Saturday, August 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, P4

P4 is turning 4 today! I can't believe it. There's some part of me that gets anxious at the thought of not having a toddler in the house anymore. The diapers are gone. The sippy cups are gone. There are no longer any crib sized beds in the house. My babies are no longer babies. I loved every moment of the kids infancy and toddler hood. At the same time, this is a new and exciting stage we're entering. We'll no longer have to deal with a screaming baby on a road trip or a diaper that leaks. No longer will we have to guess what the baby is trying to say because all of our kids are extraordinarily verbal. And, at the center of this change is this beautiful little boy with an amazing sense of humor and pure joy for life. He's been talking for a long time (he started very early,...maybe because he had three older sibs), but now he's starting to bring up conversations as they relate to his view of the world. It's awesome.

I have one more thing to thank this little guy for. Four years ago exactly, at this time and date, I almost died. I had been hospitalized for most of his pregnancy. An amnio at 34 weeks showed that his lungs were mature, so they scheduled me for an August 1 induction. Being my fourth child, everyone thought this would be a piece of cake delivery. I remember Pdaddy and I walking from my room of three months to the birth center. We were joking about having a baby by lunch. HA! P3 was born in eight hours, start to finish. P4 took twenty-five hours. But, back to the death 3:30am on the second, I looked at Dr. P-Daddy and said, "I think I'm dying." The weird thing was a very calm moment. I wasn't afraid or anxious. The two women friends who were present for P4's labor and delivery freaked and buttons were pushed. My blood pressure was 43/20. I barely remember the events of the following two hours, but I do remember closing my eyes and seeing bright flashes of light. I felt "floaty" and the voices sounded as if everyone was in a tin can. The sounds were far away. Then, there were a few seconds of nothing-less and I figured out that I wasn't breathing. THAT is when I panicked. I remember saying, "BREATHE! NOW!" and I did. There were, according to everyone who was there (except for me,...because I don't recall), five nurses and a doctor in the room. They pumped me full of some meds and were rolling me on my side to see if P4's heart rate would rebound. It did. And, I did. Two hours later, I woke up (they turned off all induction meds and put me in sedation so I could recover from shock). What struck me, when I woke up, was what didn't happen. I had read the Bible during this pregnancy (three months in the same room will cause you to read cereal boxes and tags on laundry)...I had questions and doubts. There were some things that just didn't add up. On top of that, this experience happened and I didn't see Jesus. I didn't see my dead relatives. I did feel floaty, but I didn't see myself from above. I didn't see any angels waiting by my bedside. And, being that I was a believer at that point, if God exists...he must have been playing skeet ball in New Jersey. Being told what death would be like all my life, I felt kind of hosed. Happy to be alive, but hosed just the same. What I did see was a team of doctors and nurses who, through scientific knowledge, saved P4 and I. Their actions were swift and decisive. That didn't come from prayer. It came from experience and wisdom. I wasn't the first and I wouldn't be the last...that's what they do. I also saw my husband. The husband who didn't pray before reacting as fast as he could to get the right people in the room. He trusted me and listened to me during the moment when it really counted. He saved P4 and I. And, in some way, I truly believe that P4 saved me. Not through hokey mysticism, but because the instinct to survive is strong and I've sense learned that not only will the mother's body flood with adrenaline and chemicals at moments like these, but the baby's will too. It's natures way of saying, "HEY! Can you, know, like,...give birth to me before you die? Yeah? 'K, thanks!"

Most people, including the two ladies who were with me (to get Dr. P-Daddy chips, soda, and a #1 from McDonald's too eat in front of me when I was NOP (Nothing by mouth)...but, I'm not bitter or anything)...well, these two ladies couldn't claim this as a miracle fast enough. When the shit hit the fan, they both - literally- backed away onto a bench against the wall. And, after the situation stabilized, they said a prayer. I love one of these two women very much. But, it rocked my world to realize that, when the chips were down, her reaction was to pray. When I got home the next day, there were multiple messages on our answering machine saying things like, "We heard about your miracle." or "Congrats. We spoke with LadyX and she told us what happened. God was really on your side, wasn't he?" As I sat with this snugly little boy in my arms, I kept thanking the doctors and science and medicine for getting us through it. So, P4 was the catalyst for opening my mind to what reason and logic had to say. I will never be able to thank him adequately enough. Sure, the pregnancy and delivery sucked ass...but, I got a devastatingly cute little boy and a new perspective on life. That seems fair. :)

Happy Birthday, P4. I love you. - Mommy


Anonymous said...

WOW Pmom that’s just wow. I know everyone says that children are little miracles but that’s really amazing. I haven’t had any kids yet (my mom keeps bugging me to make her a grandmother :) but I think every mom should have good memories of the birth(s). But that’s just me talking.

Huggles pmom, just post what you want those of us who love yah will be here for you.

Scorpious said...

That is more than fair, PMomma.

Happy Birthday, P4.

And post what you want, when you want, Pmomma. We'll all be right here waiting for you.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...


What a lovely story. When they gassed me for an operation, I saw nothing, dreamt nothing. I suspect death will be like that.

Happy birthday to the little fella.

kc said...

Wow. What an amazing story.

Oh, and nice Dogma reference by the way. The God-playing-skeeball thing always amused me.

Ami said...

Happy Birthday to your precious little boy.

I know what you mean about loving those little people but enjoying the big ones who replace them.

Amazing story.

Three months of bedrest/hospitalization?


Calladus said...

It's an amazing story, but...

Pmomma, you're playing it all wrong! When P4 goes into his (hopefully brief) sulky teenager stage, you get to tell him, "Your delivery was 25 hours of hell, and THIS is how you treat your mother?"

Easy to be humorous now. Just reading about this scared me.

Erin said...

I remember when P4 (almost typed out his real name--oops!) was's hard to believe we've known each other for so long.:)

Cogito said...

Thanks for sharing that story. "We'll pray for you" is one of my hot buttons. I know they mean well, but it makes me nuts, especially if they could be DOING something instead. My mom and I have a joke, when we're wishing each other luck, we'll say, "I'll sacrifice a goat for you." Just as effective, and comes out of the same religious tradition.

I know this past labor I felt I got confirmation of my atheism from much less trauma. I sure WISHED there were a benevolent god when I had to wait 60 seconds with a head right at the entrance (exit?) of my vagina, stretching me to the tearing point, before I could push again. I actually yelled, "Oh my god, somebody help me!" No supernatural help was forthcoming, just the midwife working and my husband and mom holding my hands.

Nomoxian said...

That is so touching! Sometimes the best lessons learned are from the littlest ones.

And yeah, people who say "I'll pray for you" piss me off, but at least their intent is positive (even though praying doesn't have any real positive results)

Flux said...

Happy birthday, P4! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy 4th birthday, P4, you "miracle" child, you! ;)

That is a powerful and touching story, and...I still don't believe in a god, and...I'm really glad you (and P4) are alive to tell it!

Dawn said...

Happy birthday, P4! And thanks for the birth story, Pmomma. Not that it wasn't a scary one!

I have had an out-of-body experience. I wasn't dying. The story is not one I'd post where children might see it. In short, drinking and being drugged can cause it. It's a VERY weird sensation, but didn't lead me to religion.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robin L. said...

Happy birthday to you both. (Afterall, it was a kind of birth for you too.)

Just a note: re-read your post. I think that you inadvertantly left some names in there and I am not sure that you wanted to. Especially with everything going on lately.

Berlzebub said...

@ Anonymous:

It's ironic that you're recommending for her to read a book when you didn't read enough of her blog to see "No anonymous comments!"

So, your comment has been deleted per P-Blog policy. You can either leave a comment under a pseudonym (read the rest under "No anonymous comments!"), or email her.

Alli said...

Happy birthday to P4 -- and I second Robin's comment that a name has been left intact. With all going on, it really surprised me to see it.

It's amazing how actually *reading* the Bible is such a frequent reason cited for people's atheism. Glad you're still around to toss some good logic and reason our way!

Karen said...

If I'd had access to your wisdom 20 years ago, I might have a few possums of my own. I was mired in depression, and had a horrible view of parenthood, taught by my own mother, as nothing more than a sequence of panic episodes (what if my daughter's hurt? killed? reads the wrong thing? makes the wrong friends? Why is the bus late? Why can't she just sit without having to get up and wiggle? Why is the doctor taking so long? What if she stumbles on her way up the aisle for First Communion/Confirmation/Graduation? Why does she have to learn to drive? Why does she have to stay overnight with friends? Etc.)

But your affectionate, appreciative, tolerant, BS-free demonstration of motherhood is inspiring. Ah, well, what is, is. Time to go spend more time with my grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Perpetual Beginner said...

That was scary reading, Pmomma. I've heard doctors comment that when a patient asks if they're dying, it's usually nothing serious, but when they say they're dying, 90% of the time they're right.

Happy birthday to P4!

Paul said...

[silentsanta, NZ]

Moving story pMomma.

ps Happy birthday #p4!

Baal's Bum said...

Happy Birthday P4

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, P4!! :)


John (UK) said...

Some time ago I asked what made you turn away from the organised religions and belief in a god. Thanks for sharing that with us.

I think it also shows how a very small and slight shift in perspective can have a massive resultant change in your view on the world. And having an open mind to consider the alternatives. Little things can have big consequences. Which is what P4 did to you.

Happy Birthday P4.

Berlzebub said...

@ all who pointed to the name slip:

I changed the post, since it seems P-Momma is otherwise occupied. Thanks for pointing it out.

I hope I didn't overstep my bounds as an admin for your sight, but considering what's been happening, I thought I would take care of it and you could change it back if you felt the need to.

Sonya said...

long time reader, first time poster...

I was a pretty wary agnostic (raised Southern Baptist though) from the time I was 23 until I gave birth to my first child last August 11th, at the age of 29. Uneventful labor and delivery, but when I held that beautiful, helpless girl-child in my arms, I had the clear and conscious realization that there is no god. No loving, father-type god would allow horrible atrocities to befall little ones like her every single day. I became an avowed atheist that very day.

People (family) thought that having a child would surely show us that there was certainly a god, how else would we explain the miracle of children?

There's a pesky little thing called science.

Happy birthday to your P4!

Enkidu said...

To quote a good friend and outstanding father. "Every year is the best year." It's true.

As for the miracle, I guess the insurance company shouldn't have paid the doctors and nurses, because they didn't do anything.

ang said...

Hey, I had a very similar experience with my youngest. I read the bible while pregnant because I was a good church going woman. I nearly died while giving birth; when the nurses told me to breathe, I thought I was. But I couldn't talk so I obviously wasn't breathing.
It's kind of a joke around here now (19 years later). My son says I almost died giving birth to him because he's so Awesome!!
It took me a couple of years to realize that I was an atheist, but it hasn't taken my son that long.