There’s two stories to tell here wee one. The short version and the long version. The one with how you changed my life, and the one with the all the details, the process of it all. I’ve been trying to write out that detailed version but can’t seem to get it out. So I’ll start with the most important part first.
Arriving, Version 1
How do I put into words what that day was like my wee one? Those 22 hours seemed to stretch so long and yet speed by. When I try to think back on it now, it’s all a blur. The day was a mixture of fear, excitement, pain, anticipation, and finally bliss. And while the whole day is memorable there are some things that will be etched in my mind forever:
- Breathing through the pain of contractions while I stared at your 3D ultrasound picture. We fell in love that day wee one, the first time we actually saw your little face on the screen. From then on, we kept the picture out on the table or with us at all times. Your Poppa and I would randomly stop and pick it up to look at you, and comment about we had made the cutest baby in the world. Having your picture with me during labor helped me to focus on the prize at the end of the journey—you.
- Though this was the process of us separating from each other, I never felt more connected to you. I listened to your heartbeat on the monitors and concentrated on your movements in my belly, knowing that these were the last few hours I would feel them. There was a sense of it just being the two of us, and that we were going to get through this together.
- Your Grandma on one side of me counting from 1-10 in a steady, calm voice. Your Poppa on the other side, encouraging me. “You can do this.” “You’re doing great.”
- It was amazing to feel my body working so hard on your arrival. I would wait for a contraction and then push with all that I had, knowing that it was one step closer to meeting you.
- The doctors kept saying “It’s a baldy.” All I could think about was the months of heartburn I’d had and how I really expected you to have a full head of hair. (Surprise! You did have hair. And it was blond!)
- “It’s a boy!” My son. I have a son. It was so amazing to finally meet you after all this time, to see who you are and to dream about who you, my son, will become.
- Your first breath. You took it laying on my chest. This moment will define me as long as I live. You were inside and now you’re outside. You didn’t even exist and now here you are, breathing in rhythm with me. I was a only a woman, and now I am a mother. “Hi. I’m your Momma,” I said, and the tears started flowing.
- Looking into your Poppa’s eyes as he cried as well. “That’s his name, right? What we said?” I asked him. (Have I told you we’re procrastinators?). Your dad shook his head yes, I don’t think he could speak yet. And so there you were. Our son, our little boy, our Ezra.
- Later on your birthday, it was just you and me in the room together. You lay there staring at me as I sang you your first song: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the empty skies, my love
Arriving, Version 2
Because you had a scheduled eviction date, we had to report to the hospital bright and early on Friday morning, November 19th. And by bright and early, I mean late to the appointment. I spoke with a nurse the night before and he recommended that we bring everything we needed to the hospital with us, “just in case.” So in the back of my mind everything I did was accompanied by “this could be the last time I ______ before the wee one is here.” On that note, your Poppa and I took time to have breakfast together at our favorite local restaurant. You and I could barely fit into the booth.
We arrived at the hospital and checked in fifteen minutes late, and then were made to sit in the waiting area for nearly an hour. At 10:00 a.m. we saw the doctor for the first time and she gave me some medicine to get things moving along, as I had not made any progress. Then they monitored the both of us for an hour to make sure we were doing okay. Your Poppa sat with us the entire time, and we both tried to get some sleep. (We’re not morning people, as you’ll soon learn). Everything looked fine with us, so at 11:30 a.m. I was released and told to come back at 2:00 p.m. for my second dose of medicine. In the meantime, your Grandma was on her way to meet you as well, and she came straight to the hospital from the airport. We went out to lunch together and then made our way back to the hospital.
Round two of the medicine was administered and we were hooked up to monitors again. Thanks to technology I was able to “see” that I was having contractions which started around 2:30 p.m. Had I not been on the monitor I wouldn’t have ever thought of these feelings as contractions. It felt like someone was blowing a balloon up in my belly every now and then. In reality it was the start of labor! This was great news wee one. Labor started on its own and I could avoid the nasty drug Pitocin (and the accompanying I.V.) that I had heard so many stories about.
At this point, we were both being monitored still, but you weren’t doing so well. Your heart rate dropped irregularly and so the decision was made around 5:00 p.m. to admit me to a labor and delivery room. This was quite a shock, since just before then the plan was to send us on our way to labor at home. The doctors decided it was better to be safe than sorry, and the nurse said “You’re not leaving here until you have a baby.” That sounded like a good plan to me.
Because of my blood pressure and your heart rate, we had to be monitored continuously, and after another 3 hours on the monitors they decided that things needed to start happening more quickly. Things were a little scary at this point wee baby. The doctors were coming to see me often, and doing things like placing the I.V. “just in case”, or breaking my water to get you here sooner. It felt as if there was something going on that no one was telling me, or that the situation with your heart rate was worse than they were letting on. Nevertheless, at 8:00 p.m. the doctor broke my water. This is when things really got started.
The contractions began to actually be painful at this point, whereas before I would have only described them as uncomfortable, either like a weird pressure or a bad, but not severe stomach cramp. Now, how to describe contractions? Everyone says it’s indescribable, and really that’s true. There’s no way to compare it to anything else that you’ve felt, because it’s not like anything else that you’ve felt. The best way I can think to explain it is as if someone were twisting your insides with a vice. It’s a piercing pain that seems to take over your whole body, and your mind, which is the tricky part. I tried to focus on my breathing, taking slow deep breaths through each contraction. This actually worked quite well when I could focus enough to do it. Per my mom’s advice of to “stay on top of the contraction” I used the deep breathing the entire time, not just during contractions, so that by the time one started I was already focused. There were a few times though that the pain got the best of me and I just wanted to lay there and cry.
Not only were the contractions extremely painful, they were coming really quickly together. Around 11:00 p.m., three hours after having my water broke, the contractions were 2 minutes apart. By 1:00 a.m., they were coming every minute. From what I had read about childbirth, the contractions wouldn’t be this close together until right before time to push, but I knew that I was not there yet. In addition to the back-to-back contractions, I was in quite a bit of pain because of my position. By this point I had been laying on my right side, unable to move, for almost 12 hours. During the brief time in between contractions, when I needed/wanted to rest, I couldn’t because my back and hips hurt so much from my position. Around 1:00 a.m. I seriously began to consider an epidural, but wanted to see how far along I was before committing. After 6 hours of serious labor, with contractions one minute apart, I was dilated to a whopping 3 centimeters. Once I heard that I was leaning more towards having it done, but still argued with myself for over an hour. I had really wanted to go natural. I didn’t want to deal with all the potential side effects of an epidural. I didn’t want to let myself down. I was also exhausted and in serious, near constant pain. And that won out.
I got the epidural placed around 2:00 a.m. and once it kicked in I was able to finally sleep. By 7:00 a.m. I was at 7 centimeters (with the help of Pitocin), and I slept through it all. By 8:00 a.m. I was at 9 centimeters but I was also feeling the contractions again as they got stronger and stronger. I was given even stronger drugs to the point that I could not feel or lift my legs at all. This is exactly what I was afraid of with the epidural. When my doctor’s shift started I was at 9.5 centimeters. He had two other babies to deliver first, so the decision was made to let the drugs start to taper off so that I could feel when to push. Around 10:30 a.m. he came back to check and said that it was fine to start pushing at this point if I was ready. I was feeling each contraction again, and was able to move my legs so we decided to go with it. At 11:51 a.m. you were here! My little carry-on for the past 10 months had actually been my son all along. You my little Ezra were immediately everything I never knew I wanted.