptive, detective who notices all things small and shiny. He notices the underdog. He notices hearts. He loves the dirt, balls, weapons and deep talks if you catch him at the right time. He wiggles. A lot. He is becoming more dramatic by the day. He likes to make people laugh. He is a negotiator and a persuader. He is tender and he is tough. He forgets NOTHING. He can be very shy and slow to warm up, but once he does he is part of your heart forever. He is boy - man - child. He has sky blue eyes and a contagious, slow smile. He is a deep thinker and a fun maker. He challenges me to grow as a person daily. I love him with the deepest love I know. I am sure God's love for us in incomparable. I ache when he aches, I smile when he smiles and I thank God for him every moment of every day. (even the hard ones)
We did not name him until his third day of life. We considered Gunther William (William for my Dad). I refuted that when Nathan called Bean "Gunny" during birth. We considered Bradley William (Bradley for Nathan's best friend since childhood). I think we were so tired we considered sticking with Bean. On day three, the social security lady came in and said we needed a name before we left the hospital. We were mostly settled on John Bradley (John for my Dad and Poppa, Bradley for our friend). Nathan suggested we choose John Bradley Gunther Tronnier, that way one day he could be "JB Gunther and associates" if he so desired. I agreed and thus John Bradley Gunther Tronnier was official!
And there it is....the yesterday that happened 11 and a half years ago. My son. My boy. My love. My delight.