The girls love to hear about when they were born and then when they were babies. Olivia can often heard asking me to tell her what it was like when she was a baby.
Maybe this is why, ten whole years later, I remember Alyssa’s birth like it was yesterday. Then again, I might remember it this well even if we didn’t talk about it. This was the event that made me a mom. Alyssa loves to hear that. It makes her special.
I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday, January 13, 2003. It took place at 11:30. The doctor measured my 38 week, 5 day stomach, did an internal exam and told me that birth could occur at any time. But, he also pointed out, there was nothing going on with my cervix.
As we were leaving, he mentioned almost in passing, “You know. A lot of my patients have a lot of luck with castor oil bringing on labor. It won’t do anything at all if baby’s not ready to be born, though.”
I took in that information and left the office.
In the parking lot, I turned to Tom and said, “We’re not doing that.”
He asked, “Why not? It might move things along.”
Well. Okay then.
I stopped at a drug store on my way back to work and picked up a small bottle of castor oil and a bottle of orange juice.
The very thought makes me gag now but I put two caps full of that nasty stuff in the juice and downed it. Then I finished out my day at work.
I made the hour drive home and made myself some dinner. Tom was asleep in preparation for his 3rd shift job.
I didn’t feel quite well, but not nearly what I’d expected from that horrible castor oil. I laid on the floor most of the evening, watching television. At 9:15, I got up to use the bathroom and on the way, thought I’d peed my pants. Then I realized I still had to pee. It appeared my water had broken.
I called my mom, wondering what to do. Duh.
I woke Tom up and he called in to work.
I called the hospital maternity floor and they told me I needed to go there and get checked. Tom and I grabbed the bag I’d packed a month before and headed north, making the same one hour drive I’d made earlier in the day.
I felt lucky that I wasn’t in active labor because I think the trip would have been excruciating if I had been.
We got to the hospital around midnight and they checked me. Yep, the waters had broken. But my cervix was still locked up tight. Tom and I were told to try and sleep.
We were both too giddy to sleep, we were going to be meeting our baby soon. We did manage to doze even as we pondered back and forth whether we were having a boy or a girl. We hadn’t been able to find out at my one ultrasound at sixteen weeks.
At 8am the nurse came in to start an IV and get me started on Pitocin since labor was most definitely not starting on its own.
My mom showed up with coffee for Tom. She knows my husband too well.
Labor started soon after the Pitocin started to drip into my veins. It wasn’t that bad at first.
My biggest problem was that I had to pee every fifteen minutes. It was awful because I’d have to drag my IV pole with me each time. I’d have a contraction on the way to the bathroom, while in the bathroom and on the way back to the bed.
At around noon, I was moaning my way through contractions, holding tight to the rails on the bed just to get through them. My nurse gave me some Nubain, a narcotic to ease the pain. What it really did was allow me to sleep during the two minutes between contractions.
My room began to fill out as family members stopped by to see how things were going. At one point one of my aunts, who meant well I’m sure, began to provide counter pressure on my back. Except, there was nothing to counter, so she was basically just digging her fists into my lower back. It hurt like a bitch!
After she finally left the room, I whimpered to my mom and Tom, “Please don’t let her touch me again.”
They both asked why I hadn’t said something while she was doing it. I replied that I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. That particular aunt is very sensitive. Both my mom and Tom laughed and told me that at this point, I’m allowed to hurt anyone’s feeling who might be hurting me.
I shrugged and went back to clinging to the bedrail. A few times during the laboring hours, my nurse would come in and try to help me into positions that might help labor along but all the did was irritate me so I always ended up back on the bed, leaving it every fifteen minutes to pee.
A little after 1:00pm I suggested to my nurse that I might like to try that whole ‘walking epidural’ thing I’d heard about. She checked my progress and said I was at 6cm. She told me she’d request the medicine if I really wanted her to but she was worried that if they did it, it would stall my progress. Then she told me I was doing so well she hated to see that.
Okay, fine, I decided to forgo the epidural and continued doze between contractions.
The doctor finally showed up at about 2:00. He checked me and said things were going well. He expected us to see a baby in the next hour or so.
I sure hoped so because I was so tired.
Fifteen minutes later, the nurse checked me yet again and said it was time to push. Everyone except Tom and my mom were ushered out of the room. The nurses began pulled the bed I was on apart, and wonders of wonders, the doctor inserted a catheter and for the first time in almost eight hours, I felt my stupid bladder empty. Apparently, the baby had been in the perfect position to keep my from emptying my bladder all those times I’d gotten up to pee. It was sweet, sweet relief.
My mom was on my left side, Tom on my right and the doctor in the catching position. The doctor asked, “Okay, pink or blue?”
Tom guessed blue, I admitted I had no clue and my mom voted for pink.
Two nurses flanked the doctor. One of those nurses gave me advice on how to push. She was great. She reminded me to try not to make any sounds because that just took energy away from my pushes.
I don’t remember how many pushes it took but it was about a half hour of pushing and there was our baby.
Tom leaned in and whispered, “We have a baby girl.” I love, love, love that he was the one who said those words.
They put Alyssa on the warming table and she just looked around, appearing a bit stunned by everything that was going on. I asked why she wasn’t crying. The doctor assured me she’d cry soon, that she was perfect.
She was born at 2:47pm ten years ago today. She has amazed me in some way every single day for the past ten years. This is the girl who made me a mom.