Thursday, November 4, 2010

Eleven years ago today...

In the last several months, I have really enjoyed reading so many different mommy blogs.  One of the things that I enjoy is reading the birth stories.  I remember after my girls were born, I just loved telling their birth stories...but as they get older you focus more on the wonder of them, their beauty and intelligence and all the fun you have together.  I want to reflect on all of that as we prepare to celebrate A's birthday.

A was due on October 27, 1999.  Around October 17, I began having mild contractions.  They were like menstrual cramps.  Sometimes they were intense and I had to stop and hold on to a wall or something until the contraction ended.  I was going to my obstetrician, Dr. Ahmed, once a week and I was 60% effaced.  She believed my body was preparing for birth and with a first pregnancy this could take a few days... After a week, she sent me for a non-stress test and A was we waited some more...and I kept having these mild contractions.  My ob, a wonderful woman, wanted to see me every other day and every time I saw her, she would say, "I was waiting all weekend for a call that you were in labor" or "I was waiting all night for a call..."

As my due date passed us by, I began to retain water.  A week after my due date, Dr. Ahmed decided to schedule an induction.

I remember laying in bed with Jason the night before we were scheduled to go in for the induction, we were both so excited and nervous and happy.  We could not wait to hold our baby!  We were living in our Connecticut farmhouse then and my parents had come up from New Jersey to help out.

On the morning of November 4, 1999, Jason and I bundled up and headed to the hospital.  I had already done all of the pre-admission stuff, so we were shown to our huge single labor room.  I was hooked up to a monitor and they started the IV of petocin.

My parents joined us for the wait later that day.  A note to anyone joining a pregnant woman who is in labor or being induced, since they can not eat, DO NOT EAT IN THEIR ROOM.  My parents brought bagels and donuts and made a little picnic, which is the only thing that I remember from my entire 8 hour induction!!!  I was starving and could not eat a thing!!  And my mother, father and husband kept eating and telling me how great the food was...they thought it was is all on video!!

The contractions I had been feeling got a little more intense, the wonderful nurses who were committed to healthy, natural birth, told Jason and I to walk up and down the hall.  Jason remembered, from Lamaze class, to hold cool cloths to my face.  He rubbed my back and did all of those awesome things that men are reminded to do in Lamaze.

Friends of ours from Lamaze gave birth that same day and we visited with them and saw their beautiful newborn.  We met another couple with a 5 day old and Jason always recalls saying, "Wow!  Five days!" and being impressed at how far into parenthood they were! we are eleven years into gets better every day!!

Around 5pm, after 9 hours of petocin and periodic increases of the dosage, I was 80% effaced and not dilated one bit.  I have scoliosis, no one ever confirmed this, but I think my spine prevents my hipbones from opening for the baby to pass through.  Dr. Ahmed decided that this labor was going no where and she was going to do a c-section.  My parents, Jason and I all let up a whoop of joy!  She laughed and said she had never had that reaction...but for us, we just couldn't wait to see A and seriously, I had been having mild contractions for weeks and by 5pm that day I had resolved myself to the fact that I was not having a natural birth.  I just wanted a healthy baby.

A's birth at that small hospital in Connecticut was an experience that every delivering mom should have.  The nurses were considerate, informative and kind, they encouraged natural birth and they doted on the mother during and after. There was a huge Jacuzzi that laboring moms and their partners were encouraged to use.

The birth was a joy.  There was a small window from the hall way into the operating room, so my parents were able to see the whole thing!  They shot it all on video (you can only see the doctor holding A up and hear them announcing it is a girl.  But the priceless part is listening to my parents' squeals of joy and delight!).

Jason and my parents were able to accompany A to the nursery where she is weighed and measured and allowed to warm up (all of that is on video as well--my poor beautiful little screaming baby!).  I insisted that Jason leave me and go with A!! We have pictures of Jason in a rocking chair in the nursery holding A for the first time and my mom holding her in the nursery for the first time.

After a while, Jason and my parents visited me in recovery.  Dr. Ahmed sat with me in recovery the whole time, filling out paperwork.  When I was shaking and freezing, she explained that it was just a reaction to having surgery.  I was so thankful to have her there to comfort me.

After a time, I was brought to my room and then my parents and Jason filed in and then very ceremoniously, the baby was brought on.  We have pictures of me holding A for the first time.  What a joyful experience!

Our friends from Lamaze had delivered naturally and went home after a day or two.  No other new moms came in, so I was the only one on the floor in this tiny hospital.  The nurses arranged for me to get a massage; they made me these awesome drinks with cranberry juice, orange juice and ginger ale or Sprite.  One of the nurses was a lactation consultant, and she made herself completely available.  A had jaundice and we had latching issues, but after a day or two and my insistence that she not get formula and the lactation consultant advocating for me, everything worked out wonderfully!  A local restaurant at the time, was in the practice of donating gift baskets of a meal for the new parents to take home.

My mom was there when we brought A home and she stayed for a week to help us out.  It was so nice to not have to make beds and clean and cook meals.  My mom took care of all of that and I slept and focused on my beautiful girl.  My mother in law arrived the day after my mom left and stayed to help for several days.  My mother in law got to bond with A; and it was probably the only time that my mother in law and I had that kind of concentrated alone time, we chatted and really got to know each other better, it was wonderful.

I had always wanted to be a mom.  I have always loved children and worked as a pre-school teacher after Jason and I moved to Connecticut, but nothing prepared me for how fiercely I loved A!  I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of her life.  I have loved every moment we have been together.  I love experiencing each new thing with my girls.

Eleven years ago, I had no idea what a completely beautiful little girl A would be.  She is generous and kind, empathetic and sympathetic.  She is creative and smart and funny.  She loves Harry Potter and animals and making things with clay.  She loves Taylor Swift and jeans and reading.  She is the best big sister, always patient and willing to play with P.  She is helpful and tries so hard with everything she does.  Lately, she has been wanting to sit and have long talks with me, which I really enjoy.  I love watching her grow up.  I am so thankful to my husband for allowing, encouraging and supporting my decision to be a stay at home mom.  I am so grateful for having the courage to bring my girls home to learn in a calm, relaxed environment where we can work at their pace, with their learning styles and have fun while doing it.