Nineteen years and nine months ago I got pregnant with my first child. With the exception of a few cases of severe heartburn the pregnancy was very easy. I remember the early morning of the day our daughter was born. It was about 4 am and I felt like I had to pee. So what else is new when you're pregnant?
I got up and started making my way to the bathroom when I heard a weird kind of "pop" in my ears and the next thing I knew fluid was coming down my legs. I got into the bathroom and knew right away what happened. The "mucus plug" had come loose.
I wasn't sure what would happen next, so I spent the next couple of hours in the living room sitting on an old towel folded underneath me. I had a small cramp here or there but certainly nothing to start worrying about.
Eventually my husband woke up and asked how I was doing. So far so good.
Soon enough the contractions started coming on a regular basis. I called the hospital and told them my mucus plug had popped and my contractions were about 20 minutes apart. They said to come on in. I was hoping it would happen like when my oldest sister had her baby. She started having contractions and barely made it to the hospital on time. But it was not to be.
Once I got settled in at the hospital the wait was on. 18 hours of wait, in fact. There came a point when the labor sort of started going backwards, almost, and the decision was made to give me pitocin. I had heard horror stories about that stuff and wasn't really happy about it, but I was getting really tired and I wanted this to end.
Shortly before eleven pm the contractions began in earnest. They were coming at regular intervals of about five minutes. I had been told to tell the nurses when I had the urge to push. Since this was my first child I didn't really know what that meant.
And then suddenly, I KNEW WHAT IT MEANT! I told the nurse I had to push and she was yelling "No! Not yet! Wait for the doctor! He's almost here! You can't push yet!"
I was sure she had lost her mind, or had I lost mine? Was she serious? I had to PUSH, DAMMIT!
I did my best to breathe through the contractions and that overwhelming urge to push. Meanwhile, the nurse was running back and forth between my bed, checking the monitors, etc, and the window, to look for the doctor. Finally she said, "He's here, the doctor is here! Hang on one more minute!!"
A minute or two later (it seemed like an eternity) the doctor strode into the room. He got himself positioned into place and gave his blessing, "Okay, go ahead and push now."
About ten minutes later our daughter was born. Another few minutes and she would have had the 10th as her birthday.
After the doctor made sure everything was okay with me and the baby had been cleaned up by the nurses my husband leaned over to the doctor and nervously asked, "Is that normal? I mean, her head is so pointy! That just doesn't look right."
Without missing a beat the doctor assured him, "Oh sure, that's not a problem. See, we just put these little hats on them and it pushes everything into shape."
My husband was relieved. Of course, later on when I told him the babies' heads are often pushed that way when they are squeezing through the birth canal and return to normal shape on their own, without the benefit of a "special cap", he felt a little silly.
I was a Mommy. It felt really strange. Here was this little person that came out of me and looked so much like my husband. Weird. I never liked kids to begin with and now I had one. Of course nobody had a baby quite as beautiful as mine. In fact, she was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen! And she is still!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARLI!