Posted by: Dennie | August 28, 2012

Today’s Topic: August 28, 1985

It’s Wednesday and the early morning sun hints at what today will bring. Dawn breaks later each day, yet summer is reluctant to leave, and today she will hang on tight. At 6:30am  it is already warm–the air moist with humidity.

My swollen belly is ripe with my first baby, and I feel a few odd twinges as I haul myself from  bed.  Shuffling into the bathroom, my bladder begs for relief from the now familiar pressure I have come to know so well. I pee, and notice that the twinge feels a little stronger. The stream subsides and when I stand, I notice  a pinkish tinge to the water. I call to my husband.

“How do you feel?” he asks staring down into the toilet. He is calm-his usual undeterred self.

“Okay,” I respond. “I have twinges. Maybe today will be the day.”

“Let’s give it a little time and see what happens.”

Waddling to the kitchen, I pour  a cup of coffee and lower myself onto a chair. Gazing out the window at the sun dappled lawn, I try to picture what  soon-to-be motherhood will be like. Will I be a good mother? Will I be patient and loving?  I wanted this baby, but I worry when I think about my own mother. She wanted me too, but when I arrived, she was totally unprepared for the reality of a child. Beside herself  with sleep deprivation and overwhelmed with the sheer responsibility of my existence, she had a difficult time adjusting. Late night feedings very nearly caused my demise as she one night attempted to pour a gallon of milk down my throat. It was my father who came to my rescue, snatching me away from her to feed me himself.  I reflect on that often told story and consider myself. I don’t function well when I’m tired–how will I be with my own child in the middle of the night? Will I be like my mother? Will I resent my baby?

My mind drifts to the new life safe inside my womb. Is it a boy or a girl? Will she be healthy? Who will he look like?  How will she do in school? What kind of person will my baby grow up to be?  Will I be able to help this child navigate the obstacle course of life and grow to be emotionally healthy and happy? Do I have the skills and the life experience to do that? Will I be alright? Will she?

I’m nervous. Anxious about the labor and delivery, too,  as it won’t be much longer now. But I’m also excited.  My husband and I discuss the options for the day and I decide to go into work. I’ve chosen not to take leave until after the birth as new mothers are only allotted six weeks and I want  to extend every precious moment that I’ll have  with my child.

It’s hot inside the house, and I anticipate the cool air-conditioned office where my husband and I both work.  Our co-workers are taking bets on the birth-day. My doctor has calculated September 3. Labor day. Ha ha. They all think it’s a hoot. I’m not so sure.

The morning passes uneventfully, with a few more twinges. I have a feeling that this baby is not going to wait until September. My parents are on vacation in Maine, and I give my mom a call.

“It’s me,” I say when she answers the phone. “No baby yet.”

She laughs. “How’re you holding up?”

“I’m doing great. But I think maybe tonight will be the night. If it is, do you want us to call you before we leave for the hospital?”

She hesitates. I can almost hear her thinking. Then, “No. Wait until it gets here.”  I’m guessing she’s thinking of her own twenty-three hour labor with me. She’s not good in those situations and waiting would make her a nervous wreck.

“Alright. I guess we’ll see what happens.”

“Hang in there, honey. It won’t be long now.”

“I know. Love you, mom.”

“Love you too.”

After lunch, I experience one good jolt as I’m sitting at my desk. I close my eyes,  breathe, and it passes. Glancing around, I check  to see if anyone’s noticed, but no concerned looks are coming my way.

Five o’clock finally arrives. We still don’t have a dresser for the baby, so we head off to a tag sale before going home.  I spot a little three drawer chest in the corner of the garage. It’s oak, and exactly what I was looking for. We buy it and my husband loads the piece into our truck. Hot and tired, we head home for some dinner.

Everyone has stories, remedies and advice for preggos. Lately the advice has been that Italian food will bring on labor. I’m not in the mood for anything spicy or with tomatoes, so my husband throws a couple of burgers on the grill. Quick and easy. Little clean up required.

At seven o’clock I take my shower and lie on the couch to watch a little TV. At nine, I turn in, and my husband joins me shortly after. Unlike him, I have trouble falling asleep and can’t seem to get comfortable.  The twinges have not left all day and are beginning to get stronger. He snores beside me.

10:37. The first good one hits. I breathe, trying to remember what they told us in Lamaze. I wait.

11:05. Another. These are no longer twinges. I think this is the real thing. I clench the sheets and breathe. My husband snores beside me.

11:17. Here we go. What should I do? Wake him? I hang on and ride through, breathing. Maybe this is false labor.

11:30. If this is false, I don’t want to know what the real thing is. These suckers are getting stronger and lasting longer.

11:40. I think it’s time. I wake  my husband. How far in between, he asks. About ten minutes, I reply.  We wait.

Another hits at 11:51. My husband calls the doctor. They tell us to wait until the contractions are regular and spaced every ten minutes. I lie back on the bed. He goes to take a shower. What the hell?

Another hour drags by, and I can’t wait any longer. The pain is really beginning to get tough. The contractions aren’t spaced exactly evenly, but my body’s not a   friggin’ clock. I don’t give a shit anymore. I just want to go to the hospital. We leave. It’s 1:15am

It’s a ten minute ride. The contractions are regular now, but amazingly, in between, I feel fine. It’s a beautiful night. The sky is clear and a huge yellow moon floods the hospital parking lot with its light. My husband has to maneuver the car around some construction that’s taking place. He pulls up to the entrance and we get out. He grabs my bag , we walk to the door and stop. Oh shit. We forgot they told us that we needed to use the emergency entrance due to the construction. Back to the car. Drive around. Park. Get out. CONTRACTION!   I lean heavily on a construction horse left on the side of the building. Breathe. It subsides. We go in.

Everyone is nice. Helpful. Kind. And quick. They fill out my paperwork and get me upstairs. Hand me a gown to change into. I get on the bed. My doctor bounces into the room. I love him. He is of Polynesian descent and sometimes I have trouble understanding him when he speaks. But tonight he needs no words. He comes over. Hugs me. Holds my hand and gently pushes me back onto the bed.

3;50 am The contractions are coming regularly now. And quick. The monitor tells us the baby is doing just fine. Do I want an epidural? No, I say. Not yet. It might be now or never, the nurse suggests. I’ll take my chances, I respond.

WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING??? CAN I PLEASE HAVE THE EPIDURAL NOW? PLEEEEEEEZE????? I can’t take this much longer. My wonderful doctor smiles at me. He tells me I”m too far gone, and a spinal would make no difference. It won’t be long now. My husband tries to feed me ice chips. I turn my head away. He reaches out to wipe my forehead with a cool cloth and I smack his hand away. I’m in transition. I don’t like it. IT SUCKS.

It’s time to push.  My doctor and  nurse know when the next contraction will come. Wait…wait…hold on–NOW-PUSH. I pull myself toward them and push with all my might. Please come out, baby, please. They tell me to stop. I wait.Then again they order me to push. Good, good, they praise. We can see the head. Hang on-almost there. You’re doing great. Another contraction. Another huge push and I feel the baby move. It’s coming! everyone encourages. My husband is down with the doctor. He is crying.  One more will do it…..ready? Go ahead….

I feel my baby slip out of my body in a  release of  pain.  I try to stretch up and see but I can’t….

“What is it?” I cry. “I can’t see.”

“It’s a girl,” everyone responds in unison. “You have a beautiful baby daughter.”

4:47am

They take her to the other side of the room She is crying. A full lusty cry. Ten fingers. Ten toes. Ten on the APGAR scale. She is perfect.

Tears of joy ribbon my face. I am exhausted, but exhilarated as they place her in my arms.  A daughter. My daughter. My baby. I love you.

*Happy twenty-seventh birthday, sweetheart. I’m so proud of you.*

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