Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Celebrating Ethan: Days #362-365


Day #362: Dakota//
I know she's "just a dog". But, let me tell you why this one is so special to us. 

Before I even knew I was pregnant with Ethan, Dakota became very protective of me. She followed me throughout the house. She cried when I closed a door, separating us. She growled at strangers who got too close. She began to act in ways that were uncharacteristic for her. 
Throughout my pregnancy with Ethan, she was my shadow. She barked at anything that dared to get too close to me-- from strangers to spider webs. She'd lay her head on my growing belly. She'd lay outside Ethan's room because she knew she wasn't allowed inside, but wanted to be nearby. I'm pretty sure she knew a whole lot more than we gave her credit for. 
I wish you could have seen her reaction when we went to take her home, after Ethan was born. After we came home without him. The dog who had been glued to my side for 7 months stared at me with big brown eyes and refused to come to me when I called her. She looked at Chris, as if to ask, "What happened?" and then took two steps back from me, and laid herself on the floor. 
She ignored me for a week, before everything changed again. 
I was laying face down, sobbing, when I felt one paw touch my shoulder. Then another paw touched my other shoulder. Next, I felt two hind legs climb onto my back. She curled up onto a tight ball, on top of my back, while I cried. She stayed with me. I'm pretty sure she knew a whole lot more than we gave her credit for.
 

I was laying face down, sobbing, when I felt one paw touch my shoulder. Then another paw touched my other shoulder. Next, I felt two hind legs climb onto my back. She curled up onto a tight ball, on top of my back, while I cried. She stayed with me. I'm pretty sure she knew a whole lot more than we gave her credit for. 
In the following weeks, she continued to protect. She could tell when I was starting to feel breathless. She would bolt across the room and crawl up into my lap, and enthusiastically begin to lick my face. 
I suddenly understood while dogs are often brought into hospitals and given to veterans. 
She may be "just a dog", but this little pup loved Ethan. She wanted to be his best friend. And, now, she does everything she can to be mine.


Day #363: Motherhood//

My entire world changed the day that I learned about you.  I adjusted my entire life, pushing things to the side to make room for you. We did it gladly--elaborate vacations, late nights, and rollercoasters just didn't seem as appealing anymore. I completely cut out caffeine, sushi, and deli meats. I swore off beauty products containing harsh chemicals. I cut back on my mileage and stopped caring about my mile time. We baby proofed our house. We adjusted our vacation time. We adjusted our budget. 

I worried about labor sometimes. I knew that, no matter what, it would be worth it.  When the time came, I laid awake all night, unable to sleep with all of the beeps, alarms, and strange sounds. Instead, I listed to your heartbeat on the fetal monitor. I laid awake and listened as you reminded me that you were still there. 

I felt my heart swell with joy the first time that I laid my eyes on you. My breath was taken away by the intensity of love that I felt for you. You completely changed me once again.  I smiled at how much you looked like your dad. And like me.  I would have done anything for you. 

I was terrified to leave the hospital. I had no idea how I would going to survive through the coming days, weeks, months, years.

I hardly slept in those first few months. On some nights, I didn't sleep at all. People had warned me that the first few months would be like that--I just expected that you would be in my arms.  As time goes on, I can't help but feel so proud of you. My love for you continues to grow each and every day. 

The day I first learned of you, I had hoped for each of these things. I never in a million years would have expected my motherhood to look like this; yet at the same time, I'm so thankful for every single way that you have impacted my heart and completely changed my life.  I wouldn't trade you for the world. I'm so proud to be your mom. 

Day #364: Lullaby //"Float down
Like autumn leaves
And hush now
Close your eyes before the sleep
And you're miles away
And yesterday 
you were here with me Ooh how I miss you My symphony played the song that carried you out Ooh how I miss you And I, I miss you and I wish you'd stay Do you ever wonder if the stars shine out for you?
 Float down Like autumn leaves And hush now Close your eyes before the sleep And you're miles away And yesterday 
you were here with me." 
-Ed Sheeran, Autumn Leaves

Day #365 The night before//(The # is accurate--Thanks leap day) 

On the morning of August 15, 2015, I woke up feeling incredibly exhausted. My back was aching horribly, just as it had been for the entire week. I remember laying in bed, tears in my eyes, because I was so uncomfortable! I finally forced myself to get up and to tackle my to-do list. (Chris told me he'd take care of it, but I was determined to help out!) It took me nearly two hours to simply shower, get dressed, and brush my teeth, but I finally made it out the door and to the grocery store. I pushed through and we were able to run errands until about dinnertime.
  That evening, Chris and I made mini pizzas on English muffins and watched and Adam Sandler movie. Chris gave me a back massage, to help ease the pain. Overall, it was one of those productive, yet relaxing Saturdays. 

Around 11:30 p.m. I woke up to my water breaking. It was obvious.  We quickly grabbed our things and headed to the hospital. Upon arrival, a doctor conducted an ultrasound to see how Ethan was doing. As she was rolling the probe over my belly, she asked if I was in pain. I shook my head and told her that I wasn't...other than my back of course, which had been killing me all week. "Well you are having a huge contraction right now," she said with a smile. Apparently, in the words of the medical team, I have an iron-woman pain tolerance. 

We were checked into a room. I laid in bed and rested my eyes, listening to the beating of Ethan’s heart on the monitor. His heart rate was strong and it brought me such comfort to hear. Every now and then he’d get the hiccups and the monitor would pick up the sweet sound.  The night before. 


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