Saturday, September 25, 2010

The First Best Day of My Life

Dear Ren,

Fifteen years ago today I met someone most dear. You. You came in the form of pink, fleshy softness with a perfectly round head and purple feet and will one day be the person who decides in which nursing home I should live. I hope we’re on good terms then :>).

You have brought me joy and a certain amount of agnst, typical for moms and daughters, over these years. But mostly joy. And happiness. And laughter. Even the story of your birth is partly humorous to those who know me and my low level tolerance for pain. I should have known then you would be quite the cut-up. So today I will share it with you, just in case one day you want to know all the little details. And keep in mind, your momma’s a wuss. No, I’m not proud of that fact, but it’s who I am.

Let me start by saying you were planned. And when I say planned I mean really planned, as in charts and thermometers planned. It’s almost as if we hand picked you from the millions of possible yous you could have been.

The week before your ETA I asked my ob-gyn if it would be possible to be induced on your exact due date and she agreed, so September 25 it was. Honestly, had I waited and let nature take its course you would probably be celebrating your birthday in October.

The night of the 24th your dad and I talked about the fact that we were likely spending our last worry-free night. We've since found out that we were correct in that thought.
A few hours later, though, I was up early getting ready to head to the hospital. I arrived, checked in, and within a short time was in my bed sitting up all nice and pretty with a smile on my face. The first nurse to arrive remarked that I must be one of the moms being induced that day. “Why, yes I am. But how did you know,” I asked. She answered that, “most women who come in already in labor don’t take time to fix their hair and put on makeup.” Oh.

My preliminary impression of being induced was go in, they give you a medicine in drip-form through an IV, and this causes your body to, within a matter of an hour or two tops, birth a baby. No fuss! No muss!

My postliminary impression of being induced was go in, they give you medicine via an IV, and this causes your body, a body that is not ready to have a baby, to go into hyper drive with contractions trying to force something out that is, again, not ready to come out. And along with this you also get to experience such wonderful things as enemas (described to a naive you as “just some nice warm water in a bag.”) and internal monitors put in place by a lady with a hand the size of a catcher’s mitt.

The baby-inducing drug started to flow into my system at approximately eight o’clock that morning. By eight-thirty I was no longer sitting up all nice and pretty with a smile on my face. My body, which before now had not even hinted at contracting, not even via those fake Braxton Hicks' ones, was squeezing and contorting and flexing, making me feel like one big spasm. I was in my drug-induced labor and was experiencing what they called “back labor”. And it hurt! Bad! A little Demerol was given to “take the edge off.” The edge remained. I was beginning to wonder if the tales of epidurals and spinal blocks were all some big hoax. Where were these miracles of science that would allow me to give birth and at the same time play a hand of cards with friends or take walks down the hall in my bathrobe holding hands with your dad?

After much writhing and grinding and weeping and gnashing I begged for relief. “Pleeeease, won’t you just do that thing where I don’t feel anything from my ankles up,” I beseeched. It seems that doctors do not like to give epidurals until one’s cervix has dilated somewhere in the range of 4 or 5 centimeters. “Well, we’ll have to examine you again.” Nurse Mitt returns and up she goes. This is the verbal exchange that followed.

Nurse Mitt: (grunts) “Huh”

Me: (in exasperation) What am I? Seven? Eight? Nine?

Nurse Mitt: (very dryly) Honey, you might be one and a half.

But, you know what? I got that epidural anyway. While it seems that doctors do prefer to wait before giving it, it also seems they prefer not to hear whiney patients even more. Well let me tell you, it was the most beautiful feeling I had ever known. I could then just sit there all nice and pretty with a big smile on my face and watch that little line on the monitor go up and down with nary a care.

Then your heart rate started doing some funny things. This was the most scared I was throughout the entire experience. You seemed to be in distress and there was nothing I could do to help you. Luckily, it was just the internal monitor needing a little adjustment. Around this same time I noticed I was beginning to feel pain again. And it wasn’t long before the writhing and grinding and weeping and gnashing returned.

This time the doctor herself entered for an examination. Her findings? You were too big a baby to enter the natural way. You would need to be delivered through a Caesarean section. And at that point I was given a whopping dose of some other miracle drug and, just like that, no pain again.

After being transferred onto another bed I was wheeled into the operating room, accompanied by your dad, of course. I had the sweetest nurse anesthetist and his soft, kind voice helped me remain calm as they were putting up a blue curtainy thing in front of my face to keep me from seeing anything too frightening or bloody. At some point my doctor asked if I “felt that.” When I answered “no” she said we were ready to begin. The only thing I felt throughout the entire C-section was a bit of tugging just before you made your grand entrance.

You entered this world at 4:29 p.m. that Marvelous Monday weighing in at six pounds fourteen ounces (turns out you weren't such a big baby after all). After a brief initial examination and cleaning you were wrapped in a blanket and handed to your daddy. He brought you to my side and I was able to see you for the first time. You were beautiful. The two things I remember from our first meeting was a reddish-colored birthmark far back on the right side of your face and dark blue eyes (which later turned to brown). Your dad only let me look for a minute and then he walked you to the nursery for a more thorough cleaning. Along the way eager relatives tried to get a peek at you but all they saw were your little purple feet. Your daddy had covered your face with the blanket to keep anyone from seeing you just yet, as you still had a little blood around your nose. You know how your dad likes to keep up appearances and all.

One of your first frowns.

Within a short time you were on display through the nursery window for all the world to see. And we knew you were a performer from the start. You practically rolled over that first day!

On Wednesday, it was time to take you home. Our house would no longer be the home for a couple, but rather a family. For this, your first outing, you wore the same outfit I wore on my trip home - a little, white two-piece sleep-set with green trim monogrammed with the words Take Me Home. This same outfit has since been worn by your brother too. One of these days I hope you will have the chance to dress your own little boy or girl in it for their homegoing.

Happy birthday, my sweet girl. Thank you for giving me the first best day of my life. I love you.

I'm glad we were able to take you home.

P.S. This post is linking up as a participant in Kevin and Layla's Favorite Blog Posts of 2010 Party over at the Lettered Cottage. It's one of my three most favorite posts I wrote in my first year to blog.


Susie said...

I never grow tired of hearing the story of Ren's birth. But, reading it just does not do it justice. It is so much better hearing it from you. I wonder if Ren knows how lucky she is to have you as her mom. I think she probably does.

Kate (Southern-Belle-Simple) said...

sitting here reading this post with big fat tears rolling down...and i don't even "know" you. it just goes to show that when we open ourselves to human connections, who knows what can happen. your sweet daughter has a wonderful momma! thanks for sharing your first best day story! xoxo

Tyla said...


Remind me on Halloween night when we stop by and I'll give you a personal rendition. lol


Thanks so much. It is a story I have told many, many times but never to Ren, so I thought I would put it in words for her. I think she was pleased, but she told me to "man up" and "don't be such a wuss." lol