Ask anyone who knew me before I had my little girl, and they will quickly confirm the fact that I was never thrilled about the whole pregnancy and delivery part of having a baby.
There are some women who long to feel the sensation of carrying a baby. There are some women who cherish the natural miracle of birth. I was NOT either of those types. But as I approached the big 3-0, suddenly my desire to HAVE a baby outweighed my terror of HAVING a baby.
I got pregnant quickly and lived (barely) through the first four or five months of morning sickness while researching everything about pregnancy, delivery, nursing and parenting. I initially thought I was in favor of a cesarean birth because I am such a planner I needed the assurance of a scheduled delivery. But I quickly found myself terrified of the surgery option and decided to let things take a more natural course.
I woke on the morning of April 30, the first day of my 41st week of pregnancy, with persistent back pain. If I had not been a week past my due date, I would have attributed the pain to the inevitable discomfort of being nine—no, make that ten, months pregnant. But I was looking for something that would get me into the hospital before the dreaded inducement my doctors had begun threatening a couple of days after my due date. I called the doctor’s office and was told to come right in. My husband drove us there, and we were anxious and hopeful enough to bring our overnight bags along.
After a brief check-up, the doctor told me I was “close” and to go have some lunch and take a long walk. Thinking I could accomplish both of these things as well as run a few errands, I convinced my husband to take me to the mall. We had lunch then did some shopping then did some walking—a lot of walking.
As we left the mall, we were debating whether to go home to wait it out or to go to the hospital. I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable and was arguing for the hospital option when my water broke. That’s right—my water broke in the parking lot. AT THE MALL. So that made our decision for us. We called the grandparents as we argued about the quickest route to the downtown hospital.
It was approximately one p.m. All of the grandparents rushed my room seemingly minutes after I arrived on the Labor and Delivery floor. I was immediately administered several IVs to give me fluids and antibiotics to combat Strep B. Soon enough, I also started to get the infamous Pitocin. Labor progressed for a few hours then inexplicably stopped. We watched the local evening news. We watched whatever must see TV was on NBC that Thursday night. We watched Jay Leno. Not much happened.
At some point in the evening, the doctor determined that my baby was in a posterior position. After several unsuccessful attempts to change her mind about that, we started to discuss the dreaded C-word. My husband was a terrific supporter and helped me persuade the doctor that we wanted that to happen only as a last resort.
I will skip the intimate details of the long, late-night hours and just say there were several hours of pushing, forceps, and an operating room on standby before my baby finally made her grand, face-up entry into this world. But I made it through the delivery with the help of a compassionate doctor and a few very patient nurses. Violet Rebekah arrived on May 1 at 7:51 a.m. She was first held by her father, as I was too shaky to hold her through the recovery process.
When I finally did get my hands on my beautiful bundle, I couldn’t look away. I am not sure what I expected—a moment of rapture, an outburst of tears, perhaps? I got neither. What I felt instead was a flood of the most peaceful and natural love I have ever experienced. It was as if that baby and that moment were the very things my life had been directing me to find without my ever knowing I was looking for them.