As we were walking to the car at pick up today after school, Rocky bent down to pick up a large brittle leaf from the ground. He rubbed the stem between his thumb and index finger twirling his new found treasure. He looked up smiled.

I could tell in his eyes he was seeking my approval to bring the leaf along with us. I smiled back and he mumbled to himself as he typically does. There’s a thing of beauty in this small moment of our day.

Rocky is currently 4 years and 7 months old. Hand a dried out leaf to a typical child that age and see what happens. Usually they will close their fist and let the leaf crumple into tiny pieces. As for Rocky? He twirled that leaf and watched it smiling as we drove to a nearby gas station, while I pumped the gas, and as we continued home. He twirled that leaf until we were at our front door and we entered our home.

He found a safe place to put his new friend down and ran off to play. It’s not always easy to talk about Rocky’s story. I never know where to start. I didn’t necessarily have a tough pregnancy for the most part. I felt ill one night at the drive-in with my husband and took a test a few days later to find out we were expecting. We were thrilled. The news of the new baby was celebrated.

I wasn’t a heavy drinker or a recreational medication user so I didn’t have any substances to give up. I was relatively healthy. About a month before he was born, I started having some pains and didn’t feel well often. We went in to get monitored several times and then sent back home to wait it out. When we had our final ultrasound, our first problem was discovered. Rocky had a large hydrocele in his testicles that would eventually require surgery to repair. We were told he weighed roughly 8 pounds already “give or take a little” and that we should be pushing to have me induced.

We tried. We failed. We went to another hospital. During the exam, they determined I was ready and Rocky, too. Unfortunately, I wasn’t originally their patient so they sent me home to follow up with my doctor on the following Monday. He finally decided to induce me at what he considered 39 weeks. I still beg to differ on his timeline but I digress. We had a date. We had a time.

Smooth sailing from there, right? Yeah, not so much. After being induced, I was in labor for nearly 12 hours before the doctor and I stopped seeing eye to eye. Before Rocky, I had already given birth to his sister back in 2013. I knew what it was like. I could not stop repeating to everyone that something wasn’t right. I hit a point where every fiber in my being said to stop pushing and just freeze. Some may consider it dramatic, some may think I’m a little crazy, but I acted like I passed out. I laid there and played dead. Contractions would come and it was just minimal pressure. I didn’t feel like I had to push so I just laid there. After a few minutes of me being stubborn and still, I peeked out to see the doctor pull his front jacket off and throw it to the floor in a ball. I heard him stomp out, and I looked at my husband. He didn’t know what I knew. It was hard to explain. The nurse came back to report that the doctor would be back after dinner. He didn’t come back for 4 hours. He examined me again and said that Rocky hadn’t progressed at all. He was in the exact same spot he was before. They called it “a rest in labor” and he sent the nurses to prepare for an emergency C-Section.

There are parts that are a little blurry and parts that I think I block out because it was a lot more dramatic than it should have been, but the moment I heard the doctor gasp out that he believed Rocky was a 10 pound baby… that moment is crystal clear. Turns out he wasn’t far off. 9 pounds, 12 ounces. Rocky was born. Smooshed and squishy, our sweet baby boy was finally here. Interesting Fact: that awful, gut wrenching, push haunting feeling I had? His umbilical cord was around his neck. Every time I pushed, it got tighter. When I stopped, it loosened.

…to be continued