Monday, March 19, 2007

One Year

Dear Jackson,

Who would have thought that the feeling I had looking at a positive pregnancy test on July 7, 2005 would turn into the feeling I have today, celebrating your first year of life? It's amazing to think that you have been blessing us with your presence for a whole year!

It all started simply enough. Well, as simple as nine (ten) months of pregnancy can be! But after the pregnancy and 30+ hours of labor, we had a baby. Just like that, we went from a childless couple to the parents of an infant. Talk about scary! But you were pretty easy on us. :)

I got seven weeks off of work to spend with you, my new little bundle of joy. It was nice to be able to take our time getting used to each other and settling into this whole new experience. I learned very quickly that I had made the right decision about not returning back to work in the fall. How could I leave you all day? :)

Unfortunately, I did have to go back to work and finish out the last five weeks of the school year. But you had fun everyday with Mimi, Grandma, Kathleen, and Mandie. In May I got to celebrate my first Mother's Day. What a wonderful feeling!

Before long, it was summer and we had all the time in the world again. Your personality certainly started to show through! You very quickly proved yourself to be an extremely delightful kid. As it got warmer outside, you got to discover more of the world around you. We all discovered that you preferred the baby carrier to the stroller, as evidenced by your screaming the entire second half of a walk!

As your personality developed, so did your recognition of and appreciation for the people around you: Mimi, Poppa, and Uncle Sean, Grandma and Uncle John, and lots of friends.

In August, you took your first plane ride--to Seattle for Shauna's wedding. You did great on the plane and loved all of the fun stuff we did in the city. Soon after we returned, school started and we started daycare together.

September also brought cooler weather, a runny nose, and your first taste of solid food. Yum!

Six months was a big milestone. Not so much at the time, but looking back, the first six months of your life went really slowly and the last six months have just flown! Not to mention that you don't even look like a baby anymore. You're a little man!

For Halloween, you were a dragon. And a scary one!

For Thanksgiving, you had a cold. And a bad one!

For Christmas, you were just the best little kid celebrating your first Christmas. You got lots of presents and got to be a part of lots of traditions.

January brought the new year and a new big milestone for you--you FINALLY slept through the night! And what a difference it made for all of us! Luckily, you have kept it up!

We also got to experience some of Minnesota's finest snow--you loved it! You also started walking all over the place. Yikes!

All of this has brought us to where we are now--one year old. It's incredible to watch you grow and learn new things and figure out how stuff works. You're a smart little kid! We've enjoyed every moment of this first year, and we're so excited for many more!

Love you, dear boy

Mom :)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

One year ago (again)

Friday, March 17, 2006. Normal day of school. I wore green. I drove straight from school to my doctor's office for my 40-week appointment. She regrettably informed me that although I was continuing to efface (cervix thinning out), I still was not dilating at all. Bummer. I left mentally prepared to be pregnant for at least another week. Three hours later, I was sitting in bed watching "Reba." It's something I hadn't watched before and haven't watched since. I think I was reading too. I remember feeling like I was getting the flu. Not stomach, but I was achy and feverish and just felt yucky. Then I had some odd cramps. "Surely not contractions," I thought. "I'm going to be pregnant for at least another week!" But they kept coming with some consistency. Weird. So I went to bed (Dan the snorer was sleeping downstairs--I didn't want to disturb his sleep with this possibility of news--one of us should be sleeping!). I was able to sleep with minimal cramp disturbance until about 3:00 am Saturday. I still didn't bother Dan until about 5:00 am, when I thought I had lost my "plug." (Fastforward to just before my water broke--I definitely had NOT lost my plug that morning. Yuck.) Anyway, he got up with me and started timing contractions. We called the hospital and they said to come when the contractions were a certain length and a certain distance apart. They weren't yet. So we called my doula, who came and waited out the day at our house. I remember going for a very short walk outside. I remember eating grapes. I remember Dan getting the video camera out and knowing that I'd regret him making an account of my blown up body. (I did). I remember making the decision to go to the hospital at 3:00 pm. In hindsight, I would have known that the contractions I'd been having for a few hours were nothing compared to what I would feel later on. I would have waited longer at home. I will next time. I remember Dan driving like a maniac to the hospital and our doula trying to follow him without breaking the law. We got to the hospital safely. I was wheeled into the labor and deliver triage area. They checked me. 2-3 centimeters. Crap! I should have waited! I will next time. So we walked around the LD floor. And we walked. And we walked. And we finally got a room. I was hooked up to an IV and all sorts of monitors. I changed into my own clothes. Something needed to feel familiar. Even if it was a nightshirt I'd bought at Kohl's only a week prior, it wasn't a hospital gown, and that's all that mattered. At some point, I remember getting into the bathtub. It didn't feel as good as I'd hoped. They decided to check me again at about 8:00 pm. Still 2-3 centimeters. Seriously? If contractions this bad aren't doing anything, I don't even want to know what kind are in my future! Since I hadn't slept since 3:00 am, I was given an antihistamine to help me relax and maybe even sleep between contractions. They also gave me a shot of morphine. I wish I hadn't gotten any of it. I won't next time. Although it was nice to sleep between contractions, it was quite the rude awakening when one came on. And the morphine just made me throw up and did nothing for the pain. After a few hours, the antihistamine wore off and I was completely coherent again. And things were starting to get serious. They checked me at 11:00 pm and I was about 8 cm. Yay! Something actually worked! Well, then all hell broke loose. For two hours, I was in what they call "transition." It's a really nice name for something that makes you feel like you want to grab the nearest sharp object and cut the baby out yourself because you're not sure how much longer you can deal with the contractions. For at least an hour of it, I had the urge to push with each contraction, but I couldn't because I wasn't fully dilated. Unless you've been through it, you have no idea how hard it is to stop your body from pushing. It's the craziest thing I've ever felt. FINALLY at a little after 1:00 am (30 HOURS since the first contraction), I was allowed to start pushing. My first push broke my water. After only a few more pushes (when it's still just the nurse coaching you through what to do), the nurse had to go get the doctor because this kid finally meant business and was coming very quickly. (I've heard first-time moms push for an average of 2 hours). The doctor came in and I continued to push. I really don't remember much of the pushing, actually. It lasted about 25 minutes, but I really only remember the very end of it. The doctor told me to give her a really hard push to get the head out. I gave her a really hard push and the whole baby came out! I guess I meant business too. At 1:36 am, Jackson Reed Bennett came into this world in all of his 9-1/2 pounds of glory. They put him up on my belly and all I remember thinking (after he lifted his own head up to look at me--no lie) was that this was a big baby. The next thing I remember thinking was how hungry and tired I was. Once I was stitched up and cleaned off and had my little bundled up babe, I was allowed to eat. It was the best hospital boxed lunch I've ever had. :) As for the sleeping, that didn't really happen until Sunday night. It was way too many hours to be awake at one time. But God gives something amazing to pregnant women and new mothers. It's an energy that is completely unexplained. I knew I was exhausted, but I knew I wasn't going to die. I would make it. I had this new life to take care of. I had to make it.
Reflecting on all of this a year later makes me remember how hard it all was. But there is something in me that can't wait to do it all again.

For those of you who stuck with this until the end, thank you. It was really more for me. And I realize that not all of this was one year ago today, but I thought it would be silly to split it up into three days. :) Plus, Monday (his actual birthday) will be his monthly letter from me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

One year ago...

...was my due date! I remember anticipating that date for nine (ten) months. I remember the feeling of seeing that date come and go and wondering when on earth this baby would come meet us. My, how the year has flown.

More to come in the following days!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Snow day!

The title doesn't actually go with the pictures below, although it seems that way. The title refers to the fact that most of the state is closed due to snow today. And that's a great thing for someone who does daycare for teachers! Although, it took Osseo forever to actually call it last night. Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Anoka-Hennepin were all closed for today by 9:00 last night (along with other big metro districts). But Osseo made us sweat it out until about 10:00. But nevertheless, we have a snow day, and it's awesome. It's even more awesome that it's Friday and we have a three-day weekend! Anyway, getting on with the pictures, last Sunday, we ventured outside with the Jack man and had some fun in the snow (you know, from the storm before this one we just had?). We got him a sled for Christmas, and this was the first time he was able to experience it. And he loved it so much! It was adorable! Here's proof. :)
(And thanks to Liam for the use of the awesome snowsuit!!)

Getting ready with Dad.

Here we go!

Oh, so fun!

Slow down, Mom!

Whoa, I think I'm done now.

I love my boy!

We set him down in the snow to get a picture of him just sitting there surrounded by white. He immediately rolled over and got stuck. Well, it's the thought....