Just thought I’d share a little bit about the day I had today.
Everything started out sunny and happy.
I mean, look at that face. That’s a happy kid if I ever saw one.
But not even three hours later…
The shit hit the fan. It quite literally hit the fan.
Yes, people, that’s poop.
So, he pooped in the high chair, big deal, right? Poop in the high chair isn’t the worst thing. I mean, shit happens, right? In my kid’s defense, he hasn’t had a real, legit blow-out poop in quite awhile.
I decided to just roll with it. Not to brag, but I can handle a poop explosion with the best of ’em.
I stuck him in the tub, stripped off all the poopy clothes, and drew a bubble bath. It was the easiest and least messy approach. Plus, he loves to take a bath.
All was well after bathtime, well except for a minor fit when it was time to get out of the water, but that’s pretty typical for my kid.
After all that, I still had everything under control. I even sent my husband a funny picture text of the shit story. He responded, and we had a good laugh.
After Monk was dressed, I decided to conquer the poop. I dreaded it, but got the rags and cleaning supplies ready to clean up the high chair. I was just about done, when I looked over at my toddler who had been previously playing on the kitchen floor with his tonka truck, to see him man-handling my glass blender with one hand. I screamed in horror, he laughed at first, and then as I lunged at him, he got scared and dropped it. The glass shattered everywhere.
Monk started crying, because I was basically having a heart attack. Luckily, I whisked him away in time, so no glass in any little hands or feet. We successfully avoided a trip to the ER…so there’s that.
After cleaning up the glass and poop, I was spent, seriously spent. So, I put on Curious George, which I hate to do, because everyone puts the fear of God in us moms about letting babies watch tv.
But whatever. George is happening.
Cookies are happening.
Coffee (for me) is happening.
And I’m praying that shit like that doesn’t happen for a very, very long time.
I’ll keep this real short and sweet, and simply say thank you for letting me be your mama. Our bond is more than I can put into words– it’s unspoken, it’s magical, it’s like Christmas morning every day when I wake up and see your face. Sure, you drive me bananas sometimes, but it doesn’t matter even a little bit, because you’ve made my life complete and the happiest mama on earth. Your little smile when I walk into the room, all of your MANY personality quirks, hearing you (finally) say your first word (Annie!!), watching you discover things for the first time, giving me and your dad one of your signature sloppy, open-mouthed kisses, and every milestone big or small couldn’t prepare me for the immense joy I’d feel watching you grow, learn, and love. You are the center of my universe, and I hope you know how much happiness you’ve brought into my life just existing and being you. You really are my sunshine. The day I had you I told myself I’d never stop thanking God for making me your mama, and I’ve kept my word. I’m thankful for you every day.
I love you to the moon and beyond beyond beyond, my monk.
I’m not a mean mom, I’m really not, so please don’t give me that heart-broken look when you try to eat the television remote control, the dog’s toys, my make-up compact, one thousand Gerber Puffs at once, or pull the hair straight out of my head. I simply cannot let you do this. It’s not because I don’t love you, I love you so very much, but I can’t let you do these things, because I don’t want you to get hurt, sick, or leave me bald.
I’m tired. I’m really, really tired, kid. Not to be harsh, but it’s all because of you. In the very beginning, I didn’t sleep at all, and sometimes when I think back to when you were two weeks old until you were about four months old, I shudder. I shudder, because I was so very tired back then, so exhausted that I was practically comatose. I would fall asleep, sitting up while I fed you in the Boppy pillow. One time I even started dozing off as I was putting mascara on. Silly me, I thought the nights of interrupted sleep were far behind us, but lo and behold, you started teething. Everything changed when you started teething, and when you discovered that it’s fun to wake up in the middle of the night and play in your crib. Sweet child o’ mine, please say you’ll start sleeping again real soon, because I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since mid-December.
When I take you places in the car, and you behave like the sweetest boy in the universe that you are 95% of the time, I feel like a super-mom that can conquer anything. I have endless energy to play, entertain, and teach you things. To the contrary, when you scream nonstop in the car while I’m driving, and when I’m desperately trying to get you to calm down in the car when I’m driving, sometimes even singing Part of Your World a capella and/or tossing pacifiers and toys back to you in hopes that one might land in your car seat and get you to stop crying, but you don’t stop crying, and I find there’s nothing I can do to get you to stop crying, so I debate whether I should pull over, but pulling over is never really a safe option, so although it breaks my heart to let you cry, I tune out the crying, and try to safely get us to wherever we’re going, so that when we finally get to where we’re going, I can jump out of the driver’s side door like a mad woman and finally comfort you. Phew. Is my exhaustion and despair felt through that run-on sentence? If the answer is yes, than please go easy on me, and stop crying in the car, will ya?
The nasal aspirator should be your friend. I know you think of it as a torture device, and I feel terrible about that. When you see me coming with it, you flail wildly about, sometimes screaming and always squirming. You fear it, but I wish you understood that I’m only using it, because I want you to be able to BREATHE. If you can breathe, than you will feel so much better. Trust me.
If you’d give me, like, ten minutes on the rare morning that I wake up before you do, would you please let me enjoy a cup of coffee in solitude? If you would, I would be forever grateful.
I know you hate getting dressed. I hear you loud and clear, even if you can’t tell me with your words. The thing is, the more you wiggle, the longer it takes to get the buttons fastened, so please don’t be surprised when getting dressed drags on and on for both of us. Did you know that part of my New Years resolution was to only buy sleepers with zippers?! You’ve scarred me from buttons! Buttons! I never thought I’d look at buttons with such dread, but well, I do.
I’ll have you know, I used to be cool. I know by default, just the fact that I’m your mom, I’ll never be cool, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll stop trying to convince you. If you should ever read this blog, please be informed of all my coolness credentials: I’ve walked down the rainy streets of New York City on a spring day with the sun just peaking through the clouds while listening to Fleetwood Mac. I’ve ridden on a bus through the middle of Grenada on a breezy and sunny day while listening to Morrissey. I’ve walked down the snowy streets of Brooklyn in the dead of winter with a coffee in hand while listening to The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel on repeat, even though I was freezing, and even though I wasn’t wearing gloves or a hat. Your dad and I rode horses through the Ulupalakua Ranch, the most beautiful wild land of Maui, long before you were merely a twinkle in our eyes. We also lived in a shoebox in Grenada for two years, in a beautiful brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn for two years, and now Queens. We had lots of adventures before you came into our lives.
Maybe sometime I tell you about it all? That is, once you’re old enough to understand.
Can I take a quick moment to ask my loyal readers to take a look at my Kindle Scout campaign? I have been selected as a candidate for a Kindle Scout publishing contract for the first novel I wrote, THE E̶X̶T̶R̶A̶ORDINARY LIFE OF ANNIE OAKLEE. It’s a really great opportunity that I’m really excited about, but I need your nominations to get noticed! Once I get enough nominations, it will hopefully get me on the “Hot and Trending” list, which will make me more visible to the people working behind the scenes at Kindle Scout. I need to stay on their radar, so please visit the link, and click “Nominate Me”.
If you really enjoy the chapter excerpts, would you mind sharing the link? I need all the votes I can get. Thank you!
You guys, my son thinks I’m the friggin’ best. I know he’s only seven months old, but I can just tell. I mean, a mother knows these things, right? I swear I have never had a bigger fan in my entire life, or a better audience for my ridiculous antics and buffoonery.
Here’s my proof:
He thinks I’m the…
Best singer he’s ever heard.
My evidence is that every time I sing a pitchy version of Let it Go from Frozen, he giggles wildly and squeals at the top of his lungs for more. And, like, not to brag, but when I stop singing, he cries.
Best dancer he’s ever seen.
He particularly loves it when I whip and nae nae, or when we reenact the final scene from Dirty Dancing. P.S. I play the role of Johnny Castle, and he’s Baby.
Funniest girl he’s ever met.
I can make this kid belly laugh to his guts with my imitation of Peg from Peg Plus Cat saying, “We’ve got a reeeeeeally big problem!!!”, or with a fake English accent, asking him if he’d like “a spot ‘o tea.”
Best cook ever.
He’s especially impressed when I serve him lukewarm peas out of a plastic bowl.
You know, I could really get used to this, being my little boy’s best girl and everything, but the other day I got to thinking as we were curled up on the couch watching Curious George, will I always be his best girl? Will he always think I’m the funniest girl he’s ever met, and the best singer, the best cook? What happens when he discovers that I really can’t hit those high notes at the end of Let it Go? Will he roll his eyes at me when I try to impress him with my dance moves in the car when he’s a teenager, because let’s face it, I’m probably going shimmy my shoulders, and put my hands in the air at red lights. What happens when he discovers that I’m terrible at math, and that I can’t help him with his homework, because let’s face it, I’ve forgotten everything there is to know about math, and that I’m really only useful at helping him with two subjects, and those subjects would be English and Literature, but what if he doesn’t even need help with those subjects, because he takes after me, and he’s also good at them???
Okay, okay, okay…I know that I’m getting a little carried away, but I do wonder what will happen to my general psyche when I’m exposed, found out, and discovered for not really being the greatest at everything, and that I’m a human being with flaws like everybody else.
And I hope I can handle it when my son falls in love for the first time, or has his first elementary school crush. I hope I can embrace it when he looks at someone else the way he looks at me, when he grins with his twinkly eyes and his whole face lights up, because I swear no matter how much time goes by, I’m always going to remember the way he looks at seven months old smiling the sweet little smile.
Is it weird that I already know what song I want to dance with him to at his wedding? Because I do. God Only Knows by The Beach Boys.
Full disclosure, when I first found out I was having a boy, I cried. I couldn’t believe that I cried. I mean, what kind of a**hole was I? I was having a healthy baby, and that should’ve been enough for me, but I cried. At the time, I was secretly hoping for a girl. As a woman I thought that I might know how to care for a girl better than I would a boy. As my pregnancy went on, I embraced the fact that I was having a boy, and reminded myself after every successful doctors appointment of how thankful I was that my baby was thriving, but I’d be lying if I told you that daydreams of pretty pink dresses didn’t still occasionally pop into my head during the nine months. Now that I have a son, and I’ve experienced being the mother of a little boy, I truly and honestly don’t care if I ever have a girl. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have a daughter someday, I really would, but if I don’t, my life is complete with this little boy that I fondly call Monk.
There’s something very magical about being a mother to a son, and something so hopeful about it, too. As a mom you get this amazing opportunity to shape this little boy into being a good man, a respectful gent, and the type of guy that you’d want to marry.
I’m sure it will break my heart someday when he comes to me and tells me that he’s going to get married. And I’m sure I’ll cry my eyes out when we dance to God Only Knows by The Beach Boys. And I’m even more sure that while I’m having a nervous breakdown and nearly hyperventilating on the dance floor, he’ll probably be thinking, “Oh geez, mom, really?”
And I’ll just be thinking…
I seriously might need an ambulance, or a doctor. Thank God I married one. But you know, it’s not like I’ll be able to help it or anything. He’s my little man. He’s my boy, one of the greatest loves of my life. No matter how old he gets, he’s my baby, and he will always always always be the best friggin’ thing I’ve ever done.
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but there’s an epidemic happening in the world of pregnant women everywhere. Aside from the pregnancy body shaming that happens in the media, which I find disgusting and disheartening, there is also an obsession that promotes having the “tiniest pregnancy bump ever.” I like to call it the Oh My God, You Don’t Even Look Pregnant Disease. Full disclosure, I too, suffered from this insanity while pregnant.
Look, people are curious about the pregnant body in general, I get it. It’s fascinating. It’s crazy to watch someone’s body changing, to see the bump grow, to see how the body compensates to build this little life, and when it’s you that’s pregnant, it’s even crazier. Before I had a baby, I would look at pregnant women, and just stare. I mean, not on purpose, but rather in wonderment.
I understand the interest. I also understand the tendency to say what you’re thinking when you see someone’s body changing, evolving into something otherworldly. It might be tempting to blurt out what you’re seeing, because it’s probably assumed that the pregnant woman you’re saying it to, already knows. I mean they’re pregnant after all, right? They might already know that they look like they’re “about to pop” even with four to five months to go, but that doesn’t mean you should say it. So, right here, right now I’m going to make a bold statement that I hope no one ever forgets. If you’re thinking of saying anything other than, “You’re glowing, and look beautiful,” don’t say it. And please, also know that it’s never okay to tell a pregnant woman that her “belly really doesn’t look that big yet, but that her hips definitely look like they’ve expanded,” or after she has a baby, flippantly make a comment like, “Oh, look at you, you’re not fat anymore.” Yes, you guessed it, this bitterness is stemming from a personal experience, both of which were said to me, the first while I was pregnant, and the second about six weeks after I had my baby.
Maybe all the coverage in the media where it’s speculated about how much weight a celebrity has gained during their pregnancy, is what has desensitized us all from being sensitive toward the changing body of pregnant women. People, it seems, have become really comfortable with calling pregnant women fat, and categorizing where a pregnant woman has or hasn’t put on weight.
“Oh, she’s all belly”, is something that is often said to the woman who doesn’t look pregnant when you see her walking from behind, and really, is a nice way of saying, “Lucky you, you only gained weight in your belly.”
And there’s the, “Oh, she looks like she’s having a girl,” which seems to be the nice way of saying, “Honey, you’re wide from every angle.”
It all makes me crazy.
And then there’s the fat shaming. Oh, the fat shaming. Who doesn’t remember the fat shaming of Kim Kardashian during her first pregnancy? The endless speculation of what and how much she was eating. There were pictures of that poor girl’s swollen feet on every gossip magazine at the grocery store, and I swear I remember one article where she was wearing a black and white dress, and they compared her to Shamu. She was pregnant, for godsakes. And Jessica Simpson. Everywhere you looked, there were unflattering pictures, chronicling her weight gain for the entire nine months.
I believe this compulsion to have the “tiniest bump ever” was born from a perverse play by play of any celebrity who has ever had a baby. The constant keeping score of how much this one or that one gained, along with the assessment of how lightning fast the weight is lost post-pregnancy is also incredibly troublesome, and to be quite honest, makes my skin crawl.
I think this weight obsessed society surrounding pregnancy has caused pregnant women everywhere to strive for something unattainable and unhealthy, which is to not look pregnant, when you’re pregnant.
It’s praised when a pregnant celebrity “barely looks pregnant.” There were recent articles praising Coco Austin, and how she barely looked pregnant six months into her pregnancy. The headline read something like, “See Coco Austin’s Tiny Baby Bump!” I think the article also talked about how she was still fitting into her per-pregnancy jeans.And recently, Chrissy Teigen was chastised for “popping so early” in her first pregnancy.
What’s wrong with this picture, people? Yes, it’s not good to over indulge in fried food and sweets while pregnant, and gain a hundred pounds, which can put you at risk for a bevy of complications that are not good for mother and baby. It’s also not good, however, to worry so much about how you look.
I did. I hate admitting that, but I definitely did to an extent.
Let’s be clear, I never let it stop me from eating. No way, no how. I ate, trust me. I was always hungry, and boy, did I ever eat. I gained a substantial amount of weight, too. The problem, however, was that I refused to take pictures of my growing baby bump and pregnancy along the way. I literally have no pictures to look back on, and remember that time in my life. For my entire pregnancy, I maybe took four pictures, one of which I shared in my birth story post, and one that my husband forced me to take when I was on my way into the hospital to give birth. I can’t tell you how glad I am that he made me take that picture. I think it’s sad that I obsessed so much about how my body should or shouldn’t look that I never fully let go, and enjoyed the ride.
For the Average Joe, eh Jane rather, the media and society can alter the way we think of the pregnant body, if we let what they say dictate how we think.
No, you’re not supposed to fit into your jeans when you’re three months pregnant like that celebrity on the cover of the magazine, so let’s agree to stop perpetuating this notion, K? Yes, it’s normal to “pop early” if that’s how it all evolves for you. Everyone is different. Everything is normal.
So, please ladies…
STEP AWAY FROM THE SKINNY JEANS.
STEP AWAY FROM THE SKINNY JEANS THAT USED TO FIT YOU. THEY’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO FIT YOU ANYMORE, YOU’RE PREGNANT. AND PLEASE DO NOT REVISIT THESE JEANS FOR A VERY, VERY LONG TIME AFTER YOU HAVE THAT BABY.
Are we clear?
I’m not going to lie, I wrote this post for a reason. I wrote it to start a revolution against the obsession with the teeny, tiny baby bump, and the fat shaming toward pregnant women everywhere.
I’ve been asked this question dozens of times over the last six months, so let me answer it now, and forever hold my peace.
No, I’m not.
There. Now everyone knows.
Yes, I know how beneficial it is for my baby. Yes, I know how much money we would’ve saved ourselves from not buying formula. Yes, I know that breast-feeding helps you lose the baby weight. And yes, I know a million other reasons why it’s so wonderful, so please don’t rub it in.
Before I had my baby, I remember having lunch with one of my mommy friends, and the subject of breast-feeding came up. I told her that, yes, I had every intention of breast-feeding my child. I told her that, because it was true. I absolutely had been planning on breast-feeding for months. In fact, I had my bright, shiny and new breast pump and all its accessories, waiting in its designated spot on my dresser for my baby to arrive. Breast-feeding? Breast pumping? I mean, it all seemed like a no-brainer to me. It would come easy to me. Of course it would. It’s the most natural thing in the world to do, right? So, why wouldn’t it?
Why wouldn’t it? Why wouldn’t it?! Bwaaaaahahahaha. Because sometimes things don’t go according to plan, and that’s just the way it is. Every somewhat, well-adjusted adult on the planet knows that. My mommy friend warned me of this, too. She told me that although she did breastfeed, and even though it came easy to her, breast-feeding was not like that for everyone. I silently listened with blissful ignorance. Surely I wouldn’t be one of those moms who had a hard time, I thought as she spoke. My entire pregnancy had been pretty straight forward, so why should this be any different? I mean, my mom breast-fed me and my brothers. I assumed the odds were stacked in my favor.
But I was wrong.
Even with all the will in the world, you can’t make something work that just won’t work. And I’m an extremely willful person, too. That’s a nice way of saying stubborn, by the way. If I really want something, I don’t raise my white flag until I’ve exhausted myself to my absolute breaking point, and that might mean a trip to the ER, which is exactly what happened about a week and a half after I had my baby. I was so rundown from birth, recovery, and taking care of an infant that my milk barely came in, and I got a migraine so severe that it took needle injections into my skull, and an MRI of my brain to make sure I didn’t have a bleed. When I left the ER after the migraine incident, I was advised to pump whatever milk had come in, and dump it out, because the injections I had gotten could be harmful to my baby.
I could barely keep my eyes open for days after my ER visit, and I was so weak, but even after all that, I still wanted to breast-feed. I was no quitter. No, not me. So, I continued to pump and pump and pump, until one day, I just stopped, stared at the breast pump that had become a torture device, and started to cry. Even with all of my gung-ho pumping, I wasn’t even getting two ounces. I sat there, and asked myself why I was putting myself through this.
Why was this so important to me?
To answer that question simply, I just really, really wanted to. I mean, I wanted to so badly. I had this deep desire to do this wonderful thing for my child, and I felt cheated. In keeping true to my headstrong nature, it was hard to accept that it wasn’t working, but deep down I knew it wasn’t. I was sick, exhausted, emotional, and looking back at that time, dangerously close to landing myself in the hospital for a third time if I had kept going.
I put the breast pump away, took a deep breath, and felt something curious.
Oh, sweet relief.
Yes, I wanted to breast-feed for my baby, but if I’m being honest, a big part of why it was so hard to give up on, was because I feared what all the other moms would say.
Judgement, whether real or imagined, can really make a mess of things if you let it in. When I said goodbye to that fear, and when the day finally came when I no longer felt defensive when asked if I was breast-feeding or not, I felt like I could finally breathe.
I’ve realized over the last six months that every mom has to do what she has to do. Meaning, we as moms, can’t be so hard on ourselves out of fear for how we might be judged by each other. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and honestly, everyone is just trying to survive.
You’re not pureeing your own baby food with organic fruits and vegetables?
You’re not using all natural, recycled diapers?
You send your infant to daycare, because you have to work to support a family?
You send your infant to daycare, because you choose to work?
You’re a stay at home mom, and you don’t have any timeline about when you’ll go back to work?
You’re vaccinating your baby?
You’re not vaccinating your baby?
You let your kid watch television for a little too long today, because you needed five minutes to yourself?
I could keep going, but you get the point.
Something profound might happen if we shut our minds off to the silent judgement that occurs while reading that Facebook post, or when you see that mom open up the cookies in line at the grocery store before she pays for them and give them to her screaming kid, or at the playground when she loses her cool because her kid is refusing to leave.
Maybe, just maybe, it might leave room for us all to enjoy ourselves a little more.
I’m sorry, but I’m never going to shut up about pushing a nearly seven pounder out of my hoo-ha, so please family, friends, readers, etc., accept my shameless bragging for what it is. I couldn’t help it if I tried. It is positively and one hundred percent the proudest moment of my entire life.
Truthfully, I never thought I could do it. I mean, based on logistics alone, I didn’t think it was possible. That big thing (watermelon) has to come out of that small thing (pea)?! Oh, Jesus. I still get the cold sweats thinking about it. If I recall correctly, right up until the moment when the doctor pulled the slippery, slimy little thing out, I didn’t think it was actually going to work. There I was pushing and pushing like a mad woman, but all the while still thinking, “Nope. Not going to happen, it’s just not going to happen,” and BAM, suddenly he was out. I remember laying there like, “Seriously, what the **** just even happened??!! Am I still alive? Am I dead? I’m dead, aren’t I? No, I’m definitely alive. Oh my God. And there’s my kid!”
Giving birth is the freaking craziest, messiest, agonizing thing ever, and every mom who has ever given birth, whether you pushed that sucker out, or had a c-section, is a hero.
But, now I’ve gone ahead, and rushed straight to all the big stuff. I should really start at the beginning, shouldn’t I? I should start at the part where my water broke, and how I really thought I was peeing, but it was really my water breaking, but then I was still really convinced that I was peeing, but it was in fact my water breaking.
The whole thing went down something like this:
It was about a week before my due date, and there I was, this gargantuan, bloated pregnant lady who had been behaving like a crazed woman for weeks. Not only was I cleaning and organizing my apartment, I was ranting and raving about everything from the baby’s dresser being built, to my rapidly expanding fat arse. I can confirm in hindsight that none of it was worth my tirades, because the dresser was built, and my fat arse deflated and eventually went back to normal.
In an effort to relax before the baby arrived, I decided to go into the city for a facial. I felt particularly great that day, too. In fact, I felt so good that I walked more than I had in months in just that day. I walked all over the city, feeling lighter and more carefree than I had in weeks. It was June, so it was very hot, and I got more than a few concerned stares as I traipsed all over New York City, my big belly turning crowded city blocks before the rest of my body could catch up. After my facial, I did a little baby shopping, and felt so refreshed that I walked the entire forty minute haul back to Penn Station. Once I got home, my husband and I went out for pizza, and watched some television before turning in for bed.
It was close to eleven thirty at night when I lay my head down to go to sleep, but before I did, I dragged myself out of bed for the first of what would likely be one hundred pee’s that night. When I was finished, I started to walk back to bed, and that was when I heard a pop. It wasn’t a loud pop, more like a pin-pricked balloon very slowly letting out air. Confused, I looked down to find a small puddle on the bathroom floor. I know it’s stupid, but I had no idea it was my water breaking. I sighed, cleaned it up, and started to walk back to the bedroom, but I didn’t take four steps before full-fledged water began to flood. By then you’d think I’d have a clue that it was my water breaking, but I was still unsure, so I yelled for my husband, and when he got to me, I frantically said this: “I think I peed my pants, but it might be my water breaking, but it’s probably me just peeing my pants, but there’s a lot, so maybe it’s my water breaking? Is it my water breaking? Am I in labor? Or did I just pee my pants?!” I still don’t know why I kept using the phrase “pee my pants”. Maybe it was the giddiness of the moment, or the sheer ridiculousness of it all, but there I stood, rambling about about peeing my pants, when my husband calmly said, “Your water just broke. You did not pee your pants.” I nodded slowly, absorbing the information. Well, that was that then, I guess.
And then I got very scared.
I had gone over the scenario in my head dozens of times, what to do after my water broke. I had a plan: phone call to my parents to tell them to start driving from Michigan, phone calls to my in-laws, texts to friends, take a shower, put the last few things into my very well thought out hospital bag. And out of all of those necessary things to be done, do you want to know what the first thing I did was? I started frantically packing a giant tote bag of snacks. Why snacks? I still have no clue. Maybe it was a deflection, but all I do know is that I was super serious about the snacks. I’m pretty sure I brought an entire jar of peanut butter.For the record, I didn’t eat the peanut butter, or anything else I brought.
My contractions had barely started by the time I arrived at the hospital, and it was almost one in the morning by then. I lay there in my shared hospital room, the girl on the other side of the curtain, wincing out loud in pain. The sounds she was making amplified my fear for what was to come, but it didn’t take long for me to understand what she was going through. Not long after that, the real contractions started, and I went to a private room.
And I was in pain. Oh, was I ever in pain. I’m a huge wuss, but holy hell, this was bad. I used to be frustrated by other moms who couldn’t describe exactly what contractions felt like. I’d ask a million questions, “But what does it FEEL like?” I never got a straight answer. I wanted details, the nitty-gritty. It seemed like no one could ever find the words. Now I understand why. It’s indescribable. I’d try to give you some adjectives , but it would be useless. All that you need to know it that it hurt really f’ing bad, and there was little to no relief from the pain.
And then the contractions made me do all of the cliche things that pregnant women do in the movies.
I was swearing:
“Mother f*****, ****, ****. It hurts. Mother f*****!!!!!!!!!!”
Then I was crying, and begging for the epidural. The girl who had mused her whole pregnancy that maybe she wouldn’t even get an epidural, was clearly seeing that giving birth without it, was not a possibility. Once the anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural, I had relief from the pain within seconds.
My good spirits once the pain went away lasted for hours. I was joking around, I sent my husband home to take the dog out, I made phone calls. The doctor kept coming in to see if I had dilated, which I was, at a steady pace.
Hours went by, and then something suddenly felt different. The pain was coming back, and I thought my epidural was wearing off. The pressure had greatly increased again. I can’t imagine what that would’ve felt like without an epidural, and I honestly don’t want to know. When the doctor came back, I told him what I was feeling, and when I paused to find the words to describe the pressure, he said in a thick New York accent, “If it feels like you have to take the biggest sh*t of your life, it’s probably go-time.” It made me laugh, because only in New York would a doctor say something like that, but he was right. I was fully dilated by three o’clock in the afternoon, and it was go-time.
The rest is kind of a blur.
Things turned quickly. Numerous nurses and residents came into my room, and started setting up. The doctor was putting on gloves and a mask, and within minutes I was pushing. The doctor told me that if I did exactly what he told me, I would have this baby out in a half an hour. I was skeptical.
Once I really started getting into the pushing, the doctor was firing me up like a hot-headed high school football coach, saying things like, “Do you want this baby out, or what?” Through gritted teeth I replied, “Yes, I want this baby out!” I pushed some more. “Than you have to PUSH when I tell you to PUSH!” he wailed. My husband was holding my hand all the while, encouraging me. “You’re doing great,” he told me. “Just keep pushing.”
As I pushed my hardest against the contraction, I asked what probably every woman in the history of ever giving birth asks.
“No you’re not pooping,” everyone in the room assured me in unison. I breathed a sigh of relief, and resumed pushing.
And what happened after that is kind of a crime scene.
There was more pushing, then there was blood, then there was a lot of blood, and then there was a baby who came out looking so completely stunned that he didn’t even cry at first. After my husband cut the umbilical cord, the doctor lay him on my chest, his head had multiple knots from squeezing out the birth canal, and his face was bloated. But he looked up at me, our eyes met, and it was like we had known each other forever. There was an understanding. He knew who I was. I was his mama.
And I’ll just gloss right over all the really messy stuff that happened after the good stuff, but let’s just say that there was blood being cleaned up, there was placenta being delivered, and there was some stitching up. I know, yuck. But just like all the other mom’s who had heroically pushed a kid out of their hoo-ha’s before me had said, “None of it even matters, once the baby is in your arms.”