Evie's Birth Story
My first prenatal visit was Halloween, which was fitting since I was feeling like a monster at the time. After my doctor assured me that, no, I was not somehow faking my symptoms, and no, I wasn’t going through menopause at 32 (I really asked), the realization started to kick in. Nine years after our first, and five years after our second, I was pregnant with our third baby.
I am a pregnancy weakling. I know there are women out there who shine during their pregnancies, loving every minute of the 40 weeks. They feel great and just gain weight in their lovely little WNBA-basketball tummies. They’ve got energy to spare and make maternity clothes look fashionable even if they are hand-me-downs twice removed. Not me.
I gain weight in my earlobes. People ask me how I’m feeling with a sad, “Man, I’m glad I’m not you” look. My husband actually says, “Man I’m glad I’m not you.” This time, my five-year-old daughter told me on several occasions that she liked me better when I wasn’t pregnant. Me too.
I am crazy about my kids; I just hate being pregnant. Two weeks before my due date I was miserable and vocal about it. It was the day before Mother’s Day and I told Jon, my husband, that the only present I wanted for Mother’s Day was to not be pregnant. All I wanted was to spend the day in an uncomfortable bed in a horrible hospital gown while streams of family and friends came to admire our beautiful baby.
At 2 AM on Mother’s Day, I started feeling contractions. They weren’t the weak ones that don’t hurt very much. They were real. I started to get nervous and waited for them to go away. I didn’t tell my husband because we had been in the hospital the previous week with false labor so I would have felt silly if it was another false alarm. I decided to take a shower.
When the contractions got worse and closer together, my nerves got a voice. Things like, “What are you going to do with the kids?” and “Didn’t Jon just take Benedryl?” and “Holy Crap that hurts!” ran through my head. When it took me 20 minutes to dress after my shower, I told Jon to find the keys and wake up the kids. It was time.
I had arranged with my mom months before to take care of our kids when the big day arrived, but I always assumed (despite my pleadings with my unborn child to come early) we’d make it to my scheduled induction day. I began to question my previous Mother’s Day present request.
I was hesitant to call in the “Grandma Calvary” until I knew this wasn’t another false alarm. Instead, we packed some crayons, snacks, the GameBoy, the hospital bag, and we all piled into the van. The kids whined. I whined. Jon cracked stupid dad jokes and tried to fight off Benedryl sleepiness.
By 4 AM, my mom had retrieved the kids, I was hooked up to monitors, sporting the backless gown, and Jon was fading fast. I was dilated to five and the epidural was kicking in. I don’t know what it’s like for other women, but epidurals make me giggle like a school girl. So when the nurse came to check me, I was laughing and Jon was loopy from Benedryl. We were a pair.
My doctor came in around 6 AM and I noticed he had bed head. I laughed, but no one knew why I was laughing. Jon was still awake, but barely. I went from a five to fully dilated in about 30 minutes. We were all ready.
One thing about my deliveries is that I don’t have to push much. I don’t pretend that I know anything about real labor, and I am wildly impressed by moms who endure hours of hard, natural labor. That said, pushing for a half an hour and not producing a baby was new territory for me. When my baby finally crowned, my happy epidural wore off, and I tore. I was done. I was done being pregnant, done pushing, and done being giggly. Without warning anyone, I pushed. Hard. Evie caught air, the doctor grabbed her, and Jon’s shoes got wet.
When Jon put that wiggly, slimy little person on my chest, I cried. And laughed. Happy Mother’s Day to me!
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