Today’s a day, like any other, but I am changed I am a mother – oh, in an instant. And who I was has disappeared. It doesn’t matter now you’re here – so innocent. I was lost, for you to find. And now I’m yours, and you are mine. Everything changes. -Waitress the Musical
Today, in honor of your second trip around the sun, I’m going to tell you how you came to be.
Your due date was June 17, and we waited for it expectantly for 9 whole months, like most families do. Someday you’ll hear how I was extremely sick for months, how I missed work and ate too much junk and generally didn’t feel well. I’m sure I’ll playfully guilt you about how tenuous it was to carry you at the end, how my hips popped and pained and how you woke me at night with your active kicks. But I’ll also tell you how it was all so very worth it in the end.
We moved into our house with no plumbing and limited furniture about two weeks before you made your debut. I was off work and I busied myself putting your room together because I thought that it would be all that mattered. Little did I know it wouldn’t matter at all!
June 13th: I worried I would go past your due date. It was my 39th week of pregnancy and I had had zero signs of oncoming labor. Then, about two days before your birthday, I started getting strange burning sensations in my back and belly that came and went. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom, and then they would pass. We got out of the house to a barbeque at your aunt and uncle’s house, and I remember feeling off, sitting inside on their couch experiencing a few of these burning pains. That night, I was annoyed that they woke me from sleep because I had been having some bad pregnancy insomnia. I showered to help with the pain, and it went away. I climbed back in bed and tried to sleep, all while dreaming of who you would be. It was 11:30 PM.
June 14th: The night before your birthday, I was awakened again by the same burning sensation I had experienced the previous night, despite no twinges of it that entire day. I got up, peed, and sat for a little while. I decided to shower again to help with the pain, thinking how nasty this pregnancy gas was, but it didn’t occur to me that it could be more until the shower didn’t help and the pain began to reoccur in intervals. Soon I was watching in horror as what I knew now were contractions increased from 10-15 minutes between, to 5-7, to 3-5…all within one hour! One of my greatest fears had been not being at the hospital when you came, and I felt like I was watching my fear come to life. But you were patient, you waited while we packed up quickly and were off to the hospital. We called your Nonno and your Bon to joyfully tell them that you were coming. It was 12:30 AM.
June 15th: We arrived at the hospital, me trying to breathe through contractions and feeling like I was failing at it, your Papa probably internally freaking out that he was about to meet you, and they checked us in. I cried from the pain, but it seemed the nurses were in no rush and it took what seemed like hours for them to check my dilation. I soon learned why, because the nurse who did said with surprise, “Wow, 4 centimeters, I wasn’t expecting you to be that far!” I guess the Hypnobirthing tapes I listened to helped after all! It was 2:00 AM.
I definitely salute the moms who labor and deliver unmedicated, but I’m not ashamed to say that that was never my plan. I accepted an epidural as soon as it was offered to me, and breathed a sigh of relief. They told me to rest but I couldn’t. More than anything, I was excited to meet you. And hungry (and if you know anything about me when you read this someday, you will laugh because you will know Mom is always hungry). I progressed quickly to 7 cm. It was 4:30 AM.
Your Coco and Nonno came to the hospital promptly in the morning because they couldn’t wait to meet you. It was 6:00 AM.
It was hours and hours until I budged another centimeter. I tried to rest. I watched TV which was a treat because we didn’t have cable. I asked for Jello and popsicles, and then promptly threw them up. Your Coco and Nonno visited, and Nic. I honestly can’t remember much of what happened between the early morning and afternoon, it seems like so long but at the time was so fleeting. Finally, the nurse checked me again and said I was ready to push. Here it was, you were coming! It was about 1:30 PM.
The nurse coached me on pushing and your Papa held my hand. I was scared, but more so I was so exuberant to be meeting you soon! I could feel you ready to come out. It wasn’t painful, and I was convinced this would be a short process. You had other plans, as you often do. I was proud because your Papa had said he wouldn’t want to see any of the process, but he decided he needed to see his baby girl and looked. He told me you had tons of dark hair. You still refused to make your entrance! It was about 3:20 PM.
Finally, the doctor came in and told us we had some options. She said some scary things, such as the longer we pushed the more likely you were to go into distress. There was meconium in the fluid coming out, which could be dangerous to you. She said I could push for about a half hour longer and then explore options, have a c-section, or use the vacuum to help you out in just a few minutes. I had recently had a friend who used the vacuum during birth and we were so eager to meet you that that seemed like the best option to us. It was about 3:30 PM.
I can’t say that finally pushing you out was the most pleasant experience: the doctor had a student doctor with her, there were at least 3 NICU staff because of the meconium, and there was another nurse called in, making it 2 nurses. You had an audience. There was also bright, hot lights and the doctor cutting me to fit the vacuum. But then, in seconds, you were there, on my chest, and I was changed. I can’t remember if you cried, or how you cried. I didn’t care what the doctor was doing to finish things up down there. You were sweet and soft and mine, and that was all that mattered. It was about 3:45 PM on June 15th, 2016.
Afterward, there was nursing and introductions and kisses and tears. The nurse practically had to throw you at your Papa, he was so scared to hurt you in some way. But he soon got used to your squishy self and I could barely tear you away from him. We were a complete and joyful family of three!
So there it is, your pretty uncomplicated but completely remarkable birth. Today, I write this through tears as we approach your second birthday, because the greatest emotion I feel when I think of mothering you is privilege. It baffles me that I was chosen to care for such a loving, kind, intelligent, creative, and silly soul. You are thoughtful, you always offer me bits of your food or think of telling your cousins about experiences they might like, like that time you saw a tractor at the gardens. You forgive on a dime. You impress me with your memory and how quickly you learn new things. You make me laugh with your silly antics, even when it involves screeching at the cat. You are my favorite cuddle buddy.
I mean it when I say I couldn’t have handpicked a more perfect fit for me from Heaven if I had the chance. I would have picked exactly you, one thousand times over.
Someday, when you read this, maybe you’ll roll your eyes at how sentimental Mom was. Maybe I’ll seem silly and long-winded. But I hope you also hear how much you were really, truly, very deeply loved.
Happy Second Birthday, baby girl! I can’t wait for an eternity of them!
And I swear I’ll remember to say, we were both born today. Because everything changed. – Waitress the Musical