Friday, November 15, 2013
I was overjoyed when I found out I was going to be a mother for the first time. I had 6 little brothers and sisters. As is common in large families I helped a lot with the little ones. So I felt more than ready.
My family did not live in the same state then so I could not go to my mother with questions. I sat and listened to all the women I knew talking about the horrors of labor. I was not overly concerned because I have always had the ability to live in the moment so until it happened it had nothing to do with me.
My husband made his own preparations for getting me to the hospital when the time came. He took the experience as a good excuse to be able to run through red lights and stop signs. It would be a great adventure.
In the meantime I gained forty pounds. A lot of it was fluid because I retain fluid naturally anyway. Soon I began feeling little butterfly ripples in my abdomen. My baby was kicking! Every mother knows that your love for your baby begins long before it it born. I do not know how it is for a father but I was totally enchanted.
My baby was due before Mother's Day. As Mother's Day got closer and closer I hoped that I would not spend my first Mother's Day in the hospital. I was not in the hospital for Mother's Day. I still had not had my baby.
In bed and sound asleep during the night after Mother's Day I woke up suddenly. My water broke. Because I slept next to the wall I had to try to get my husband who slept like a dead man to let me up. I tried to tell him what was happening.
While I was in the bathroom getting dressed he came running in demanding to know why I had wet the bed! At least he was awake.
I again explained what was happening. He ran upstairs to the apartment of a friend and woke her up. She came down to offer help. She asked if I was in labor. I did not know. Nothing hurt. But I was feeling occasional bouts of what felt like the baby strongly kicking.
She times those. They happened about 6 minutes apart. I needed to go to the hospital.
That is when my husband became sick. He went to the medicine cabinet and poured every compound he could find into his stomach to try to settle it.
Then we set off for the hospital. Would you believe it? Every traffic light was green. My poor husband did not even get the pleasure of running even one red light.
I never did experience labor pains with my first baby. I kept waiting for it to hurt.
I was placed in a room with a woman whose baby was dead. They wanted her to experience normal delivery if possible because they thought it would be better for her physical recovery.
She was in terrible pain and knew she was not going to have a baby to hold after. She became hysterical. Remembering all those stories I heard earlier I waited for that to happen to me.
The doctor came in, did a quick examination, and said, "Okay. Let's go have a baby." I never did feel any pain.
My second baby was a different experience. I woke up almost exactly at the same time the alarm clock went off. It was time for my husband to go to work. But today he would be taking me to the hospital.
Once again things progressed quickly. And I was definitely feeling some discomfort. We dropped my oldest son off to be with my mother.
My doctor cme into the labor room and gave me a quick exam. Then he said that he was going to the cafeteria for a quick cup of coffee. As he started out the door I told him the baby was coming. He told me that it would take twenty minutes for the anesthetic to take effect and he would be back then.
Well he should have listened to me. The intern was getting into his scrubs. I said the baby is here. He turned and managed to grab my son just before he landed on the table.
My husband had taken a new job out of town. Naturally he was not there when labor began for my third baby. I was experiencing contractions but they were extremely erratic. It would be twenty minutes until the next one. Then the next one would be in four minutes. Then ten minutes. Then fifteen minutes. Then three minutes. They might last ninety seconds ot five seconds. There was no regularity at all.
Mom had my brother drive us to the hospital. The whole way I kept telling her that I was not sure I was in labor. I was going to be so embarrassed if they sent me home. This was my third baby for goodness sake. I did not even know if I was in labor.
They took me upstairs. Mom stayed to fill out those papers that need to be filled out and then went to the father's waiting room. A nurse popped her head in the door and asked if anyone was there with Emma. Mom got up.
She was told she could come see me. On the way they passed the nursery. The nurse asked my mother if she would like to see the baby.
Mom explained to her that she must have the wrong person. I had just come in after all. The nurse repeated my name. Mom said yes, that was right. The nurse showed my mother her new grandson.
When my fourth child was born I was staying with my parents again. As quickly as my babies seemed to be born we were worried that I might not make it 30 miles to hospital where we lived.
I went into labor and my mother drove me to the hospital. I went in to be examined. The long and short of it was that it was a false labor. I prepared to dress and go home.
The doctor went out to tell my mother it would be probably another ten days before my baby was born. She looked at him and said, "Oh no you don't. I know how she does this. I'll get her halfway home and she'll have that baby in the car."
He told her she could have me walk the halls for a bit to see if that would do anything. After a couple of hours Mom finally gave up and took me home. My daughter was born ten days later.
As you can see each experience was different. How can that be? I am the same person. It comes down to the babies. Just as they are unique individuals now, they were unique then too. Each came in his/her own time and own way.