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How I Started My 2013, Part I

My daughter was born exactly two weeks into 2013; an occasion many mothers would rejoice in, take pride in, document and proclaim. Birth is a monumental event. It grows us as people. We now have a new title to add to our growing list; daughter, wife, CEO, freelancer, homemaker. Mom.

My daughter’s birth wasn’t the first time I became mom. It was the moment I became Mom 2.0. I wasn’t new to this mom gig, but that doesn’t mean that the time leading up to my daughter’s birthday wasn’t without the same first-time parent jitters. In fact, it was frightening because this time I knew what to expect, and not all of it was good.

The impending occasion scared me, and I still feel guilty about that.

I spent my entire pregnancy with my daughter scared and anxious, mostly because I knew what a difficult time I had birthing my son. I was scared of breastfeeding failure, of the postpartum blues, the hormone drop, the endless nights, the hot flashes and the crying, and this time, not being able to sleep when baby slept because I also had an 18 month old to take care of.

I was scared of the surgery pain. I had to have a c-section, as just 18 months prior to my daughter, I already had an emergency c-section to deliver my son. I was not a good candidate for a VBAC delivery.

I was afraid of weight gain. I had already lost the weight from my son, and having battled weight my whole life, I wasn’t ready to pack on the pounds. I was afraid of developing an unhealthy relationship with food.

I was afraid of adding more strain to my already-strained marriage. Becoming parents as a couple is a tough transition, and just when I thought my husband and I had figured it out, it was all about to change again.

Oh, there was also the stress that my husband had just lost his job prior to us finding out I was pregnant.

I never felt prepared for our daughter, and that made me feel really guilty. When we found out I was pregnant with our son, we were ecstatic. We had been trying for over a year. The pregnancy was smooth. The house was clean. We felt ready for it.

With my daughter, everything was out of sorts. I didn’t want her to arrive because I felt everything had to be perfect for her, after all, her gestation was anything but. I wanted a clean house, an organized life. I wanted a perfect marriage, a happy toddler sibling. I wanted employment, money in the till. I wanted the right clothes, the right accessories. I felt like I was bringing her into a chaotic world, and I felt she deserved better.

A week before she was born, I was unable to satiate my nesting urge, as the house was so out of sorts with a growing toddler and a husband who did, in fact, find a job at just the right time. I was too pregnant and tired to clean it. There was dirt everywhere. Milk stains on the floor. I was emotional, picking fights with my husband, creating tension in every room.

It was not a fit place for a little girl to arrive in, or so I thought. More guilt. More anxiety. Less getting done, even more to fix.

We were scheduled to have our little girl on January 21, 2013. However, my body, perhaps collapsing under the stress of her impending arrival, couldn’t hold onto what little amniotic fluid was left. My OB, who had monitored me closely from that point on, who tried desperately to keep me hydrated, on bed rest, and keep my daughter in there as long as possible, told me that it was just an unsafe situation. Her heartbeat was low. I was feeling sick. It was time to get her out.

I panicked. We had a week left before she was due to come. I didn’t know what to do. The house was still a mess. I wasn’t ready to leave my son so I could stay in the hospital. I missed my cats and didn’t leave enough food for them.

I cried.

I took a deep breath. There was no time for tears. My daughter was coming.

My last c-section was scary. My son was blue and lacked oxygen. I had a fever. I didn’t want her to come out of me while I was anxious or not well. I wanted her to have the perfect birth. I wanted to have the perfect birth. I wanted to know she was okay. I needed to know I was okay.

What I didn’t realize was that, while being prepped for surgery, my husband relayed my previous anxieties to the OR nurse. She ensured him everything would be taken care of.

I was on the operating table, just looking up at the ceiling, waiting for the moment our daughter would arrive. My husband and I had been fighting the day before, but it was no matter now. He was at my side, stroking my face, wiping my tears as they poured from my eyes, assuring me that everything was going to be okay.

Before I knew it, my midwife was on top of me, bearing down and pushing hard on my stomach, my OB at the other end talking to her, words I couldn’t really hear or understand. I felt my breath escaping me. I felt pressure, lightheaded. I wanted to expand my lungs, but I couldn’t. I held on tight in my mind, thinking of the day our son came out. How I heard his cries, how I felt knowing he was okay despite not seeing him. And then it happened.

Wails. Screams. “She’s here!,” the doctor said.

I couldn’t see her, but I heard her. She was loud. I said to the staff “Say hi to Alice Rose, that is her name!” Everyone in the room welcomed Alice.

Our nurse, Wendy, she handed me our daughter and let me hold her while I was being tended to. I wasn’t alone or scared or unsure.

Suddenly, the messy house and disorganization wasn’t even a thought or worry. Alice was here. She was pink and tiny and alert and ready to take on the world. She looked right at me.

We were going to be okay.

(To be continued…)

Image by Jessika Von’s Crayons:

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