Thanksgiving Day. Somehow I knew.
My parents and my brother and his family were in town for a dual purpose – celebrate Thanksgiving and to be here to help out at the baby’s arrival which would be anytime.
My son was born at Week 39, Day 1, and I went into labor in the wee hours of the morning.
Thanksgiving Day: Week 39, Day 1. Wee hours of the morning.
Contractions were fairly strong but very irregular around 4 or 5am. I tried to sleep, but that is relatively impossible when your body has waves of pain every 5 to 10 minutes.
But everything changed at 6:29am. Oh yes, I remember the time. Vividly.
And it was the wee hours of the morning. Week 39. Day 1. Again. What are the chances, really? I laugh about it now.
At 6:29am, my contractions suddenly were precisely three minutes apart. I kicked Chris out of bed and called my doctor who said without hesitating to head in to the hospital. You think this girl was hesitating? Please!
I had an epidural in my sights. It was in my plan, people!
While Chris showered as fast as he ever has in his life and dressed, my brother timed my contractions and was kind enough to even take a picture. Its horrid, but I cannot seem to bring myself to delete it. Hmmmm, my daughter might want to see it one day…when she’s pregnant, or actually maybe AFTER she has a baby…don’t want to scare her.
I am so THANKful it was THANKsgiving Day. No rush hour traffic to deal with. We headed to the hospital, only 15 minutes away or so. The loooooooongest fifteen minutes of life…and wouldn’t you know there were railroad tracks between there and here. Uh, huh. No fun.
Chris dropped me at the door to the Family Birth Center because there was no way I was walking that far and I headed upstairs to triage. They buzzed me in, and lo and behold, guess who was standing right there?
God is so good.
The very same nurse who cared for me when I had my son – both when I delivered him and when I was subsequently hospitalized for the depression. She took one look at me and told the other lady, “She’s my patient – give mine to someone else.”
Oh, thank you, Lord! Someone who knows me!
My doctor had not warned them I was coming, but it was pretty clear that this was not false labor. She checked me and I was already 6.5 cm. Seriously?! I’m thinking I wanted an epidural yesterday. My plan, my plan!
Labor moved fast. Nurses hooking me up, another asking me questions – did I want a tubal ligation? What?! You’re asking me NOW? “Yes! No! Yes! No! Wait! I don’t know!” I said between clenched teeth. Somewhere in there, I’m told I even hit my husband.
Before anyone even thinks I was unkind, the momentary pain I could cause by a hit I delivered in no way could ever equal the pain I felt at that moment. He’s fine. Did I mention I have a low pain threshold? The anesthieologist walked in and I almost kissed her, I was so glad to see her. I was given the epidural, but my plan didn’t seem to work…
My labor was moving too fast for it to work.
Um, God, not part of my plan, remember?
My doctor came in and I remember apologizing to him for bothering him on Thanksgiving Day. Fortunately, I had him home by mid morning. My daughter came quite quickly a little after 9am. I felt every bit of it. Whew.
And I survived. :)
Oh, what a different experience than when I had my son! Physically, this birth was so much better, even without a working epidural. I’ll spare you the details, but I was in considerable pain after having my son…this time, it was so different. My body seemed to bounce back much more quickly. Additionally, because it was Thanksgiving, there were not many people at the hospital and we got to stay in the big comfy room instead of being moved to a smaller room. We had made the choice to bottlefeed from the beginning, and it did wonders for me to get sleep immediately. I would not feel ashamed this time.
Admittedly, in the next two days, the anxiety crept up on me. I felt strange, almost disembodied, in the middle of the night. And very anxious. I told my nurse, who knew me and what had happened before, and she immediately knew what to do and got the prescriptions necessary. The day we went home, the nurse who discharged me was educating me on PPD symptoms. I just smiled. I was glad to hear them, because that means she tells others. But I did stop her and told her I know…I know very well.
At home, I had my private space in my bedroom. I used my relaxation baskets - oh, I was so glad I had prepared those! It saved so much work and quick trips to Target for my husband. It was all right there, ready to go.
And I slept. My husband was adament that I get my sleep, he knew this was vital to my mental well-being. He watched out for me. Our bedroom was my sanctuary when I felt overwhelmed. I loved that.
As the weeks went on, family came and went, came and went. We used the frozen meals I had prepared in advance, or they cooked. Again, I was so glad I had done that bit of preparation as well. My son was entertained as he adjusted to our new family.
Conclusion: All glory to my God – the prayers of many and the preparation we had done had worked for us. I felt like our previous experience had been redeemed. I treasured each precious moment with my daughter. These were memories I did not have of my son, but I wanted them burned into my mind with her. So I could “remember” both.
Admittedly, there were some challenging times. Being a stay-at-home mom of a toddler and a baby was not easy in the least. Oh my word! Balancing one then the other and prioritizing needs was a challenge. I was also learning what “normal” was like. I relied on my mommy-friends to help me know – was what I was feeling normal frustration? was it extreme? was this normal? or that normal? It was comforting to know I was on the right track.
I stayed on my medication, attended MOPS, a women’s Bible study, walked when possible, and took it day by day.
It felt good. Thank you, Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Next: From Then Until Today