One of the reasons I created this blog is I have done a terrible job announcing the biggest wonder of my world. The 19th of January this year was the day I gave birth to my amazing baby girl and since the little ladybug herself is sound asleep, I have time to tell the story. I have to warn you it’s not a short one nor is it for those who find giving birth revolting or scary.
I received the big news on midsummer’s eve after weeks and weeks of “unexplained” nausea. Went to the pharmacy to get a test, all the while thinking what a waste of time it was. The two pink stripes on the test then proved me wrong, of course, and I called my best friend to inform her. She asked me the obvious question: was I going to keep the baby? Sounded completely ridiculous. Of course I was.
The pregnancy itself was a thrill, apart from the nausea in the beginning, the rest was walk a in the park. No weird cravings, no pain, no leg cramps… nothing. However, that period of time was very hard for reasons that are not to be discussed here. I allowed myself to fall into a depression and the only thing keeping me sane was the little one kicking and pinching me from the inside.
I chose to not find out the sex of the baby until she was born, but I always secretly wished for a little girl. People kept telling me it “had to be a boy”, some could tell by the shape of my belly, some by the fact I didn’t look too bad (supposedly, women who carry girls lose their beauty), some merely because they just envisioned me carrying a boy. By the time I had almost carried to term, the sex of the baby really didn’t matter anymore.
There I was cleaning out tons of old crap, carrying boxes and putting up wallpaper two weeks before my due date, hoping to finish renovating before giving birth. Oh boy was I in for a surprise. I got up at 8 in the morning to make breakfast for my man (who we shall from now on refer to as ‘H‘) and a friend who was staying over and felt some suspiciously regular tension in my lower abdomen. Again, my first thought was “naaaaah, can’t be”, but I had been wrong before so I called my midwife. After hearing me describe my symptoms, she ordered me to take a hot bath and if that didn’t make the pain go away, she would pack her bags to be at the hospital in time. Guess what? The bath didn’t help.
Since it was too weeks early and I had thought I had plenty of time left, I hadn’t packed a hospital bag. “Necessities-schmecessities”, I thought, but a good friend and relative walked me through the packing process. I was way too excited and nervous to manage it all on my own. By the time I’d finished packing it was noon already and the contractions had become a lot more than “suspicious tension”. Since I had all the time in the world left, or so I thought, I was planning on taking some classes before going into labor. Obviously I never did so I had to improvise surviving the contractions.
H got home (I had told him not to skip school for “probably nothing”) and we drove to the hospital. We had chosen to give birth at a private hospital to make sure the experience was as pleasant as possible for all three of us. “Hello, I think I’m giving birth” and voilà, I was attached to a machine in our family room. I was definitely in labor and already 4cm dilated. Then followed the three longest hours of my life, the pain became intolerable and I kept crying for mommy. When they broke my water (with the creepiest damn needle I’ve ever seen) the pain got easier to handle. I suppose it was either because of less pressure in the uterus or because I realized – this is it.
The midwife who was delivering the baby (my own midwife and friend was arriving later to be there for support) asked me if I wanted to give water birth a try and I said yes. I had taken two hot showers by then and knew it was good for the pain. I tried reaching H who had gone to work for a few hours but he didn’t answer his phone. Damn it! I got in the huge bath and found a decent position to breathe through the pain in. The little one didn’t enjoy the bath quite as much as mommy did and her heart rate became weaker, so I got out. I was completely exhausted, I hadn’t slept much the night before and the contractions had really taken their toll on me. By that time the pain had become so intensive, I had decided not to let H in if he did arrive in time. He did, shortly, and I didn’t have the guts to tell him to stay the hell out. I’m glad he didn’t, because he was a huge help. Even if it meant him telling me what a fantastic job I was doing and reaching me the water bottle from time to time. A while after H came, my own midwife and good friend arrived as well so I had a fantastic support team by my side.
I found, after a few hours of walking around doing everything I could to make gravity work for me, that the way I was going to be giving birth was kneeling on the table and leaning on a bean bag. That way I could rest against the bag between contractions and get up on my knees when it was time to push. So at one point I did. I pushed. And let me tell you, at that point you feel like giving up, getting up and going home. But you don’t. Surprisingly, I took all that was left of my energy and I forced myself to get through it. What a fantastic feeling, realizing how much you’re capable of.
And there she was, at 18:22, on my chest. The most beautiful child in the world. We laid there and nursed for a long while before they cut the cord and weighed and measured her. The APGAR scores were 9 and 10 (out of a 10 and 10 maximum) and it was no freaking surprise. She was perfection.
We stayed at the hospital for five days to make sure the little ladybug was eating enough and gaining the weight she needed to gain. And every day since has been a complete bliss. We haven’t had a single sleepless night or heard any inconsolable crying. She is a happy, healthy child who gives us smiles and laughter every day. It’s amazing. I look at her every day and the thought just will not fit into my head. I made her. She is my child.
And having said all that, my little sunshine just woke up. Perfect timing.