Today, June 5th, is Oldest girlies' birthday and I can't believe it has been 5 years since I gave birth to her. I still remember all the details vividly, as if it happened yesterday. My mom says that women tend to forget the pain of childbirth in order to continue to make more babies. I totally disagree, because I remember the pain, too, but the joy of babies overshadow the pain and that is what lets women have more babies.
5 years ago today, I was 2 weeks past my due date and carrying very low. My ob/gyn/midwife told me it was time to induce labor because she was afraid that if I waited much longer, the baby would be too big. Off we went to the hospital to get induced. After the gel was inserted, I was told to come back in the morning at 7 am (blink-blink... who wakes up that early? To be at the Hospital at 7 would mean I have to wake at 5 because rush hour is a bitch and we lived 45 minutes away). We got to the Hospital at 8:25.
I put on the dorky gown and got settled in. Nurses came in and out to attach all sorts of devices to me; an IV, a blood pressure cuff that checks my pressure every 15 minutes, a strap around my belly for the baby's heartbeat and a finger thingy to keep track of my own heartbeat. Now, I am Deaf, and all these wires are getting tangled around my arms and hands when I need to sign, so they made a few concessions for me, the IV was placed a little higher and to the outside of my forearm, the pressure cuff was put around my ankle, but there was no escaping the finger thingy. I had my Hubby there for support (which took some convincing on his part. I had to tell him that he helped make this baby, he can help me get it out! And I didn't expect him to catch it for pete's sakes! That's what the docs are for!!), an interpreter and my mom. Mom was thrilled to be there to see her baby having a baby, and plus, my mom was asleep when she had us, so she didn't really know what childbirth felt like, she only knew the before and after parts.
Anyway, we sat and waited, made small talk with the interpreter and the nurses that came in and out to check on me. About 11 am, the nurse told me to stop being so tough and get the epidural. Huh? I had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently I was having contractions and the spikes on the graph showed I was having them strongly and usually women are screaming for an epidural by now, but I didn't feel a thing. I felt fine, really! Fast forward to about 2 pm and I felt the first painful contraction of many more to come. Under the constant pressure of the nurses, I succumbed to asking for an epidural. I had every intention of going natural without pain meds, but I guess I freaked a little bit when the nurses kept talking about more pain and long labor and basically using scare tactics on me.
Finally about 7:30, I was ready to push. I pushed (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10, deep breath and push again!) and pushed and pushed until I was red in the face. My face usually turns red at the slightest bit of exercise (pretty, I know) and it is normal for me, but the nurses all freaked out and slapped an oxygen mask on me and a cold, wet washcloth on my forehead and turned the fan on me. I was more than a little irritated. I didn't want the frickin irritating mask on my face that steamed up my glasses with every huff and puff, my hair was now wet and dripping and when I finally meet my baby, she was going to see crazy hair, but the fan was fine, it was hot with 26,000 people gathered around me waiting for a head to pop out (ok, more like 20 but it felt like more).
Baby head was finally starting to inch through and the doctor reached for his scalpel to give me an episiotomy, I shook my head no and this very cool, laid back doctor nodded his head once and put it back, pushing the tray away and let me rip naturally (I read that women heal better when they rip instead of being cut with a scalpel, plus my mom has a horror story of when she had me and the pain meds wore off at the exact moment the doc sliced my mom and she jumped and the knife went all the way to her anus, causing her lifetime pain down there). Out came the head, then finally I was given the 'go ahead' to push out the rest of baby-- It's a girl! A big girl! She was 8 lbs, 5 ozs!
I finally got to see this baby, that I had carried around and fell in love with before I ever laid eyes on her and I fell in love all over again. I saw Hubby crying, Mom crying, the interpreter crying, it was a crying party! Hubby went out in the hall and announced to waiting friends and family, "It's a GIRL!" and came back in to me and his new baby. A brand new family. I remember everything about that day and the following days. It's the other stuff in between that becomes blurry and then I have to ask Hubby when this happened or look through the photo albums.
I remember, after they cleaned up Oldest and I was decent, they allowed our friends and family into the room to see us and meet the new baby. I thought to myself, go away, I'm tired and I don't want to let her go, I just had her, I don't want to share her just yet. But I did let her go and let everyone ooh and ahh over my brand new baby.
It has been so much fun to watch her grow and learn, to amaze me with the stuff she knows. I look at her and see me, I see Hubby, I see my sister and other family in her. I have seen her adjust to becoming a big sister and then teaching her little sisters what she knows. I have actually seen the wheels turning in her head, figuring out how to do something and then watching the joy spread across her face, a true "Eureka!" moment. I look forward to the future, knowing she can grow up to do anything she wants, and I'll do my best to help her get there without becoming smothering or turning into one of those pushy mother types. I look forward (and dread) the day she gets her first boyfriend and I hope I am there to catch her when her heart gets broken. I hope we have the same bond that I have with my own mother and that she will trust me with her secrets.
My sweet 5 year old baby, how much I love her. How I find it hard to believe sometimes that she is mine and came from me and Hubby. We created her out of love and the miracle of life still awes us. Today is the day she was born, and it was also the day a set of parents were born. I only hope that she can look back when she is older, and know that everything we did was to help her grow and learn and to prevent her from breaking her neck. I hope that one day she will come to me and say thanks for being the kind of mom I am.
Happy Birthday to you, my love, and may you have many more to celebrate.