Crazy-ass family

You just can't make this stuff up

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Très Bien, Caleb!

My pregnancy with Caleb was difficult. I was 24 and in University full-time (Acadia University). I also worked both as a Teacher's Assistant and as Manager of the Student Union Building (the SUB). I thought I could handle it! We planned it perfectly: I would be due just after I graduated. Being one who possesses super-powers, I would, of course, be able to secure a permanent full-time position to begin after maternity leave.
When I started bleeding in the first trimester, a tiny seed of doubt entered my mind. Perhaps this would not be all sunshine and roses as planned. When the bleeding continued and my shifts at the SUB stretched further and further into the night (4am was a common time to be heading home), I was forced to quit my job as Building Manager. First trimester exhaustion and continued spotting resulted in my dropping one of my courses...the one that had required that I work in a local office once a week. Another course followed.
I won't say my hopes were dashed, but they were...sceptical at this point.
I remember feeling tightenings in my belly from very early on. Having had no experience, I chalked it up to normal pregnancy happenings. It continued and worsened until my 20th week, at which point I realized the tightenings were most likely Braxton-Hicks contractions. Nonplussed, I continued going to classes. Trudging up the hill to my marketing class was the hardest on me, and one day, at 29 weeks and 6 days along, I found it hard to concentrate in class.
The contractions were bothering me.
When I got home, I told Jim that I was worried. He wasn't. After all, I had been talking about premature birth; this was probably a psychological thing (um, hello? Psychic over here!). When I timed the contractions, they were less than 15 minutes apart. We went to the hospital. Nothing showed on the monitor, so we were sent home, only to return the next morning.
This time, the contractions were more obvious, and by that evening, I was being taken by Ambulance to the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax.
We were terrified. By the time I reached the hospital, the contractions were 1 minute apart, and the Ambulance had put the siren on. I was immediately given a drug to slow labour, and things, amazingly, calmed down. The contractions didn't stop. I stayed in the hospital for three weeks exactly, and the contractions never stopped. I shared a room with a woman pregnant with twins and whose water had broken early. She was 21 weeks along when she left the hospital.
She was 22 weeks along when she returned, and lost her babies. I still think about her.
I went into labour three more times, and the third time was unstoppable. Caleb was born exactly 7 weeks early, at 33 weeks gestation.
He was so beautiful, and he did so well. He was only in the hospital for 11 days, and besides having jaundice, had relatively few complications. He never needed help breathing, and while it was challenging, he caught on to breastfeeding quickly.
Caleb's biggest preemie-related complication was reflux. It was awful! He suffered from the pain of it until he was 6 months because the doctor didn't even know kids could get reflux. He threw up everything I gave him, and his appetite suffered because of prematurity-related iron deficiency. Feeding the child was like torture - for him and me!
Despite having medications, he threw up until he was two. Even today, he has food issues.
Caleb is six years old now. He is fluent in english and french (more than we can say for ourselves!) and goes to an all-french school. He's sensitive and compassionate, and has brought joy into my life every day since he was born.
Last week, Caleb brought home the first report card of the year, which, to our delight, reported the highest grade you can get, straight across the board. "Très Bien" in everything. I know this may not seem important to some, but to me, it's monumental.
My boy, who I agonized with worry over for years. My boy, my first-born child. The one I sacrificed so much for. The one who inspired me to make my life better...who pushed me, if only by existing, to move, to get a better job, to keep reaching instead of just accepting what life and the cycle of poverty had handed me.
My Caleb, I love you. I'm so proud of you.
A new PSP game is in the mail.


At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Grampy D said...

I love my Caleb too.


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