GRAPHIC POST!!!!!! You've been warned.
On october 10, 2011, I was hugging a pillow wishing I could sleep. Up until this point, I'd been to the doctor complaining of sleeping all the time (20 hours a day) and not wanting to eat. I had also been loosely diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and told that getting pregnant would require losing weight, dieting and perhaps some medication. I was heart broken. My husband and I had been trying for a baby for two and a half years. Along with this diagnosis, I was also told that we needed to use protection because of another medication I was on. That night I went home, told my husband the news and we decided that abstinence was the best way to go for awhile. This is where I thought this story would stop for a few years if not forever... maybe we weren't meant to have children? Had I done something wrong? Why me? Oh yeah, and to top all of this off I had mono... Great! Just great!
Rewind to the night that I was hugging a pillow. My best friend and sister was on the phone, she'd been begging me to get a pregnancy test (I'd had so many false alarms, I didn't want to get my hopes up)... so I had sent my husband to the store to get one. he walked in, and I went ahead and took it... I told my best friend (Alyse) that she'd get a text if it was negative and a phone call if it wasn't. I did what I was supposed to do and then stared down at where the lines were supposed to show up... a faint second line showed up... my heart pounded. (Now, let's take a break for a moment... every woman imagines it like the movies, a perfectly romantic joyus moment when she tells her other half that she is expecting...) back to me: Here I was sitting on the toilet, a stick covered in urine in my hand yelling for my husband. He barges in doesn't even blink... romantic right? Not really... real life? Yes! He looked and answered my question "I think there's something in there" and then kissed me.
I was stunned. I didn't bother calling or texting Alyse... I straight up skyped her... A baby. We (as in ME and my husband) were going to have a baby a child a LIFE that we created. All I could feel was overwhelmed, happy and excited.
Then it dawned on me, I had no clue, we had no clue where to even begin. What kind of diapers? When do we start collecting baby things? Oh man this is going to be expensive! We figured I was about two months along. At this point, everything was to be natural: No medications, healthy food only... and a natural birth in the water. (Back to this last statement later).
On October 13th 2011, we got to see our baby for the very first time. We had figured correctly and were about two months along (eight weeks!). I cannot put into words the emotions that flew through me when I saw my baby on that ultra sound screen... I know that I started to cry, but ended up laughing to cover it up. The ultra sound tech was getting frustrated with me because the more I laughed, the more my belly shook and thus the ultra sound wand... oops. After the ultra sound my husband and I experienced and shared such joy.
The next month seemed to fly by... pregnancy was such a new thing for us... and it was wonderful! At this point, the baby decided that it didn't like orange juice (and it didn't look good with my bathroom floor or decor either!)... that was the only time I got sick in my first tri-mester. I also loved spinach salad with Italian dressing and honey Greek yogurt... (think I was pregnant, maybe?). I ate tons of this combination. I'm sure my husband wanted to get out the duck tape for my mouth... every time I'd open it to speak, nothing came out would make sense. OR, I was on a good roll, and then all of the sudden my mind would just go blank and I'd stare into space with a dazed and confused look on my face. It was embarrassing until I got enough of a bump that people would just give me the "awww, what a cute and confused pregnant lady, isn't that sweet?" smile.
We had move into a bigger house and were putting together our home. My goal was to have two or three scrap pages done and in the baby's book... they are still waiting to be made (being preggo is tiring).
I could not have imagined ALL the well wishes we got, such joy poured from our families, friends and acquaintances... everyone was so excited for us. That was one of the best parts was receiving and sharing that joy with all the people in our lives.
Making it to the 12 week mark was such a relief... and a reality slap. Helllooooo second tri-mester... two out of three. yikes! Except for the mind blanking, second trimester proved to be pretty alright. wait, I take that back: for those ladies out there that have been pregnant, you can sympathize. When you can't even put your shoes on, let alone roll over in bed without crying out thanks to the pelvic pain... oh yeah and the sciatic nerve. That was fun. At four months pregnant I limped into Ridge View Chiropractic; fifteen minutes later I walked out of that clinic thanking my lucky stars and pondering if I could marry Dr. Todd who had fixed my pain.
Facebook is a magical thing, people can share photos, videos, feelings and thoughts. This can be seen by people all over the world... and this is exactly why at three am I was sitting behind the front desk at my hotel job with tears in my eyes. I was looking over a friend's birth of his son. The emotions over took me and I felt like I was experiencing it... "I'll be there so soon" I remember thinking. There's that reality slap again.
When my husband and I first got together, one of the things he was adamant about was that he wanted me to be a stay at home mother. I couldn't agree with him more. It was important to both of us that our children have a stable living environment that included one of their parents home at all times. We didn't want someone else raising our kids and experiencing those special moments.So it was with that thought that I left my job to start preparing for being a stay at home mom.
On February 7, 2012 I got a call from my mother's fiancee of 20+ years. His voice broke as he gave me the worst news and shattered my soul and heart into a million pieces. "Amber your mother.... passed". I sat there numbed. Unable to react or believe what I had just heard. I knew at that very moment I needed answers, I needed family and I needed time. I was still unable to cry. I called my mother's family. Another blow was to find out that my grandmother (my grammie) had almost lost her life too... my being sunk lower than I ever felt possible. Then I called the coroner's office... my mother didn't have enough insulin in her blood... she had gone into a diabetic coma. I thought back to the call I'd made telling her that she was going to be a grandma (something she had gotten after me about earlier that October). I thought about how she wanted to be called Momo (as this was what she had called her grandma). I thought about how she broke the doctors orders of staying off her feet to go and get her grandson gifts. I also thought about her telling me that I looked like a cute baby gorilla, and how good of a baby I was. Finally, I thought of the bond that we had and that I was experiencing that bond with my son. I broke at that moment... most of all I wanted my mom! I wanted to tell her that I loved her. That I was sorry I wasn't there for her. That I always thought she a beautiful, free spirit who danced to her own music. And I wanted to touch her and smell that smell that is so primal that no one can describe it... all of this I wanted to do just one more time. So at six almost seven months pregnant, my husband and I traveled to California to close up my mother's life. The one thing that kept bringing me to tears were the things for our son sprinkled around her home. There is always a silver lining to everything, though. I was able to learn more about my mom from those in my family and friends. I got to connect with people and share my life and our son with them. Most importantly, my grandfather. I truly treasured holding his hand during prayer at meal times. And just talking with him. He was so excited for this baby, and that made my heart swell with pride and happiness. One of the many treasures that I found amongst my mother's things were my baby photos-birth photos. Those are priceless and are helping me to get through that terrible time.
We returned to Alaska with only eight weeks to go before the baby was supposed to be born. Anyone who tells you that time flies by is full of great wisdom... but, you won't realize that until you're looking back on it... in fact, you'll probably think they are a liar. That time was the most trying time of the whole pregnancy. I got sick the most during third trimester. One of the most "comical" (after the fact) moment... it was three am in the morning. My poor sleep deprived husband fighting to stay awake as I was pacing seven steps this way, then seven steps that way; pausing to pee a few drops every two to five minutes. All the while venting for over an hour! It was horrible! Can we say restless legs? Heart burn? Constipation? And feeling so huge and off balance that you're sure a circus tent would look too small on you? Yep! The midwife had mentioned that she would induce me 39 weeks... the friday before that, she changed her mind. Two more weeks... OH, and to add insult to injury: the midwife was leaving for a week in Serbia on my due date, and was certain that I'd be pregnant after she returned... she said she was going to let me go right up until 41 weeks and one day! I thought I was going to die! I wanted to grab her and shake her telling her she was crazy if she thought I could last THAT long and beg her to DO SOMETHING! ANYTHING! I had heard enough of the "baby is best when he comes when he's ready"... well baby constantly has his foot in my ribs, I can't sit, stand, stop peeing, or sleep! I wanted my body back. I was also sad because I had people coming up for the birth and they were going to miss our son's arrival. But, deep down I had truly grasped motherhood.... I grinned and bared it with only minimal tears, and a smile that could pass for a shark's grin...all teeth! Forty one weeks is not that bad... only a month longer, I can do this! I went about my life not worrying too much about getting ready for the baby... we still had a while.
May 21st was our son's original due date. But when do babies ever come on those dates? Three more days my count down said... "ugh! Yeah right!" I thought. With Alyse, my mother's fiancee and his daughter here we prepared to just have some fun. I hadn't been able to go to the bathroom for quite some time now. This Friday, the 20th of May, it was particularly bad! I stuffed my face with broccoli, Metamucil and finally I took an exlax (out of pure desperation)... then the contractions started kicking up. I was pacing in my kitchen feeling them... Alyse was sitting on the couch timing them. My husband was cleaning the kitchen. Finally I called the midwife ( a different one since mine had decided to jump country). She asked how far they were? "Four minutes" and if they were interrupting my talking (uh... yeah!). She told me it was best to labor at home as much as possible, but to head into the hospital. We'd been to the hospital once before for contractions. So, I took my time, taking a bath and then heading into the hospital. If you're under the impression that I was super organized and had my hospital bag packed... then you don't know me very well... it was a mad dash to find this and that to throw in a bag...and let me tell you, I forgot SO much! All the while, my husband was acting like nothing was happening. He drove the speed limit alllllll the way into town. He even told me we'd probably be back in a few hours. Did I want to shoot him or what?! We get to the hospital and walk in through the emergency (by this time I think it was like five or six pm). They sent a nurse down from the maternity ward to escort me up. When they put me in the room, they told me I'd probably be sent home, thus why I was put in the farthest room from the nurse's station. I looked that nurse in the eye and said "if I get sent home, my eyes will roll back into my head and my head will spin 360 degress I'M NOT GOING HOME WITHOUT HAVING THIS BABY!". They called my new midwife (Tanya) and she came down. I heard the best and most scary news of my life: I was going to have that baby tonight! She told me to walk up and down the stairs and to lean against a wall when I had a contraction. Imagine me, wrapped up in two gowns, un-shaved legs with wires for the monitors sticking out. Here I go down to the cafeteria (they let me eat, which was wonderful!). My entourage and I (read four people) sitting there... oh and my mother in law stopped by. This poor lady is watching me while she eats and I'm laboring... she was pregnant too and only a month behind me! I bet I scared the bejeezes out of her. Back up to the room we went. They checked my cervix again, and realized that I'd gone from a two to a five!
After this, things get a little blurry. I know that all the "natural" ideas I'd had went out the window. Drugs, I wanted the drugs.... I also wished I could stop laboring and just sleep. I do remember going through some LARGE contractions and asking my husband if the number on the screen had gone down... I did this by pitifully whining "down? down?". They kept telling me to breath... I swear if one more person told me to breath I was going to... well, I'm not sure what I was going to do... but I was NOT happy. Oh and if I've ever had a record for being sick, this was it! I lost track of how many times I puked... I can tell you that even after being a woman and getting used to seeing blood down there, seeing the "bloody show" is what started my puking. My goodness, it was terrible.
My contractions started to slow, they gave me some pitocin. After that, they realized that in another hour, I was fully dilated! They told me they were going to get the dr. in to give me the epidural. I had Alyse check two times within the span of minutes to see if he was on his way. Finally he walked in, unfortunately for him, I was in not too good of a mood! I was terrified and in a ton of pain and so sleep deprived! They wanted to wait through a contraction, but after three continuous minutes and no sign of it stopping, they had to try and do it during. It hurt SO bad, but, afterwards, it was extreme relief. I slept.,, for a bit. My midwife came in at 11am on sunday (the 21st) and said "we're going to start pushing now"... oh joy! This was the third fear of mine... Ladies and gentleman you are going to poop in front of God, the hospital staff (strangers) and your spouse. it's better to get used to that now! In my case, my best friend got in on the action too (lucky her!). Originally I was just going to have my husband and midwife in the room... let me share with you YOU WOULDN'T CARE IF BRAD PITT WAS IN THE ROOM! Alyse offered to take photos since my original photographer had an emergency... While doing that she also held my other leg. I will never be able to truly thank her for her support in creating memories and being there for me in so many ways (She came from Idaho for this!). Back to labor... are you guys feeling as tired reading this, as I am writing this? So here I am pushing... now, I'd not been able to sleep much (obviously)... and the nurses said that I could get a little bit extra epidural four times and hour (every fifteen minutes). If I pushed the button, and it didn't beep it was too close together and wouldn't administer the medicine. It seemed like I was dozing off for about fifteen minutes every other contraction... so I'd wake up glance at the clock (I obviously can't tell time!) and push the button... and it would beep! In reality (which I was so far from at that point), I was only sleeping two to five minutes... I pushed for two hours... you do the math! Needless to say after what seemed like only fifteen minutes (and was really two looong hours for everyone else in the room, see I really can't tell time) I heard good news "he's starting to crown". I gave my husband a gift: I wanted him to be the very first person to hold his son... in fact he was to catch him. I remember his scrubbing up... complete with his carhartts and work boots on (THAT'S an Alaskan, guys!) . After some more pushing, I asked if he'd crowned yet... Alyse said "he's out"... wow, that fast? I didn't feel a thing! they wiped him off and showed him to me.
It was the most beautiful thing in the world. Our son had made it. He had two open eyes, a little scrunched up forehead as he looked up at me. Ten fingers, ten toes a tiny nose, mouth and ears... he was perfect! I started to tear up... I wanted to say "hi bumble bee", but I was so overtaken with emotion all I could get out was "Hi Bumble...". I was so relieved to see that he'd made it into this world... it was so difficult to stay calm with everything in the world that "might" cause pain or birth defects in your un-born child...
Evan Patrick was whisked off to the other side of the room with daddy in tow to be weighed, measured and cleaned up. All I could focus on was the midwife between my legs stitching me up like you bind a quilt! In fact, I even asked her if she quilted... to which she replied not really... what she DID do: Poke me a lot with that darn needle, MISS places to numb (OUCH) and I felt the needle going in. It still makes me sick to think about! After that, my husband brought our clean and content baby burrito over to me! His eyes were wide open and so alert! I was told he was born at 1:21 pm, he weighed 8 pounds and 14 ounces and was 20.5 inches long! His hearing test went wonderfully and the moose beanie from Moose is Loose Bakery looked SO adorable on him! The nurses and doctors said he was super cute and just seemed to adore him (they must have one of the best jobs in the world at times!).
Birth and pregnancy were horrible, but wonderful all at the same time. And I'd do it over and over again, no question.