A Letter to My Son About the Day He Was Born:
When I think about the day you were born, 27 months ago, all I can see is rainbows and unicorns! All I can remember is the happiest moment of my life! I’ve always said that my labor was easy and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, because that’s exactly how I remember it. Now that I’m pregnant again I want to live it again, mentally at least for the time being, to be able to prepare myself yet again for the journey of being born!
I’d have to say my labor started at around 1 am. I had been sleeping at that point and woke up feeling uncomfortable. Your father had just crawled into bed from staying up all night playing video games. I stood up and tried to relieve the discomfort. Minutes later I went back to bed, deciding I’d try to go back to sleep. I tried. I must have fallen back asleep for a few hours because I woke back up at around 4:30 am fully aware that it was TIME. Time to get ready and go. You were gonna be here soon and we needed to get to the hospital before you decided to make your appearance. Now the hard part. Waking your zombie father up from his 3 1/2 hours of sleep. I tapped him. Told him to wake up and that I was in labor. He told me no. He assured me it was probably just a stomach ache and that I should go back to sleep. I was in labor and he basically said “this too shall pass!”
He went back to sleep. I shook him. It’s time. He finally sat up and realized I was serious. He was still convinced I wasn’t in labor and told me we’d probably end up coming back home after my check up because I was clearly not in labor. Oh this man I love. Oh… So he got up. Drank an energy drink and got ready. I took a shower because for some reason I felt like this needed to be done before going into labor. I wanted to be squeaky clean the first time I met you. I showered, dressed and grabbed the hospital bag and your car seat.
The car ride wasn’t too bad. I was feeling small contractions, but nothing too painful, it was more discomfort than pain at this point. The hospital was 30 minutes away. We were there by 5:30 am. We got to the emergency section. Luckily the translator had let them know to expect us, so we were greeted and taken up to our private delivery room. They checked me. I was 3 cm. Ready to roll. At that point they asked me to change into my hospital gown and handed me a squirt bottle and told me I had to go “handle my business,” aka give myself an enema. Fun stuff. So I guided myself to a bathroom stall and the fun part began. Back in the room 5 minutes later, I was ready to lay there for as long as it took for you to arrive.
I wanted an epidural. I had played with the idea of a natural birth in the beginning of my pregnancy, but by the time I wrote my birth plan, I knew I wanted an epidural. Yes I took the drugs and yes I’m proud of it. The anesthesiologist came in soon after we were settled in the room. I was still at 3 cm. He instructed me to lay on my side and bare my back and then his needle came out. I remember it hurting, but I don’t remember the pain so I’m guessing it couldn’t have been that bad. By that point I was contracting like crazy and we were trying hard to get the needle in in between contractions. The contractions were somewhat painful. Like pressure down there. Nothing worth crying or screaming over, but definitely not pleasant.
After that I just laid on the bed, patiently waiting to progress. Once the epidural took effect, the contraction pains went away. I was just there, in bed, waiting to meet our son, painlessly, impatiently. They checked me again. Then they did the nice “shove a hand inside me and swipe around in a circular motion” thing. I’m guessing this was the stripping of membranes everyone talks about. I really don’t have a clue. I just remember it being very freaking unpleasant. I slowly progressed. At this point your father was in between naps on the couch next to me. So supportive that guy. He was like my rock during the whole process. Prrrp, yeah right. The translator was here by then. She kept asking me how I was doing and I reassured her everything was okay.
At 8 cm my epidural started to fade away. I started to feel the contractions and the uncontrollable pressure you were putting on my birth canal. Your head was low, low, low and it was pushing to get out and I was feeling every. minute. of. it. I called the nurse. And minutes later the anesthesiologist was back in with my refill! Oh sweet syrup! The doctor came in after that and checked me. She let me know it was time to push. I was 10 cm. The epidural was kicking in again. Thank you! She sat there in between my legs, looking under the sheet like she was searching for something. Your head of course. And that’s when it began.
She instructed me to push and so I pushed for the first time. For the whole 10 count. It felt weird. I’d pushed before, to poop at least, but this was different. I was pushing, but nothing was coming out. The ten seconds were over. Break. Pushing time again. Again pushing and nothing happening. I think at that point one of the nurses had jumped on the bed next to me and started pushing down on the top of my belly towards my nether region. I couldn’t stop laughing. I somehow thought this was hilarious. Must have been the epidural, the rush of adrenaline from the thought of meeting you in just a few minutes, or because it was in fact, a funny sight to see when you’re in the middle of labor! I now hear people saying that that isn’t legal in the US and people don’t want doctors to do it. I don’t know the facts. I was in the midst of labor and this nurse wanted to get up and push on my belly. It made me laugh. I let her do it.
So the third and last round of pushing came around. Push. 10 second count down. I pushed like I had never pushed before. And… crowning. I could feel your head there, wanting to come out. I remember the doctor telling me “I’m gonna cut you now!” Um, ok, no, wait. I had asked in my birth plan not to be cut, but again, I trusted this doctor and trusted that if she felt she needed to cut me then she should go ahead and cut me. I didn’t wanna tear. I didn’t mind being cut if it was necessary. I didn’t feel the cut. I just remember hearing the sound of my skin being cut. It resonated in my ears. I continued to push.
Near the end of push #3 I remember feeling an unimaginable amount of pressure, you were there, in my birth canal, crowning, head out, pushing to get out and then BAM! I felt a sense of relief as I felt your whole body just drop out! It happened in a matter of seconds. One second you’re there, the next you’re out! And up I see a little baby boy attached to an umbilical cord, being pulled out! I had done it. I had given birth and it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined it to be.
The next few minutes happened so quickly. The doctor asked your father if he wanted to cut the cord. He didn’t. He has this silly belief that cutting the cord is the reason why some kids have innies or outties. He wanted you to have an innie. They cut the cord, wrapped you up, and laid you on my chest.
Finally you were in my arms. I stared at you for what felt like an eternity. All my fears on how to hold you vanished. You felt so at home in my arms. I leaned over and smelled your breath. I remembered reading somewhere that a newborn’s breath smells like an angel’s breath. I don’t know why, but I felt like it was something I just had to do. The next instinctual thing to do was to nurse you. I saw your little mouth rooting for the boob. At that point I had already unbuttoned my hospital gown, knowing this time would come. It was the right boob, I remember it clearly. You latched on and went to work. Everything was falling into place. You were in my arms, nursing, breathing, moving; you were there, finally. I would relive that day over and over again, the pain, the stress, all that work, because the end result was the best thing I could have ever asked for!
*Your grandfather called within those first few minutes. He probably doesn’t remember it, but he was the first one to hear your little cry at 10:36 am on Friday, November 12, 2010.*