My journey into motherhood technically began in February 2014, one month after marrying my husband. We knew we wanted to start having kids right away, so I tracked my ovulation, got down to business on my birthday, and 9 days later took a pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that faint line in the testing window. Could it be?? I tested again a few hours later and the line was darker. So much joy. So much excitement. I was going to be a mommy. (For more info on how I got pregnant so fast, you can read about that here).
I instantly started reading everything I could about pregnancy, I downloaded all the pregnancy apps, and I made my first OB appointment. From that point forward, my baby was my world. I wrote letters in a journal every day, documenting all my feelings and excitement. Emotionally I was on top of the world. Physically my head was in the toilet. I felt so nauseous. And more then anything I was exhausted. Thankfully the nausea subsided after the first trimester. The exhaustion still hasn’t gone away….
The second trimester started and I was always hungry. I craved red meat in a way I never had before. And I gained a lot of weight. There was no hiding my growing belly!
I also had strange and uncommon pregnancy related conditions. The first was a “pregnancy tumor” which is basically an overgrowth of tissue on the gums in your mouth. I also developed a cherry angioma on my breast. Which is basically a big red mole caused by changes in hormones.
Then came the third trimester. The worst trimester ever. My belly was SO heavy and my son decided to camp out in a way that put constant pressure on my back. I couldn’t get comfortable. Sleep just wasn’t happening and I felt like my baby was going to fall out between my legs with every step I took.
But despite all the nausea and back pain, I was falling in love with my son more and more every day. I loved feeling his kicks. My sure-fire way to get him to move was, getting a big bowl of ice cream and laying flat on my back. After a couple bites he was jumping all around. I would touch the outside of my belly and talk to him, telling him all the fun things we would do when he was on the other side of me.
Then at 32 weeks, after using the bathroom, I noticed some blood on my toilet tissue. I still felt my baby moving (whew), but I called the doctor just to make sure everything was ok. The doctor had me come in right away. After a quick cervical examination, I was immediately sent to Labor and Delivery, as I was already 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. No wonder it felt like he was going to fall out.
I was so panicked! I didn’t have my hospital bag ready, I hadn’t even had my baby shower yet. When I called my husband and told him the news, he was 30 minutes away, and had just taken a large door off of a building (he does commercial locksmithing for a living)and couldn’t leave without securing the door.
I was sent into the high risk area of labor and delivery, and was given some steroids and medication to stop labor.
Then I was monitored for 24 hours before I was sent home on bedrest. Being on bedrest before having a baby was terrible. I couldn’t do anything to prepare. I was still allowed to have my baby shower but I had to be in a wheelchair the whole time! Trying to finish my registry was quite a challenge.
Then when I went to the doctor a couple weeks later, they noticed my blood pressure had sky rocketed and I was having some pretty severe swelling in my hands, face and legs. After giving a urine sample and blood, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. I would need to be induced.
I was 37 weeks exactly on my induction date. I invited my mom, sister and husband to be in the room with me during labor and delivery and it was so nice having their support and company. My sister played photographer and captured moments I will forever treasure.
I came into my induction already 4cm dilated and 90% effaced. The doctor then started the induction by breaking my water at 9am. I will never forget watching her walk into the room with what looked like the biggest knitting needle ever! Then I felt a rush of warm water all around me.
After breaking my water she started me on a low dose of pitocin. Pitocin contractions are quite intense. I tried to hold out on the epidural and distract myself by playing cards. But eventually I gave up on the breathing exercises that I had learned in birthing class and asked for the epidural.
Getting the epidural didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. To me it felt like a small shot. And in my opinion it was SO worth it. It instantly took away ALL the pain. I felt nothing from that point on.
In the midst of all of this, there was a fire in the hospital! Thankfully we didn’t have to evacuate. Especially because there was a tornado warning going on outside. I was born in a blizzard of 18 inches of snow, so I guess my son thought he needed an adventurous birth story too.
Despite the adventurous weather, the labor was actually pretty straightforward. 3 hours after they broke my water, the doctor came in to check on my progress. We were all shocked when she said I was 10 cm dilated, 100% effaced and ready to push. Pushing was difficult because I was so numb from the epidural. I literally felt nothing. My doctor never left my side though. For three hours, she held my legs alongside my husband.
My doctor had to tell me every time I was having a contraction and when I needed to push because I was so numb I couldn’t feel the contractions. In fact, I was actually so numb I didn’t realize I wasn’t pushing. Apparently I was just scrunching my face. Haha!! That’s when they decided to bring out the mirror. Oh man- that was a sight I will never forget. But….it helped. As soon as I could see what was going on, it only took a couple pushes and my son was born, at 3:43pm.
That moment was the most amazing moment of my life. So many emotions flooded my mind. Love, happiness, joy, and RELIEF!! I was in absolute awe at what my body had just done. I felt like superwoman. I kept thinking – wow, my body just did that. It was the highest of highs. Then my son instantly latched on to my breasts to nurse and once again, I was amazed by my body.
For so many years I hated my body. It had been disrespected and misused way too many times. I had always been self conscious about every little flaw. But in becoming a mother I had a new found love and pride in my body. I was amazed at what it did, and what it continued to do. So there I was, after gaining 80lbs and so swollen from preeclampsia, loving my body more then I ever had before.
But the new found love for my body was nothing in comparison to the love for my son. Even though he was three weeks early he weighed a good, healthy 7lbs 4.5 ounces. He and I had an instant bond. I didn’t want to put him down. And he didn’t want to be put down.
Because he was stuck in the birth canal for three hours, he had the biggest cone head I had ever seen.
But, in my eyes he was perfect. I just wanted to stare at his beautiful lashes and chubby cheeks all day. This was a new type of love I had never experienced before, and I just wanted to soak it all in.
It has now been 4 years and 3 months since I first saw that positive pregnancy test, and began my journey into motherhood. I now have two living sons and two daughters that I never got to hold. But I am a mother to them all. I would be lying if I said these years have been the easiest or even the most fun years of my life. But I can honestly say they have been my favorite years of my life. Even in loss, even with lack of time, even in lack of money, even in lack of sleep, even in the middle of a tantrum, the feeling of love that I have gained makes it all so worth it. I am so thankful and happy to be a mommy.
Happy Mother’s Day!!