the day I became a Mother
It seems fitting that this year on Mother's Day I finally share Anderson's birth story. It's been a long time coming and seeing as I have already forgotten some details, it's time I get it down in pen before more memories slip my mind.
Truth be told the past seven and a half months have been some of the most challenging, stressful, and without a doubt exhausting times of my life. They have also been the most rewarding and joyful. I've always wanted to be a Mom and I can say with confidence once again that it's really all it's cracked up to be for me. It's the best job I've ever had and one I am honored to hold. Being able to stay at home with Anderson is a blessing indeed and something I don't take lightly.
Looking at Anderson the past week with this day in my mind it's hard to believe how tiny he once was and how far he's come. So, let's start at the beginning.
On September 22 I woke up just in time to throw some dry shampoo in my hair, a somewhat-cute outfit, and a little bit of makeup on. I headed out the door in time to make it to the first meeting for the Mom's Group/Bible Study I planned to attend each Thursday once Anderson arrived. I knew I would miss most of the meeting since I had my 39 week appointment that day but I figured I'd go and meet some people. I went, sang some worship songs, met some nice ladies, then met my Mom and headed off to my OB.
Of course I was ready for Anderson's arrival, but didn't expect what was about to unravel. We saw one of the OB's in the practice and she did the usual at this point- checked his heartbeat, and measured my belly. I was measuring a bit smaller than they would have liked and there didn't seem to be much growth from the week before. When asked if I felt like he was moving a lot I didn't have much of a response. What was I to compare this to? Sure he was moving, but not a ton. Maybe he was just a mellow kid? Napping a lot? Needless to say she recommended I get an ultrasound to measure the fluid. I wasn't too worried by this (I don't think) until I saw the nurse calling to get me scheduled for an appointment soon, and having the OB come out to reassure me they would see me shortly. I liked the idea of seeing Anderson again as I knew he'd look so much different than he did so many weeks before at our 20 week appointment. The nurse finally told me they could see me in about an hour so I called Benjamin to tell him the news then my Mom and I headed to lunch.
Somewhere between "how about you get an ultrasound" and "they'll see you in an hour" my head began to wander. My Mom and I went to a restaurant and I ate a large meal like it might be my last. I frantically texted with a friend who has 4 kids about what was going on. We both agreed they should just get Anderson out if there was any concern. I was nervous and giddy that I might be meeting him soon. I was also a bit worried and emotional, trying not to cry in front of the waiter whenever bad thoughts entered my mind.
At the appointment the technician showed us all of his organs and measured the fluid. She told me often how full his bladder was and how much he must have to go 'pee pee.' oh dear. We didn't get to see his face much as he was so big now it was hard to see that much. She went back to do some math and came back with her boss, a very kind man who was also a husband and father. He told us that the fluid didn't necessarily measure low, but it looked questionable to him. He had me drink some juice to see if Anderson would move and kick a lot. He didn't. My Mom asked the doc what he would do if this was his wife and he told us that his wife had been in a similar spot and he would be surprised if they didn't admit me.
At this point I was excited about the thought of meeting him soon. Potentially very soon. My Mom and I had to go wait to hear from the OB on call about what her thoughts were regarding the test. We sat in a nice waiting room with a closed door. The kind of room where you know people have gotten bad news before. It wasn't my favorite place to be...sitting there waiting. Finally, instead of a phone call, the kind doctor came in and told us that my OB wanted me to go check in at the hospital.
Let the freaking out begin. I seemed to sprint from that room to my Mom's car where I quickly called Benjamin and told him, through a cracked tearful voice, that I was headed to the hospital and my Dad would pick him up from work and take him there. I sent an email to some friends who I knew would pray and before we knew it we were at the hospital and I was checking in.
We got to triage and saw the OB. She was surprised Anderson's ultrasound test came back the way it did but told us that if we had the test done again there was no way to take an average score and go from there. At this point it was best to get him out as I was 39 weeks and we were all ready. I would be admitted and they would start the induction that night.
Once in the room the nurses were very helpful and said they were all confused about why we were there. Anderson looked great but despite that I wasn't supposed to get out of bed. I asked if I could take a shower but the moment I got out of bed his heartbeat dropped so to the bed I was confined. He didn't respond well to the induction medicine so that was removed.
The next morning after a sleeping pill let me sleep some I was given petocin. Again, Anderson didn't like the drugs and his heartbeat dropped. At this point I don't remember a whole lot more. I did want and get an epidural, something the nurses were all happy about. As far as I was concerned no medals would be given out at the end of this and I knew my pain tolerance wasn't that high.
Once I started feeling the contractions coming on, and not knowing how fast they would progress and how much stronger they would get, I opted for the epidural. Overall it was a great decision despite not being able to feel my legs and being pretty tired. I napped a lot until his arrival which means when it was time to push I definitely had the energy to do so.
My Mom ended up being in the room with us the whole time. My dad left as things got more intense and I got a bit shorter with everyone. I remember getting a little (or a lot) self-centered as I anticipated his arrival and thinking that everyone else was watching TV. I told them to turn it off, stand up, and focus on me! yes- the brat came out. We all have moments we're not proud of. Benjamin thinks this was hours before he was born.... oops.
Around 6:00 PM there was a change of shift for the nurses and so they told me once that happened they would come in and we would start working on getting him out. I now think, and after seeing his head, that he was ready at 6, or before then. Regardless, he was born at 7:38 PM, healthy and as happy as a newborn can be.
My Mom's nursing background came in handy and she and Benjamin made a great team encouraging me as I pushed and anticipated Anderson's arrival! He came out quickly and of course Benjamin and I cried and kissed and I held him close to me. It seems like those moments didn't last long enough as he was soon getting measured and cleaned up. Next he was held by his grandparents and Benjamin of course. As I think about our next child I think I'll want to hold them longer those first moments.
That evening when we got into our room I thought we had the most beautiful boy. We were a family and I was content as I lay there wide awake between my two sleeping boys. Although I wanted to have Anderson in our room the whole time I decided I should try and get some sleep without worrying about him so I let the nurse take him. I told her to return him in 2 hours so I could try to feed him again. When she came back 3 hours later I had of course been up for an hour, worried that my baby had been taken. A sleep deprived woman is risky business.
A lot has changed since that day in September, and all for the better. We're not just a couple, we're a family. We have a beautiful baby boy and I have a very content and grateful heart. I love being a Mom to Anderson and on this Mother's Day am so thankful to have the family and support that I do. It's made the past seven and a half months the best of my life.