Category Archives: Pregnancy
Three years ago today, was Noah’s due date. It did not, however, end up being his birthday. For some unknown, cruel, and un-Godly reason, doctors think it is appropriate to set a “deadline” of sorts on your pregnancy.
They have some fancy 40-week calendar based on your last period as to when you are expected to have your baby. But babies don’t give a flying flip about this calendar. Babies don’t know when your last period was. Yet, instead of giving a range of dates or a goal to shoot for or even a healthy window of time, doctors give you a flat-out, no nonsense, in your face due date of which you are considered abnormal if you are under or over.
So me, being the freakishly type-A, over-controlling, and detailed-oriented person that I am, now have 9 months (which would turn out to be much longer) to plan for, worry about, and obsess over this very specific date.
Well, as I would learn later (and I am still being reminded of on a daily basis), Noah laughs in the face of deadlines. And July 28th, three years ago, was just another day in the uterus for him.
July 28, 2010 started out as a very exciting day for me. Why, you ask? Because I am good at deadlines and my baby was coming that day. My hospital bag was packed. I had just finished reading “Ina Mae’s Guide to Natural Childbirth” (along with the other 30-some pregnancy books on my nightstand). Baby’s room was good-to-go. All of the onesies had been washed and organized according to size. I was ready.
Noah was not.
July 29, 2010 started out optimistically. I was still prepared but I began googling ways to naturally induce labor. I was still pleasant and exciting when people asked me about my impending family addition.
By July 30th, I was hot (95 degrees in North Carolina summer with 80% plus humidity every day almost killed me), grumpy, and aggravated that I was still pregnant. I had decided that the only thing that would get this baby out of me was to exercise. I went to the gym twice a day and ran 3-4 miles on the elliptical. I couldn’t do the treadmill anymore because my belly stuck out so far that it banged into the front of the machine. The worst part was watching all of the people’s faces as they cautiously tip-toed around me waiting on me to go into labor at any moment.
By the first few days of August, I had basically just accepted the fact that I was going to be pregnant forever. I started snapping at people when they would ask me questions. Even questions totally unrelated to my pregnancy got a hateful response. I was over it.
By August 5th, I had made a list of things people were not allowed to say to me (which basically meant that I stopped answering my phone all together). The list included:
1. Wow! You look like you’re about to pop! (You’ll think “pop” when I punch you in the face.)
2. So, how pregnant are you? (I am just as pregnant as I was 10 minutes ago, ass!)
3. I can’t believe they let you go this long. (It is none of “their” business just like it is none of yours!)
4. I would’ve just scheduled the C-section already. (Really?!?)
5. You better sleep now while you can. (Yeah, it’s really easy to sleep when you have a giant belly, raging hormones, you pee every 13 minutes.)
6. He’ll come when he’s ready. (This just made me angry- no elaboration needed.)
August 6th, my mother-in-law felt really bad for me so she came to town and took me and Matt out to lunch (although I couldn’t eat because there was no more room inside my body because it was full of baby and amniotic fluid). We went on an adventure to Replacements Limited (where a random lady asked me, “So, when’s your due date?” to which I replied (in a voice that probably sounded a little like Satan), “It was 2 weeks ago. Thanks for asking”). It was, however, a nice change of pace.
On August 8th, I went in for an ultrasound and a good cry with my midwife. She assured me that I was still on track and she did a few “midwifery” tricks to help kick start my labor. I woke up at 4am with contractions 2 minutes apart and Noah was born 5 hours later on August 9th.
So, today, on July 28th, I do not celebrate what was assigned to him as his “due date.”
I choose to celebrate:
1. Appreciation and patience- as the best things are truly worth waiting for,
2. Perseverance and Strength- as it would have been so much easier to just give in,
3. Understanding- as I think my husband seriously thought about divorce at least twice, and
I have to admit, I am absolutely and unapologetically one of those people that is completely and totally obsessed with Kate Middleton and her royal baby. I can’t tell you how many times I have wished and prayed that I could just give her a call and spill all of my maternal knowledge on her. I also must admit, since I am making confessions, that I have always felt a strong connection to Prince William- we were born the same year you know!
So naturally, with the news today that Kate has gone into labor and all of the news channels are spouting off all of the stats and factors that contribute to how long and what kind of labor she will have, it has made me think a lot about my labor with Noah.
Let me first say that, before going into labor, I was very private and modest when it came to my body, my personal business, and telling my story. I have always guarded my experiences as my own. Somewhere along the way, I decided that if I told someone my business, it no longer belonged to me. I even told my mother and mother-in-law that the main rule for being allowed into the delivery room was that “what happens in the delivery room, stays in the delivery room!” No exceptions!
But something changes. It is almost like a switch flipped in my brain the minute those contractions started. I didn’t realize it at the time (I was a little preoccupied with trying to push a baby out of my body) but after he was born, all I wanted to do was tell my story- to anyone! I wanted to share my labor story, I wanted to hear everyone else’s, I wanted people to ask me all about my experiences, and I wanted to ask other women really personal and private questions. My filter was gone.
So, whether you wanted to know my labor story or not, here you go…
Noah’s original due date was July 28th. This date came and went. For two weeks I fielded questions that ranged from, “what is wrong with you? Why haven’t you had that baby yet?” and, even worse, “Why don’t you just have them put you into labor? I didn’t think doctor’s let you go this long.”
The day before Noah was born, I had an appointment with my midwife and she told me I was 50% effaced but still just 1 centimeter dilated. She did some crazy midwife trick to some membrane and said that she really thought that would do the trick. She said, “Give it 24 hours. You’ll go into labor. Just you wait!” Best news I had heard in months.
That night, about 3am, I woke up with a sharp pain in my abdomen. I sat there, waited another minute or 2 and there was another one. I tip-toed down the hall to our computer where I had saved a website that tracks your contractions and I started timing the pains. I didn’t want to wake Matt up until I was sure. I was shocked and a little freaked out when the time between the past 5 contractions was only 2 minutes. Seriously!?! Two minutes!
This is when the vomiting started. Again, I would like to say that none of the baby books tell you that you may vomit uncontrollably throughout your labor. Just know- it’s possible and it sucks!
I called my midwife. She told me to take a shower, to calm down, and head on to the hospital. She also told me that vomiting is normal. One of the best things about her is that she always tried to educate me along the way. She rattled off something about hormones and how they make your body go crazy. I didn’t hear everything she said (obviously) but I appreciated the gesture.
I get to the hospital and they make me fill out all of this paperwork. I assumed that pre-registering took care of this process but, no. They make you sign all of your rights away between contractions. Then they take you into a room where they weigh you and take your blood pressure. They then take you into another room where they strap you up to all of these monitors to, and I quote, “make sure that you are actually in labor.” Listen lady! I am 2 weeks past my due date, I am having obvious very painful contractions every 90 seconds now, and I am vomiting about every 5 minutes. I am in “actual labor.”
They finally admit me to my room. It is close to 7am now. After I explained to 3 different nurses that my birth plan was to have a natural delivery and that I didn’t need to speak with the anesthesiologist, my midwife, Tanya, comes in and immediately gives me some anti-nausea medicine and the vomiting stops. Thank goodness!! She checks my cervix and I am dilated 7 centimeters. Matt calls my mom and tells her to hurry quick because labor is going fast. Turns out, she and my mother-in-law had been casually driving the 3 hour trip because they figured labor would “take a while.” Man, were they wrong.
Tanya asked if it was okay to break my water because, with past-due babies, the chances of meconium in the water was high. Tanya was always so amazing at including me in the decisions about my labor and delivery. So glad I had her. I highly recommend midwives. She broke my water and it was green and gross. She inserted an IV in my uterus and began flushing it out with saline.
My mother and mother-in-law got there around 8:30am , right as I was ready to start pushing. Here comes my mom, strolling in with a giant bag of things she was planning to do while waiting for the baby to come. Turns out, she wouldn’t be doing any knitting today!
I started to push and I could feel him coming quick. Tanya asked me to turn on my side because the baby’s vitals weren’t that great. All of a sudden, there were about 13 nurses and doctors in the delivery room. They brought in the giant NICU cart and the nurse shoved an oxygen mask on my face.
Turns out, every time I pushed, Noah’s heart rate dropped dramatically. His umbilical cord had gotten wrapped around his neck twice and was suffocating him when I would push and apply pressure. Tanya, thankfully, did not tell me this part until after he was safely in my arms.
This man appeared in my face and said, “Hi. My name is Dr. so-and-so and I will be in charge of your C-section.” I replied, in the nicest way possible, “Like hell you are!” He turned around and said to one of the nurses, “Why hasn’t this woman received an epidural? This is going to make everything more difficult.”
If I had not been trying to push a human being out of my vagina, I would have stood up and punched this guy in the face. Tanya, sensing my frustration said, “Callie, if you can push this baby out on the next contraction, there will be no C-section.” Well, all I needed was a challenge. I took a deep breath, pushed with all of my might, and Noah’s head appeared. I took one more deep breath, pushed even harder, and Noah shot out like a canon. I think it even took Tanya by surprise because she actually had to catch him like a football. And, to make matters even a little messier, all that saline that had been flushing out my uterus came gushing out too. It felt like a waterfall! And I am pretty sure it probably looked like one too– A giant vagina waterfall. :)
Because of all of the saline, Noah came out all pink and shiny. There was none of that goo on him that always kind of grossed me out. He looked around, eyes wide open (he was, after all, 2 weeks old already), and after a few seconds, started screaming. Tanya put him in my arms and I was excited and scared and so happy. I looked at Matt and said, “And, this is our family.”
So today, or whenever Kate Middleton gives birth to what will obviously be a well-loved and very attractive baby, I wish her the strength to deliver the way she hopes to, I wish her the courage to parent the way she and William choose to, and I want her to know that she can give me a call whenever she wants. I am happy to tell her my story.
First off, let me say that no, I am not pregnant. But lately, Matt and I have begun discussing when and if we want to increase our family size. I’m a planner (or at least I try very hard to be). So this is a major decision in our lives and requires a significant amount of conversation.
I did not enjoy being pregnant. There was nothing terrible about my pregnancy. I didn’t have a lot of morning sickness- a good bit of random nausea but nothing severe. I didn’t gain a ton of weight, there were no health concerns, and I like to think that I was rather pleasant to be around. But I absolutely could not stand being pregnant.
The main reason is that, despite all of my efforts, when you are pregnant you have zero control of your body, zero control of your emotions, and you lose any and all sense of self. All of a sudden, your body is no longer yours.
Now, for a control freak like myself, this is a nightmare. And, to make matters even worse, everyone and their brother feels that they have the right to comment on your belly size, your weight, your due date, your restaurant choices, your moodiness, and anything else that apparently is no longer private or personal. And, on of the hardest parts for me is the fact that strangers feel the right and responsibility to touch you. People come out of nowhere, people you have never met before, and touch your belly. I had to actually come up with my own personal mantra to repeat to strangers on a regular basis because I don’t like it when people touch me without permission.
Because I know you are wondering, my mantra was, “Oh, I’d rather you not touch the baby. My belly is a little sensitive today.” This created enough awkward discomfort that the person usually skulked off without any further unnecessary conversation. It was much better than, “I don’t know you and I sure as hell don’t want you to touch me! Go Away!”
In addition to the loss of control, pregnancy symptoms suck- or at least mine did. I had heartburn non-stop for the last 6 months of pregnancy. I had to start sleeping sitting up because whenever I laid down flat, the acid reflux made me throw up. All I wanted in the whole world was a giant leather recliner to sleep in but, because I was a poor pregnant graduate student, it was not possible.
My hair got even curlier than it already is. And while some women love the fact that your hair stops falling out when you’re pregnant, it was awful for me. My already fluffy and voluminous hair was twice as big and curly. And no one tells you that, a few months after you have the baby, all that hair that never fell out suddenly all falls out. I could pull chunks of hair out for months. I thought I was sick! Then, after that finally stopped, all of it started growing back and I had stupid little short hairs sticking out all over my head. I never read about any of this in the 19 pregnancy books I read. This is the stuff women need to know! Plus- imagine a giant pregnant lady, tons of curly, fluffy hair in the middle of summer in 90 degree North Carolina. Not exactly the most pleasant experience.
And then there is this huge part of me that feels completely guilty for even complaining about pregnancy because there are so many women out there that cannot get pregnant. I am sure they would kill for all of the hormones, nausea, and weird bodily functions. And then there is the fear in me that, even though the first pregnancy came relatively easy, what if the second pregnancy is not so easy? What if we can’t get pregnant again? Can I be happy with Noah being an only child? And then, heaven forbid, what if there are complications with the next pregnancy? Noah had a perfect bill of health when he was born. What if we aren’t so lucky next time?
So, with all that I know now that I didn’t know then, do I want to be pregnant again?
But when? When is it the “right” time to bring another baby into our almost-perfect family (written with extreme sarcasm)? How do we know if we are ready to do the newborn thing again? My friend says that there comes a moment when you only remember how wonderful the good parts were and it makes the bad parts seem not so terrible. Not sure when that time will come for us… soon (maybe).