Nine Years Ago Today


Finn was due Friday, July 11.

So like any first time mom, on July 11 I called my Dr.

“Today is my due date. What do I need do?”

They didn’t laugh out loud, but I imagine there was a lot of laughter going on on the inside.

If I had been in the south, they might’ve said “bless her heart.”

The answer to my question — what do I need to do — was of course nothing. If I feel didn’t feel him move at least once every hour, eat something sweet and lie down until I felt him move. They scheduled me to come in Monday, if he wasn’t born before.

I liked the sound of the “born before” part.

I was nine months pregnant in July, which meant it was too hot and I was too big to do very much.

My late husband and I drove about two hours from home, to submit some school documents that had to be wrapped up before we could move back to Alabama at the end of summer. Everyone I saw asked when I was due. It felt strange to say, “Today,” and I got strange looks too.

The next day I played Nintendo and cross-stitched. That night something needed to be taken or picked up from the storage facility we rented across town. I remember that I drove and felt empowered being 9+ months pregnant and driving.

That night, while cross-stitching, the “practice” contractions started coming at regular intervals, so we wrote them down. Kinda sporadic, but somewhere between 5 and 8 minutes apart.

We went to bed. And when I say “we” I mean that my husband slept soundly while I sat propped up on pillows as contractions started coming every 5 minutes like clock work. I could sleep through a few but not all.

Finally at 3 a.m. on Sunday, July 13, they were every 3 to 5 minutes and becoming more intense.

My husband took a shower and then took me to the hospital.

They made the decision at 6 a.m. to “keep me.” Anyone out there who’s ever had a baby knows what I mean. I’m two days past my due date and finally having contractions and they actually thought about sending me home?? I guess they knew better than to do that.

I called my mom in Alabama and she, my dad, my sister and my 10-year-old nephew hit the road for the 6-hour drive up.

I didn’t get an epidural.

I did allow them to inject with me narcotics, to “take the edge off” they said.

They made me walk. Argh, I did not want to walk.

They gave me Pitocin.

Around 4 p.m. the “edge” was back on and I was dilated to somewhere around 7; the goal was 10.

I still didn’t want an epidural but asked for something more to help with the “edge.”

They did that, but also jacked up my Pitocin so the two counteracted each other, I think.

I was uncomfortable in the bed and couldn’t walk anymore.

The contractions were starting to hurt.

My mom said to me, “You’ll forget all about the pain when it’s time to have the next one.”

I said to her sternly, “You remind me.” (She was right.)

I moved to the rocking chair in my room just for a change of position, but within minutes I needed back in the bed. I felt the urge to push.

I pushed for an hour but it didn’t seem like that long.

I would push and they told me they could see his head but when the pushing and the contraction ended he would go back up. They experienced frustration for me as they looked on.

The Dr. offered to get me a mirror so I could see, not to witness the “miracle of life” but so I could see what I was doing and it might help. She was right. Seeing what they were talking about with him “going back up” helped me persevere pushing a little longer … and Finn was here.

Nine years. And I remember and replay it as if it just happened.

Happy Birthday buddy!

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