The first one.
There were lots more “firsts” with Ronan while I was pregnant with Ruby. His first cold, and our first week without Brock home. First boo-boos, first time peeing outside, first major temper tantrum. We started getting concerned about Ronan’s language development around 18 months old, when we recognized (after a visit from my mom and dad) that Ronan hadn’t really learned any new words or sounds since the last time they had visited… when he was 8 months old. We had been doing baby-signs with Ronan and he was very fluent in the signs he knew, but there was nothing else.
We were seeing a new pediatrician. We had left our prior office after Ronan’s 12 month vaccine appointment when the tech giving him the injections dropped an uncapped needle on the floor, picked it up, and used it anyways. I was livid – and when I confronted the doctor before I left, he assured me that my child would be fine and not to worry about it. I wasn’t really concerned at that point with anything other than that shouldn’t have happened.
I had put up with and accepted having my feelings, worries, and intuition as a mother dismissed and ignored far too long already. We never stepped foot into that office again.
ANYWAYS. Our new pediatrician was wonderful. She was considered an “integrative” doctor – which meant she integrated the use of more traditional, natural approaches with modern medicine. What did that look like? It meant, if we came in with Ronan and he had an ear infection, she would write us a prescription for antibiotics… and then tell us to get him adjusted at a chiropractor, use some warm garlic oil in his ear, do ear canal massage, cut out diary as it can inflame the drainage systems in the head and neck, and ONLY then fill the prescription for the antibiotics if none of those things worked.
She was delightful. She listened to me. She trusted my intuition. I really adored her, and the way she talked to my son. However, she wasn’t concerned about his speech at all. She echoed what many people had told us already – that boys tended to be slower to speak, his physical development was pretty on-par, and that we could consider having him evaluated around his second birthday if we were still concerned.
That seemed reasonable, so we went with it.
I continued working through my entire pregnancy. This time it was at the hospital, and it was much harder than the OB type work that I was used to. I still had to lift and move patients. I had to help them in and out of wheelchairs. There is a TON OF WALKING when you work in a hospital, not to mention standing on your feet most of the time. Because my pubic symphysis split during Ronan’s birth, I had developed something called “pubic symphysis disfunction” during this pregnancy which made most tasks difficult if not downright painful. I wore a belt around my hips most of the time in order to minimize the pain and give myself a stable base of support – but I was miserable.
All during this time, Brock was miserable at his own job. He had been working at a small printing company North of Charlotte for the past four or five years. He was tech support and IT in the company, and loved all of the people that he had worked with – except for a few. Without going into details or telling his story for them, Brock came home from work every day angry, frustrated and stressed. He had a hard time letting it go, and it was incredibly draining on me as well. After several MONTHS of this, Brock brought his concerns to the management, and they were ignored.
He was heartbroken. He and I both knew he couldn’t keep working there – our life couldn’t continue on like that. One night, after a particularly long and painful conversation, I took his face in my hands and told him flat out, “You have to quit.”
We both agreed. It was the only right thing to do. He would quit his job and immediately begin looking for another job. I was still working 3 twelve hour shifts a week at work, and making good money doing it… I could support us for a while without strain. He even touched base with his parents to make sure they were aware and could offer financial assistance if it was needed. Everyone was on board.
Two months before I was due with our second baby, Brock quit his job.
Now, honestly, the change in his demeanor was immediate and worth it. And I thought I was being quite generous when I thought to myself that he could take a whole week lounging around the house, playing video games and doing nothing before he buckled down and got serious and started looking for a job. Two even.
But that day never really came. I started to feel anxious, gently probing him for how the job search was coming. His answers were always vague and circular – I’m still working on my resume, and I’m trying to figure out where to focus. Sometimes he would talk about going back to school. Sometimes he would talk about starting his own business. There was a lot of talk. There was not a lot of action.
My due date crept closer and closer, and Brock was still unemployed. He didn’t seem to be worried about it – he spent a large amount of time playing World of Warcraft with his brothers. My rational mind can’t understand what his thought process was, but it just seemed like he didn’t have any concern about what we were going to do financially when our very tiny savings ran out, he still didn’t have a job, and I was going out on maternity leave for twelve unpaid weeks.
In the final weeks of my pregnancy, I felt like I was going to be pregnant for ever. I mean, I know every pregnant woman says that, but I honestly believed it was true – I didn’t want to give birth before Brock had secured gainful employment. I had started searching for job listings for him. I had started looking in other cities. I had started suggesting ideas for odd jobs he could do to make money in his spare time. I even asked him to get a job waiting tables if he couldn’t find anything else.
I was going to be pregnant forever, and that was fine with me, because it didn’t feel safe to have my baby yet. And then… I fell down the stairs. 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant, my foot slipped on the edge of the top step and fell all the way down to the bottom and landed in a heap.
To be continued…
(Incidentally, this part coincides with when I started on instagram, so almost all of the images will be instagram from here forwards!)