Thursday, January 7, 2010

It was twenty years ago today...

that I became a mother for the first time. I was fairly young, though I certainly felt that I was "all grown up". I was 12 days past my Christmas Day due date, retaining an unbelievable amount of water, and just plain miserable. For three days, at the direction of my doctor, I had been calling in to the hospital to see if they could induce me; the first two days, I was told they were too busy... on January 6th, I was finally told to come in. I showered and dressed in one of the few things that I could still fit into - a sorority sweatsuit from my time at Florida State - and my sneakers which I could no longer even tie over my chubby edematous feet.

My body was showing no signs of going into labor spontaneously, so I was hooked up to a pitocin drip around noon. All day and into the evening this continued... yet my body wasn't responding well - I was dilating very slowly. Finally, at 10pm, the decision was made to stop the drip, move me onto the OB floor for the evening and restart the next day.

Of course, things don't always go as planned, especially where I'm concerned. Though they stopped the drip and gave me sleeping pills, my labor continued and progressed; I was up all night in agony - First Born was facing front and I had terrible back labor. At 5am, I convinced the nurse that I NEEDED an epidural so they called for the anesthesiologist. The contractions were so intense and so close together that it was difficult for me to remain motionless during the procedure - and I worried that I would be paralyzed because I failed to hold still (this was before I went to vet school, and I had very little medical knowledge).

The epidural was heavenly, for a little while - I watched the monitor recording the strength of the contractions that I could no longer feel... but shortly, the tubing slipped out and the anesthetic wore off - and again I could feel everything. The nurse called the anesthetist back in and he placed a second epidural, but it didn't seem to function properly. I could still feel the contractions but I couldn't move my legs at all (?!?); very strange for me.

Finally, finally, I was "complete" and they wheeled me down the hall to the delivery room (this was before the days of birthing centers - with First Born, I started out in a labor room, was moved to a delivery room for the birth, and then taken upstairs to the OB hall for recovery). They only allowed two people to go into the delivery room with me - my husband and my sister - and they both had to change into sterile clothing. I was so very tired at this point - I had been in labor for nearly 24 hours - AND I'd been given sleeping pills; most of the time in delivery is a blur, but I do remember that I was covered in sterile drapes and the doctor kept telling me to keep my hands under the drapes, which was driving me nuts for some reason.

At 12:33pm, after pushing a half dozen times, I delivered First Born -- 13 days late. He weighed in at 8 lbs, 9 oz... a big boy!! He was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

I grew up a lot in the next year - I had to. I was married, but I was still a single mother - my husband at the time was of the opinion that the house and children were a woman's burden, despite the fact that I also worked a full time job. Might be part of the reason that that marriage didn't last...

Fast forward 7 years, and lo and behold, I'm back in the hospital giving birth AGAIN!! I was 12 days past my Christmas Day due date with son #3 at my OB visit on Monday; my doctor told me that induction was inevitable and asked me to pick a date. It was the 6th; First Born had asked me NOT to have the baby on HIS birthday (LOL), so we chose the 8th for the induction. I was to report to the hospital on Wednesday at 6am.

Of course, things don't always work out the way we want them to... and I went into labor on my own that night about 10:30pm. By 3am, we were headed for the hospital as the contractions were less than 7 minutes apart. At 6:30am, the doctor delivered Little Man (strangely enough, it was also HER birthday!!) - he weighed a whopping 9 lbs, 10 oz!!

First Born has grown into such a wonderful man - truthfully, it's hard for me to think of him as a man... though he's nearly as old today as I was when he was born, he'll always be MY baby. He is strong and flexing his wings as he becomes more and more independent, yet when he comes home, he's my little boy again. I see less and less of him, which I suppose is the natural order of things - he prefers the company of his girlfriend to that of his mother, and I try to remember when I felt that way myself. It's nothing personal; he's just growing up.

Little Man still has some growing and maturing to do, but his heart is as big as the sky; he is such a loving and thoughtful soul, and so sensitive that I worry for the hurt he endures at the hands of his brothers and other thoughtless people. I know that I can't protect him from that, but I still try as he's my baby.

Today my boys turned 20 and 13; they are brilliant, loving, caring, sensitive, thoughtful children and every day I feel blessed because truly they have taught me as much as I have taught them over the years. I believe that I am a much better person because of my children, as I strive each day to be "good enough" to be their mother. I'm far from perfect and I have failed them in little ways at times, but I guess that's part of being human.