There is nothing like the presence of a child to make you realize just how vulnerable and helpless you really are.
My youngest son, Camden, celebrated his seventh birthday last week. Of course, this annual milestone always induces a nostalgic trip down memory lane. There are so many moments that jump out at me as I relive these last seven years. There are memories that make me laugh, and memories that make me cry. But mostly, there are startling memories that literally make my heart almost stop.
Even before Camden came into this world, he put a fear in me that has never gone away. I'd only known I was pregnant for a month when I first thought I'd lost him. I went to the doctor for my initial prenatal visit, and the "positive" on my pregnancy test was so faint, the nurse told me I'd most likely miscarried. I was devastated. We had to wait three days for the bloodwork to come back before learning that in actuality, everything was fine, and our second-born child should arrive in late August. Thank you God!
Camden, however, decided he wanted to be a May baby. He attempted to make his debut at twenty-eight weeks. One steroid shot (to develop his lungs) and eight weeks of bedrest later, the doctor gave Camden permission to join the land of living-outside-the-womb. Thank you God! At which point, Camden decided to wait another three weeks.
If you read my last blog post ("I Can't Help It"), you'll remember that his birth was not without equally heart-wrenching incident. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, but thankfully, he was a scheduled c-section, which allowed the doctors to react quickly. Thank you God! When he finally cried that first cry, I cannot begin to describe the joy and relief. Little did I know that would be my reaction on so many more occasions in the years to come.
One of my most vividly terrifying memories of his toddler years occurred at my friend Molly's house. We were visiting for a playdate. While the little ones were playing downstairs, Molly and I snuck upstairs to her scrapbook room. We had only been up there for maybe two or three minutes, when I heard a tiny voice say, "Mommy, help me." I realized this tiny voice was coming from the upper-level of the house, rather than the lower-level. It honestly never occurred to me that my less-than-two-year-old would try and then be able to climb all those steps. My heart skipped a beat when I saw Camden... not actually on the stairs, but hanging on the banister looming over the stairway. I somehow remained calm as I pulled him over to the safe side. Then I burst into tears as I thought about what might have been. Thank you God!
Soon after the staircase incident, at the age of 22 months, Camden decided he wanted to eat the same thing his older brother, Bryson, was eating for breakfast. When I wasn't looking (of course), he took a few bites of Bryson's peanut butter toast. I had no idea UNTIL he started gagging and crying. I ran to him. His face was splotchy and he was scratching at his throat. I knew immediately what had happened. We raced to the doctor's office, and learned he is allergic to not only peanuts and peanut butter, but also to every tree nut. He recuperated without emergency measures. Thank you God! However, he must have an epi-pen available at all times.
These are just a few examples of the heart-stopping incidents I've experienced as Camden's mother. There are many more. I am often gripped with the fear that somehow this child is going to be taken from me, whether it be him falling off of the the kitchen table, drowning himself in the toilet, closing himself in the dryer or getting ahold of another child's peanut butter crackers (all of which he has attempted to do). There is only one way to overcome that fear, and that is to realize that I am not in control. Thank you God!
If Camden has taught me anything in these seven years I've shared with him so far, it's that ~ if it were only up to me to keep this child alive, I would have failed him so many times. What joy and relief I feel to know that it's not only up to me. Thank you God!