Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.


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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Deb's Debut - Part 1

The following is the first of what I hope will be a semi-regular - or at least non-infrequent - contribution to this blog from Debbie, also known as my better half. Inspired by my Aaron's Birthday post last Sunday, she shares some additional recollections on Aaron's birth and early months. Take it away, Deb (and thanks)!

Bubby’s, Tanta’s, and Mommy’s Maisehs – Part One

Just Because…


Because I am a very private person, I vowed that I would be unable to use blogging in my recovery, as Elie has been doing. As a mental health professional, I stridently maligned any relationship that was not “real,” meaning involving face-to-face contact, except, perhaps with the exception of the sacred, pseudo relationship between psychotherapist and client. But just because Elie wrote so beautifully and poignantly about some of the cute vignettes about Aaron, on the occasion of what would have been his 19th birthday, I take it all back, making an exception to my own “rule” - for whatever it, like most rules, are worth. And so, I bring you some more of the touching childhood tales from our Aaron Michael’s much too short stay in this world…


Birth

Elie did a marvelous job depicting the high drama of Aaron’s initial birthday during the snowstorm of ’87. He did, however, omit a few details, probably silly little facts that only a mother would remember. After we brushed the snow off our faithful Toyota Corolla, it soon became evident that there was simply no way that the small car would make it out of the deep, snow-buried valley that our apartment’s parking lot had become. It took several neighbors both cheering and pushing that little Corolla for us to get out of the lot. And then, of course, only to encounter a 2 hour drive to the hospital, with me threatening to walk all the while, as Elie dramatically portrayed.

Once we finally made it to the hospital, and the doctor made it in through the storm, Aaron was born within a few hours. He arrived eight days late and was a big baby, 9 lbs. 6 oz.. His nails and hair were kind of long, and he had the appearance of being “overcooked,” looking more like a 3 month old than a newborn. At birth, he was fully capable of supporting his own head, which at that time looked more like a cone than the rounded, even ovals of the commonly portrayed Gerber babies.

After birthing Aaron, that was the last I saw of him, at least for a while. The doctor and Elie whisked him away for cleaning and weighing. Then Elie got right down to calling the whole free world, and I must have dozed off. This is no wonder, since I had received an episiotomy, that I jokingly described as spanning “from here to eternity.” (In fact, about 9 months after Aaron’s birth, I remember asking my empathic OB/GYN if “it’s still supposed to hurt”. My doctor, who could be as blasé as she is caring, replied, “could very well be.” This is the very same doctor who replied to my inquiries about proper pregnancy diet with, “Just don’t eat a whole bag of potato chips.”)

This early period of my separation from Aaron was always very significant to me. It felt like the beginning of a very special bond between Aaron and his dad, one that I at times I was isolated from. And I was not the only one. Both grandmothers initially complained to me that Elie would not let them or any of their friends get very close to baby Aaron. I suppose that special bonds, for the most part very positive forces in our lives, have areas about which we must be cautious. Live and learn…

0-6 Months


If nothing else, our young prince, the first grandchild on both sides of the family, was cranky. Not a little cranky…super cranky. So much so, that it is a wonder that Elie and I opted to have subsequent children! I blame this crankiness on his colic, his being perpetually congested, and to our own nervousness and inexperience as brand new parents. And then there was my own postpartum depression, something that I never experienced again, but I sure did after Aaron was born, 2 weeks of almost perpetual bawling. With Aaron, everything was an event from the onset.

First there was the bris. Once again, it was snowing like mad. My brother-in-law could not even get in from Maryland. I had purchased a totally impractical bris suit, It looked like a frilly confirmation outfit, something a baby might wear in June or July, but certainly not in a snow storm. Well, Aaron had other ideas anyway. Between my inexperienced diapering techniques, and my lack of experience with Aaron’s newly established elimination patterns, let’s just say that Aaron took care of that silly old bris outfit in his own very special way. Of course, I would not be deterred, and I decided to attempt to launder the little outfit prior to the bris. This may have been do-able if we had a washer and dryer inside the apartment, but of course, that was not the case. I attempted to trek down to the basement, on the icy stairs, to wash and dry the thing. Luckily, one of the bubbies came to the apartment to see what the delay was and to fetch me and the little star for the day’s upcoming events. To make a long story short, Aaron was late for his own bris, but finally made a sparkling entrance clad in a practical, warm baseball stretchy. Because of the bad weather and correspondingly poor turn-out, Elie and I ate frozen bris food for months.

During the first eight weeks of life, Aaron experienced not one, but three separate ear infections. What an ordeal for new parents! We had to quickly figure out how to tote our little bundle of joy back and fourth to the pediatrician’s office, only to receive antibiotics that we had no idea of how to administer to a 100% nursing baby. The doctors were of little help. In fact, one of them suggested that we give the medication with a banana, thus demonstrating his own cluelessness that this was a month old baby we were talking about, one who did not eat, and most importantly, this was Aaron.

Of course, the crankiness continued (probably for the next nine or ten months). So much so, that if my mother called in the afternoon when Aaron was napping and I had collapsed after my morning ordeal with the young prince, and it was quiet in the apartment, she would innocently ask, “What’s wrong, I don’t hear the baby crying?”

Needless to say, cabin fever set in. This is quite common for moms of infants born during the winter months, especially when the infants are as challenging as Aaron. And so, I decided to venture out with 3-month-old Aaron, and not to the pediatrician’s office! We were headed for no less than the local mall.


I planned and I planned. Safety was paramount. I was prepared for every contingency and/or emergency. I was ready to nurse the baby in dressing rooms and to change diapers in ladies rooms, of course while he was still lying in the stroller, so that he could avoid all germs. And what could be safer than choosing my friend, a pediatric resident, as my co-pilot?


When we finally arrived in the mall, Aaron was initially quiet! My confidence as a new mother began to soar. I had done it right. I had planned and covered all of the bases! Then Aaron began to bawl, and my new-found self-esteem plummeted. Not only did he just plain cry but he began to turn red, then crimson, then actually purple. My new doctor friend was no help at all. We were both stumped. What could possibly be wrong with the young prince?? Finally, it hit me, as clear as the day dawns. I innocently asked my doctor friend, “Do you think we are supposed to take off his hat and at least loosen his coat?”


Yes I was inexperienced, but I certainly met my match in Elie. He was under the impression that once Aaron entered the world, we immediately became responsible for his rapid intellectual growth and stimulation. So once the weather began to cooperate for leisure outings, we began to trek Aaron along with us to museums and zoos, never thinking it at all strange that he was by far the youngest participant there without older siblings. We would hold him up to displays and/or animal enclosures, and Elie would patiently explain what he saw. Aaron’s response was usually crying. After a few minutes of this activity, Aaron would decide that he much preferred to nurse.

3 Comments:

At 1/29/06, 5:54 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Welcome to the blogging world!

Your portrayal of your husband explaining everything reminds me of my brother and SIL... :)

 
At 1/30/06, 12:59 PM, Anonymous Esther said...

Deb,

So happy you finally broke down and decided to write.

esther

 
At 1/31/06, 11:26 AM, Anonymous Essie said...

Wow, how nice! Love the stories from Mom's point of view :)

 

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