Mentoring Monday: Welcome to the Family

Welcome to the Family              Five days after your due date, I had one last checkup appointment with my Obstetrician. We were preparing to induce labor that following Sunday or Monday. At the time of the visit, I hadn’t dilated or effaced any since two weeks before. I left the doctors office with a sense of the end in sight, but still disappointed. This wasn’t how I wanted labor to be. I wanted you to come on your own; I wanted contractions to start naturally; to share the “Is this it?” moment of excitement and panic with your father, timing contractions, calling the doctor and hospital, etc. I wanted the drama that you see in the movies. However, it was beginning to look as though we were to have a lab labor instead: start it all through dripping chemicals into my arm via plastic tubing. I was torn. I was disappointed at the induction prospect, but had an overriding sense of satisfaction knowing one way or another I was going to meet you soon. In one last effort to kick start labor the old fashioned way, your father and I walked laps around the mall. I had spicy Chipotle for lunch, and we had fantastically greasy Five Guys burgers for dinner (not the ideal last meal before labor, but I was calling labor’s bluff). After dinner and Mommy-Daddy time, I went to sleep for the night. Around 11:45 pm, I awoke in pain. My middle felt like it was in a vice. It wasn’t unbearable, but rather just uncomfortable enough to wake me from a deep sleep. I got up, and came out into the living room where Dad was, still up on the computer. “You okay?” he asked.              “I’m in pain,” I said holding my lower abdomen.              “Like…labor pain?” We’d had a few false alarms, and he didn’t want to (again) get worked up over nothing.              “I don’t know.” I couldn’t help but giddily smile through the discomfort. “We should see if we can time them.” And so we did. I was having contractions four and five minutes apart. Eee! The magic number! The hospital had us wait another hour before getting on the road to make sure it wasn’t false labor (it wasn’t). So at 1 am, Dad drove to the hospital, me in the backseat moaning through the contractions and giggling in between. The whole way there, the midnight sky lit up with a beautiful electrical storm stretching from one end of the horizon to the next. It then dawned on us: if this was it, you’d be a Friday the 13th baby (you were).              We arrived at the hospital. Upon entering the Emergency entrance, I commandeered a wheelchair, and was escorted up to the maternity floor. They checked my vitals: still not dilated or effaced. They escorted me to our room where I began to spend most of my time in the huge maternity tub, soaking in the warm water to ease the pain of contractions. At first, the nurse turned on a soothing CD of Native American flute songs. That quickly morphed into my custom playlist appropriately titled, “Labor? What Labor?” that included such hip-moving, feel-good music as The Temptations, The Jackson 5, and Marvin Gaye.              The contractions got stronger as the hours wore on. I was dilating about a centimeter an hour, and completely effaced after about three. After six and a half hours, I asked for the epidural. The pain was excruciating, yes. But what made up my mind about getting the epidural, was knowing I didn’t have the energy to muster through the increasing contractions for another few hours and push the baby through when it came time.              The Anesthesiologist came in and prepped for the epidural. I don’t remember much from that time because I was in so much pain during contractions, and exhausted in between them. I even dozed off a couple times in those few minute sanctuaries. He rapidly explained what he had to do, had me sign the necessary paperwork, and off we went. After the epidural, labor slowed significantly. But thankfully it allowed me to get some rest. After much needed sleep, they started Pitocin and a few hours later I was pushing. When you came out, your father exclaimed, “Babe, there she is!” Then the doctor laid you on my stomach, and I held you while Daddy cut your umbilical cord. You came out blinking your eyes and wobbling your head around; so strong and healthy. You scored high on your Apgar test (8 and 9), and latched on like a breastfeeding proThat’s my girl.               Everyone was so impressed with you from the moment you were born. Every nurse wooed over you every chance they got; you were so beautiful from the startI swear they were looking for reasons to come into our room to see you. Dad even got stopped in the hall at the hospital about how precious you were (you still are). You look just like your Dad, which still throws him for a loop. “She’s got my nose!” he said while holding you for the first time. You have just about everything from your old man: nose, mouth, chin, hands. You have my ears and dimples (one side more prominent than the other), and both of our long lashes. Your eyes are blue right now, so I’m interested to see if they stay blue or change. Your hair was dark brown when you were born, but every day it gets a bit lighter, and more and more red. Personality-wise, you’re an easy baby like your Dad was, but a total cuddle-bug like your Mom.              So that’s how you came to be. We love you so much, and are happy you’re finally here darling. Welcome to the family.

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