I remember how badly I wanted a baby before I was pregnant with Coulby. It was an indescribable emotion. Not like, "I think I am ready for a baby," or "It would be nice to start a family." It was more like, "I want a baby NOW!" My husband was a little less driven because we had not been married long before the plans for a family were set in motion. Despite his initial uncertainty about timing and diving into such a huge decision, my hubby and I were blessed to become pregnant right away and very excited to add a third member to our family of two.
I went through my pregnancy just like most other women do: with the usual excitement, uncertainty, anticipation...oh, let me just put it in "real" terms! I was excited and scared to death, in awe of what my body was capable of and horrified at how large certain body parts had become, loving preparing the nursery and wondering how we would afford everything for our baby (have you seen the price of diapers these days????), loving watching how my belly was growing with the life growing inside of me and looking forward to wearing clothes without elastic waist bands. I had a great first pregnancy...if I dare say, it was perfect.
On Saturday, April 25, 2009, all of these memories came flooding back to me. Of how badly I wanted a baby, of all of the emotions surrounding my pregnancy, and of how perfect my pregnancy really was. And of how horrific the aftermath became. How devastating it was to have such a great pregnancy only to find out there was something wrong with my baby boy all along. All of those emotions came back, too, as we celebrated Coulby's 5th birthday. If you had told me on April 25, 2004 that my life with my newborn son would consist of a medical vocabulary with Citrullinemia at its root, medications completely foreign to me, scales, a food values book, a daily log of my son's protein and caloric intake, and an unwanted familiarity with Hopkins and its staff, I probably would have looked pretty dazed and confused. And that is exactly how I felt when I was told these things only 4 days after we brought Coulby home from the hospital.
I really did not know what to expect in the years to come, or even if I could expect to have years to come with my son. The doctors at Hopkins gave us little bits of information at a time, and it always seemed that it could not get any worse until they gave us a new piece of information about Coulby's life with Citrullinemia. I think I walked through a daze for most of those days that Coulby spent at Hopkins as a newborn. He laid in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV and wires, wires and more wires when I was supposed to be holding him in the comforts of my home welcoming him into our family. I missed out on all of the newborn stuff with Coulby. That still saddens me, but I look at that time as a blessing, too. Because I can now look back and see how far we have come. How far Coulby has come. How he has grown and thrived and far surpassed what we expected from him as he laid in that hospital bed 5 years ago.
Celebrating Coulby's 5th birthday (and his daddy's 30th!...yes, on the SAME day) is a huge deal because I know where we could be based on what we were initially told about Citrullinemia. Coulby is a miracle. A true blessing. And he has taught me so much in the last 5 years. I see his strength and I hope that I can be that strong. I see his perseverance and I pray that I can overcome obstacles with such grace. I see his drive and I realize we have come full circle. It comes right back to my drive to have a baby; to have Coulby. He is driven in everything that he does in his young life. Honestly, while most people are trying to tame that kind of drive in children these days (like in the school system, as I have found), I encourage it and find ways for Coulby to channel it in positive ways. That does not always make my life easy as a mom, but I figure it will be worth all of the frustrations and hair-pulling moments. It already has been!
So I guess my blog today is to remind myself of how blessed I have been in the last 5 years to have Coulby in my life. I am reminded every day when I see Coulby learning something new, or when he tells me one of his fun make-believe stories (which are becoming more and more elaborate and detailed each day), when I watch him climb the steps of the school bus to go to school. Or when he sneaks into my room in the morning after daddy has gone to work and says, "Hi mommy, can I lay with you?",as he snuggles in beside me. My baby. Even though he is a big 5-year-old now, he will ALWAYS be my baby!
*Oh, and what better way to celebrate Coulby's 5th birthday than with a train cake? And I am not one to brag at all, but I made his cake! I do not take full credit, because I did get some ideas off of the resource of all resources: the Internet. I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. making that cake, and it was worth every second. Coulby loved it!*