As I was saying here, we rushed back to the Labor and Delivery Room all excited. The “coaching” team got ready by charging phones and cameras and having, what we all thought would be, our last minute potty stops.
Mama was feeling fine; relatively pain free and resting nicely. The nurse had checked her while we had been at lunch and said that she had dilated to 9.5 centimeters. Another nurse came in and set up a table with many shiny, silver scissor- type-plier things (they all looked the same to me, but I was not the one about to deliver a baby). After another check, the nurse came back and said that the baby needed to “slide down” a bit more and she would return in thirty minutes. I love the “hurry up to wait” dance; and so we waited. After half an hour there were some practice pushes, and then another thirty minute “slide down” break. Remember we had all had our last minute bathroom visits? Yeh, not so much, there were plenty more trips and even a few minutes for me to finish that wilting salad.
Eventually, it was time. Mommy got some serious pushing going with her fantastic nurse and helpful coaches supporting her both physically and emotionally. There were pauses of seriousness and silence; mom would rest in between pushes and we would quietly watch the monitor waiting for the next contraction. Out of nowhere, the wrong bed button was activated and mid-push mom’s bed was raised and elevated into some awkward contortion that sent us all into hysterical laughter. “I guess we didn’t get far with that one” giggled the laboring mom.
Once it was clear that baby was soon to make his entrance, the nurse called the doctor on her fancy hospital phone. Enter the doctor donning her scrubs and it all seemed real. Personally, I was sympathetically pushing with mom the whole way. I had full blown tmj from gritting my jaw so tight with stress and anticipation.
And then, it happened: the baby joined the party. It was amazing! He was suddenly on his mommy’s chest, the nurse was suctioning him and we heard the most beautiful cry you could ever imagine.
His beauty was/is overwhelming. I had tears and smiles as big as the moon; there is no way to describe how awe-inspiring it all was. A bit later after the siblings had joined the party and then left to let mom have some quiet, I sat quietly holding the clean and swaddled newborn. I said to mom “how was he inside of you less than two hours ago?” Just unbelievable.
As I drove home while talking (safely on my handsfree bluetooth) to our mutual dear friend in Ohio about the whole experience, I said, please don’t repeat this to anybody, but “I am exhausted!”. Not like I had just delivered a baby or anything.
As far as bucket list items go, I have to say that this one just about tops it off. It was an amazing and joyful day, I am so happy that I was included in this beautiful event.
I’ve had a little bucket list floating in my head for the past several years. It wasn’t planned or formal (I rarely operate in such an organized fashion), just adventures that I want to experience or accomplish during this
midlife crisis phase of life. A few were athletic endeavors that I mentioned here, and the Avon Walk was something I had always thought about and am SO GLAD it is now in my bucket (times three). Last fall, my daughter mentioned that she would like to learn to knit. Knitting has long been a bucket item. The YouTube lady became our friend and we arduously toiled and foiled until we figured out this cool and very relaxing knitting thing.
Although I have had three children and was DEFINITELY present at their births (and subsequent raising, although Child #1 would argue that point), I have always wanted to be on the other end of the birthing experience. I wanted to see a baby be born when it wasn’t coming out of my body. Thanks to my dear friend, I can now check that off my bucket list. I was graciously invited in to the Labor and Delivery Room to join her husband and her sister witness the birth of her son. And yes, it met all of my expectations.
My phone rang at 7:30 in the morning. Auntie was calling to tell me that they had arrived at the hospital, she said that I had time to take a shower and to meet them there when I was ready. I frenzied around, left my sleeping children and grabbed some lattes for audience participants, arriving at the hospital less than an hour later.
Mom was having back labor at the time and waiting eagerly for the glories of the epidural. Within the first five minutes of my arrival, she had a contraction. This was the first time I have ever seen anyone have a contraction (other than my own). It was hard to watch; I readily witnessed her pain without feeling it and just wanted to do something to ease it for her. Pre-epidural, we were strongly instructed to NOT TOUCH the mommy, no one was to go near her during the contraction.
About an hour later, with miracle drugs flowing into her system, my friend was a comfortable woman in labor. She tried to rest while we chatted, watched hours of 80’s sitcoms and waited. We were all enthralled by the monitors. There were graphs tracking both the baby’s heart rate and the strength of the contractions. The screen also showed all of the monitors of the other women in labor on the floor. We could tell when the woman down the hall was having a “big one” and that one woman was having twins due to two fetal heart beats. I spent hours gazing at the monitors.
At some point mid-day, Auntie and I went down to grab some lunch. We had a few bites of our not-so-bad hospital food only to receive a text from dad mid-chew, “9.5 cm”. Faster than a contraction, we tossed the contents of our trays (well, Auntie did, I don’t easily discard food, so my salad joined me in the elevator) and headed up for the main event.
To be continued…
My son informed me this morning that I was celebrating my 18th Mother’s Day. If that doesn’t make me feel old…….talk to me next month at his graduation.
I remember after he was born that Mother’s Day had an entirely different meaning to me. It became my favorite day of the year, not only because it was for and about ME, but those pre-school Mother’s Day brunches with the hand made cards and dead dandelions coming home in a painted flower pot were always so sweet and special.
What I really grew to love about Mother’s Day was the community feeling I have with all the other mothers in my path. Most of my Mother’s Days have been spent in and out of the temple dropping kids at Hebrew School and on the soccer field. Both of those places are swarming with mothers and I love the communal wishing of “Happy Mother’s Day” to my fellow mothers.
This year I have been thinking a lot about the women that are not currently mothering either by choice, or by many unexplained phenomena that are preventing the opportunity to mother. I know women that are unable to get pregnant, who haven’t found a partner with whom to parent or who are waiting for a child via adoption. I also know too many women that have lost children either during pregnancy or after a their child has been born.
I read this blog post (http://nomoretomorrows.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/for-the-mothers-who-are-but-arent/) from a woman who lost a child in utero and it brought tears to my heart. I also read this post called “Dear Moms of Adopted Children” (http://www.kathylynnharris.com/dear-moms-of-adopted-children/). I saw photos posted of friends and their moms who are no longer living and many photos of friends with their moms or of grandma’s and their grandchildren. While this day is joyful for many, it can also be painful and stinging for many others.
A friend posted this on Facebook today and it couldn’t more accurate:
“Living across the country from my family, I’ve come to believe that it really does take a village. I am blessed to have so many friends who are willing to help care for my kids and keep them in line. Happy Mothers’ Day to my village and to all my friends, nearby and far away. Today we honor all women who guide our children, whether or not they are mothers in the literal sense. Enjoy your day.”
I’ve been thinking about all of the women in our community that give so much love and support to our kids; some are mothers, some are not. I know many women that are aunts and that love their nieces and nephews as much as their mothers do. Often the aunts make for the better playmate/confidante/partner-in-crime because they are exactly that: NOT the mother. I think about all of the women that take care of our kids while we go to work; day care providers, nannies and au pairs – WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT THEM?
What really used to be a Hallmark holiday has, with the help of social media, become a much written about, posted about and/or tweeted about day. Whether it was sweet, sour or bittersweet for you, I wish you joy in this moment and the knowledge that tomorrow we ALL go back to the drawing board: work, laundry, meals etc.