4 years ago today . . .

. . . a baby boy was born, and his name was Noah.

Noah was born at 10:52 p.m. via true emergency c-section. It was one of the scariest days of my life.

After 10 hours of labor, I had had enough and had an epidural. Just minutes after the epi, Noah's heart rate shot down, around the 40's, and the nurses were concerned. Sometimes all it takes is to turn mamma over on a different side so that she is not laying on important blood vessels, but that did not work for this mamma. It would not come back up for anything and they got very concerned. They called my doctor and he said to take me to emergency "stat" (first time I had ever heard that word in real life). I was starting to freak. Next thing I know I'm being wheeled down the hallways to surgery. After this all I remember is the nurses putting a mask on me and lots of touching going on around my belly. I don't remember anything after this because I was put completely out. Neil was not even allowed in the room. (That's still hard to take knowing he was outside the operating room and not able to be with me or our new baby.) :(

Thankfully, Noah was born healthy, weighing 6 lbs 10 oz. The doctor still reminds me today that he saved Noah's life. He said he's never drove so fast to the hospital before, running numerous red lights. He was there in 6 minutes. (He told me later that he has true emergency c-sections twice a year at most.) The nurses had already began opening me up. Which is why my scarring today is so bad and why my doctor thinks having more children is not a highly recommended thing (and today that's after having had 2 emergency c-sections). My recovery was also quite intense because of the very quick incision to get Noah out. I was to be on bed rest for 6 weeks, never to go in the car or do any exercise. I really couldn't do anything much for the first 4 weeks. It was weeks before I could stand up to take a shower. I had one of those chairs that sit in the shower to take my showers with. It was that painful for me to stand up. But, I really didn't care because I knew how much of a miracle baby Noah was. In more than one way.
Right after I first got to hold my boy. I'm still pretty out of it . . . which is probably apparent.
What a sweet, perfect boy.
And this is daddy changing one of his first ever diapers. Awwww . . .

So many of you know, but many of you do not, that we tried having a baby for 3 years. In that time period I got pregnant 3 times and lost 3 babies. I got OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation twice and on bed rest for 2 weeks, was on fertility drugs), saw a Reproductive Endocrinologist for 2 years, had numerous tests, attempted IUI twice, among other things. It was the longest 3 years of my life. My first loss was at 12 weeks. And that was the hardest day of my life, hearing the news that my baby was not living. It felt like some dream (nightmare) that I was going to wake up from. Those 3 years were not easy; actually, the hardest thing I have ever been through. And then we had Noah. Another very scary time. My recovery in the "dungeon" all alone was over 2 hours long because I had to wake up from anesthesia and then get my bearing straight. When they finally wheeled me up to my room where my family waited and they handed me my baby all cleaned up (I missed all of that, as did Neil), I remember still being out-of-it, but I was enough "with it" to cry. I was very emotional before I even got to my room because I knew I had had my baby but did not even know what he looked like and they told me he was healthy, but I wanted to see that for myself, and well, the emotions were just more than I could handle.

We knew at 5-1/2 weeks that we were pregnant again by what the u/s showed and the pregnancy seemed to be viable, but we didn't know for certain till we went back for this u/s at 8 weeks, and Alexis was with me for this one. One of the best moments of my life. Look at that HEARTBEAT! (Something I had never ever seen before; it was amazing.)
Me and Nat at a wedding I shot when I was 16 weeks pregnant.
This picture was taken on a polaroid so the quality isn't too spectacular . . but I'm 20 weeks here.
And this was about 2 weeks before I had Noah . . . at the pumpkin patch. How appropriate since I looked like I was carrying one in my shirt!

I had a difficult time nursing him. He just did not take to it, but I was adamant to do it and do it for as long as possible even if he wasn't a champ nurser and even if it was painful for me. So I did. For 5-1/2 months. But during that time, Noah was also colic - for 8-1/2 months, and that was a pretty hard time. For both Neil and I. There were many many times I didn't think I was cut out to be a mother and there were times I was asking myself if I should give him back. Nothing seemed to be going "right" and he wasn't an easy baby, and he didn't sleep through the night till he was well over a year. Actually, he was about 2.

As the time passes, I realize how special Noah is. The love I have for him just exceeds what I ever thought I could hold for a child. And having gone through what I did -- the infertility to his birth, almost losing him to Noah's colic-ness -- really honestly did make me stronger. It made me appreciate my husband more. It made me appreciate the gift of parenting and the gift of children and the gift of life. I questioned many times whether I was cut out to be a mother. But there are moments that make me know I was meant to be one, and meant to be one to this amazing little boy.
Our family when Noah was 6 months old.
Mommy and her boy.

Today, as I walked Noah into his school, every kid and teacher in the school was standing there waiting for him to enter, and when he did, all immediately bolted out happy birthday ending with his teacher saying "God gave us a special boy and his name is Noah". That moment reinforced any sort of questions I may have had about my ability to be a mom and be a good mom, because Noah stood there radiating with happiness and smiles. He was proud to be alive and proud to be a birthday boy and it made his mommy very very proud to the point that tears did not stop. It was such a little moment, but it was an overwhelming one. Those feelings, and his appreciation of them singing, made me feel like I'm doing something right raising my boy.

Noah is so incredibly special. I love him so much. He has been the biggest gift and lesson in my life. He makes me so happy and so proud and today I wish my beautiful 4-year old boy, a true gift from Heaven, a very happy birthday.

Love you, baby boy. (And as Noah says "I'm not a baby, I'm NOAH.")


SuperMom said...

Awww, happy birthday, Noah! I don't know how I never put together that Noah and Elisabeth share a birthday! :)

Erin said...

This post made me cry! What a miracle and such a blessing. You are such a good mom and he's very blessed to have you, darling. Now Ella wants to go find an ecard to send him, so off we go. (I think they would be great friends!)

casual friday everyday said...

Ohhhhh happy birthday! I just postted about my babies bday but your post is so much sweeter than mine LOL

Michelle said...

We love you too, Mr. Noah!

Happy Birthday!!

jen said...

Happy Birthday Noah.

Val you are an awesome Mummy
love ya
CONGRATULATIONS to you too its a special day for both of you

Jen said...

Happy Birthday, Noah! I'm so sorry I'm not there to give you a hug. I know Addison would love to give you a hug,too. She probably would like to have you as her boyfriend. :)

heather said...

Please be sure to give Noah birthday wishes from me....although he is probably already in bed!!! It is hard to believe that four years have gone by so fast!!

Anonymous said...

Wish Noah a happy belated birthday from the Clarks! We miss him very much!! Can't believe how fast he is growing up.
vic & fam

MP said...

Please tell Noah all mommy's friends on the internet wish him a very happy birthday.
I think mom's are the bravest ever!

it's me, Val said...

Noah thanks all of you who left messages for him :) He had a really great day! :)

Jen @ One Moms World said...

Well how weird Val. Our youngest borns were born on the same day just a year apart hehe. Lyndsee celebrated her 3rd birthday yesterday as well. I did a blog post.

We want to leave a little song for Noah!

Happy Birthday to YOU
Happy Birthday to YOU
Happy Birthday to Noah
Happy Birthday to YOU!!!

Yay... we hope your day was full of fun and lots of cake :)

LiLi said...

Happy Birthday, Noah!!! I loved reading the blog, Val... what a long road, but what a happy ending! :) And I don't know if I'll have internet tomorrow (long story), so let me say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Maia!!! I hope they both have/had wonderful birthdays!!! I hope Neil has a good birthday as well, or did it pass already??? I'm so bad with remembering!!! ((hugs)) to the Camp Birthday Crew!

oh amanda said...

Happy Happy Birthday, Noah! What a beautiful post!

God has big plans for little (I mean, big) Noah! And God gave Noah YOU as his Mama. On purpose. To lead him. He designed YOU to be Noah's MOM! You are more than able!