Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Blayne Royse: Mother of The Year 2011"

Ava and I had a little accident on our steps. I fell while I was holding her. I fell, so she fell.

SHE'S FINE! This is something that could probably only happen to me, (or is it?). So, let's back up a few weeks so I can explain.

Steven came home June 1st. It was amazing! I hope you saw the pictures. If you haven't--go look right now. And yes, I will let you know when my Hallmark Original Movie is set to air.

 That whole day was exhausting. An excruciating mix of emotions. He finally arrived at 4:00 a.m. So, we were all exhausted. But I felt so much happiness, and SO much relief: I finally didn't have to be solely responsible for our baby anymore! I'm not sure why, but knowing that someone else was now here to help, lifted a huge weight from my shoulders. A lot of people ask me what it was like to see him for the first time after so long. For me it was like when I finished running a marathon. At the end of mile 26.2, as I crossed the finished line, all I could think was: "Finally. I can stop running." It was just like that. Only I was thinking, "Finally. I can stop waiting."

I wasn't sure what it was going to be like having him home. I tried to keep my expectations at a "medium" level. I figured it would probably take Steven a while to get into "father" mode. But he blew me away. He jumped right in. The first night we were home,  we didn't walk through the door until about 5:00 a.m. I put Ava to sleep, and she woke up about 7:00 a.m. So I hopped up to nurse/change her. When it's this early, she always goes right back to sleep. So I was pretty amused a few minutes later when I saw Steven standing at her door, wearing his robe and slippers---awake and ready to help! It was adorable. I never have to ask him to do anything with her. If she's dirty, he changes her (and he changes those cloth diapers like a pro) if she's hungry--he tells me--and gives her to me. :) He plays with her, and reads stories to her. He talks to her, and holds her. She is a very lucky little girl. 

SO--it's ironic that now, when I finally have a team mate, we find ourselves in an emergency situation. 

I've gone up our stairs while carrying Ava, one hundred million times. At least. This time I tripped. It was awful.

 Her whole life flashed before my eyes! It was like it was happening in slow motion. As I was falling I tried to keep her towards me as much as possible, but eventually gravity just took over. I tripped going UP the stairs, so I fell ON the stairs,(on my stomach, with my arms extended) and she fell flat on her back, on the landing area, right before the door). The whole situation could have been SO much worse. I could have fallen DOWN the stairs with her. OR, she could have hit her head on the edge of a step--but she didn't. Thank God she didn't. I fell with her most of the way. She fell freely though about 3 or 4 inches (no small distance for a baby, and a soft skull). We immediately picked her up--walked back outside to the car--and drove to the ER in Amberg, (the same hospital she was born at). 

I kept thinking, "Did that really just happen?" I've said it many times, and I'll say it again: my life is stream of surreal moments. Usually in a "good way, a very good way," but not this time.

The ER experience was less than great. I will also say, AGAIN, that language barriers in a medical situation are horrible. Fortunately Ava was okay. We could all tell she was fine. So "fine" in fact, that once we got to the Children's Unit, the nurse said: "Okay---she look, normal. You wait." So we waited about an hour or so. They finally got around to seeing us, and seemed confused as to why we even showed up. We did a lot of "miming" the incident, and that didn't seem to help. Steven knows quite of bit of German, but that didn't really help either; the doctor himself spoke NO english. We couldn't get ahold of my landlord right away, and------it felt like a mess. But with the help of the iPhone 4, and the Google Translate App---we figured things out. 
                       (Sidenote: Do you think the iPhone is stupid? It has saved our behinds on countless      occassions. So, you don't have to go out and get one, but...reconsider your position.)

Ultimately we got some answers. They determined Ava was fine but wanted to keep her for 48 hours to be safe. They did an ultra sound of her brain and found no signs of damage or trauma. 

Everything turned out okay. But I found myself kind of irritated. I have to confess, this happened at sort of the height of me feeling like "Ultra Mom." Here I was, taking care of baby on my own, for the first time, with no family, and in a foreign country. And there was baby: my, "no-diaper-rash-sleeps-through-the-night-since-she-was-seven-weeks-old-95th-percentile" baby. God has a way of humbling us.

There I was, sleepless in the hospital room, feeling like the World's Worst Mother. Why isn't there a chapter in these parenting books called, "Dropping The Baby: And Other Injuries That Happen To Babies Whose Parents Love Them Very Much"? Probably because that title is too long. I had been so diligent about safety. Not leaving her unattended on changing tables, or couches, or in bathtubs. SIDS proofing her crib, washing the "binky" every time it hit the floor, testing the bath water twice--etc. All of this times a million.  Unfortunately following all the "APA" standards did not prevent the dreaded "trip and fall." 

So yes, I definitely planned on keeping this little event a secret. But then I remembered how many pregnant/soon to be pregnant/"not-pregnant-but-might-be-one-day" friends I have, and I thought I should share. They probably wont drop their baby, but they might do something in the ballpark. I sure wish someone had shared something like this with me. Oh well. Too late for me--but not for my other friends! So this post if for you!

If you're one of "those people," you are shaking your head in disbelief. This has never happened to you. You can't relate. I know that this has never happened to you, because you are the perfect parent. And the world is SO lucky to have you in it. Who else would I aspire to be like? So, you keep being perfect for the BOTH of us, and I'll just keep doing my best. :)

I now know that I wont be perfect with her.  I've decided that no matter how "prepared" I am for the "unexpected," the world is a maze of un-babyproofed pointy edges, open electrical outlets, and hard surfaces. All I'm going to do is love her as hard/deeply/sincerely as I can---and then offer to pay her therapist bills 20 years from now. So, she's got that goin' for her, which is nice.

FAQ : 

"When does Steven go back to Afghanistan?" Pretty much everyone I've talked to thought Steven was home for just a few weeks (what is called, R&R, "Rest and Relaxation") but he is not on R&R, he is home now for good. Well, until it's time to deploy again anyway. He will deploy again with the unit he is stationed with, here in Germany, in the Spring of 2013.

"What is the difference between being 'stationed' and 'deployed'" "Stationed" is where you live, and where you work. We are "stationed" here in Germany. "Deployed" is being sent to a combat zone (like Afghanistan). No one is "stationed" in a combat zone---so, to answer another question I often get--NO, Ava and I will never go to Afghanistan with Steven.

"What will you and Ava do when Steven deploys again?" I'm not sure yet. Assuming we decide NOT to stay in Germany for another 3 years, then at the end of Steven's next deployment (the year 2014) it will be time for us to come back to the states, and move to a new place. So, chances are--I may take Ava back to the states with me when Steven leaves for Afghanistan. Only because once he returned it would be time to leave anyway. OR, I'll stay here at home, and live life. Just like normal. 

"What have you been doing since Steven has been home?" Loving life. Mostly relaxing. He only has ten days off, (he's taking his Paternity leave) and saving his leave time for December. In December, we will go back to Oklahoma for about a month, to visit friends and family.