My youngest, my peanut, my honeybuns, lovebug, poopers, babydoll, my baby … turns eight today. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around that one. I feel like she was just born yesterday. That’s probably because I look like I just gave birth yesterday. Isn’t there a law that says you have up ten years to lose your pregnancy weight? I think I read that somewhere.
She’s my last child but I never thought she’d be my last child. I fully intended on having three children and I have no idea why except that I just did. But things never work out as you plan, do they?
As it had with Zoe, it took me awhile to get pregnant and every month, I’d hold my breath, pee on a stick and watch it say “NO SOUP FOR YOU” and be disappointed. And I apologize if you are not a Seinfeld fan because you’re probably wondering what soup has to do with pee and not in a good way.
So I’d pee on the damn stick, get no soup, sigh, emerge from the bathroom, look at Nate reproachfully and say “I have a perfectly good uterus that is going to waste and if we aren’t going to use it, then I’m going to sell it at a garage sale because I can lose ½ pound and make money at the same time.” Because I tend to be overly dramatic and efficient. And he’d say “Give it time, it will happen.” Because he tends to be calm and rational. Then I’d yell “IT’S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN, EVER EVER EVER, ZOE WAS JUST A FLUKE, MY BODY HATES ME.” Because I don’t have a calm or rational bone in my body when my reproductive system bails on me.
And as usual, Nate was right and it did happen and one morning, I peed on the 296th stick and it said “OH, FOR GOD’S SAKE, YES! NOW STOP PEEING ALREADY AND LEAVE US ALONE” and I had to look around to make sure someone else hadn’t peed on the stick when I wasn’t looking. Then I got very very happy and broke the news to Nate that his swimmers had crossed over the finish line and he got very very happy and we stayed very very happy right up until the day I threw up.
And then I remembered that the reason my body doesn’t get pregnant very easily is most likely because it doesn’t like being pregnant. AT ALL. Hates it, in fact, and will only tolerate the condition for approximately three weeks at which point it acts like a spoiled little snot by heaving up the contents of my stomach all day, every day, for about nine weeks. And when there are no contents left in my stomach, it’s perfectly happy to heave up bile. And once the bile runs out, there’s a myriad of internal organs to choose from.
The beginning of this pregnancy mirrored my pregnancy with Zoe to a tee. My body starting rebelling three weeks into my first trimester to the point that I could not blink without throwing up and I landed in the emergency room and my doctor ordered me to go on disability from my job as a paralegal in a downtown law firm. I was worried that the attorneys I worked for would be irritated but instead, they were relieved. Apparently they didn’t appreciate finding vomit in their case files, the big sissy babies.
So I was confined to my home for nine weeks during which time I was placed on a visiting nurse’s rotation and I became best friends with an IV which I dragged around my house all day, every day. This lasted right up until I entered my second trimester and then *BAM* my body came to its senses, smartened up and started to behave itself. Not a minute too soon because Nate was in charge of grocery shopping during this time and he came home every other day with bags full of unhealthy, vitamin deficient, fat infused frozen dinners. When Zoe poked me in the shoulder and asked if Nate could make dinner forever, I ripped that IV out of my arm and yelled ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, I NEED TO COOK SOMETHING and that was the first and last time I ever uttered those words.
Life got back to normal, I went back to work and I gained weight and then more weight and then even more weight to the tune of fifty pounds until I couldn’t see my feet anymore unless I looked in the mirror and when I did look in the mirror, I was horrified to see that my feet looked like two fleshy balloons that were connected directly to my calves because my ankles had apparently decided to up and abandon me behind my back. Stupid ankles.
Towards the end, I was in agony. I was carrying a wild turkey in my uterus and my pelvis had relocated to somewhere between my knees. When I went to my doctor, she estimated that the turkey was cooking ahead of schedule and when finally done, would weigh in at over ten pounds. And I said there was no way I was having a ten pound turkey, that was not in the original plan, it constituted a total deal breaker and I wanted my money back. And she said no refunds, no exchanges but she could induce me early and hopefully shave a pound off the turkey and increase my chances for a VBAC. And for all of your birth virgins or men out there, a VBAC is a “vaginal birth after cesarean.” Isn’t this blog just a plethora of information?
So I said something like “Inducement? I don’t have to waddle around like I have a tree trunk stuck up my ass any longer? Sign me up!” We scheduled the inducement and my parents drove up for the event.
And immediately, my body decided to screw with me yet again and go into false labor around the clock. A very big, round clock.
I never had false labor with Zoe so I thought it was the real thing. I started to time the contractions and Nate started to wig out. And I assured him that if Zoe’s birth was any indication, nothing important was going to happen for a while so he should just relax.
So he mowed the lawn. Because Nate is Nate and that is how he relaxes. During my false labor, he’d mow the lawn, come back in, see me grimace, hear me say “ooomph” and run back out and mow it in the other direction. Then he’d come back in, see me breathing heavy, hear me say “holy crap,” and hightail it back outside and mow it diagonally.
For a two week stretch in August of 2000, our lawn could have doubled as a putting green for the PGA.
We did wind up going to the hospital at one point and no sooner did I walk through their doors when my contractions stopped. Of course they did. This is my body we’re talking about. The body that chooses to get a diarrhea virus on Thanksgiving when we’re hosting the meal, the same body that decides to have a period the day before leaving on vacation, the very same body that decides to get the mother of all cold sores on July Fourth, six hours before leaving for a picnic where I’m meeting 30+ people for the first time. My body.
They told me to go back home. Oh, and they said that Nate should stop giving me foot rubs because they more than likely contributed to the onset of false labor.
That’s like being told you’ve won a $10,000 shopping spree at Mall of America, packing up the kids, driving sixteen hours to the mall, getting lost, running out of gas, having your car’s engine drop onto the highway, hailing down a taxi, having the taxi run over your foot, transferring your luggage and kids and arriving at the mall, exhausted, sweaty and hungry but ready and willing to shop your heart out, only to be told that the mall was closed for repairs that day so come back in a week. Oh, and by the way, here’s a ticket for $500 for littering because you left your dirty, corroded engine back there on I-90.
Inducement Day came and Nate and I got ourselves comfortable in my hospital room and at 8:00 pm, they induced me and wow, what an anticlimactic disappointment. Never having been induced before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought at least there would be some fanfare, a band, a raffle and maybe a dessert bar. But there was nothing except … well, nothing.
So we waited. And waited. And waited some more. I fell asleep in my bed and Nate fell asleep in the chair next to me and at 2:00 am, I woke him up to let him know that my body felt like it was being ripped apart by aliens and should we tell someone? We called the nurse and Nate rubbed my back and looked wistfully out at the lawn and I became suspicious that he had packed the John Deere in my baby bag when I wasn’t looking.
After a few hours, I received an epidural. Now, for 99% of women, this is a God send. But remember, this is my body we’re talking about.
First the anesthesiologist hit a nerve three times while giving me my epidural and it was like someone electrocuting me and then dousing me with gasoline and lighting me on fire.
Then the epidural didn’t work. Well, that’s not exactly true. It would work, then it stopped working on the right side of my body after thirty minutes, then they administered a bolus. It would work, then it stopped working on the left side of my body after thirty minutes, then they administered another bolus. Lather, rinse, repeat too many times to count.
Then my cervix decided to pitch a hissy fit and stubbornly refused to dilate any further than four centimeters.
And finally, my whole body decided that 721 epidural boluses was enough. Did you know that too many boluses can cause you to become numb right up to your collarbone and make you so sleepy that you can’t open your eyes? But you can still hear your doctor yelling at you to stay awake and you can feel him slapping your cheeks to wake you and you can hear him shouting “WHAT HAPPENED?” at the nurses who are all in a frenzy and you can feel lots of electrodes being stuck all over your body and you can sense the worry and anxiety and fear that has overcome your husband who is asking anyone who will listen “WHAT IS GOING ON?” and who is most likely frantically looking out the window for any patch of grass that needs pruning.
All of these things combined bought me a one way ticket to the nearest operating room and a c-section.
I remember crying on my way there because I was exhausted and scared for my baby and I simply couldn’t bear the thought of another c-section.
I remember my sister-in-law leaning down over me, giving me kiss on my forehead and telling me it was going to be all right.
I remember thinking “Did Becky just do what I think she just did?” because Becky didn’t do that kind of thing, especially with me. So I immediately thought I was dying and I cried harder and hoped that Zoe would remember me and that my house was clean and my dishes were done and that someone would remember to put some decent underwear on me.
I remember Nate’s eyes above his mask as he stood next to me when they made the first incision.
I remember one of the doctor’s exclaiming “Did you see that?!” and thinking that was an odd thing to say. Turns out my uterus did a little blooming onion type of maneuver during the incision.
I remember the doctor telling Nate that if he leaned over, he could watch his child being born.
I remember the words “It’s a girl!”
I remember knowing with utter certainty that every single second of my pregnancy and labor and delivery was absolutely, without a doubt, worth it.
I remember thanking God for Nate and Zoe and our new little one.
I remember seeing her little face and falling in love all over again.
Happy Birthday, Peanut.