Early into our marriage, I set a hefty goal of bringing FOUR children into this crazy world. When I shared that with my husband, he assumed the deer in headlights emoji face, shook his red head and wisely stated “Why don’t we start with one and see how that goes”. Like many high achievers, yours truly has been known to take on more than she could handle. Go big or go home right? I had never even changed a DIAPER but I was going to successfully pump out four babies in just a few years, get promoted at work, make six figures, be a devoted volunteer in the community and save humanity as we knew it. Totally realistic. Completely doable.
Therefore, you can imagine my frustration when the baby daddy and I had a hard time getting knocked up. Was something wrong with me? Was it those inhaled steroids I had to take as a kid for asthma? Was something wrong with him? Could we ever have kids? If not, could we adopt? Would he have to go to a specialist and study Hugh Hefner’s latest centerfold to determine if this was a possibility? Was I going to have to get on fertility medication and end up birthing a liter? Then, could I get a TLC deal with my own reality show? Hmmm…I’d have to come up with a catchy name. Something like “JAWS” to chronicle breastfeeding six kids.
A year and a half went by and no zygote. Because I tended to share most everything about my personal life with my close friends and even random strangers on the street, word got back to the baby daddy’s coworker. She had experienced the same struggle as us, but had success after applying information she learned in the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility“.
She lent it to me and I eagerly started flipping the pages. It gave me a temporary action plan of which I had some control over. I would begin charting my temperature every morning for three months and bring to my next OBGYN appointment.
Let’s just say that sometimes TIMING is EVERYTHING. After two months of charting with that purple ovulation thermometer, a stress free week on a Caribbean Cruise and some divine intervention, we FINALLY saw those two pink lines every couple trying to conceive lives for. YES! Like any rational woman would do, I took 54 home pregnancy tests, including the “dummy proof” kind.
First Trimester: I craved citrus, had mild nausea and was annoyingly GIDDY. I drove my coworkers, customers, family and anyone on the other end of my fabulous flip phone CRAZY.
Second Trimester: I LOVED being pregnant, all food tasted EXQUISITE and I was still OBNOXIOUS. Over dinner one night we read the ultrasound card together of what our child would be. “It’s a…BOY!” The baby daddy was thrilled. A kid to carry on the family name.
Third Trimester: I ate my way through the holidays and gained too much weight. Doc scolded me. Eh, oh well. Then I learned my pelvis was unfortunately small and he seriously doubted I could birth the baby without some surgical assistance. Do what? Then the back and abdominal muscles began stretching with discomfort, major heartburn, unsightly kankles, a lone varicose vein, Braxton Hick’s, thought I was in labor but got sent home, the “You’re HUGE” comments, his head bouncing on my pelvic bone, mood swings, etc. Get this thing out of me! Not so giddy NOW.
D-Day: It was a Saturday afternoon in mid March. Our parents were hanging out at a local park celebrating a Spring Day event. The baby daddy had grilled out and we were having a lazy afternoon. I stood up, started waddling and POP! “Um, babe I think my water just broke.” Confidently he stated “Naw, you aren’t in labor hun.” I guess he thought if I wasn’t clawing his arm off from pain or cursing his prior “Y” chromosomal possession that I was, in fact, NOT in labor. And he is the medical professional. Go figure.
My doctor wasn’t on call. Of course, right? I remember thinking how huge my nose was when I was wiping away the tears. All would be fine though. We were assigned a wonderful substitute in his absence.
I made it to 4 cm dilated when they offered me the epidural. I could handle it at that point but 4 was no 10 and who knew when they would be back around. I pulled the O2 mask off and yelled “Heck to the YEAH! HOOK THIS SISTER UP.” The only time I ever used Lamaze was when that needle was going in my back. My “happy place” was me as a size 4, laying in a hot pink bikini, looking 18 again, on a Jamaican beach, under a cloudless, sunny sky. Like THIS…ahhhhhh.
Fully effaced and fully dilated, I pushed for a little under two hours. The zygote turned zebra was stuck at +1 in the birth canal and it appeared he would be a permanent resident of my internal structures if we didn’t proceed to a stat C-section.
Alrighty then! Delivering at the same hospital where my husband worked meant that bringing our baby boy into the world would be like one big party surrounded by friends who had our backs. Except that the party stage would be my uterus and the only thing party goers could NOT see would be, ironically, my back. Before I could dwell too much on the weirdness, the party had started. I hear “Ok dear. You’re going to feel a lot of pressure” and VIOLA out came my first child!
You know how most birth scenes go down with the kid screaming his or her head off? Well, not my son. He whimpered a little and then got COMPLETELY quiet. And so the never-ending phobia known as “Mother Worry” began for me on a Sunday morning in that cold operating room. “Is he breathing?” “Is he alive?” “What’s wrong?!” He was just a curious kid and was taking it all in. Mothers worry about anything and everything I have come to learn.
Speaking of worrying, it was about this time that the baby daddy brought the curious bundle over for us to formally meet for the first time. I was so amazed that I didn’t even realize the cone head he was sporting from being wedged for so long. I remember he said two things to me. 1) “Hey, do you mind if I go walk with the nurse to take the baby to the nursery?” (Leaving me ALONE with my uterus on the table) and 2) “This baby is HUNGRY! You better get ready!” Oh man.
Next thing I knew, I began feeling a hot sensation on my right side and it was getting worse. “Um Alan (my CRNA). I think my epidural is wearing off”. Morphine administered. Check. Fist bump.
I kept thinking why the surgery was taking so long? Later I found out that I was the proud recipient of a cervical tear during the C-section and had lost a significant amount of blood. That explained why I had so much trouble staying awake after being rolled back to the room. However, I forced myself to stay awake long enough for the little piraña to latch on…every 1-2 hours…for FOUR days…because I was not yet equipped to provide the liquid gold he so desired. Barely born and already DEMANDING something from me. Three days later and several hormonal meltdowns, we were discharged to begin our life as a family of three.
In conclusion, being knocked up was a wonderful experience for me, until the very end. I mean, who really ENJOYS that last month anyway right? I quickly learned how to change a diaper, found that I had the ability to mass produce liquid gold and realized this was to be the hardest job I had ever held. On the job training is the best kind of experience though.
As I have just finished writing this, I am reminded that children are gifts that keep on giving. Why you ask? Because that same child that I just described being knocked up with 10 years ago just snuck out of bed to “snuggle”, the second just had a nightmare and yelled for me and my third just snuck out of HIS bed and crawled into mine. There you go. I didn’t realize that becoming knocked up ten years ago would alter my goals, motivations and life direction. A REM cycle is foreign to me, I get very little down time, being knocked up destroyed my rectus abdominals, but I am needed, loved and we have a king sized bed.:)