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My Son


Jenn Van Massenhoven

I donít know what to do with him sometimes! Heís so smart and so busy. Heís got such a strong personality. Heís easily bored and he wants me to play with him all the time. Not that I have a problem with that but, how the heck do I play with a 5 year old boy? 

My relationship with him is strange. I never bonded well with him, I think he knows it. He tries harder than I do, I have to admit. I just donít know what to do with him. Iíve thought and thought about why I have no patience with him and I think Iíve hit upon it. I think that a small part of me blames him for the trouble I had carrying and delivering him. 

Stupid eh? It happens more often than you think. Iím in the minority that doesnít tell their child that.  Maybe it happens more than I think.  Itís just that when you hear about mothers who resent what their children did to their bodies, most often you hear about one form of abuse or another. Ben has no idea how I feel. Not to my knowledge anyway. 

I got pregnant by surprise. I was on the pill, had forgotten a couple. Iíd done that in the past but never had a problem. I should say - never had a baby. This time around I got pregnant. Dennis and I had been together nine months. I guess God decided that I was the one for him and he was the one for me and was determined to keep us together. 

When my mother-in-law found out I was pregnant she freaked. She was determined that all the rumours at our work were true [I was sleeping around] and that the baby wasnít Dennisís. I had to laugh. Actually, I got angry and really stressed out. 

So, with a stressful pregnancy, I almost left Dennis because of his mother. She felt I was trapping him and she was making him miserable, forcing him to choose between us. I ďwon.Ē I wanted him to be happy so I nearly left. He told me that wouldnít make him happy at all. So I stayed. 

I ate my way through the stress, I got heavier AND bigger with child. Gained 35 pounds. Then the due date cameÖ and went. No sign of my child.  Got crankier, feet swelled more. Blood pressure went waaaayyy up. My doctor got worried I was developing some form of toxemia. He decided to induce me. Wahoo. Into the hospital I go. At 7:30 in the morning they started trying to jab an I.V. into my arm. Three nurses later they finally got it in. 

They started the pitocin and the contractions started right away. We all figured this was going to be easy! The contractions were 2 minutes apart and hurt like a son of a gun. However, no dice. Nothing happened. Nada. Zip. Zero. Lots of pain, thatís it. 

The little one was as stubborn as his mother. So the doctor decided, at the end of the day, to try something else. He found a little thing that scared me to death. They put my feet up in the stirrups and for an hour tried to insert an inflatable induction device. Canít remember the name off-hand. It was a long rubber tube with a balloon on the end. The balloon fit [well, on most women] into your cervix, then they filled it with water. Cold water. 

The whole idea was to start dilating the cervix and jump start the labour. They couldnít get it into my cervix. After poking and prodding me for an hour, two nurses and two major fits, on the doctorís part as well as mine, he gave up. 

They shut off the IV, gave me a shot of morphine and told me to go to sleep. Ha! Surprisingly I did. At seven the next morning they started the pitocin again. Five hours later I FINALLY went into labour! We were walking through the hospital hallways when I felt a big release and a WHOOSH! We rushed back to the hospital room. Sure enough, I was having the baby. 

Three centimeters dilated, contractions 2 minutes apart, the baby really was coming this time. I stayed 3 centimeters for hours, and I started falling asleep between contractions. Laugh, go ahead. The darn things were only TWO minutes apart and here I am taking a nap for the every other minute Iím asleep. 

The nurses watched this for awhile and sent for the doc. He took a look at me and decided I needed an epidural. So in comes the anesthesiologist.  He informs me that I have a fat back and then yells at me for flinching when he swabbed my back with the ice cold disinfectant. Nice guy. Glad I never saw him again! 

I had back labour. Anyone have back labour? It hurts like nothing youíve ever felt before and nothing stops it. I mean nothing. So this is 3 in the afternoon now. Nothing changed for another couple of hours, except that I stayed awake.

Around 5 or 6 I was finally starting to dilate more. At 8 the doc said, this kid is coming any time, youíre fully dilated and enfaced. My hubby said, this babyís going to wait till groundhog day, another 4 hours away. And again we had early evidence of a stubborn kid. By this time Iím getting even more frustrated. I mean Iíve been in labour for two days! Okay, itís felt like labour for 2 days. 

All of a sudden we had a problem. The heart beat starts disappearing, they couldnít pick it up on the belly monitor anymore. So he decides that they need to put on a scalp monitor. So in the stirrups I go again. After much two handed fiddling he gets the monitor attached. 

Now Iím lying here with an IV in my arm, a blood pressure cuff on the other, a heart monitor on my finger, a catheter, the epidural IV in my back, and the scalp monitor. I felt like a Macyís parade balloon! I said so. Had to break the tension somehow. 

Eleven rolls around, Dennis jokes again about Groundhog Day while the doctor and nurse shuffle off to a corner to converse. That worried me, of course. The babyís heartbeat had come and gone several times. He comes back and tells me that they may have to do a c-section. We didnít really want that to happen so we prayed the baby would come soon. 

About a half hour later Ben starts moving down. Thank God! After several pushes the boy is born. Silent. I noticed first that he was a boy, and was happy, Iíd been saying it for months. The first thing Dennis noticed was that the baby was blue. 

We sat there, hands gripped in a death lock and waited desperately for baby Ben to cry. It was the longest two minutes of my life and it still makes me want to cry. If he was anywhere near me Iíd hug him till he got mad. Finally we heard a strong wail and we started to cry ourselves. They brought him over and we laughed. He looked so much like his daddy even then. 

My mother-in-law came to the hospital the next day. She took one look at her grandson and said, ďHeís definitely a Van Massenhoven!Ē I wanted to clock her! But weíre past that whole fight. Yup, we sure are. Uh huh, definitely. 

For the next six weeks I attempted to breast feed my son. Iím surprised he grew at all. The boy did not take to nursing at all! Why didnít I stop you ask? Because I was guilted into it and I didnít know any better at the time. I totally resented all the time spent trying to attach my son to my nipple.  I blamed him for it, for the pain, the amount of time it took, the minor infections and the lack of sleep. [I did NOT nurse my daughter!] 

As a result of me being angry and grateful all at the same time we didnít bond. Really, how could anyone expect me to? Itís so very difficult to love someone who is continually causing you pain. Such a tiny soul, now I feel guilty that I didnít love him enough then. 

Heís 5 now, loves me to death, in spite of everything. I love him too, but Iím still afraid heís going to hurt me. Always have been. I try to find things for him and I to do. Things that donít involve him touching me. Sad isnít it? Iím trying hard to bond with him, I donít want him to grow up and realize that we didnít have a relationship. Itís hard at his age, but it would be harder with him as an adult. 

I donít have this problem with my daughter. Things were so totally different, from the beginning. I want the same relationship with my son. 

Is it possible to play with a 5 year old boy and not be physical? What the heck do I do with him?

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