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I think most little girls think about when they’ll meet prince charming, fall in love, and have a baby. [First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby…] I used to think about these things. I remember playing with my baby dolls and pretending to be a little mama; however, whenever I got married and the idea of becoming a mother was a real possibility I stopped thinking about it. You see, I never thought that I was ready to be a mom. I felt like I could barely take care of myself. How was I supposed to take care of a little person who would depend on me 100%? Ironically, these were the same thoughts that came swooping in days before I went into labor.

 So, yes…I ended up with a little bun in the oven. What a surreal experience that was. Throughout those 9 months, I could never really believe it. “What am I doing? Why am I pregnant?” [FYI, I knew how it happened.] It all started when I went to the doctor for one of those regular “women check ups”. Per protocol I had to take a pregnancy test beforehand. I was waiting in the little room waiting for the doctor to come in to begin the procedure when I heard a little knock on the door. The doctor walked in with her nurse and said, “You’re pregnant” while her nurse handed me the positive pregnancy test and said, “The first memento for the baby book.” [Btw, I haven’t even started a baby book. I have all the pinterestry ideas, but I can’t find the extra energy at the end of the day to make any of them happen.] Meanwhile, at home I took 6 [yes, SIX] pregnancy tests because how are you supposed to know for sure? Well, each one came back with that little pink line a little bit stronger than the one before it. So, I knew it. The first thing I did was call my Aunt Patty because I wasn’t really sure what else to do. She screamed a little and told me that God’s grace is sufficient and would meet me in this journey. [She was right.] At this point I was a mere 4 weeks along, but I was semi excited/semi freaking out so I decided to tell a few more family members. That night I went to tell another aunt and uncle and I swear to you the whole neighborhood probably found out I was pregnant due to my aunt’s screams of excitement. Her reaction was just what I needed though. It made me feel like this little life was worth celebrating. It made me feel supported. [These people have been there for me every step of the way.]

I made peace with the new season I was going to be stepping into; although, pregnancy definitely did not give peace to my body. About two weeks after I told a few family members the news, the nausea started and it continued into my 18 hours of labor [more on that later]. This was the most miserable part of my pregnancy. I woke up nauseous, went to work nauseous, came home and went to bed nauseous. After a while, throwing up just became second nature even though at the same time it’s not something you really get used to doing. I didn’t gain a single pound for the first five months. It was hard for me to find something to eat and whenever I did eat something that agreed with my stomach I decided that I never wanted to eat that ever again. [It’s still hard for me to think about Subway.] Apart from being sick all the time, I dealt with some serious acid reflux issues and my hips feeling like they were popping out of place all the time. It takes some guts to be pregnant and deal with everything that comes your way during those 9 months.

I swear I’ve never felt so much like a handicapped whale as I did towards the end of the third trimester. I waddled everywhere I went. I needed help to stand up. Whenever I would sit, gravity would take over and I’d plop down. It took me a good minute to scoot my big self out of bed the three times a night I had to get up to go to the bathroom. And forget about bending over. That luxury was no longer to be had. If I dropped something on the ground, it may as well have disappeared into a black hole because I was never going to see it again [unless I yelled loud enough and Lionel came to my rescue.]

Now, let’s talk about those 18 hours of labor. It’s called labor for a reason. It’s physically the most exhausting thing I’ve ever gone through, but it’s also a mental battle. Every labor is different. There’s not a text book to follow to know just what your experience will be like, but I’ll tell you about mine. My due date was February 9th. At my last OB appointment, my doctor said that she would induce me that following Monday, February 6th. Of course, this was the most tempting offer anyone could have placed before me at that time. I was tired, sore, and wanted this baby out of me. However, after consulting with my sisters and getting different opinions I decided to really pray about it. I knew that God always had my best interest at heart and that He would lead me to do the right thing even if people didn’t agree with it. So, after praying I really felt peace to go ahead and schedule the induction for that Monday. After I made that phone call to schedule it, I started to freak out because I knew exactly when all of this was going down and I didn’t think I was ready to be a mother. [A little late to be thinking that, I know.] Over that weekend I was showered in prayer by my family, my husband, and my in-laws. We showed up at Labor and Delivery at 1:00 AM on Monday morning. [Yes, 1 A.M.] Turns out the insurance companies don’t like to pay for more than two nights in the hospital, so they make you come in as soon as the day starts. [Shocker, right?]

After getting all the paperwork done I tried to sleep, but it was incredibly difficult because my mind wouldn’t shut off. As soon as the sun came up, I texted my cousins to get up and get over to Labor and Delivery to keep me company. So, around 10 AM my doctor comes in to break my water. After that, they were going to start Pitocin. At this point, I was already feeling uncomfortable and in some pain that the thought of Pitocin scared me because that stuff gives you contractions on steroids. So, I asked about the epidural. I didn’t have a birth plan and I’m kind of glad I didn’t because literally nothing went according to the way I thought it would happen. The anesthesiologist comes in and we get this epidural started.

                                                                 

Getting the epidural. [You can thank Lionel for this picture]

Apart from having your whole backside showing...yes, if you're wondering, yes it hurts.

The worst part is after your back has been numbed and they thread that catheter in. It’s a strange, horrible feeling but that nightmare only lasts a few minutes. After all was done, he started pumping that good stuff into my body and I was feeling great. I felt totally and completely pain free. I literally told everyone in the room that and I quote, “I was ready to party.” I was ready to talk and play the card games that I had brought with me. I felt this way for a grand total of 10 minutes before everything took a wrong and twisted turn. The alarms started going off because the baby’s heart rate dropped, so they came in and told me I couldn’t lay on my side anymore. Then, I started to toss my cookies all over my hospital gown. Side note, I went through 4 hospital gowns during my labor. FOUR. My epidural was too high. I was numb all the way up to my chest. I had a pounding headache and I couldn’t talk because my voice was so loud in my own ears. They eventually put me on oxygen. This lasted all day long. ALL DAY. All day long my cousins would replace the cold wash rag on my forehead with a new one. All day long the machines would beep because the baby’s heart rate was dropping too low. All day long the nurses would come in and turn down the dosage of Pitocin I was receiving. Eventually, my doctor came in and told the nurses to stop turning the Pitocin down because “without contractions, you can’t have a baby”. They would turn the Pitocin down because I wasn’t having regular intervals of contractions. I was contracting all the time and it was putting stress on the baby. Finally, the nurses came in and made me sign a consent form to have a C-Section if it came down to that. After they left the room, I motioned for Lionel to come sit next to the bed and I cried. I was scared. I didn’t want a C-Section. I didn’t want my baby to be hurt or in distress. I kept saying, “Did I make a mistake by deciding to do this today? Should I have waited?” At that point, the alarms went off again. This time it was because my pulse was too high. I was getting too worked up about everything. I was super shaky [epidural side effect] and it was hard to calm myself down.

Okay, this is where things get interesting. Finally, another anesthesiologist comes and decides that it’s best to turn the epidural off for a few hours because I was too numb and they didn’t want the numbness to reach my lungs. It was off for about 4 hours because I started to feel some discomfort. I let the nurses know and they come to check me out. This is where things get a little blurry. Some time has passed since they’ve turned the epidural back on [a lower dosage this time] and I’m still feeling the pain. It’s increasing, but it’s only on my lower, left side. This is what they call a “hot spot” and they are from hell. I was being told that there might not be anything that they can do because I was numb everywhere else except for this spot on my lower, left side. Well, now the contractions are really picking up and I’m feeling them. They’re topping off at 100 on the monitor. I’m screaming. I’m crying. I’ve never felt pain like this ever in my life. Then, to make matters more interesting, I start to throw up again while I’m having these contractions. Another anesthesiologist comes in to assess me and after about another hour I was feeling some relief. I could feel some pain with the contractions but the edge was definitely taken off. The nurses come in and I’ve dilated 4 cm in 1 hour. The nurse says to me, “It is complete” and my heart dropped to the floor. So, does this mean I’m having this baby right now? Yes. Yes it did. The nurses kept having me do practice pushes. I pushed about 3 times and they called the doctor in. She came in like a rock star, got her robe on, and sat down in front of me. I pushed for 15 minutes before this baby popped out of me and was put on my chest. He was a whopping 9 lbs and 4 oz. I couldn’t believe it. They seriously was a little person inside of me the entire time. For the next few minutes, they cleaned him up and wrapped him up and put him on my chest for some cuddles. [FYI, the doc said it was a good thing I decided to go through with the early induction because of his size. I knew there was a reason I felt peace about it.]

Now, I’m looking across the room and I see that one-month old baby sleeping on his daddy’s chest and my heart melts. I never knew my heart was capable of so much love. I also never thought that I was missing or lacking anything in my life, but after little Evan came along I realized that there was so much more. There was more joy to be experienced, more love to give, more laughs to be a part of. I spend a lot of my days covered in breast milk and spit up. Laundry never ends. We go through a lot of diapers and burp cloths. In my world right now, there’s no such thing as a perfect, clean house. Before, this would have definitely bothered me. However, I am learning to take in every minute. I choose to soak in the cuddles and to fold the clothes later. All those chores will be there later, but children only stay little for a short amount of time. Of course, I’ve already imagined him growing up and leaving me because what else would you expect me to do?

This is the most beautiful, messy, chaotic time of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

 

-Su

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