Seventeen years have passed since these memories were made, and it’s amazing how mothers continue to recall the details of the day their children arrived. It was a Monday, and it was cold and overcast. It was President’s Day, so my husband was off work and drove with me the 25 miles to my doctor’s office. As stated in the previous installment, we were completely ignorant as to how our day would unfold, which is probably a good thing. The practice had 5 physicians, and I had seen all but one of them during my pregnancy check ups. Of course, this was the physician who was on call that particular Monday. I will never forget his words…”Well, it looks like you’re going to have a baby today.” WHAT??? There had to be some mistake, I wasn’t emotionally ready to have this baby yet. She was due in March, and March was the month that was planned. The nursery was ready, our home was ready, she was obviously ready, but I was NOT READY!!! I broke down in tears, which was probably more fear than anything. I was scared at that point, but he assured me that we would both be fine.
To the hospital we went, with nothing we needed for the birth of our fist baby. We decided that it would be best for my husband to go back home and gather things we had planned on bringing while the nurses got me checked in and prepped. I still had hopes of doing all of it using our Bradley Method skills, but my body would not cooperate by starting contractions. Evidently, the placenta had torn, and I was leaking amniotic fluid. Because of the risk of infection, our baby would have to be delivered within 24 hours. I had first noticed the symptoms at around 11pm the night before, and it was now 12 noon the following day. The solution? Pitocin. If you are new to reading about labor and delivery, Pitocin is a drug that is used to make the uterus contract when labor is not progressing on its own. This was not at all in my plan, no drugs were in my plan, only walking and relaxing was in my plan, and this was not relaxing. Because it can affect the baby’s heart rate, I was not allowed to walk and had to be monitored once the drip was started. This method of torture stared slowly, making me still think my high pain tolerance would be enough to get me through, but after having the dosage turned up at regular intervals for hours, I was ready to shoot my husband and completely over any silly notion of being Super Woman. Begging for an epidural, I was certain my uterus was contracting strongly enough to crack rocks in half. I had never in my life felt anything even remotely like what I had just endured. Going from Pitocin contractions to epidural peace felt like nothing short of a miracle.
From there, it was smooth sailing. I guess I needed to relax for my body to do what it was supposed to. Within 90 minutes of my epidural, I was ready to push. It was very peaceful, just chatting with the doctor during contractions. I was excited and somewhat impatient, now wanting the contractions to come faster since I was no longer in pain and eager to meet our daughter.
During my pregnancy, I had constantly wondered what my sweet little baby would look like. I wanted her to have a head full of dark hair just like I did as an infant, and I spent large amounts of time dreaming of what it would be like to finally see her. It was a moment I’ll never forget, hearing that first cry, knowing that she was alive and looked healthy, and finally seeing a head full of jet black hair on the most perfect little head you can imagine. Not only was it love at first sight, it was the first time in my 31 years on this earth that I had seen a blood relative, and not only a blood relative, but one who looked just like me.