Saturday, May 21, 2011

To the one who made me a mother

We were so ready for you, mi amor. It's hard to describe those first moments after finding out you're pregnant with your first child but I pray you have that experience someday. And even though I had no idea what to expect, I was determined to find out! I read incessantly, Daddy & I took the very extensive Bradley birthing classes and I talked with everyone about pregnancy & childbirth. Most women were having medicated births but I knew that wasn't going to be the route for me.....for us. I tinkered with the idea of having a homebirth but we ended up with fabulous midwives at West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park instead. No regrets.

I worked throughout your entire pregnancy, walking up & down the halls of Rush Pres-St. Luke's Medical Center, and fully expected to return after my allotted 12 weeks off. You had other plans, though, little Miss I-Won't-Take-A-Bottle. Thanks for doing that, by the way. You changed my life in so many dramatic ways but it was perfectly ok.

I had acupuncture & cupping the day you were due because I was so ready. Your big sis Lauren came for dinner that evening & one of my most vivid memories in all my life is of washing those dishes and feeling a twinge, a cramp, one teeny tiny menstrual-like cramp. But I knew. At that moment I looked up at the clock & it read 6:45pm. I took a deep breath, told Daddy & kept on washing.

We went about our evening & I continued to have twinges every 45 minutes which increased to every 20 minutes but nothing intense. Because we were unsure how long this would last, Daddy went to bed & I went upstairs to have some quiet time to figure this all out. I lay down on the daybed & around 10pm the intensity of the cramps increased greatly. At that point, I started timing them to see if a pattern was developing. For the next 3 hours I paced the floor, lying down in between contractions to rest. When the wave came, though, I had to move! 

At around 1am I went downstairs to wake Daddy & get his opinion on when we should call the midwife. Apparently, it only took one look for him to grab the phone & make the call. I almost refused to go because I did NOT want to be "that mama" arriving at the hospital way too early but Daddy insisted so off we went. By that time, I was confident in his decision because things were accelerating quickly.

8cm! This was exactly the news I wanted to hear from the triage nurse. My water broke right before she checked me and with the stellar 8cm news, they rushed me up to the ABC room. I was a bit belligerent, once in the room, because my freedom of movement was at risk. The nurse wanted to hook me up to a monitor but I wasn't having it. Fill up the tub! Thankfully the midwife I hoped for, Shirley, arrived just in time to grab the doppler, check your heart tones & get the water running. 

For the next few hours I labored in the water, inviting each wave as it came. At some point Nana arrived. And Tia. And my friend Kate, as well. I don't remember much more except taking an occasional sip of water & people milling around & just wondering when it would be over. Around 4am Shirley checked me & I was complete but I had no urge to push. She gave me the choice & I opted to go for it. Because there was scant meconium in my fluid, they had me get out of the tub so I settled into the bed, hoping to find the ideal position. 

The big laugh of the night came when I started pushing on hands & knees and it just wasn't working so very succinctly I stated, "this is NOT effective." Apparently my personality was shining through. In hindsight, I shouldn't have been pushing anyway because I had no urge but, lesson learned. After a couple position changes, side-lying seemed to work best and so....

....with Daddy by my side, I completed my first marathon at 4:42am on May 21, 2003. 

Even though you have no recollection of these precious moments, may you read this & remember, in your soul. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Birth Day

You were a surprise, you know. For many well thought out reasons, Daddy & I decided that two was our magic number. But........God obviously knew you were meant to be with our tribe. Even though we were unprepared for the news of your existence, there was no hiding my elation because in all the world, nothing is more spectacular than growing a baby! And Daddy was obviously thrilled, too.........especially at that breath holding moment when we took a peek via ultrasound & heard the words, "It's a boy!" Daddy shed a few tears that day.

Your pregnancy was very uneventful and, truth be told, I don't remember much. Simone was 3 and Kaiya 1 which meant my life was busy, busy. Being pregnant with you, though, was special in that I knew you would be my last. I had a belly cast made, bought a few new carriers & replenished my cloth diaper stash. Also, we were planning your birth at home which was everso cherished! I spent countless hours reading, discussing & looking forward to that day. Your day.

Fast forward to May 18, 2007. I was 8 days post-EDD and awoke at 3:30am with some cramping. Could this be it?? The anxiousness of the moment prevented me from falling back asleep so I decided on a warm bath to relax and hopefully get a few more zzzzz's. Nope, that wasn't happening. I dried off, got back in bed & prayed for rest because even though the cramps weren't intense, I knew that today would be YOUR day!

At 5:30am-ish I headed outside for a walk around the block in hopes to jump start labor. The sky was clear, the birds were chirping & the lilacs were in full bloom. To this day, the smell of lilacs brings a rush of melancholy. About 3/4 of the way around the block contractions surged full force. They came on so quickly I had a moment of panic so I waddled home, limping & grimacing, wishing we'd called the midwife sooner. Who knew? When I got to the porch & reached for the screen door....*gush*.  Ummmm, Kermit?

I don't completely remember Daddy's demeanor but nervousness was definitely in the room. I hopped in the shower while he made a few phone calls & started filling the pool which incidentally wasn't clamped shut so precious hot water leaked everywhere. The shower wasn't helping at all so I crawled into the pool that was not quite warm enough & not quite full enough but I couldn't have cared less. I just wanted you out!

Titi Nora arrived first and she lovingly did her nurse-y thing by checking me out, checking you out and giving me the go-ahead to push. Jennifer wasn't there yet (cool Chicago midwife) but I decided to try a few pushes anyway because even though there wasn't an overwhelming urge, the labor was so intense, I just wanted it to be over! And of course, I wanted to hold my baby boy..........

Around 6:30am Jen walked in the bedroom and soon thereafter I started giving it my all. I was in tremendous pain because you were barreling down & out and I couldn't find the right position. Instinctively I came up to my haunches & squatted in the water finding perfect balance. A few minutes later your head emerged and I found great peace. I leaned back into Daddy's arms and tried to guide you out but you wouldn't cooperate. I asked Jen for a little help & at 6:50am, she gently reached in, wiggled your shoulders out & slid you onto my chest.

I could write for days about the following minutes & hours & years of your life but I'll save that for another time. Right now I just hope you were able to re-live that magical moment with me, one more time.