Sunday, March 27, 2011

Booger Nights

Whew! What a week.

When I was 13, my mother enrolled me in synchronized swimming. One of the first things we had to do was train ourselves to hold our breath for a long, long time. After about a year of training, I could swim the entire length of the Junior Olympic-sized pool underwater, on one breath. By the time I had reached the end, my body would be fighting for a breath. My chest would heave involuntarily as my lungs spasmed, and when I reached the surface, I would gasp desperately for air. It felt so good to take in oxygen.

That's how I feel right now.

We are coming out of the longest week of my life. Little Bento has been sick, and it's been tough. I know that there are parents out there that have fared much, much worse than we have; after all, Ben had a mere cold, with some complications, nothing serious at all. I never questioned that he would survive, though I often doubted that I would. Still, for a new mom, it was hard, and I know that sooner or later, we're going to have to do it again.

He was feverish, and restless, and he couldn't breathe through his nose. His chest rattled every time he coughed, and he squirmed in my arms and pounded his head on my shoulder over and over again, so uncomfortable, so unhappy. He whined and moaned constantly, except when he was screaming. He dozed lightly, but couldn't sleep. Then he started to throw up. He didn't want to eat or drink. He would finally rest his head on my chest in exhaustion, and stare. That is how we spent the week: in the glider, or on the couch, or in my bed, with him sprawled across my body.

I would sit up when he cried and whisper in his ear: "Shh, shh, it's okay, momma's here, momma's here." "I'm here, baby, I'm here." It hit me: I had no freaking clue what I was doing. I told my baby it was going to be okay, so I had to make it okay. It was one of those defining moments for me, where I realized that I am someone's mother, and that this hard job was not one that I could pass on to someone else, or leave behind when it got too difficult. I had some help, thankfully, but the lion's share of fretting, and worrying, and soothing, fell to me.

What a monumental responsibility.

Today, for the first time in days, Ben smiled and giggled, and bounced on his toes when I held him upright. My baby is getting better.

I'm so glad this week is over.

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