New Year’s Eve, we went to my cousin’s house, ate bacon-wrapped smokies and chicken pot pie, and joked about going into early labor.
About 5 hours later, my water broke.
I woke up to go to the bathroom, and by the time I got my huge, waddly girth out of bed, I could feel warm liquid running down my leg. Hooray, I thought to myself. More laundry. (By the 9th month of pregnancy, the whole “having control of bodily functions” thing is no longer as much a priority – or embarrassment.) I made my way to the bathroom, discovered my bladder was still fairly full, and wondered idly whether my water had broken. I cleaned myself up, put on some new underwear… and discovered it was wet again.
“Hey, Ethan?” He opened his eyes blearily. It was 5:30 am. “I think my water broke… or I peed myself a lot.” I was still debating whether to go to the hospital, but Ethan was already up and getting dressed, grabbing our hospital bag. As far as he was concerned, he’d rather risk getting sent home from the hospital with a bladder control story than end up with a home birth.
I was checked into the hospital around 6, and by that time, I was pretty sure my water had broken. I was slowly leaking all the way down the hallway to my hospital room, and although I wasn’t having contractions, I was pretty sure this was the real deal. After confirming that my water was broken, we waited an hour or two and then started pitocin to induce contractions.
Now, I’m not going to tell tall tales about the horrors of labor. In fact, I’d like to take a moment to say that I spent most of my pregnancy terrified of giving birth, because of the way people describe the experience. And not just those who go natural – I’ve heard horror stories from people who were heavily medicated, too. Based on some of these accounts, I was expecting the epidural to make about as much difference as a couple ibuprofen. Maybe my labor experience was on the easier side of the spectrum – I don’t know – but I was dilated to 5 cm before I asked for an epidural, and once the epidural was in, I took a nap. I went from a 5 1/2 to a 9 in my sleep. And then I woke up, pushed for under an hour, and suddenly, there was a squirmy, screaming lump lying on my stomach!
He looked like a Smurf. He was cone-headed, gangly, and very, very blue. I took a good look at him and thought, “I’m supposed to love this child. This is one of the greatest moments of my life. I’m supposed to love this child.” And then I reassured myself that I was also supposed to deliver the placenta and get stitched up, so Ethan could love the child while he was getting cleaned off and warmed up. The nurses toweled off the wrinkled Smurf, and the doctor finished up with me.
With a little more oxygen and a little less mess, the Smurf transformed into a super-cute newborn. We named him Jonathan and spent the next 2 days staring at him. He is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. (Unbiased opinion.)
When I got engaged, people told me to say goodbye to my social life, because that was the end of it. When I got pregnant, people told me horror stories about labor and delivery. And when I was finally sick enough of being pregnant to look forward to labor, people told me I would never sleep again once the baby was born, and that it was much easier to take care of an infant inside my body than outside.
Alright, doomsday prophets, the day of reckoning is at hand. You’re all liars. My marriage was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made – social life included. Pregnancy sucked, but it didn’t kill me. Labor was actually pretty easy, all things considered. And even though I’m writing this, sleep-deprived, next to a squirmy little boy who can’t seem to keep his own pacifier in his mouth, having a baby is way better than expecting a baby. This kid keeps us up all hours of the night, demanding food at unreasonable times, and fussing for no apparent reason at all. And we can’t seem to stay mad at him. We love the little guy too much. We get mad at him, pick him up, look at him, and just kind of melt.
I’m still alive, everybody. Tired, yes. But alive and well. ♥