* This is the first part of a four part series, You can also read Your Birth Story: Part Two, Your Birth Story: Part Three, & Your Birth Story: Part Four. *
It's been three years. It's only taken three years to sit down and write your birth story. In my defense, it's been the fastest three years of my life...& also the most amazing.
Three years ago, my body felt broken- broken to the point I didn't think I wold ever feel whole again- but my heart felt so much fuller than I could have ever imagined. But, let's start at the beginning. I had never wanted to get pregnant...but I always knew I wanted to have kids. It's possible I was forever scarred after watching birthing videos to prepare for the birth of one of my siblings (which I didn't end up witnessing, thank God). While babies always seemed like a beautiful miracle, to me, child birth was just gross & pregnancy seemed awful.
I grew up hoping that either I would have enough money to be able to pay for a surrogate or someone would just volunteer. I may have asked some of my family members. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy...I guess I kinda was.
Since I wasn't a millionaire, & no one seemed to want to volunteer nine months of their lives, I settled on the fact we would have to do things the old fashioned way. While your daddy & I had only been married for six months, we had been together for almost ten years. It's not that we even decided to start trying to have a baby, we simply just decided to stop preventing a baby. We figured if we were to get pregnant right away, great. If not, we didn't have a set timeline & wouldn't get stressed out. I assured your daddy that I had read somewhere that it takes at least three months to get pregnant after stopping the birth control pill (his friends now call that the three month lie), & he agreed to stop trying not to have a baby too.
Well, it didn't take three months. I'm not even sure it took three days. When my midwife told me I was pregnant, I laughed & said "that's really funny." That's when she stuck the pregnancy test an inch away from my face and said, "see the two lines? That means you're pregnant." I immediately burst into tears of joy. I mean, I told myself we were just not preventing & we had time, but for a while I had been looking at pregnant women with a longing I cannot describe. I held my belly & looked down & for the first time dreamed of what you would look like and who you would be.
As much as I was bursting to tell someone else the exciting news, I wanted your daddy to be the next to know, & I wanted to tell him in person. We had already planned to meet for happy hour at one of our favorite restaurants (I wasn't expecting good news at my doctor's appointment), & I met him with a gift. Inside a box was a baby RedSox baseball cap & RedSox onesie. Daddy picked up the cap & looked at me with an puzzled "this is too small to fit me" look. Then he picked up the onesie. A shocked, absolutely stunned & dumbfounded look spread across his face. I could almost hear him thinking, "what about the three months?" No one can really blame him. It wasn't just the swiftness of the pregnancy, it was also thinking about the fact we were scheduled to go to a beer festival the next day & travel to Ireland in just a couple weeks.
Needless to say, the beer festival didn't happen for me. And Ireland? Let's just say it was a much different trip than planned. Sure, we traveled the countryside & climbed mountains, but I felt nauseous at every step & often had to stop to vomit. I couldn't keep anything down. I spent more time vomiting in the bathrooms of Ireland than I had spent my whole life added together. We celebrated my 28th birthday in Ireland, & your daddy said we could do whatever I wanted. I asked if we could spend the whole day in bed. I was exhausted. I read somewhere the the energy expended in the daily growth & development of a baby during the first trimester is comparable to the energy used to complete a marathon. Except that no one runs marathons every day.
All of a sudden, I had developed a super sonic sense of smell that has never gone away. EVERYTHING smelled bad to me. We returned from Ireland to the brand new carpets that had been installed in our home & a new car. Augh, worst smells ever! My shampoo, perfume & lotion? Forget about it...disgusting! Surprisingly, the strong smell of lilacs were the only thing that didn't seem to smell awful to me. Your papa was amazing. He trimmed lilacs off our bushes & filled the house with them. I will always think of you when I smell lilacs.
Once the second trimester rolled around, most of the nausea went away & I had more energy. Things weren't so bad except that I looked super fat. Why is it that every other pregnant woman looked adorable to me & I just looked huge? The emergence of my belly also opened me up to the unsolicited advice & ignorant comments of strangers. One woman actually told me that she just knew I was having a girl because my face was fat. I also had random people touching my stomach. Here is my unsolicited advice, unless it is offered, don't grab a pregnant woman's belly.
I know I sound really complainy. I'm pretty sure if I was a woman trying to get pregnant & I was reading this, I would hate me right now. I just didn't love being pregnant. I always knew I wouldn't. I still don't understand women who love being pregnant, but that doesn't mean there wasn't joy in being pregnant. I loved you the very second I knew about you, & knowing that you were on the way was the biggest happiness I'd ever known. I loved feeling you move inside my belly. You were stubborn, & anytime someone else tried to feel you move you would stop. It was almost like you saved your kicks special just for me (soon your hard kicks felt less special. you've always had quite a kick). The only time someone else had a chance to feel you move is when you had the hiccups. You had them at least 3 times a day, & it would make me giggle to think of you bouncing around with hiccups.
I talked to you & sang to you & smiled as I thought of you growing & developing. I loved to read about what kind of fruit you resembled in size each week. During your ultrasounds, tears streamed down my face. Looking at your little arms, your little legs...seeing you move around (you were quite the womb gymnast), I exclaimed that you were the cutest little one in the world (& our ultrasound tech smirked as we continued to look at the weird ultrasound images). Every time I got to hear your heart beat at one of my appointments, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I was super paranoid. If it had been fifteen minutes & I hadn't felt you move, I was practically frozen in fear waiting for a little poke. Random television show moments & commercials made me cry (Sarah Mclachlan's animal cruelty commercial got me every time). Otherwise, your daddy says I was actually nicer during my pregnancy. It was like I knew I was going to have to start letting things go. I'm very type-A, & previously everything had to be just so. I had started to realize that I couldn't plan everything. For instance, I had never wanted a baby born right around Christmas time. It never seemed fair to have to share your birthday with Jesus. But there I was, due on December 29th. I realized that was just the beginning of things I would not longer have control over.
I also tried to cherish this time with your daddy. While the nausea, the exhaustion, & the supersonic smell were happening to me, I felt so bad for your daddy. He came home from work, & I was already in bed. He would bring me dinner in bed & I would typically be sleeping by 7pm. By the second trimester, I still didn't really feel like the life of the party. An 8pm bedtime sounded just right to me, but I tried to make an effort. In a few short months, everything would change. It would never be just me & Daddy ever again. As a very pregnant woman we still went to a Weezer & Blink 182 concert, cheered at baseball games, participated in a 5k, traveled on long road trips, & I DD'ed quite a bit as we went out with friends (reminding him that he would be paying me back at the end of the nine months). We celebrated our first year anniversary in Boston. I waddled through the streets, & your Daddy asked me if I was doing OK every 30 seconds.
The third trimester was exhausting & uncomfortable. As much as I tried, I couldn't sleep more than a few hours a night. I could feel the space inside my body getting tighter, & you kicked & punched me to no end. We celebrated Thanksgiving a month before you were due. I was beyond excited about the holiday. Finally I could eat as much as I wanted & not feel bad. After all, I was eating for two, right? Unfortunately, the size of my stomach had shrunk in the small space & I was full after a few bites of yumminess. I felt like I was part of Alanis Morissette's song, "isn't it ironic, don't you think?"
Your daddy saw that an episode of "A Baby Story" was on TV & we sat down to watch it. During the birth portion, I began to feel light headed. It was all the disgustingness I dreaded. "Oh my gosh. Turn it off! TURN IT OFF!" I exclaimed. I felt sick to my stomach & I panicked. "Maybe we should have thought about this more. I don't think I can do this. I change my mind. Right, I can change my mind?" Your daddy was just as grossed out as he smiled at me & softly told me there was no turning back. That was going to be our reality in just a month. Thank God I had you to look forward to. That was the only thing that didn't have me crying & huddled in a corner.
Due to my sleeplessness & my super low blood pressure, I stopped working a month before your due date. I spent that time readying your room & trying to walk you out. My whole family was coming up for Christmas (8 people & 3 dogs), & I really hoped you'd be there to share it with us. I walked 1-3 miles a day on the treadmill & read everything on the internet about things to eat that would induce labor. I made myself smoothies of mangoes, pineapple, & kiwi. I made eggplant parm three times.
Two weeks before my due date I had lost my mucus plug & was at my weekly doctor's appointment. I was four centimeters dilated & my midwife said she wouldn't be surprised if I had you in the next 24 hours (which she said she never says to anyone). My Dad took me for a bumpy drive, my family had me climb a tower, & I was bounced up & down on a yoga ball. Two weeks later, Christmas had passed, half of my family had left to go back to North Carolina, I had lost a second mucus plug, it was my due date, & there I was still pregnant.
I love you so,