Where else would I start? I’m talking about the beginning of motherhood – the day my daughter was born is the date I’m going to use for myself. Certainly, many people would say a woman becomes a mother from the moment she conceives for the very first time, and I’m not going to refute or debate that.
I definitely bonded with my baby while she was in my belly, but in the interest of keeping things simple, I began this thing called motherhood on June 7, 2009, just about 22-months ago.
Our daughter arrived on her due date – right on time. I was working from home that week on account of it being hot and humid and not being able to rely on the good graces or [un]common courtesy of Metro riders in Washington, DC to give up their seat to a VERY pregnant lady. In addition to the hazards of commuting, the hazards of sitting at my desk had just gotten to be too much and so it made sense to really take it easy at Week 40.
On Friday night, my husband and I went out for a walk and headed to Dupont Circle (via Metro) where they were giving away free doughnuts at the Krispy Kreme in honor of National Doughnut Day (observed on the first Friday of June). We had just made it to the end of the block, and I told him I thought I needed to go to the bathroom — that, or I had just had an accident, but I was okay and could make it to Krispy Kreme.
This was about 10 PM on Friday night. I had a similar feeling the next morning when we went to grab breakfast near the house. I texted my sister something to the effect of “I keep peeing myself”, and she said I might want to call my doctor. But first, I wanted to finish my bagel and coffee. My hospital bag was packed, so I had time to have my bagel.
You’ll note, and I’ll confess, that doughnuts, bagels, and coffee…all took priority over finding out whether or not I was in labor.
We came back to the house, and I called my OB’s office and let the doctor on-call know what the situation was. He said we should go to the hospital. So, we got our things ready and my husband had a moment — it was hitting him then that we were actually going to have a baby and that this was really going to happen.
It was cool to see the excitement and nervousness, but I told him we were probably going to be sent home. This is not how your water breaks. We put everything in the car anyway just in case.
We arrived at the hospital and instead of going to the ER, the doctor had told us that I would be admitted in case I actually was in labor.
And then, I had my moment. We were filling out the forms and I got my little hospital bracelet — and then it hit me — that maybe I was going to have a baby that day.
We walked to one of the labor & delivery rooms and waited for the house OB to examine me. She said, “Oh yes, you’re grossly ruptured.” And I thought, why does she have to be so judgmental – really, “grossly”… is that necessary? I’ll probably get the timing and sequence off — and will leave out some details — but I will say that June 6, 2009 was one of the happiest and most exciting days of my life. As we waited — well, others waited, I was breaking my back — for our baby to arrive.
My labor was long — almost 20 hours total — I didn’t get my epidural until I was about 6.5 cm dilated, fully effaced and had been on pitocin for probably 6 or 7 hours. I pushed for 3 hours and ended up having a C-section. But that’s not what I want to talk about — I want to talk about is the good stuff.
Like the fact that my daughter had no less than 10 family members in addition to me and my husband waiting for her. But even before I say that, my sister and husband were with me the entire time I was contracting and they were amazing. Then, when it came time to push, my sister took that as her cue to make a bee-line for the door — “That’s it, I’m outta here. See ya later.”
And so, my husband and the nurses and the doctors worked with me and coached me and did whatever they could to help me push, but it just wasn’t going to happen that way. We went to the OR around 4:30 AM on Sunday. I heard all sorts of chit-chat during the procedure — the anesthesiologist really liked our camera, and I’m sure there was some talk of sports, vacations, and/or private schools.
I also recall hearing things like “oh no”, “that’s unusual” “my hand doesn’t fit — yours is smaller can you get in there” all the kinds of things you want to hear while your arms are strapped down and your abdomen is cut open with a little person inside. My husband had the added benefit of seeing the shadows beyond the drape … and watching my body move from the pressure and pushing and pulling that was going on.
Then, she was out at 5:10. “It’s a girl. It’s a girl.”
And in my drug-and fatigue-induced stupor, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to live this down — I say, “It’s a girl? Really?? It’s a GIRL? Are you sure?…oh my God, she had everyone fooled…oh my poor mom.”
Seriously. These are the words I said. My husband will confirm it, and I can’t deny it. My “poor mom” SO wanted to have a grandson — she already had 4 granddaughters, and all that blue bedding she had sewn — another girl — so, of course, I thought of my “poor” mom.
My husband “knew” it was a girl all along, and he was rather embarrassed at my display in the OR. I remember him trying to get me to shut up. To be clear, I wasn’t disappointed.
I wanted a girl, but I thought I was having a boy based on all sorts of old wives’ tales — and so I was very pleasantly surprised when She was born.
After I got over my initial shock, I remember just wanting to hear her cry. And ,she did, and that moment I felt like it was the best sound in the world.
They took me back to the labor & delivery room where our daughter met all four of her grandparents, two aunts, and an uncle. She also met my three nieces who had camped out in the waiting room for the last 12 hours — I think they were exhausted to say the least, but also a little bit in awe to see that now their aunt had a baby girl of her own.
So, that was the very beginning for me/us and it makes me smile to think about it…and to think about today and wonder about the future and the many ways my daughter is going to shock and surprise me in the years to come. I can only hope that I’ll handle myself a bit more gracefully than I did the moment she was born. But that probably won’t make for as fun of a story…
What would you like to share about the first time you gave birth or the very first moment you met your baby? What is your fondest or funniest memory of that day?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by DC Blogmama of Washington, DC. You can follow her on Twitter @dcblogmama or read her blog at amillionblogs.wordpress.com.
This photo is courtesy of DC Blogmama.