I totally had a baby about a month ago.
I was wrong, it didn’t last forever.
It might have though – who knows? – had I not been induced at 38w 6d….
Lemme take you back…
All the way back to Thursday, May 12th, 2011.
Picture it. In sepia tone if you will. Or don’t, you don’t have to.
It was a normal morning like any other. I hoisted myself out of bed, slipped on some clothes, and blearily made my way to work. I’d just settled in, the morning bell had rung, and I was preparing to take the kids to the library to start on their projects before I left on maternity leave. My cellphone rang, loudly. “Whoops! Sorry, that must be the doctor’s office calling me back…I’ll just turn that off.” I apologized to the kids. We headed down to the library where they dug into their new research projects with gusto. For the purposes of blogging about teaching experiences – I was really excited about this particular project. I was putting some of my “Project Based Learning” training to use, and had just created a research project which would require students to provide solutions to some of the current problems with the healthcare system. I was excited, the kids were excited, they had tons of questions, and I was ready to see where they’d take the project. Unfortunately, as I’m about to explain, I wasn’t able to continue the project with them… I was helping a group of students formulate a research question when one of the school’s computer techs motioned to me with a very serious look on his face. He was on the phone, and he was indicating that the phone was for me – but that the person would be calling back.
“Seriously?” I asked.
He nodded while still talking into the phone.
“Oh, who is it? Your mom? Your wife?” I rolled my eyes, thinking he was playing some joke.
He put down the phone and it immediately rang again. I answered.
“Hello? Mrs. Whitley? This is Janet, from the doctor’s office…”
“The doctor’s office…Janet…”
“I’ve already called your husband. Dr. Goodnight and I have reviewed your tests and, we want you to come in today. You’re going to have your baby.”
“I’m what? No…I’m not..”
“No, I mean, we want to induce you today. It’s not an emergency, but we’d like you to come in, just to be on the safe side. Would you like to meet your baby today?”
This was an interesting question. I was stuck between “OF COURSE! I WANT HER OUT OF ME!” and wanting to do what was actually best for the baby – and I was worried that a non-emergency induction would harm her. Or me. Or both of us. Then again, I worried that being overly cautious could lead to hypertension that would harm her…or me…or both of us. Janet was still waiting for an answer. My kids had begun looking at me with concerned looks. Apparently the front office new what was going on because Bobbie, the librarian, Randy, and Harry, the “tech guy” were all looking at me expectantly and preparing to watch my class for me.
“Mrs. Whitley…” the voice said. “You should probably call your husband to let him know that I’ve gotten in touch with you.”
“Umm..okay, yeah…let’s have a baby, I guess.” I said. The kids who’d heard me looked shocked.
I hung up the phone and called The Boy. He sounded just as stunned as I must have. We decided to get some lunch before heading to the hospital. Our last day of freedom before welcoming our baby into the world. When I came back from talking with him I turned to the group of students I’d been working with. “So..it looks like I’m going to go have a baby now. I guess I’ll see you guys later?” The students cheered and congratulated me in advance – and everyone rushed to shoo me out the door, as if I was going to actually have the baby right then.
I left school.
Met The Boy.
We cleaned a bit and then got some lunch.
Then we headed to the hospital – calling parents and De’Wana.
My mother and Angelica arrived shortly after we’d gotten checked in.
Everyone else came and went for a while.
They stuck a catheter in me to widen the cervix.
Then they put me on Pitocin…all night…I wasn’t allowed to eat.
The next morning, we took a short Pitocin break for breakfast.
Then they put me on Pitocin again.
I’d been having some contractions pre-Pitocin…but they went away…
And then they came back…but they were manageable.
Even Jeremy’s family drove down three hours just to hang out and wait for the Pitocin I’d been hooked up to to start kicking in. The doctor came in and broke my water, and I sat around feeling gross and disgusting for a while – alternately waddling around with a thick pad between my legs and hopping up and down on a birthing ball. Still, the contractions were okay and I didn’t want a painkiller until it became bad. When it finally became bad, we all knew it. I had no breaks in between contractions, and was having a hard time breathing through them without moaning and actually, at one point, crying out audibly. At about 4:00 I was still not sure whether or not I wanted an epidural. “I’ll wait about half an hour,” I’d said to the nurse. At EXACTLY 4:08 (I know, because I looked at the clock) I raised my hand and said “I’ll take the pain killer for 100, please…” When the nurse moved a little too slow I, according to my mother, said “The epidural, I mean. I want the epidural. Thank you.”
Placing the line seemed to take forever, with me shaking and holding Jeremy’s hands the entire time. “Breathe! Breathe!” he kept telling me. “Stop saying that!” I snapped. “I AM trying…to breathe!…I can’t…catch my breath!…You guys…keep saying..breathe…but I CAN’T!” He patted my hands reassuringly and told me that I had to try to breathe anyway. Holding your head still during the middle of a womb-ripping contraction is nearly impossible. When they finally did get it in place, it only took on one side – which they seemed to not believe me about, as they kept trying to test my feet with ice to see whether or not I could feel it. I could. Okay…so we finally get the epidural in and the contractions became more tolerable around 6:00.
Around 9:00 Jeremy’s parents came in and said that they had to leave, but they’d be back in the morning.
At 10:00 it was time to push.
The nurse (who apparently is the daughter of the man who was my father’s best man during his wedding to my mother…weird!) came in and said that now that I was 10cm, I could try pushing whenever I felt like it. I most certainly felt like it. With very little fanfare, my mom, my husband, and my sister Angelica, armed with a cup of ice chips, set up to begin pushing the baby out. My stepmother popped out to make a few phone calls.
I remember thinking that this was it. There was no turning back. I pushed for all I was worth and my mother kept telling me to push “to the butt.” In fact, it became her whispered mantra, and as much as it made me want to chuckle, it was really helpful for me to focus on pushing downwards. Once her head was finally crowning, they called the doctor in. She suited up and then the pushing began in earnest. My stepmother came back in and lifted be my shoulders. My mother was on my left, my husband was on my right, and my sister was…somewhere in the back of the room avoiding the carnage.
“I see her head!” my mother said, as I looked at the clock. I had about an hour before the 14th – and I did not want to spend another day in the hospital. I bore down with all my might, pushing “to the butt”, and felt her body emerge – with 45 minutes to spare. The doctor picked her up and handed her to me, and I immediately began welcoming my baby to the world. Zuri, for her part, looked very suspicious of the whole thing, and very inquisitive…and then slightly disappointed as she wrinkled up her face to let out a cry. I could have lain there, with her tiny body pressed against mine all night, but I knew that eventually other people would want to hold her – and that she should probably have some of the vernix wiped off. (See baby at left…click on the image for a link to her official two week old baby photos).
The rest of the moment was a blur, as my fathers and siblings came in to welcome the newest member of the family. Then, once they’d all left, and Jeremy and I were alone, we were transported up to the next floor to begin the long and arduous task of getting to know our sleepy newborn. And figuring out how to breastfeed.
But THAT is an entirely different struggle.
She’s just going to live in here forever.
It’s simpler this way, really.
When people at work comment on how big I am or how I’m still there, I can just say "Oh…yes, because I’m not actually having a baby. I’m just going to continue being pregnant." And when my father asks me if I’m getting any closer, I can tell him, with certainty, "Nope. Didn’t you hear? I’m not actually HAVING a baby, I’m just going to have her…right here…with me…because she’s never coming out." I won’t have to worry about whether or not this "is it". I won’t have to look for plugs or blood or try to discern if what I’m leaking is amniotic fluid or…something else. I won’t have to answer questions or have more discussions about labor and epidurals and episiotomies and the amount of swelling visible or not visible in my feet. And I won’t worry about crampy sensations, or contractions, or whether they’re long enough or not to warrant a hospital visit. And, awesomely, I won’t miss beach trips and other fun vacations because, of course, she’s not planning on coming out any time soon.
I know I still have 2-4 weeks left.
But I think that I will cuh-rye if May 20th shows up and there’s no cuddly baby to show for it.
Unless, of course, I can convince myself that she’s never actually coming out.
That way, when she does come out, it will be a huge and awesome surprise.
Great baby shower today – the friends did a spectacular job, really.
Now that this is out of the way, you are free to come along whenever you like.
Come on out.
Whenever you want.
Now is fine with me.
I’m not trying to rush you, because, you know, my womb is your…room…I guess…
And you know that you can take as long as you like.
I’m not going to push you out or anything…
Until, you know, it’s actually time to push you out….
I just want to say.
I’m good and ready to meet you if you’re good and ready to see the world.
It’s an amazing place, baby.
I can’t wait to show it to you.
– Your Mom
The Boy’s parents came to visit for his birthday, and his mother remarked "Awe! You said you were big, but you don’t look that big! You don’t look 8 months pregnant! Here’s a woman who looks eight months pregnant!" – and she proceeded to show me pictures of her friend’s pregnant daughter who did, in fact, look like a blueberry. I felt like my complaints and aches and pains were for naught. Here was a twiggy chick with a belly that looked like a giant punch-ball balloon, and I was complaining about my basketball. (And my achy pelvis. For which I had to buy a $60 harness…which only "alleviates" some pain, it doesn’t destroy it… and which was described to me as "skin" color by the White, Muslim lady behind the counter much to my annoyance.)
Oh it’s time for an update.
And a picture dump.
- I signed up for an AquaMoms Prenatal Swim Class. The first class that I signed up for, the Tuesday class at Gold’s Gym, was apparently cancelled without my knowledge. I went. I sat in the pool. I swam around. And, when I realized I’d been stood up, I was very sad. However, it all worked out for the best because after making a few phone calls I was switched to the Saturday class at Pullen Park. There were other pregnant ladies there. It’s tons of fun. And I bought a preggie bathing suit and peacoat (shoot, it’s cold outside!) for the occasion. I’m beginning to outgrow the bathing suit.
- We took a four week Prepared Childbirth class (we only met once a week) where we learned about labor, delivery, various positions, and the potential evils of epidurals. I would like to attempt to do this naturally, but I’m very realistic about my inability to tolerate pain of any sort. So…yeah. That might not happen.
- We made a baby registry at Babies ‘R Us finally. And we’re probably going to have three baby showers in the coming months. Hopefully, everything on the meticulously planned list will be bought. And, if not…hopefully the stuff we need will be bought. As it is, The Boy and I have picked up a few supplies ourselves – mainly decorating, baby proofing, and organizing type supplies. I get excited by the FedEx and UPS packages – I don’t know what I’m going to do when I come home and don’t see the little "We tried to deliver this junk, but you weren’t here, because we deliver things during people’s normal work hours, so we left it in the office" stickies on my door. The Boy rearranged the house by himself and cleaned it from top to bottom. Well…from left to right, because we live in a single-level apartment. But at any rate, he changed the office to a baby room. A baby room without a crib, currently, but that’s a note for bullet number 3.
- We picked a baby crib. Finally. Mom tried to ask us if we were sure…"But what about…" she would suggest. After six months of agonizing over crib decisions, we were done. We’d made our final choice. The end. We ordered it. It’s on it’s way.
- We bought a new car! After six months of agonizing over this decision, too, it’s great to finally be able to pick something that we’ll feel safe driving our daughter around in. A black, 2008 Honda CR-V. The Boy gets to drive it to work, which is sad. However, I get to drive it on the weekends, to awesome things like StellarCon! And, most importantly, it has enough room to hold stuff. Lots of stuff. So hopefully, once we have a baby and we have baby things to drag with us, it’ll be all good.
- Oh – my pelvis feels like it’s going to fall apart. After chaperoning the Winter Formal (I looked AWFULLY cute) at the school – where I wore heels, did "The Jerk", and generally ran around like I wasn’t pregnant, the relaxin (yeah, it’s really called relaxin) that made my pelvis generally achy actually made me feel like crying. That night, rolling over in bed without The Boy’s help wasn’t an option. Getting out of bed without The Boy’s help wasn’t an option. In fact, walking to the bathroom without The Boy’s help wasn’t an option. Apparently, when you’re pregnant, there are hormones that loosen your joints – with good reason. Also, apparently, this can hurt really bad when your pelvis is flexing all whickety-whackety. So far, it’s improved drastically – but only because I’ve been sitting back with my feet up as much as possible.
- And oh yeah – my belly button is pretty much gone. I mean, there’s a tiny dip, but it’s definitely pokin’ out…and rubbin’ up on my shirt when she kicks me – which does NOT feel good. Although, I must say, as annoying/painful her kicks can be, I get a little flutter of excitement within me (you know, other than her) when I feel her stretching out or I see my tummy stretching in alienesque fashion. She’s growing, she’s thriving, and she’s on her way to meet us!
But that’s a story for another post.