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A Birth Story-My Sequel: Part 3

1 Feb

photo (30)When we left off, I was being wheeled into the OR in the afternoon for a surprise C-Section, 4 days early, at 38.5 weeks and scared as hell.

I am a very superstitious person and look for signs all around me. During the scary, unknown part of my first unexpected C-Section with my daughter, I was feeling helpless and hopeless and the doctor said “The baby is about to come out” and my Nanny’s favorite song, Desperado, began to play in the OR radio. That was a good sign and even though my daughter had been in distress, her chord around her neck twice, she was OK. Because my angel had told me so.

So for my second go-round, I had my husband in my lucky socks, and was looking for similar signs. First, I liked the date. I am a numbers person and like that 2 is my mom’s lucky number, 4 is my sister’s and added together, 6 is my dad’s. That seemed to me like a good sign.

The second sign was my med student, Anna, who stood by my side the entire time, was named Anna. Anna is a very symbolic name for me, as it represents the name of my other angel, my Superman, for whom my daughter was named. Then I met my new anesthesiologist. His name was William. That was the name of my husband’s late grandfather. I felt like this was another sign, that our angels had gathered together to watch over my surgery and this birth.

The final sign was that William’s last name was Shepherd. Dr. Shepherd. McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy. That had to mean something.

But despite these comforts, I was still scared to the point of shaking uncontrollably. And dear, sweet Anna, Doctor Anna, hugged me and held me, and told me I was in good hands, and she even hugged me, as I had to curl my spine over in order to receive my epidural. After having explained my aversion to my previous spinal, Dr. Shepherd decided to give me an epidural instead of the one shot spinal, and it was a much slower onset, which I preferred greatly. They also gave me pain medicine and some anxiety meds through my IV, something that he equated to a glass of wine (as I did not want to feel too out of it, but definitely needed to take the edge off).

At this point my OBGYN came in to “Get the party started” and because an epidural works differently than a spinal, I could feel so much for. So much so that I heard them say, “Time to insert the catheter” and I shouted, over the blue screen that they had put up between my face and surgical site, “I can still feel my vagina!”

The next part is somewhat of a blur; they opened me up, my husband was allowed back in with me, my blood pressure kept dropping, I kept feeling scared, I literally felt myself lift off the table as they yanked the baby out,

I kept hearing them talking about things like seeing a hand and adhesions and blood and I loved it and hated it all at once

and then,

all of a sudden,

a cry.

I had a son.

And I looked at the clock. My daughter was born at 2:22 am, a hard time to beat in my book (for my lucky number is 11, so 22 is double 11. I know that I’m weird, by the way.)

My son was born at 4:11pm. 4/11 is my birthday. Could not have gotten better.

And speaking of numbers, he came out weighing 7 lbs 12 oz. The exact same weight as my daughter.

What is more interesting is that he was 7lbs 12 oz at 38.5 weeks, while she was full term at 40; so apparently my uterus hands out an eviction notice at just that size. They were only a half inch a part, him being 21.5 inches to her 21. I make solid babies, it seems.

And, because I had asked for it beforehand, they brought him to me, and I saw that he had fair hair and a cleft in his chin (like many of the men in my family) and I swear when our faces touched he smiled.

And then the world disappeared. I know this sounds like one of those hokey, cliche things, but everything else melted away as my husband, son and I cuddled up, as the doctors were still working to sew me up, and we sang to him. We held him and sang a song that my PopPop made up for us years ago.

Mommy loves the baby, 

Daddy loves the baby, 

Everybody loves the little boy. 

I remember wanting to be out of the OR, and holding him in my arms, and eventually we got there and he latched on immediately as I held him and nursed him and sent a text to my friend saying “I have a son.”

My pregnancy with my son was not nearly as magical or enchanting as that with my daughter, but I must say, the birth and the time right thereafter was extraordinarily special.

But there was one milestone left to happen; we needed my daughter to meet her brother. She had been having a great time at her best friend’s house, so much so that she peed her pants in all the excitement. So I am proud to say that my daughter met her baby brother for the first time wearing her boyfriend’s Cars underpants and cargos.

And at around 6 o’clock that evening, my little girl, who suddenly seemed so big, walked into the recovery room and over to her brother and said, “Hi baby. I love you. Don’t cry. Maybe I can carry him?”

And then there were four.

I will never, in all my life, forget the feeling of wholeness that that moment provided for me. All of my fears about not being able to love a second child, or a boy, washed away. I was, instead, swathed in rich, deep feelings of love and gratitude.

So that’s how it all went down. It was not easy, but it was beautiful.

And I am never doing it ever, ever again.

So instead of saying The End to this story, I will say something far more appropriate:

The beginning…

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A Birth Story-My Sequel: Part 2

31 Jan

Perhaps I should back up a bit. As I mentioned, the doctor told me that because of the nature of my contractions,

the difference I was feeling (despite having already been through FOUR false alarms),

I should come in to Labor and Delivery to be checked out. You should know this about me: I am a positive person, I am constantly accusing my husband of being a big ol’ naysayer. But in this case, I was miss “this is ridiculous, why am I going in again, I am going to be pissed to be sent home again, blah da de bla bla”. And remember. I had “Hot Cocoa” on my nails and they were 2/3 chipped off. And, while typically I don’t care about dirty hair, I did a hasty wash, threw on some eyeliner and blush, and called my mom, while in a towel.

“The doctor wants me to come in.” I said sheepishly.

And for the first time, her voice was different. “I think this is it.” She said.

We didn’t tell my husband.

We called my mama bestie to have her “On call” in case we needed her to pick up my daughter from school, and off we went.

Just in case, I wore my lucky underwear and purple socks, but I was still skeptic city.

Upon our arrival at the hospital I was greeted as an old friend; everyone there knew me. The residents and I were on a first name basis. It was embarrassing. But I had to admit, the pain I was feeling was different. And the monitor showed the same. I was having strong contractions every three minutes, regularly.

But, alas, as it has always happened when it comes to me and my labors, my cervix was not opening. Not at all. Not even one centimeter.

So I waited in the bed, for hours, contracting to the point of agony, when I started to cry.

I cried from the pain.

I cried from the uncertainty.

And, most of all, I cried because I hadn’t said a proper goodbye to my daughter.

I had had fantasies of how we’d spend our last night together as a tripod; A special dinner, and then maybe I’d sleep with her that night, since it would be our last time being just us. 

As a side note, late in my pregnancy my kid discovered a PBS kids show called Peg and Cat. The theme goes like this:

It is a show that encourages counting and early math. But the lyrics go

“We are two, na na na na na, Me Plus You, na na na na na…”

and every time I would hear this I would think,

“It’s me plus you, girl. It’s us. What the hell are we going to do with a fourth? And a BOY!?” I still get a lump in my throat when I hear that song.

Anyway, back to the hospital.

I was contracting and thinking and perseverating and all of a sudden, I started to cry.

I cried to my mom, really from the pain. “I can’t go another weekend like this.” I said. And I consider myself to be strong. Emotionally, I may be a basketcase, but pain-wise, I am pretty darn tough. But I just knew, much like the first time around, that it was time for this baby to come out.

At about this time my OBGYN showed up. He confirmed what the residents had said, that my cervix was still closed, but added that it had softened a lot, and said that my contractions were really strong and regular on the monitor, inevitably putting stress on my uterus.

“We’re having a birthday party today.” he said.

And then I cried some more.

Out of relief, out of fear, and out of, pardon my french again, the “What the fuck?!” feeling of having planned everything, every last detail, and having it all turned upside down by a sideways (literally) baby.

And I still hadn’t called my husband!

At that point the doctor offered me an epidural for the pain, but I declined. If i couldn’t experience a natural birth, my dream, I’d at least experience natural labor. And that I did. I am no masochist, but it made me feel like I could, at least, have some control over my body.

And so we called my mama friend. She would watch my daughter, and host a playdate with her son, whom my girl refers to as her “prince charming”. And then we called my husband. He was in a big meeting. He was told to rush out. He asked for permission to go home and change out of his suit. He was told no, there was no time.

I was forced to take off my all of my clothes, including my lucky socks. And so when my husband arrived, handsome and dapper in his suit, I had him put on my lucky socks, in their neon purple glory, under his gray slacks and ultimately under his full scrub attire.

The next bit was a blur; I met with anesthesiologists, got an IV, met my labor nurse…it was really happening. And my nurse, Katherine, held my hand and told me I’d be OK, as I told her how scared I was to go into surgery. How unprepared I felt. How my three and a half year old needed me.  I am very superstitious and her name starting with a K, the same as my Nanny, comforted me. It was a sign, like the signs I had experienced during my first birth. My angels were there. And there were more of them to come.

But then Katherine told me it was time. So my hair was placed in a net and I was placed in a wheelchair and I hugged my mom and husband tightly. It was time. I couldn’t stop shaking. It was time.

Time to meet my son…

(Stay tuned for more…and it involves some more signs from angels and maybe even a little spontaneous singing in the OR)

Because it’s her day o’ birth and all…

18 Apr

I figured I should dig these up from the ol’ archives.

The Birth Story, as told in 5 Chapters.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5–A Happy Ending

Read ’em and weep, folks. Read ’em and weep.

Just some things.

29 Mar

This past week has kept me oh-so-busy.

Like, Bizzy.

And it’s been good.

But, it has not left me with the time or energy to put my pen to paper to keyboard,

or what have you.

So, as a way to fill you in (or an attempt to make an excuse),

here are some things.

Some things I’ve done since we spoke last.

Just some things:

I’ve started to jog. And by jog, I mean I jog for a minute and then walk for ten minutes. But, I’m moving my body, so now I can officially call myself a jock. My next step will be getting a jersey with my name on it.

I’ve become a regular at our favorite lunch spot.

I’ve been singing. For other people (!).

I made these. And I ate them. All of them. Thank Gd I’m an athlete, now.

I found my poetry, again.

I crowded into a tiny dressing room with my Mom and my Mommom and my Aunt and My Sister and my Daughter, as we all helped my sister to find the perfect dress. I felt so lucky. (More on this to come…)

I watched a dear, so-in-love couple as they became husband and wife.  I toasted to their marriage. I requested this song I got DOWN.

I bowled, terribly.

I woke up one morning and danced, in sunglasses, to Queen, before brushing my teeth.

I heard a friend tell me that I didn’t seem like myself; I knew that she was right; I let her talk me through it; I felt so much love.

I had a picnic outside with my class. We dined on chocolate cake and rice cakes. We are so elegant.

I heard my daughter sing every word of “Sydney (I’ll Come Running)”.

I got a hair cut. I botched a manicure. I found my daughter in my makeup drawer, with a face-full of blush. And pride.

I explained to a group of 3-year-old boys why my daughter needs glasses.

I haven’t slept well.

I’ve seen piles of feathers.

I’ve missed you.

She’s a bad mama (pa)jama.

4 Mar

Watching my kid as she dances around the living room,

belting out “Oh Yoko”,

while wearing her footsie pjs and a faux leopard hat,

I know

that his memory most certainly is a blessing.

 

March Forth

4 Mar

Hey, what else can we do now
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night’s bustin’ open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven’s waiting down on the tracks

Oh oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road

Superman, I will love you forever.

Has it really been five years?

I mean…

21 Feb

Not only does this girlie girl insist upon accessorizing,

but she even chose to do so with feathers.

She’s a keeper, she is.

A Date Night

18 Feb

Tonight, my man and I went on a date.

A real, honest to goodness date.

We traded our ripped jeans and converse sneaks, time constraints and rushed conversations

for a dim, cozy seat in a corner booth. And heels. High heels.

We went to this place.

We sat upstairs at the bar, and together we read every item on the menu, taking in each ingredient and each moment.

Now, ordinarily I’d post my dinner shots over there (up there, to the right. You got it, now?) in my Family Dinner spot. But this dinner deserves more. This dinner was something special.

We started with the Toro Tartare.

(Yes, I was the loon taking pictures of my food (not the only one, might I add) and yes, I was embarrassed, but hey. I did it for you. Don’t ever say I don’t love you.)

Let me just say, this was one of the best bites of food I’ve eaten. This dish was serious. It came with instructions.

Take your little spoon, add some coarse wasabi, take a scoop of the Toro with a bit of caviar, and then slide it into the Mirin and Dashi broth, and eat it all at once.

Ridiculously delicious.

And it came with these little Japanese pitted berries to eat afterwards as a palate cleanser.

And let me just tell you,

the snozberries tasted like snozberries. Magic.

  Next came the chef’s selection of sushi. A surprise! One of my favorite surprises ever.

Each bite was better than the last.

And I treated myself to one of these bad boys.

Ikura is not only my favorite piece of sushi, but it also has a special place in my heart.

And not because they look like Nemo.

Ikura was my very first taste of sushi.

I was in fourth grade, down the shore with my Nanny and Poppy. We walked the Ocean City boardwalk, and they decided to cool off with a sushi lunch. Although the idea of boardwalk sushi on a hot, summer day is somewhat repulsive, I fell in love with the delicacy that day, and will never, ever forget it.

Oh, so yeah, this Ikura tonight was badass. Almost as good as the one from the dirty boardwalk stand. Almost.

Next, we shared the duck. Oh, the duck. While I forget the actual description, I can tell you that it was an incredible duck breast, with a side of duck confit fried rice, topped with a duck egg. And let me tell you, when we broke into that duck egg and all of the gooey yoke spread through the rich, savory rice, it felt, to me, how I imagine kids feel on Christmas morning. Pure bliss.

Full and happy, we scanned the dessert menu, only to find the perfect love child between the two of our palates: A tres leches cake (husband’s favorite) made with green tea, red beans and a honey butter ice cream (all me).

Yes, please.

And it was perfect.

But, the truth is, although our dinner was sensationally delicious, it didn’t really matter.

We were on a date. We talked about ourselves. We caught up. We kissed between bites. I had no one to feed but myself. And my husband.

I was able to give my husband advice on some projects he is working on. He was able to give me a hard time for over-sharing to our waitress.

It was lovely. It was delicious.

And while we love our little girl oh so much,

we knew she was in good hands.

She was busy dancing with Bubbie to her favorite song;

Having her nails painted hot pink by her Zeydie;

And having her Great-Aunt help her tuck Abby Cadabby into her new crib.

And by the time we came to pick her up, still on high from the wonder of our meal,

it was a bit late, and time to get her home, into the bath, jammies and bed.

But, as we were getting ready to head out, my baby’s Uncles showed up at the back door,

smiling ear to ear.

They decided to stop by on their way out on the town, just to give us all quick hellos and big hugs.

And somehow, those quick hellos turned into an hour of talking and laughing,

as we all ended up crowding into my parents’ bedroom, half of us snuggled up in their bed,

trying on clothing, howling at how silly we looked, reminiscing, taking pictures, telling stories and laughing at our inside jokes.

And it was delicious.

***

So, we got home late.

Way past all of our bedtimes.

But, a night out with the one I love,

followed by a night in with the ones we adore,

that is sweet, irreplaceable time

and the honey butter icing

on the green tea tres leches cake.

Somethings (and #febphotoaday/16)

16 Feb

16. Something New

On May 31, 2008,

as the saxophone played,

I held onto my dad’s arm

and walked, down a peony-lined runner, towards my forever.

I had something old,

a headpiece made of champagne and ivory seed pearls,

worn by my Nanny on her wedding day;

I had something borrowed,

the tiny, gold wedding band, that had been on my Mommom‘s own finger when she and my Poppop said their vows;

I had something blue,

a bracelet in honor of my Superhero;

and then I had Fancy shoes. Fancy new shoes.

And while they’ve now been worn,

and have scuffed soles

and loose threads,

and so many dance steps trailing behind them as distant memories,

they will always be my

something new.

I just want to say,

15 Jan

that I feel very grateful that I have a partner

who not only takes care of our family every day,

but who also takes extra special care of me when I’m sick.

A partner who

surprised me with the special Amish Egg Custard that my Nanny used to deliver to me when I was little,

and the certain type of chicken soup that my Mommom would let me have, after she’d pick me up early from school when I was sick,

and who knows that after I take a spoonful of red cough medicine,

or suck on a minty lozenge,

I will sneeze

two times.

So thank you, love

for taking care of me

in sickness

and in health

and in sneezing fits

and in everything in between.

She had her first day.

9 Jan

Today, my daughter had her first day of school.

Real, big kid school.

I had a hard time believing it.

She had her very first backpack.

She had a hand-drawn cartoon, made by her daddy, which he tucked, carefully, into her school bag.

She had her feathers.

She had her first day.

She had the time of her life.