Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jackson's Birth

Jackon's 4th birthday is tomorrow! I feel like I blinked and four years went by. There is nothing that prepares you for how fast life goes. People tell you all the time, but until you are experiencing it, you can't begin to understand.  With J's birthday here, I have been thinking a lot about when he was born.

We decided before I ever got pregnant with J that we would only be having one child. So, when I got that positive pregnancy test, I was overjoyed and determined to remember every second, every experience and to make the most of whatever came my way.  I was blessed with a flawfless pregnancy. I never had morning sickness.  I never had swollen feet or ankles.  I never felt miserable even though I was my most pregnant in July and August.  I gained (to the immense pleasure of my ob/gyn) 33 pounds and on August 22, 2008, I had a perfect 7 pound 6 ounce baby boy.

                             Me at 34 weeks. Yes, the belly grew for 5 more weeks. Yes, it was huge.

On the day J was born, I was still 5 days shy of my due date.  I wasn't planning to have a baby that day. I had things to do. I had to work, had plans with a friend after work and the next morning I had an appointment to get fitted for a bridesmaids dress for my sister's wedding.  There just wasn't time that day to have a baby.  I woke up feeling a little more tired than usual, but chalked it up to having over exterted myself at aerobics the night before.  I called into work and took the morning off.  Then I cleaned my house. Top to bottom (nesting anyone?).  After all, I was going to be gone that weekend and needed to get it done some time!  Then I watched some Olympics (water polo and rowing, if I recall) to relax before I headed to work.

I was having contractions, but nothing stronger or more painful than the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having for over a month. And they were all over the place: three minutes apart, then eleven, then two, then nine etc.  No gross mucas plug moment or water breaking that I had heard so much about and feared would occur while I was in court testifying or at some other mortifying moment.  I finished out the day at work and headed to the park to meet a friend. She had just gotten back from vacation, so her boys played while she showed me vaca pics and we sat in the shade. By then my contractions were stronger, but still not very steady.  And they didn't hurt as much as I had always feared they would, so I couldn't be in labor, right?

After the park, I went home, grabbed a shower and layed down, still convinced I was just tired.  But, by about 8pm, those contractions were coming every three minutes, lasting a minute each time. We called the dr and he told us to head in. I told my hubby that we had better get going. After all, I was sure I wasn't going to be having a baby and I wanted to get to the hospital and get sent home at a decent hour. I had to be up early the next day.

After a harrowing drive (seriously, my husand was a wreck), we arrived at the hospital at around 9p.m.  My exterior calm must have convinced the nurse that I was not an urgent case and we were placed in a triage room.  And then forgotten about.  We seriously sat in that room for what seemed like an eternity before I had to use the restroom and discovered that something serious was going on.  We rang the nurse who came in and hooked me up to a monitor and started asking tons of questions.  She kept stopping her questions each time the monitor registered a contraction and said "you are having contractions every two minutes. Did you know that?"  Um, yes, thank you. I had realized that.  She then decided that maybe checking my dilation would be a good idea.  Now, every woman who has given birth knows having this checked isn't a day at the beach. But, when the nurse starts checking and her eyes get really wide and she says "oh crap", it causes a little panic. She announced that I was over 7cm and we needed to find a room ASAP.  She asked it could walk to which I replied "I walked in here, didn't I?"

So, I waddled down the hall to a birthing room. They got everything hooked up and started getting all of those fun gadgets and tools out (seriously, they need to keep that stuff out of the laboring mom's line of vision).  By the time I got into the bed, she announced that I had almost reached 9cm, but my water was still in tact. She wanted me to rate my pain from one to ten and I told her that it was about a 5. Not the worst, but not fun either.  She said the dr. would arrive soon and break it and we would be on our way. As if we hadn't been on our way up until that point.
                                      Me in the birthing room. Right before they broke my water.

The dr. arrived and broke my water. And it was then that I  deeply regreted not getting an epidural. Up until then, I was doing fine. I wasn't sure what all that fuss about pain was.  The nurse told me that I had arrived too late to have an epidural, which I said was fine.  After all, it really didn't hurt that bad. Boy, denial can be strong, can't it? The post water breaking pain hit me like a mack truck.  I quickly revised my pain scale assessment to 35.  I couldn't hold it in and I started to cry. Like the baby that I was going to birth.  What had I been thinking? I couldn't do this! How on Earth would I be able to manage?  My dr.(probably the nicest man on the planet) rolled around to my bed side on his little stool and said "Hey, its okay. You want to talk about it?" And I laughed. No, I didn't want to talk! He smiled and told me it was time to push.

At this point, the very nice nurse (to whom I took a plate of apology cookies after the fact) asked if I would like to have a mirror to see my baby being born.  I think I said something to the effect of "Who the hell would want to do that?"  Poor gal.  She was the same lady that announced that J's head was out. My ears heard "He's out" and I thought I was all done. She corrected me, but said "Do you want to touch his head?" I said, "Are you crazy? I just want him out. Now!"

After 20 minutes and 8 sets of pushes, Jackson Ryan Bess was born at 11:34p.m.  And, amazingly, I forgot everything. The pain, the fear, all of my big weekend plans. All I could think about was that little boy a few feet from me screaming his newborn head off. 

Every detail (including some choice moments that I omitted for decency's sake) are forever etched into my brain. And even when I am on the precipice of J's 40th birthday, I am sure I will still be able to recall this story. The story of the best day of my life.

                                                              The new love of my life.