One Good Month

On a semi-regular basis, the hubby and I look at the boys playing, look at each other, and say, “One good month.” And then we both kind of shake our heads.

The only reason our youngest is here, is because back in the Fall of 2007, I had one good month. And I cannot tell you how grateful we are, for that.

Before I gave birth to my first son, I suffered three miscarriages – bad ones, as they all are, although thankfully they all happened early. And then the fourth time, when my body finally held on to a baby, I felt the full force of the powers of hell unleashed.

Okay, no, but that’s sure what it felt like.

The pregnancy was a nightmare from beginning to end. Every “bad” side effect that the books warn you about, I had, from crippling, never-ending nausea to grotesque weight gain to severe edema.

By the end, I looked like a crying, moaning Michelin Man.

When the pregnancy finally ground to a halt a week past my due date, I slogged through 25 hours of labor (18 of those without medication), and 80 minutes of pushing. At the end of it, while I lay hemorrhaging and nearly blind with pain, my hubby leaned over me, stroked my head, and whispered, “I never want you to have to go through that again.”

The first year with my new baby (whom I adored) was a long, exhausting blur of confusion and constant nursing. And then, just as I was weaning him, I got pregnant again.

That pregnancy was worse than the last one. Worse nausea, worse fatigue, worse pains, worse everything. At my first doctor’s visit, nearly 3 months in, I sat on the exam table and wept, sure that I was dying.

I wasn’t, but my unborn baby had. And right then, my husband and I vowed never to go through all that again.

But once my body had recovered from the miscarriage, something happened. I had that one good month.

This was around October of 2007. For the first time in over two years, I was neither pregnant nor nursing a baby. I felt fantastic. I started thinking about how nice it would be for my son to have a sibling. And one day, we went to a little park near our house and sat on the grass, and the sun was shining in that way that makes you feel stupid and happy, and crunchy leaves were scattered on the ground, and everything felt so perfect, that I told my husband I wanted to try for another baby.

This did not make him happy. “Are you sure?” he kept asking. He hadn’t forgotten the hellishness we’d been through.

I hadn’t forgotten, either. I just really, really wanted Cameron to have a brother or sister. And once I get my mind around something, well…

Within a month, I was pregnant, and Lord have mercy. Evidently I hadn’t seen nothing, yet.

I really am not a good enough writer to describe how bad that pregnancy was, I can just tell you this – when I was only four months along I frog-marched my husband to the urologist’s office for a vasectomy. In between crying jags, I told him, “If you don’t do this, I’ll never be able to have sex again.”

I wasn’t even kidding.

The urologist was a little hesitant – “Are you sure?” he asked. “Most people wait until their pregnancies have reached a ‘safe’ stage, before they do this.”

“You don’t understand,” I said. “If I ever go through this again, it will kill me.”

A week before my due date, my doctor induced me, because I couldn’t have survived another week. Blessedly, this delivery was much easier than the first one – although the newborn stage, that next year, would again be terribly hard for us.

All that aside, though, I was – and am – so grateful for my boy, who is so different from my first. He is a handful: as curious and as stubborn as the day is long. And I love him with all my heart.

He turns three years old next week. Here are some thoughts I jotted down when he was exactly three months old.

When you break into my sleep each night
(at one, or two, or three)
I stumble to fetch your medicine
A nursing pad
A burp rag

After Daddy changes your diaper
I receive you onto our nest of pillows
watch your eyes close
Your palm brushes my chest as you drink
And I am so utterly exhausted
that I fear I will drop you;

My need for sleep is so desperate

And yet

When you are done, and nestled on my shoulder
I pat your back
and smell your head
Move my lips against your fat cheek
Then cradle your gentle weight in my arms
And long past the time I should return you to your own bed
I watch you sleep
Feel your delicate breath moving against my belly

The need for sleep subsides
every time
I hold you, and watch you
just a little longer
My heart in my throat
My love for you filling the room
Filling the house
Sailing out into the night

My boy
My love
My last baby

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23 Responses to One Good Month

  1. Dad says:

    What we have here is the two best grand-sons in the WHOLE world.

  2. lori huhn says:

    I dont have any words but im glad you had one good month. Conner is such a sweet child.

  3. Nikki says:

    I feel for you and other mamas alike who struggle so physically with pregnancy. I have another girlfriend whose was similar, including having to give herself multiple shots in her tummy every day. My greatest complaint was feeling green the entire time, having no appetite (first time in my entire life…it wasn’t so bad, except…I had to feed the babe somehow), and then of course…doing it alone. But it is the glimpses and the moments and the shimmers here and there, that through the agony of all that it is, raising these miracles that God planted in our wombs, that makes it all somehow…perfect.

    • That last pregnancy, I was on a pill for nausea that they give chemo patients…it was so expensive, I could only afford a few a month! So I’d cut them up. So they didn’t help as much as they could have.

      Being a Mommy is so, so hard…and so worth it.

  4. Jenny Lind says:

    I love those LaGrow boys. Sorry you went through all that…but the results are amazing. 🙂

  5. robin lagrow says:

    Thanking God for that month – what a blessing!!! I love you!

  6. bloggertiff says:

    I had no idea you went through that friend! I have the opposite problem, the getting pregnant part. One can never say which is worse emotionally, but it’s bad no matter the circumstances. Our boys are precious gifts from God! I would love for them to get to play together some day!

  7. Anna Combs says:

    Oh Cathy, what a touching, moving story–you are such a great writer–still waiting for that book that you write! God bless you!!

  8. Wow. This gives me so much more perspective on who you are. Thank you for sharing. Absolutely beautiful.

  9. I’ve heard a number of stories of great men/women that as children survived through what were very difficult pregnancies for their mothers. I think there is something about going through great pain as we love someone that makes us treasure the gift that they are even more.

    Glad those severely painful years are over!

    Thanks for sharing….

    • Dan…I’ll be honest…whenever I see a pregnant woman in the store, I have to resist the urge to get down and kiss the ground in gratitude, that it’s not me.

      True story.

      (Also, along the lines of your words…sometimes when Connor is being especially…challenging, with his curiosity, I say, “If he doesn’t discover the cure for cancer someday, then God’s got some explaining to do.”

      🙂

  10. kathy d. says:

    I just chanced along here from another blog and read you amazing story about your two babies, and your very tough pregnancies. A lot of women don’t even know this can happen to them.
    I nearly cried reading about what you went through with all three pregnancies, ending up with two gorgeous boys who sound wonderful.
    There is one cute toddler in my building who is so bright and curious I love to watch him at play.
    Wow! This whole thing should be completely up to women — the risks that are taken, the terrible symptoms, the nausea, the pain, the risks during childbirth. (My sister got a rash which expressed an allergy to something in her pregnancy; her baby kicked and hit and punched heer; she counted 87 punches at one time while she was seeing a client, and she lost her balance, like on a trip to the Alps — I yelled Yikes when I heard how she moved from gondola to mountain being 8 weeks pregnant.) I’m glad I didn’t know till later. However, there is now a stunning 22-year old very smart, gorgeous, witty and charming young man from her 9 months of tribulations. No one ever warns us of these things beforehand. I wonder why! But they sure are cute at 17 months screaming DaDa at the top of their lungs and then shrieking, discovering they can make sounds. Neighbor’s is adorable.

    • Thanks for stopping by, for reading, and for sharing your thoughts!

      It is always nice to hear that I wasn’t the only one who had such a hard time. 🙂 And yes, they are totally worth it!

      But I’m still not doing it again…just sayin’…

  11. karenzach says:

    And such beautiful babes you had…

  12. Tiffany says:

    I read this first when I was still pregnant…I just came back to read it again after finding out that my baby has passed. I thought I was out of the woods this time. Fourteen weeks. Apparently no one knew that 7 weeks ago my baby’s heart stopped beating. Even my body betrayed me. So, at some point in the future I am praying so hard for 9 good months.

    Thank you for writing this. It brings me encouragement to know that it can happen…even after a lot of bad – it is possible I could still be a mommy. I can’t wait for God to decide that it is my time. I can’t wait for the little head on my chest in the night…
    I just can’t wait.

    • Oh, sweet girl. You just made my heart ache.

      I’m so sorry. Every time it happened, even though I had steeled myself again and again (anticipating the worst) – every time, I sobbed as though my heart was breaking. I remember each of them vividly. I wrote about them, after they happened…maybe I should think of a way to share that, here.

      Love and hugs to you. And praying that your arms will be full of precious baby warmth, some day soon.

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