Yesterday was Mother's Day and I hope all of you mothers had a truly blessed day. I remember last mother's day being barely pregnant and working at my thankless internship at the parks department, lugging around faux celebrities who treated me like I was getting paid to deal with their nasty attitudes and eccentric need for a single apple from the hotel buffet. I remember my husband bringing me In-N-Out and tulips and how I dreamed about how different like would be next year. Has that year seriously gone by already?
Luke is going to be five months old this week, and I just can't wrap my head around that. It seems like it was a couple weeks ago. Whenever I see myself holding Luke in the mirror I'm shocked. I think I'm going to see myself holding an infant and there he is: smiling and kicking and growing every day. So I figured I'd write down his birth story before it becomes cloudy and distant. Before I start having other babies and mix up the details. Before I'm looking in the mirror shocked to see myself holding a toddler.
I flip flopped a lot about when I thought Lucas was going to come. For the longest time I was convinced he was going to come on graduation weekend. I had a dream that my parents were there and in the wee hours of the morning we were rushing to the hospital. But graduation came and went, and I waddled across the stage to get my diploma, shook hands with all my professors and my water didn't break.
Once this monumental moment had passed, I was filled with the overwhelming feeling that Lucas was going to arrive late, or at least during Christmas week. I had this inexplicable surge of energy. I had Ashleigh schedule me more hours for the next week. I was going to make it through finals and go on my maternity leave December 19th as scheduled.
Then on Sunday, December 12th, I was working the late holiday closing shift with Shana. I was having contractions (but at that point I was always having some sort of contraction) and they were getting closer together. But surely I couldn't be in labor.
Around 7 p.m. they were 5-7 minutes apart. Active labor. Since our last trip to the hospital had been a fake-out though my doctor told me to wait until 3-5 minutes. So since it was a slow, lazy night Shana let me walk around the mall. The contractions kept coming and kept getting closer. I called my mom at 9:00 p.m. from the mall Border's Store to tell her to keep her phone close by.
"You're not in labor," she told me.
"I know," I said, "but just in case."
By the time we were getting ready to close the store I was at 3-5 minutes. I was going to drive home, but thought better of it and called Rob to pick me up. He took me to the hospital and we checked in, yet again, admitting sheepishly, "I think I'm in labor."
My night nurses were lovely. I was 3 1/2cm dilated when I got there so they kept checking me every hour for progress to make sure I'd be admitted that night. Sure enough around 11:30 p.m. they told me I was at 4cm and was being officially admitted. "Looks like we'll be having a baby this morning."
I called my mom, who drove quickly through the night to get to Reno. I e-mailed my professors from Rob's iPhone because, of course, all of our finals were tomorrow. I text messaged friends and walked around the halls in my sequined ballet flats I was still wearing from work (I wish Rob had taken a picture before I got in the gown, I looked exceptionally good for being on the verge of pushing out a baby. I was wearing a nice black dress and sparkly shoes. I even did my nails and make-up that day.) I did squats in my room willing my little one to get the show on the road (my water still hadn't broke). I watched cartoon television Christmas specials. I had a LOT of people checking my dilation. I chipped off all my freshly painted gold glitter nail polish. It was a long night.
The doctor (who was not MY doctor) offered to break my water earlier that night or said we could wait until morning. He said things would progress quickly after that so I waited until morning so I could have my doctor there to deliver the baby. I was promised a baby sometime around 7 a.m. This was a lie.
They broke my water, the contractions got worse, my doctor stopped by and to my dismay did not pull a baby out of me. He told me they would call him when it was time, until then I was to wait patiently and take whatever drugs I needed. I didn't want drugs. I wanted to try for natural. When I started shaking the bed rails and screaming, they gave me some medicine in my IV to dull the pain but it made me feel drunk and sleepy. It all but stopped my contractions. I kept taking it because it was messing with my head, and I couldn't take the pain knowing that there was no baby in sight yet. By this time it was noon or so on December 13th. About 17 hours into active labor.
I was hungry and not allowed to eat. Tired and not able to sleep. And to top it off the day nurse was an absolute dragon lady. She didn't give me medicine when I needed it and didn't have a shred of empathy in her. My mother got me a new nurse. My new nurse got me an epidural before it was too late. It was 2 p.m. now, 8cm dilated. We were finally looking at the finish line.
Then the epidural came. I don't remember this part too clearly. I remember it was a pinch, not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Then I kept asking, "can I lie down? I need to lie down. I need to lie down. I don't feel good." Everything got blurry. I started vomiting. In my last conscious moment I thought, "crap, I threw up in my hair."
When I came to there were tons of doctors in the room asking me if I could feel my legs. They put an oxygen mask on me and told me to breathe deeply. My heart rate had dropped and so had the baby's. My mom and Rob were tearing up and looked frightened. They told me not to go to sleep, just keep breathing. I guess they gave me something to counteract what happened. I don't really remember.
The contractions kept coming and I finally got to start pushing around 3 p.m. but my doctor still wasn't there. They eventually gave me pitocin, to speed up the contractions and let me push more. My doctor came and told me the baby was turned the wrong way. He mentioned the c word. I had NOT gone through nearly 20 hours of labor for a caesarean. As we were getting down to the wire, he turned him, and I pushed harder.
My husband suited up to help deliver. My doctor told me he saw Luke's head (lots of hair!). My mom held my hand. My epidural wore off. I screamed bloody murder. I thought I was at my last push, and I wasn't. They cut me, and I thought I was going to die. The last thing I remember was everyone telling me to push, "you can do it, " "you're doing great," as I screamed "I can't" and tried to climb out of my stirrups.
And then there he was, all blue from having the cord around his neck, his face scrunched up and angry. Then he screamed, and the doctor handed him over to my husband. Nurses took him and cleaned him and put eye drops in. All I could hear was my mom and Rob telling me, "He's perfect."
Then they handed him to me. And you know what. He absolutely was.