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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, May 31, 2014

JenniferFischerMy firstborn son “graduated” from preschool yesterday. He’s beginning to read. He’s starting to write. He adds 2 plus 2. He loves Legos, video games and “Star Wars” (although he hasn’t yet seen the movies). I see him grow everyday. I watch him learn. I see his joy and zest for life, and sometimes it takes me back to the beginning … Nov. 7, a day of joy and celebration, but also a day that did not go at all as I expected.

My mother had relatively easy births with no epidural and no complications or problems, despite all of her children being born prematurely. It never occurred to me that mine would be any different. In fact, with birthing books, classes, etc., I did not even read or listen to any of the information on what happened during a Cesarean birth. Why would I? It would never happen to me, I thought. I was prepared to have a natural childbirth. I expected my birth to be perfect, of course – no medication, no problems.

Can you tell where this is going?

My birth was anything but perfect. There were IVs, oxygen, problems with the baby’s heart rate. I was taking too long to dilate and the baby was in too much distress. After 9 hours of labor, it seemed his heart stopped beating (or they could find no trace of it). I was terrified and was only 4cm dilated.

The room was full of fear for me. The medical staff suddenly grew quiet and focused (always a bad sign). In a whirl, I signed some papers authorizing the surgery and was whisked away. My husband had to wait in the hall for the beginning of the prep. I am sure he was only there for a few minutes, but for both of us, it felt like an eternity.

JFISCH1I kept thinking: What if the baby does not make it? Then: What if the baby makes it but I do not?

Minutes later, I heard him crying. How beautiful that sound was. Of course, I was crying, too.

In minutes, I was nursing him and cuddling with him and was no longer on the operating table. Of course, I worried that something else would go wrong, but it didn’t. Everything was fine. He nursed for 14 months and then easily (and naturally) weaned himself. He slept through the night at 5 weeks (although my second son certainly did not). He napped with (mostly) no fuss. He was and remains a beautiful, wonderful, happy and joyous little boy who has brought much to my life.

I celebrated his birth. I celebrated with him on his last day of preschool yesterday, and I am committed to celebrating who he is – daily.

jfmother5I also have come to terms with not having the birth I wanted, for I know that a birthing experience does not a mother make. Many of the mothers I admire the most adopted their children – great mothers whose love and commitment to their kids floor me on a daily basis.

I began a journey of gratitude in April, and I shared a bit about it here. Today it comes full circle as I focus on gratitude for my children. I am thankful for them, even on the days when they drive me crazy. In fact, I maintain my calm and insanity in those moments by focusing on my gratitude for them.

Many of us are watching family members, friends or colleagues achieve milestones at this time of year. Let’s celebrate their achievements (safely, of course), and let’s thank them for what they bring to our life.

I’ve seen the difference a little gratitude can make in the world. A little goes a long way. Who will you thank today?

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

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3 Comments

  1. What a great article! It seems that most life events do not go as planned… We must accept the change and move on so that we can love and be focused on the present.

  2. Thank you for being so honest and loving.

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