Saturday, February 24, 2007

Moose is 5

My baby turned 5 yesterday. We had a low-key elebration with some friends at the local zoo. He saw lots of his favorite animals, had lunch at the zoo, got to play on the playground, and heard the lion roar "Happy Birthday" to him. A few friends joined us for our day at the zoo, so Moose had a buddy and Wild Thing had 2 friends there. BTW, one of the zookeepers at the morning's show was a woman who appeared on "Survivor – Guatemala." She did a great job handling the ocelots. We spent half the day at the zoo and then went over to WT's friend's house for a short playdate. Since that family lives on the opposite side of town from us, Wizard, Moose and I just hung out there while the other boys played. Then we went over to WineGuy's office and out for Italian food. I picked up an ice cream cake from Coldstone Creamery, and we had cake and presents at home. We're planning Moose's official birthday party – you know, the one with twenty shrieking children – in a couple of weeks.

Moose now stands about 54" tall and easily weighs 55 lbs. He is a solid, muscular kid. He is naturally athletic and coordinated, much like Wizard. Moose has dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, and long, black eyelashes. He has the cutest smile still full of baby teeth and a belly laugh to beat the band. Moose reads and is learning how to write letters and numbers. He speaks very intelligibly and intelligently for a 5 year-old. It's alternately annoying and amusing when you tell him something, and he says [with a big snap] "I don't think so."

He is a great companion to Wild Thing, and they can play for hours together. The boys like playing airport, army or Rescue Heroes, using all their little vehicles and men. The Moose loves his momma. We were at the park this afternoon, and he came over a few times to give me a hug or kiss. He often climbs into my lap to snuggle. He adores his older brothers and follows them like a puppy. It's now quite dark out, and Moose and WT are outside playing happily in the inky night. They would stay out there till all hours with no regard for time. I love seeing brothers like that. Moose's devotion to WT is a great boon to WT's ego.

Our next milestone is to teach Moose how to tie his shoes. He claims he knows how, but "they get knots." Uh huh.

Moose's Birth Story
We moved back to Florida in early 2001. I was in my late 30's and still getting over the trauma and fall-out of Wild Thing's birth (another long story that I'll post around his bday) and subsequent care. I had lost a bunch of weight before we moved and was slowly adjusting to life in suburbia after living in the country for 8 years. In the summer of 2001, I got pregnant with Moose. I was a little surprised. WineGuy and I were both gun-shy, so he agreed to do some advanced medical research to see if there were any new and promising treatments for the diseases that plagued my prior 2 pregnancies, pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. (Without going into more detail now, Wizard's pregnancy was bad, but WT's pregnancy was extremely bad.) WineGuy found new therapies were available to control these diseases, so we decided to proceed.

For the most part, and because I was on serious meds – Lovenox®, a low molecular-weight heparin – for several months, the pregnancy was uneventful. Other than a little spotting when we were on vacation that fall, I felt pretty good. I had an OB here in town, and I saw the local perinatologists regularly. Moose's original due date was April 1, 2002. Since the older boys were born prematurely, I knew I would never make it to my due date with Moose. Because of my obstetric history, I was going to have a scheduled C-section birth; so things were pretty routine.

Even when things started going downhill for me, it was much like it had been in the past. Somewhere around the 24th-26th week of pregnancy, complications arose:
  • the pressures and flow in my uterine arteries began to worsen;
  • my kidney function tests were fair but not great;
  • my blood pressure was slightly elevated;
  • but I was not showing signs of advanced HELLP syndrome like I had with WT's and Wizard's pregnancies.
The perinatologist gave me an ultimatum: curtail my activities and movements immediately or he was going to put me in the hospital. What did I do? Bargained with him! I quit the chorale and rested as much as possible, but I still had to be a mother to my older children.

My condition stabilized over the next few weeks, and my friends asked to throw me a baby shower. They are not traditional for Jewish women, and I was very ambivalent, but WineGuy said to let the women do something nice for me. OK, party on! The girls scheduled the shower for Wednesday, February 20, 2002. (You might think me anal-retentive for remembering the precise date, but it turned out to be my last hurrah.) There was a lunchtime bash at an Italian restaurant with lots of cute presents. I piled the booty into my car and headed to another OB appointment.

The world turned on a dime. My blood pressure was elevated, and my kidney function was deteriorating: all hallmarks of prior disease. I had 2 ultrasounds in 2 days so they could determine how big the baby was. [Although I had an amnio, we did not know the sex of the baby; the u/s tech kept marveling at how long the baby's hair was. I kept thinking, "girl!"] The perinatologist wanted to hospitalize me indefinitely, but my OB decided to deliver me that week as long as the baby was a decent size. It certainly was: at 34 weeks' gestation, they determined the baby was about 5 lbs., 12 oz . . . waaaaay bigger than Wizard's or WT's birthweights, 4 lbs and 2.4 lbs respectively. The docs switched out my medication so they could operate later in the week, and we started the phone tree. First, we called my in-laws to come stay with Wizard and WT, while I went in for surgery. Then, we called my parents to let them know (so they could freak out). We called all our siblings and learned that Doc Bro would fly down to be with us. The shower was on a Wednesday. Saturday morning I went to the hospital to deliver that baby.

Saturday, February 23, 2002 dawned grey and overcast. Doc Bro flew in the night before, so he came to stay with the boys until my in-laws arrived. WineGuy and I drove down the street to the hospital. I hung out in L&D while they processed my paperwork. They wheeled me down to the operating room around noon, right on time. WineGuy asked the head of the anesthesia group came in to do my case that day. The OR was freezing cold, and I couldn't stop shivering while they placed the epidural. They finally got the line in, and I was numb. The nurse-anesthetist took of my glasses, so I couldn't see a thing. I listened to the surgery; WineGuy was right by my head. Some 30 minutes later I heard lots of laughter and joy, and the lusty cry of a baby boy. I was kind of foggy from the anesthesia, so I asked WineGuy to repeat once or twice what we'd had. It finally sunk in: another boy! I was so happy. I always wanted a house full of boys. G-d granted me my wish. The surgery went on for another 40 minutes or so, while the OB yanked my guts and performed a tubal ligation.

I got back to my room and felt good. I got up after a while and sat in a chair. I used the breast pump and nursed the baby. I was feeling no pain because of long-acting narcotics they pumped into me. I had a few visitors, and it was all good. When I woke up the next day, Sunday, I felt every twinge as the pain meds wore off. The pediatrician examined the baby, who weighed a whopping 6 lbs, 4 oz. and measured 19" at birth. He was my longest gestation (34 weeks), my biggest and healthiest baby of all, and the first one I ever brought home from the hospital right after birth. He was a moose! He will always be my Moose.

As with all our children, we had a long list of potential names, but it took us until the end of my hospital stay to finalize his English and Hebrew names. The OB nurses would bother me several times a day asking for the child's name. "When I know what it is, I'll tell you." The Nurse Nazis weren't going to let me out of the hospital until the child had a name. I should mention that it took us at least a week to name both Wizard and Wild Thing after they were born. They both required extended stays in the neonatal intensive care unit, so we knew we had time. We held Moose's bris here at home on the eighth day after his birth. An Orthodox Jewish mohel came over from Fort Lauderdale to perform the ceremony. Life slowly returned to normal, despite the ugly wound that took 6 months to heal.

My pregnancies were high-drama, and I'm glad they're over. I never wanted to "go for the girl" ever. I love my boys, and they love me fiercely. I am happy to be Queen of My Domain, and the mother of The Testosterone Zone.

Happy 5th Birthday, Moose! I love you.


Sock Girl said...

Yes! Happy Birthday Moose! May you have a wonderful year!

Robin said...

Happy Birthday (a bit belated) to Moose!

Five is such a great age, isn't it?

It sounds like you more than earned your boys. :)

Robin said...

Re your question about my camera: I'm using a Kodak Easyshare Z740. It's their mid-range camera (and my first digital camera). I decided on this one because it has automatic and manual functions (although I have to admit I haven't quite figured out the manual stuff).

I'm amazed at how crisp and clear the photos from this camera can be. The only complaints I have about it are that it's big (not gigantic by any means, but not a pocket-size camera either) and I occasionally have trouble with the automatic focus (which I think might be related to the battery not being fully charged, but I'm still testing that theory).