I spent a good portion of those nine months fretting over what labor would actually be like. I worried about who I would have in the delivery room with me, whether or not I'd take pain meds, what would happen if they had to cut me down there?!
The pregnancy itself went smoothly. A little morning sickness for the first few months, but nothing that affected my every day life. I felt pretty great. I gained a little too much weight, but avoided gestational diabetes or any other serious problems. I even managed to avoid the foot swelling that everyone told me about.
It seemed like pregnancy wasn't so bad at all. As I got closer to my due date I started to actually get excited. Then my due date hit and still no sign of baby. That night my feet swelled up like balloons. Everything ached. I did not want to be pregnant anymore. Two non-stress tests, stripped membranes and eleven days later I would finally get my wish.
My husband and I were walking from our apartment to our car to go to a Superbowl party. I was whining and complaining because I was nearly two weeks overdue and didn't feel like going to a party. I told my husband that I was going to go into labor while we were at the party and he'd have to leave. He told me everything was fine, and stop whining.
I was almost to the car when I felt a warm sensation down my legs. I looked down.
"I think my water just broke."
"Stop joking around, let's go!"
"No, really. Look."
He looked up and sighed at me.
"Did you really just will yourself into labor to avoid a Superbowl party?"
I didn't have a hospital bag packed. And honestly, we didn't really rush to the hospital. My water had broken, but it was almost like it was slowly leaking, so I sat in our empty bathtub for a few minutes while Hubby got some things together for me before I bothered to put clean pants on.
Before we got to the hospital we stopped at a bank to drop off a check. Then we drove through Wendy's. One of the things I remember hearing was not being able to eat from the minute you check in to the hospital until the baby comes out. I didn't know how long it would be, so I had a snack just in case.
The check-in was a bit of a blur. They wouldn't even let Hubby in for what seemed like hours. I had to answer all these questions and fill out all this paperwork. They put monitors on me and they let the rest of my water out. The doctor felt around and said, "Feels like an eight and a half pounder. We'll see." They wheeled me into the delivery room where I finally saw my husband. They kicked him out one more time to put in the Epidural. I remember having a mean nurse who kept yelling at me to keep my back curved. It didn't work so they had to do it twice. Fun. Then we waited.
It was about 11:00 PM when I was finally fully dilated. Nearly ten hours since I had checked in. All of the sudden that peaceful room transformed into a sterile place with bright lights shining at me and nurses buzzing around loudly. A nurse turned to me.
"Would you like us to put up a mirror?"
"A mirror. So you can see it?"
"See it? Oh god no!"
The doctor finally came in and we were ready to go. It was a slow night in the Labor and Delivery ward because two more doctors came in to "help." And there were at least 4 nurses in the room, in addition to the rest of the nurses who peeked their heads in and out during the whole ordeal. And boy was it ever an ordeal! An hour went by and still no baby. I was exhausted. Everyone insisted that I was doing great and urged me to keep pushing. I shouted to the Doctor.
"Can't you just pull it out already?!"
They laughed at me.
Another forty minutes went by. The doctor began numbing me "down there" and warned me that if the baby didn't come out in the next couple of pushes she would have to give me an episiotomy.
And what do you know? He came right out after she said that!
Mason was born at 12:44 AM on February 6th, 2006. He weighed 8 lbs 8 oz and 21 and a half inches long. As soon as they plopped that "eight and half pounder" on my chest I forgot all about that pain and exhaustion I had just experienced. It's truly amazing how that works.
Mason has proved himself to be quite the curious child. He's gotten into his share of trouble, and I'm sure there's more to come. There is definitely never a dull moment around him. He's my not-so-little ball of energy. We've had our ups and downs, but my best advice when it comes to parenting, especially as a new parent, is to have patience and a sense of humor. There really is no other way to survive those first few years.