A Bumpy Road to Motherhood

As seen on The Day We First Met

I was raised a military brat with very little extended family around, so small is all I knew. When my niece and nephew were born I thought, for sure, that was plenty of little ones around me; especially since I could send them home when I was done being the cool Aunt. Then I met my husband. Oy.

As the baby of seven – yes, seven natural births by the same woman – he quickly acquired a growing number of nieces and nephews, as did I in marrying him. The constant flow of children in and out of my house slowly softened my heart enough to want babies of my own.

We tried to get pregnant, nonchalantly, for about eight months. Then I started getting spastic with calendars and temperatures and ovulation kits. But still, nothing. We finally saw a doctor who told us to try a little longer before moving towards fertility treatments. So we kind of gave up. Well, what I mean is, we stopped measuring and counting and worrying and agreed if it is to be, it will be.

And then it was. Just like that. The instant we stopped carrying on, it happened.

Overall, it was an okay pregnancy. I didn’t have morning sickness beyond random nausea but GAWD was I moody. I mean like certifiably, stay out of my way, you better not blink WICKED. I didn’t know it then, but you know what they say about hindsight! I should probably apologize to a lot of people, now that I think about it. Anyway, the worst part about my pregnancy wasn’t the typical symptoms. It was the jokes about how big I was getting and the strangers touching my swollen belly and people asking how many babies I was lugging around. The. WORST.

I was due on April 19, 2010 but went in for my weekly exam on the 15th. The Dr. said everything was fine and I didn’t seem to be quite ready. So I went home, like any other day, and went straight to the bathroom because my poor bladder had no room to fill up anymore. Only this time it wasn’t just pee. IT WAS BABY TIME!! We got to the hospital around dinner time, I got hooked up to the monitors and they confirmed I was definitely staying for the long haul.

And a long haul it was. I bounced on a balance ball, I walked, I slept, I puked, I screamed and I cried through sixteen hours of labor and two failed epidurals. For sixteen hours I was not allowed to ingest anything but ice and Alka Seltzer. Ultimately, I stopped progressing at 7cm and the baby started freaking out inside, so, at hour seventeen, I was rushed into an emergency C-section.

Since the epidurals failed, they had to give me a spinal. If you’ve never had one, I assure you, you don’t want one. I shook from head to toe for hours after the surgery, I was numb from the neck down and I couldn’t tell if I was breathing or not. I felt as if I was trapped in an avalanche and no one seemed to care. My mind was racing and I started to panic. They finally allowed my husband to come in and I stopped trying to climb out of my skin. Then, as we were desperately waiting to hear our baby girl cry for the first time, I heard the surgeon say, “Oops! Did you see that?”

EXCUSE ME?!

No one would explain to me what that meant, but within minutes of the Dr.’s outburst, my baby was here and nothing else mattered. They cleaned her up and did their normal work up before bringing her over to me. I kissed her sweet head and cried like, well, a baby. They whisked her away and it was almost six hours before I saw her again.

That’s when I found out what the “oops” meant. That, you see, was the sound of my bladder being torn during the surgery. So for the next six hours, instead of bonding with my new baby, learning how to nurse and how to change a diaper, they were trying to get me to stop bleeding. It took hours for me to stop shaking, hours for them to explain anything, hours to breathe without hyperventilating.

Who knew hours could feel like years?

When they were finally comfortable with my status and had sufficiently medicated me, they brought this teeny tiny little person into my room. She was perfect and little and everything I thought she would be. I was smitten! But I was also so unbelievably tired and sick and I couldn’t comprehend the level of pain I was in. I don’t remember much else about the hospital stay. I can’t tell you about that first diaper or how much she drank or what she wore. I can show you pictures, but I don’t recall any of it.

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