I was in hard labor with August, and it was around 10:30 PM. I had spent a lot of time learning Hypnobirthing, and August was my 2nd baby I birthed with this method. It was hard to concentrate though. Owen was crying. Maybe he sensed what was happening. Maybe he knew that his life was about to change. Owen was only 19 months old when August was born. He was still a baby in so many ways. I asked Greg to please get Owen because I knew he wasn’t going to calm down by himself. My friend, Natalie, was there for the kids, so she took charge of Owen’s care and tried to get him back to sleep. The rest of August’s birth story is here.
Owen was still awake an hour or so after August was born. As I headed out the door to go to the hospital, I clearly remember holding Owen’s face in my hands, giving him a kiss, and saying, “Goodbye, baby”. As I walked out the door I had the thought that those words were more than just telling him goodbye for the night. I was really kissing my baby goodbye in a way.
Growing Up Fast
I have always been amazed at how much my kids grow up when they are no longer the youngest. Owen was no exception, but I think he had to grow up in more ways that my other kids did. He lost the mom he knew. He lost the life he knew. August was a difficult baby. There were days he would scream all day, and he wanted to be held constantly. I couldn’t put him down when he was awake for at least the first year of his life. August had therapy appointments, doctor appointments, and got all kinds of attention. He became the center of my universe. On top of that, I was a mess emotionally. I had a lot of work to do to come to terms with what had happened.
Owen has spent a lot of his childhood at therapy appointments where he was supposed to sit quietly and watch. Therapists have come into our home to see August, and Owen has had to watch, and only join in when invited. He has always been the extra kid. Therapists always do their best to include my other children, but the fact is that they are working with August, and that is their priority.
One day as we were getting ready to go to one of August’s therapy appointments, Owen asked, “When is my appointment?” My heart broke. This was an eye-opening moment for me. Since then, I have made special efforts to make sure Owen gets special experiences and opportunities. I know it’s not the same as the special attention August has always had, but I hope he can see that we are trying our best, and that we cherish him just as much as we cherish August.
Owen has been affected by what happened at August’s birth more than any of my other children (besides August himself). He will be forever affected, as will our entire family. Owen has dealt with some unusual circumstances, and he has had some unusual behaviors because of it. He refused to even think about potty training until he was 4. He wanted to keep his crib as long as possible, and he still insists on using a sippy cup. Owen has had a hard time wanting to grow up and stop being a baby. I can see that a lot of that is because he wasn’t able to be a baby for long. That was taken away from him too soon.
As difficult as things have been for Owen, and as sad as I am that it couldn’t be different for him, I can see how his early experiences can and already do benefit him. Someday I hope that he can see it too. I hope that because of his experiences he will be more kind, more empathetic, and more accepting. I hope he will be more patient with those who are different than he is. I hope he will be able to look at any child, no matter their abilities, and see a friend. There is so much good that can be gained by his experiences, and it’s important to see that and be grateful for it.
Always My Baby
Owen’s 5th birthday is coming up in a few days. I am so grateful for him in our family. I know that his place in the family is not a coincidence. He needed to be born when he was. Owen is a light for us. He is funny and happy and bright. He has made me smile through my tears more times than I can count. I really don’t know where I would be without him in my life. He definitely knows how to push my buttons, but he also knows how to brighten my day.
Owen’s birth was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. After August’s traumatic birth, I had a very hard time thinking about Owen’s birth. As strange as it sounds, I was angry about it. I was strangely jealous of myself, and that I got to experience something so beautiful. It was troubling to me that I had such feelings about it. I am grateful that now I can think of Owen’s birth and be grateful for the beautiful experience it was. That day I got to say hello to my beautiful baby in the most beautiful way.