Having three year olds makes you crazy and tired and neglectful of one's blog. But mostly it makes you thankful. I thought it fitting that I dust this old gem off on today of all days, me having a three year old now.
It was an unassuming pregnancy, my second pregnancy. More by necessity than by default. I was mothering a newly sprung toddler, who might have been an only child had I not gotten pregnant before the 14 month turn he seemed to take.
I barely had time or energy to take stock of the usual pregnancy afflictions. Although my ballooning breasts and the aching sciatica were hard to ignore.
Truth be told I rarely knew how many weeks I was pregnant unless I had just come from a midwives appointment. The second pregnancy seemed to while away amidst the chaos and din that fills the home of a toddler and two working parents.
With this pregnancy I flip flopped as to whether it was a girl or boy, finally deciding on the latter. I planned for another boy with mixed excitement, wondrous of the bond that would form between two brothers so close in age, but secretly yearning for a mother/daughter connection I held so dear with my own mother.
With May 5th as my due date, April 23 seemed a good time to finish up work. It was a Thursday. I was measuring small for how far along I was although the baby was still growing and the midwives were unworried. The discomfort that comes with the final weeks of pregnancy had yet to set in.
Driving home from work that day, I mentally listed the preparatory tasks I needed to accomplish in the following week (gardening, packing my hospital bag)and was looking forward to a final pre-baby get together that night.
Dinner at an Indian restaurant with a group of teaching friends was the plan. One last hurrah if you will. And having for the most part escaped the excruciating heart burn of my first pregnancy, a little gluttony was due.
While walking from my car to the restaurant I peed myself a little. This was not abnormal during the final months of my second pregnancy in fact its unabnormality had prompted me to begin carrying an extra change of clothes in the trunk of my car weeks ago. However this was just a dampness (nothing a panty liner couldn't handle) and it quickly slipped my mind as I greeted the ladies.
Laughter and chicken masala ensued. If you've never eaten Indian in a group, the only way to do it is to each order a couple of dishes, put them in the middle and indulge in their yummy heat. This occasion was no exception to that rule.
As the dishes were being carried away and bills were being paid, I got up for one last bathroom break before the short drive home. Upon hoisting my curry-filled girth up from the table, I suddenly felt a warm gush of epic proportions. Now to you the reader it is obvious that my water had broke. But because my water had never broke with my first pregnancy and I was unaware of its unique feeling, I still was in the dark about the whole thing.
Given my perchance for urinating in inconvenient moments that had plagued me throughout this pregnancy, I quite honestly thought I had left it a little to long and had fully wet myself this time. Being completely embarrassed I continued on my path to the bathroom unnoticed by the group.
Once in the bathroom I came to a series of realizations.
1)this was not pee as each step I took brought with it a tidal gush
2)I was thankful for the dark denim maternity jeans I was wearing because even though I was soaked, I repeat soaked from waist to ankle you couldn't really see it in the dim light
3)that having to empty amniotic fluid from your cute ballet flats into the toilet is an awkward moment
Now absolutely sure that my water had indeed broken, I hobbled back to my table trying to be low key. (all four readers of this blog may find it surprising that despite my bravado and gratuitous ego boosts, I in fact am a bit uncomfortable when a great deal of attention is payed directly to me, so I didn't want to cause a scene)
I whispered to my least excitable friend my predicament, who in turn whispered to my most excitable friend, who in turned announced to the whole restaurant that my water had broken and I was going to have a baby. The restaurant erupted into applause (I am aware that this is like a scene from a bad romantic comedy but I am not exaggerating, all four of you who read this blog are not going to believe me but it is so embarrassingly true). Needless to say the soft-spoken owner seemed relieved to have me ushered out the door by my friends.
Of course just because your water breaks doesn't mean a baby is going to drop out (although I do know a little lady where this is the case, girl you know who I'm talking about), I knew this but apparently my friends who were all seasoned mothers had forgotten that bit of information and insisted on following my car home, all of them. So that we made a little convoy of slowly moving vehicles (its hard to drive when putting your foot on the gas causes more amniotic fluid to rush out)all travelling the five minutes to my house.
Fast forward through an uneventful night, where contractions didn't begin until the early morning giving my mother time to make the 3 hour trek to my house and allowing me to make arrangements for my son's care.
A bit of a back story, the labour and delivery of my son while starting off normal enough quickly had turned into a 26 hour ordeal of hard labour, contractions not going into a pattern, the baby in mild distress, ending in a lot of oxytocin, an epidural, a vacuum extraction and a very blue baby. If I had ever prayed to a god I did then, to every damn god and deity I new of. Whether it was the power of prayer or a good rub down on the part of the midwives (who through it all never left my side because midwives are solid like that), I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy but also feelings of disappointment over the whole process.
So that that morning when my labour began in the final hours of my second pregnancy I had some apprehension. The lovely thing about having a midwife, is that you can labour mostly at home, which is so good for women like me who pace and swear and need to be held my their mother and sit on the toilet for hours and pet the cat, and talk on the phone to their best friends through clenched teeth and convince their husband to call the midwife a dozen or so times to check that they are in fact not dying and all the other stuff that is much better at home and tends to ease the apprehension even if just a little bit.
I was soon happy to find that this labour was turning out to be, well, normal. My contractions came along beautifully, there was a pattern of increasing intensity, the time between each one was getting shorter and by the time noon rolled around all systems were a go.
In theory I was looking forward to experiencing labour and delivery for the first time, without all the gadgets and gizmoos. In reality I was a shrieking banshee. First of all pain and me do not get along, and I don't take that shit quietly. Some people breath through contractions, I hiss and scream, loudly. Luckily things were moving along quickly and after only being at the hospital for twenty minutes I was ready to push.
Some people say that when it comes to pushing it is a relief, obviously these people are fucking liars, because it hurts so fucking much that I find it necessary to describe the degree of pain associated with pushing out a baby with no pain medication by using the word fuck. It fucking hurts.
I screamed, "I want an epidural," to which my mother curtly told me that she could see the head and I was just going to have to deal with that. Thanks mom. My sister, crying because she couldn't stand to see me in so much pain but refusing to leave my side, quietly sobbed and mopped my forehead with cold wash clothes. My mother told her to get a hold of herself. My mother is doting like that.
Now just let me take a minute to just express my undying love of all things midwife. If you have never had the experience of a midwife assisted birth (they assist mothers in giving birth), it is something beautiful to behold. Because while I am flailing and writhing about like a woman possessed they are quietly coaching and massaging and just showing the love. My particular two midwifes are two woman who work so well together that watching them deliver a baby is like watching a well choreographed dance. And yes this did run through my mind between the expletives and I told them so once the dust settled.
Where was my husband during all this, he was on my left side, closest to my heart. Holding my hand, looking into my eyes, assuring me with soft words that this was going to happen and soon we would be holding our baby. He's awesome like that.
And it did, after a lot a pushing (it was really only twenty minutes, but I was sure I was pushing out a cube van) into the world came a demure 6lb 15 oz baby girl. A girl, our girl.
As I held her to my breast, I observed her fine, delicate flower-like features. They seemed fitting to her name. Iris.