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.