Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Being a Mom

I read this when I was pregnant, and I cried. I read this today, and I sobbed. It is so true.

Being A Mom

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking."Do you think I should have a baby?""It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral."I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations. But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die. I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a souffle or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.
I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell.
She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.
I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.
However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish his or hers.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.
My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would not now find very romantic.
I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice, and drunk driving. I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.
My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Free time? What's that?

I've been writing letters to my child since before she was born. I would just write her about my feelings for her, how we came up with her name, just random things. I haven't been able to write her since she's been born though, because I'm consumed with her. I love it, I love her, I love motherhood, however, I would like to just have a few minutes a day when I'm not caring for her, catching up on sleep or laundry, and other home/mom related things, to reflect. I'd like to reflect on how much she's changed me- how I'm not scared to tell anyone anything if it's in her best interest. I'd like to reflect on how much I love such a small person, and how I would do ANYTHING to protect her. I want her to know that I love her so much it hurts..literally. I've cried thinking about her growing up, getting married, leaving our home, and she's only 3 weeks old! My husband and I are so much closer now, thanks to her. I love seeing him with her. When I see how much he loves her, it makes me love him even more! God has blessed us so much by giving her to us. We are so thankful that she is happy, healthy, and beautiful! Praise God for this little miracle named Kadence. I am off to write her a letter- before she wakes up and stops me!! :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lo Hicimos....kind of

I enjoyed reading birth stories so much, and I really wanted to document mine for later on, so be prepared...this is a long one. I kept track of what was going on and all the times. Enjoy!
I woke up at 6:15am on Thursday, October 2nd. Being so pregnant, I headed straight for the bathroom, only my pee beat me to the toilet..or so I thought. I figured this was the part of pregnancy no one talked about too much (except maybe on the nest). Then, stuff just kept on coming out...every time I moved or got up. I thought it could be my water leaking, but that happens so rarely, and I still had 3 weeks to go. When it didn't stop leaking, I figured I should call L&D. They said come in to get checked. I got permission to shower (thank GOD!!), and had Luis finish packing the bag. On our way there, Luis kept saying, "We're going to have a baby today!" and I kept saying, "I won't believe it until the doctor tells me. I think I'm just peeing on myself." to which he replied, "No one has that much pee!" Anyway, I digress..
At 8:30am, the doctor planned to do that test to see if it's your water or not, but she looked in there and said, "Yep, my friend, you're ruptured. I'm not even going to do the test." I still didn't believe it, by the way. They said I was 2cm and 60% effaced and that they'd admit me and start pitocin. Since I planned on natural birth, I asked if we could have a couple hours to see if things would pick up on their own. They agreed, which was great. I couldn't walk around much (due to risk of cord prolapse they said), but I was free to just labor on my own. Luis was attempting this acupressure stuff I printed out. I was checked again at 11:30am, and I progressed to 3cm, 70%, but the baby was still really high and the docs wanted to start pitocin. I agreed to the lowest setting (1), and they said they'd check me in 2 hours. At 1:30 I was almost 4cm, baby still high, pitocin level going up a bit. Every hour or so, they increased the pitocin by one or two, and the contractions started getting more intense. I was able to talk through them all afternoon though. 5:30 I got checked again- 5cm, baby still high, more pitocin..more frequent (but still bearable) contractions. Around 8:00, I'd say I was really in "active" labor. This would've been when I went to the hospital had my water not broken. Still though, as of my last check at 8:30, I was only 5cm and the baby hadn't moved down much. I started to see my birth plan unravel, but I knew it would be okay, and that the baby's health was most important. They increased the pitocin, but I don't remember what number it was. I had to breathe through all the contractions now, which were about 2-3 minutes apart. My husband and the nurse, Celeste, were absolutely WONDERFUL. I wouldn't have made it through without them. I was supposed to get checked between 10 and 10:30 for progress and to see what was next, since it had been so long since my water broke.
Well, at 9:15 or so, I wanted to give up. Luis said to wait until they checked me. I agreed....then 9;45 rolled around and I said, "I can't do it anymore. I am tired, I need a break, I want the epidural. I can't do this all night" The contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and sometimes they "coupled", (one contraction on top of the other). The anesthesiologist came right in, and I asked him for the lowest amount of meds he could give me. He said okay and we'd adjust it as needed. He seemed convinced I'd be asking for more medicine soon after. By 10:05 the epi was in place. I could still feel my contractions, but they were like my 5:30 contractions. She (Celeste) said I'd get a catheter in about 30 minutes once the epi really kicked in and I was more this point I could still feel my legs and all. I never did get that catheter. Here's the crazy part...
10:20...major urge to push. I told the nurses (I probably sounded like Satan) "I FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO PUSH!!" The nurses told me not to push because I needed a doctor to deliver the baby, I told them- "Get a doctor because I'm pushing!!!!" Apparently, I was fully dilated and ready. Well, the epi did NOT have time to kick in fully, and I felt everything...except the full strength of the contractions. I could feel the pushing, and at one point I screamed this bloodcurdling scream that I didn't even recognize- the doctor said, "That's the ring of fire! You're almost done." I pushed for a total of 20 minutes and at 10:40pm, she was born. It was amazing. I'm so glad I could still feel everything, even though it hurt. I couldn't really see what was going on, but Luis said the cord was wrapped around her neck 3 times and she swallowed a lot of amniotic fluid. They had to do something (I was busy getting my 2nd degree tear stitched to see) to clear out her stomach and she had a little trouble breathing. They took her to be monitored, and everything was fine after a bit, thank God. She's perfect. She weighed 6lbs 15oz (my exact birth weight) and is 19 inches long.
I couldn't be happier with the way the birth went. While I did end up with the epidural, I still felt every single inch of her being born. I also wonder if I was that far along when I got the epi, or if that is what helped her come so fast? Either way, I'm elated with motherhood. Nursing is hard work, but totally worth it. I don't know what else I can say. Praise God for our little blessing, Kadence Evelyn.