Thursday, January 3, 2013

Life Story Part 4: And baby makes 3

At the suggestion of Courtney, I have been writing my life stories. I actually am almost done and let me tell you, things get pretty vulnerable. And it has been really hard to write the hard stuff. To revisit hasn't been pleasant. But once I got through the tough stuff, I have felt awesome. You should try this life story writing business. It's pretty telling. 

Life Story Part 1 HERE

Life Story Part 2 HERE

Life Story Part 3 HERE

Life Story Part 4: And baby makes 3
Eventually, working 7am-4pm every day took a toll on me. I liked being home and making a home. I knew I didn’t want to work forever and felt the tug of wanting to be a mother and homemaker full time. Ethan and I had briefly talked about parenthood in our getting-to-know one another days and his attitude was easy-going like mine. He wanted to be a dad, I wanted to be a mom. He wanted to be the sole breadwinner and I wanted to stay home and bathe the babies and make him delicious meals to come home to. Simple as that. No struggle on what rolls we wanted, we eased into them effortlessly.

In the early spring of 2004, Ethan’s newlywed cousin and his wife announced that they were expecting their first child. Upon leaving their house after their joyful announcement, Ethan and I kind of gave each other the “go for launch” on having a baby. We had been considering parenthood for a few months and after seeing someone else take action on it gave us the encouraging nudge we needed.

After making the decision to have unprotected sex and make a baby, the luster of our crappy apartment had faded and we decided to move. We found a tiny apartment about 20 minutes away and it was perfect. Tucked away at the end of the complex, surrounded by big trees and quiet, kind neighbors. A few weeks after settling into our new home, we were sitting on the couch, watching “Rocky”. It was the part when Adrian has a baby and Rocky becomes a new daddy. As I watched it, I realized I hadn’t had a period and could Ethan possibly be like Rocky and become a new daddy? I quietly got up and went to the bathroom to take a pregnancy test. Sure enough, two pink lines and my heart was racing. I went out and told Ethan. He responded with a smile and just like that, we were expecting a baby.

The first few weeks were a mix of excitement and doubt that I was actually pregnant. But then I started to feel sick and I knew it wasn’t a fake out. Some mornings, getting up to go to work were pure torture. What I wouldn’t have given for a few extra hours of sleep! But instead, everyday I got up and grabbed a banana and a yogurt to gag down on the way to work, so as to avoid the pregnancy you-haven’t-eaten throw up feeling.

My pregnancy was uneventful and Ethan started to feel the pressure of needing to become the sole provider. His mother liked to call it the 10 foot flame under his ass. He was doubtful that he could provide for our small family, but he later proved that he could do to beautifully. Ethan also started to feel the pressure to get us into a bigger apartment, one that had a bedroom for a new baby boy. We knew we could last a few months without an extra room, but not too long.

In March, just three days after our 2nd anniversary, I gave birth in a small hospital in Glendora to a baby boy with golden hair. Jack, named after his maternal grandfather. Jack’s delivery was quick and uncomplicated. As I gave heaving pushes so as to encourage that baby boy to make his exit, a dozen Ingram family members waited in the hall to hear Jack’s first scream. My mom and my mother in-law Dianne stood beside Ethan and I and gave encouragement. My mom still swears that in her first moments of holding baby Jack, she could feel a definite presence of Ethan’s late mother Carol, sitting there with her as they enjoyed their new grandson together.

When it came time to take our precious baby boy home, we wondered why they were just going to let two young parents that were inexperienced and scared take this child home. Weren’t they afraid we were going to break it? What if we ruined it? Didn’t they know how nervous we were?

Our first few weeks with Jack were a nightmare. No matter how carefully or often I burped him, he would vomit everywhere. All over his clean clothes and myself. And then he also never slept. He just cried and cried, surely from being so hungry. Many mothers would tell me that it was completely normal to not get any sleep and that it was okay that he spit up a lot. But I knew deep down that something was not right.

One early morning when he was 4 weeks old, I nursed Jack. During a long gulp, he coughed and vomited all down my chest. It seemed like a gallon. As the warm fluid seeped down my soft, post-partum middle, I knew I had to take him to the emergency room. I quietly woke Ethan who had just went to bed after his newborn shift and I told him I was going to take Jack to the ER and I would call him after I knew more information.

I sat in the waiting room, certain that I was just going to get more motherly advice from a nurse telling me that it was normal for my baby to be this way. We were called back and we began the slew of tests and that unsolicited advise from the nurses. After two tests, the doctors said there was definitely something wrong but they didn’t know what and they were going to have to admit my little baby boy. I sobbed big, wet post-partum tears. I called Ethan and told him the news. He called his parents and they all came to the emergency room. My father in-law and Ethan gave Jack a priesthood blessing as I sat in the corner, crying on my mother in-law’s shoulder. Soon, another test revealed that Jack had a rare case of pyloric stenosis. It effects mostly first-born, caucasian males. It was condition that wouldn’t allow food to pass through his stomach and into his intestines. It was easily solved by surgery.

Jack and I took a ride in an ambulance to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, with his tiny car seat strapped to the big gurney. He slept the whole ride there and I was so incredibly grateful that he was able to get some rest after not sleeping for days. Once there, we were scheduled for surgery the next day. We were put into a shared hospital room for a few days, from where I had a great view of the famous Hollywood sign. Ethan had to work, so I was alone during our stay.

I felt so scared and solitary. I didn’t have time to get any clean clothes or toiletries. I didn’t remember my cell phone or any books or my laptop. It was just me and my sick baby. Those were some long days. We walked the halls as I wheeled his IVs with us, people giving us looks of sadness and pity. I took showers in a janitors closet locker room with hospital samples of Johnson and Johnson baby wash, next to dirty mops and buckets. And as I would shower, I would cry. I don’t even know why I was crying. My baby had a successful surgery and we would get to go home soon. I think I just had so much pent up emotion about Jack’s condition or maybe I was crying because I had always been led to believe that I would be rocking my newborn in a big white, beautiful nursery and we would live happily ever after. Whatever emotion it was, it would finally let itself go when I was naked and under warm water.

All of it actually ended up happily ever after and we enjoyed Jack abundantly. He was unusually happy as a baby. I remember when he was 8 months old, we went a whole week without him crying a single time. He was quick to talk and walk and he brought out the best in me and Ethan. Watching each other become parents did wonders for our relationship. And I think that is because we both felt whole when we became a mom and a dad.


  1. When my sisters wanted to become moms and they asked me for "advice" I told them to trust and listen to their mama voice. Because as a new mom you doubt yourself, have everyone else telling you what to do, and just feel scared sometimes. So glad you listened to your mama voice and ran to that ER.

  2. Pyloric Stenosis. Most don't know what that is. Runs in my family. Soooo glad you figured it out 'cause that vomiting thing is the WORST. Karlee's ended up being a milk allergy.