The story of the birth of my first child, the one who made me “mama”.This was originally written on May 17th, 2009. I am only now choosing to share it.
Ahh, the emotions that fill a mothers eyes and heart are overwhelming and incomprehensible until those sheer moments in time, that you can relive over and over again….those moments that are so poignant that each time you remember them the memories come floating into your mind, leaving you in a trance like state, because of how vivid they are.
That’s how I remember May 17-18th, 2008 and every day that has since followed.
It begun with a mild back pain that slowly led to increasing pangs of restlessness and uneasiness. I neglected them because in my mind, I still had 1 more week to come to grips with the reality of what was happening, 1 more week to pack that bag with the few things they said I would need, which definitely included socks. I ignored the pains with each passing moment, because over the past 37 weeks, they had become second nature to me, the nausea, vomiting, headaches, heartburn, bloating, lethargy, swollen feet, etc…they became minute details of my everyday life. In the wee hours of the morning of May 18th, I got up took a long, warm bath and hoped that I would feel better. When that did not help, I resorted back to bed, and alas thought, contractions!…maybe these are what they are so I started to time them, and just as I had eventually suspected, they were occurring fifteen minutes apart and lasting 2-3 minutes each time. I awoke my husband and alerted him as to what I felt and what I thought was happening. He prayed on my tummy as he had so religiously done for the past months, and begun keeping track of the time with me. I was adamant of going to the hospital again, especially because I had been there just 3 weeks before for a nasty stomach virus that left me dehydrated and sick, needing constant IV ‘s for 4.5 hours to keep away budding contractions and nausea. The last thing I wanted to do again was to get dressed in a hospital gown for no good reason. At about 3:30 am, when I thought this was the real deal we drove silently to the hospital, fifteen minutes away from our home in downtown Augusta. For the first time ever we were able to get a spot on the first floor of the parking deck. We got out and went to the front door, the man inside got up and opened it and asked me if I needed a wheelchair, I wished he knew how scared I am of those chairs that bear the feeling of extreme sickness to me. I thanked him for his kindness and continued up to the 3rd floor: the Triage. The nurse checked me in, rid me of everything that belonged to me, put on the monitors, did the regular cervical checking and informed me that I was 5 cm dilated and contracting every 10 minutes. She left me in the triage for 30-45 minutes during which time we called our families and informed them of what was happening. I remember my mom answering her phone and when I told her I was in the hospital she groggily asked me “why?” The nurse returned and then took me to my room3 16: the labor and delivery room, if I recall correctly, where I would spend the next agonizing hours. She came often to ensure that I was fine, and furnished me with cups upon cups of ice chips. I wanted to have my first child the natural way and as such avoided pain medication at all costs…or so I thought. I went for walks around the hospital floor and the nursery, looking at the new babies in there and longing for the moment when I too will have mine. It took me six hours to realize it wasn’t easy…no matter what they teach you in Lamaze class! I was given a dosage of something I cannot remember, partially because it almost immediately put me to sleep…BUT I would awake to contractions that were at their utmost peak. At about 10 am, my parents arrived from Atlanta, 3 hours away and brought me pretty flowers whose beauty I did not notice or thank them for until much later. The nurse came and checked me at 10:30 am and I remember her telling me it wouldn’t be a lot longer, so she prepared the table with all the tools the doctor would need and prepared the table they would put my baby on to keep warm, along with his bassinet. Oh how I couldn’t wait for my tiny bundle of joy to arrive. My doctor, though not the one I saw during my pregnancy was kind hearted and warm and provided the assurance I so needed. He advised me that he would go ahead and “break my water” since that had not yet happened. At 2 pm, I was 9 cm dilated and stayed that was for a painful and excruciating 3.5 hours. Those were filled with screams, attempts to violently get off the bed and extremely tight hand grips from my husband which kept me grounded. At 3:30 pm, my sister and Dad left Augusta for Atlanta because my sister had a scheduled PSAT exam the following morning. She came in the room, hugged me and left, and I was doubled over in pain I wouldn’t wish for anyone, but ones I wouldn’t mind having, if it meant another beautiful child. At about this time, the head nurse rushed into the room and put an oxygen mask around my head, which I removed because pain makes you do things you can’t explain. The nurse assigned to me came in and held it firmly to my face, repeating to me “your baby needs it”. I was aware that with lack of oxygen the baby could go into “distress” and that would lead to an emergency C-section. At 5:25 pm, the doctor entered and proudly proclaimed that the child I was anxiously waiting to see had a head full of hair. He called my husband over to see and that signaled the beginning of the pushing phase which for me lasted a mere 20 minutes.
Twenty minutes and four pushes later, the squeals of my little boy erupted through the room, filling my eyes with tears and my heart with unconditional love, on a different level than that shared with a spouse, or parent or sibling. The doctor placed the tiny 6 pound 10 ounce baby in my lap, covered in amniotic fluid and still bloody. He was brand new! They took him back, and my husband cut the umbilical cord, after which he was cleaned off and then given back to me for food and warmth. My mother came into the room then, and was awestruck with her first grandchild. We urged my in laws to turn on text messaging on their phone, so they could receive photos of their second grandchild, while en route to New York for a funeral. My brother, took a momentary break from rounding with his patients to call. I couldn’t believe that in my arms I held the little person whose presence I had only felt through tummy kicks, ultrasounds and sonograms…the little person who suddenly turned my world upside down, in a good kind of way. My husband whisked him away to recite the traditional prayers in his ears, invoking in him from the time of his birth, his way of life. He was then taken to the nursery, and I was wheeled to the recovery room where I spent the next 2 nights, dreading the walls, the nurses that wouldn’t let me sleep, the IV that prevented me from walking around when I wanted and the swollen feet that kept on swelling. I chose to have my little boy stay with us at night, though nurses warned that I wouldn’t get sleep. So said, so done…he was alarmed at his outer surroundings and stayed awake until 6 am. Nurses entered and professed that he was the brightest eyed, widest awake newborn they had ever seen.
As the weeks and months have progressed, I become increasingly thankful for the opportunity to watch him grow up, thankful that I was the one who saw him smile and giggle and talk and crawl and stand for the first time, thankful that God knew a better, prouder profession lay in motherhood and education than in industry and led me accordingly.
I can’t believe an entire year has gone by so quickly, I can’t believe my little boy is emptying my drawers and dishwasher and dryer and cupboards and eating chicken!