Dear Loud One,
You know how Sunday is Mother’s Day and I wrote “Be extra nice to Mom!” on the calendar? Well, did you ever really think about how YOU actually made me a mother? I wasn’t a Mom until I met you. Now I don’t turn on the sap machine all that often, but it is an inarguable fact that when you came into this world, you changed my life completely and forever.
I didn’t love being pregnant. I hoped I would, but I did not. I felt swollen and sweaty and sick for about 108 months (give or take a few). The ONLY benefit of pregnancy – besides, you know, getting you – was that I could wear fitted t-shirts around my round belly and not feel bad about my round belly… you know, as opposed to the rest of my non-pregnant life. (Not that you should ever feel bad about a round belly, but that’s a whole other blog post.)
I also really missed my Mom. I complained a lot to Daddy and Aunt Lori, but I remember thinking that I would have gotten some real, true sympathy from DiDi. Because that’s what Moms are for, you know?
Since you were born at the end of August, it was a looong, hot summer. Daddy referred to me as “the human furnace.” One day, he came home from work to find me sitting in front of a commercial-strength, air conditioning window unit I had bought online. It was designed to cool an entire giant office and, as you may someday find out, New York City apartments are not that big. I would plant a chair right in front of the unit and just sit there. He would layer sweatshirts and socks and sometimes even a wool hat… and shiver. But not me. I would just sit right in front of that monster AC and STILL complain about the heat.
I also threw up a lot. Gross, right? It’s not uncommon to feel sick and throw up when you’re pregnant.
Did you hear that LO, BEING PREGNANT IS MISERABLE. A truly terrible, awful experience. One you want to put-off for a very, very, very long time.
When I hit the 39-week mark (about one week before you were due to be born), my doctor recommended that I be induced because you were “measuring so big.” This means that the doctor was going to try to force you out. It sounds kind of wrong now, but I look back at that time and think, “Well, OF COURSE I agreed…” I was so miserable and the doctor whom I trusted very much was telling me that it was time to have my baby. I was just so excited to meet you! Turns out, you were NOT nearly as excited to meet me.
So I went to the hospital on the night of August 21st and took some drugs that were supposed to get things going. They didn’t. It was a long night of waiting and dozing and waiting and dozing… and nothing else. You were staying put.
Early the following morning, things started progressing veeerrrrrrry slowly.
Now LO, you won’t understand a lot of this medical stuff until you’re much older, but here’s how the story unfolded. I did start to feel a few labor pains and was given an epidural (medicine for the pain). It’s all a bit fuzzy in my mind, but maybe a few hours later, my doctor told me that they were going to give me a drug called Pitocin which was supposed to help get you ready to come out.
Well, you did NOT like that Pitocin. As soon as I received the injection, things started happening very quickly. Monitors started beeping, doctors and nurses started hustling and my doctor said, “Kris, your baby’s heart rate is dropping. We need to do an immediate C-section [a special surgery] to get the baby out as quickly as possible.”
I started to cry and she said something to the effect of, “It’s OK, don’t be upset; a c-section’s not so bad.”
I remember saying, “I’m not crying about the c-section… I’m crying because you said the baby’s heart rate is dropping!” I was so scared, LO. I just wanted you to be safe and healthy and when all the doctors started rushing around like crazy, I was afraid.
At that point, they rushed me into the operating room and gave me more anesthesia for the surgery. Daddy, who had been taken into another room to change into scrubs (doctor clothes), said that the doctor pushing my gurney literally cut right in front of a patient who was being wheeled in for a scheduled c-section! It was like a high-traffic intersection!
I wasn’t very coherent – that means awake and aware – while you were being born. In fact, when the doctor pulled you out and said, “Look at this beautiful baby!” my response was, “What kind is it?”
(I had already strongly suspected you were a girl, so it wasn’t really a surprise to me.)
They took you across the room to clean you up and wrap you in a blanket and Daddy went to see you and said, “Oh Kris, she’s AMAZING!” and we talked about what your name should be and we decided that The Loud One was just the perfect name for you. :)
We were so happy to finally meet you!
After it was all over, we were being wheeled into the recovery room and I could hear your soft cries. I groggily asked the doctor, “She’s crying… where is she?” and the doctor said, “She’s on your chest.” My arms were wrapped around your tiny body, but I couldn’t even feel them, or you!
Needless to say, this was not was the birthday I had imagined for you. While I was (surprisingly) not the type of person who had typed up a whole birth plan outlining every detail including an iPod playlist (people really do that!), I also hadn’t anticipated having an emergency c-section and being so out-of-it for your arrival.
But you know what, LO? I don’t care. Sure, if I had to do it again, I would probably wait another week before considering induction, because while you WERE a really big baby (8.2 lbs!), maybe you just weren’t quite ready to come out yet. I just didn’t know that then… and remember, I was so hot!
Right or wrong, I still don’t really care that I had a failed induction. Or that I had a c-section (followed up with two more). Or that I was groggy for your actual birth. I don’t care that I didn’t get to experience that natural, blissful birthing experience you will someday read about (by the way, I don’t really think this happens to ANYONE).
Because at the end of those brutal 108 months (slight exaggeration), I gave birth to a healthy, baby girl – I got YOU. And that’s all that’s ever really mattered, you know?
On August 22, 2006, you were born and you turned me into a mother. Magic!
I love you, LO… it doesn’t matter how you got here, only that you’ve been lighting up the world ever since.
Happy Mother’s Day to me.
PS. There’s one more story from that day that you should hear. A few hours after you were born, you and I were hanging out in the hospital room together and Uncle Tom had come to meet you for the first time. I was holding you when a very serious-looking doctor walked in. He introduced himself as one of the doctors on the pediatric team and when I introduced myself and Uncle Tom, he said, “OH, this is not the father? I have something to discuss with you… may I speak freely?”
Well, my heart dropped down to my still-a-little-bit-numb, still-very-round belly.
Because LO, you never want to hear a very serious-looking doctor say, “May I speak freely?”
But when he started talking, he said, “You may have noticed the small birthmark on your daughter’s nose…” and it became clear to Uncle Tom and me that he wasn’t there to deliver some horrible news about you. PHEW.
He explained the technical term for the birthmark on your nose (I forget what it was… you can Google it) but he told us that they often refer to them as “Angel Bites” because they appear right after birth and then eventually disappear. Did you hear that, LO?
YOU WERE BIT BY AN ANGEL ON YOUR WAY INTO THIS WORLD.
Do you know how special that makes you? Of course, you know who I think the angel was, right? I remember thinking, “I hope her angel bite stays forever.”
Sadly, it’s mostly disappeared now, but sometimes, if you turn your head a certain way and the light is right, I can still see it. Magic!