|My son, around age 10, and me.|
Twenty-one years and fourteen days ago I gave birth to my amazing and wonderful son. I was still a child myself at only twenty years of age. Even though it was many years ago, I still remember that day like it was yesterday. Thankfully, the memories of the physical pain have finally subsided.
I remember waking up that morning feeling like I was going to pop. Sleep was difficult at that point because trying to get comfortable with a belly that large was next to impossible. Regardless of the discomfort, I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant because it was the closest and most in tune I felt to my body. I felt powerful, too. I was creating a new human life inside of me. Me!
On the way to my check-up that morning I knew I wasn't ready to have my son just yet. He was a day overdue but due dates were never really accurate, unless you were planning on a C-section, which I was not. I had prepared for natural childbirth by going to Lamaze classes and had done a bit of research on the different ways to give birth. Ideally, I wanted to have a water birth but knowing I was going to give birth to him at the Naval Hospital I knew the chances of that actually happening were nil.
As I sat in the exam room waiting for the doctor I remember thinking about what I was going to do that day when I returned home. It was an early appointment so I had the entire day ahead of me to get some things done and, hopefully, get a nap in. Making a new human was exhausting.
Finally the doctor came in and asked me some questions before the examination. After a quick examination he grabbed my chart and on his way out the door said, “I hope you wanted June 1st as the birthday because it’s time to have that baby.”
At first my brain didn’t fully comprehend what he had just said so I sat there for a few moments in a state of shock. Did he say I was going to have the baby today? But I’m not having contractions! My water didn’t break! Wait! What?!
About an hour later I found myself hooked up to a machine that was pumping pitocin into me to get the labor process started. Honestly, I was freaked out. I wasn’t ready to be in labor. It didn’t matter how many Lamaze classes I had taken or how much I was dilated, my brain was not ready! To add to my fear the pitocin pump was started on the maximum to really kick things into gear. Those first waves of contractions were brutal, to say the least!
Somewhere in the middle of the 8 hours of labor I asked for some pain meds to get me through the rest of it. Unfortunately, they didn’t really do much for me. I think I may have cursed under my breath a few times (or out loud) and almost broke my son’s Father’s shoulder by gripping it so hard during contractions. I was not having fun.
Finally when it came time to push, my doctor noticed that my blood pressure had shot through the roof so he decided to put me on magnesium sulfate to get it back under control. I was tired, in tons of pain and just wanted to get it over with. So, I started pushing before they told me to. It was an incredibly strange feeling because it wasn’t as if I had decided to start pushing, I just started pushing. My body was in complete control of itself and was just doing what came naturally. It was ready to be done, too!
After only a few big pushes and some heavy breathing to try and slow the pushing down a bit, I heard my son’s voice for the very first time. Even though he was crying, it was music to my ears. Soon after the cord was cut he was placed on my chest and I held him so very close while I counted all of his fingers and toes and wondered in the glory of what had just happened. I remember thinking, “Wow. I created this perfect little human.”
He is my greatest accomplishment in this life. We’ve grown up together and, even though I made many parenting mistakes along the way, I have learned the most about life through him and through being his parent. I am humbled and grateful for everything he’s taught me and I look forward to watching him grow and live his own life.