You are probably wondering what country I could be living in if today is the anniversary of my Labor Day. It’s the good ole USA! I have 4 Labor Days. There is the one in September that is celebrated by all and the there are three more which are on the days that I labored to bring each of my children into this world.
So today is the 14th anniversary of my first labor or my oldest daughters 14th birthday if you want to get technical. She is beautiful, bright and has my sense of humor. She is going to kick ass. I did really well but let’s get back to the day of her birth and the struggles I surmounted to bring her here because honey, they don’t call it labor for nothing!
My husband and I decide that we are ready to have a baby and I swear that I am part cat or peasant or something but the fact that we just agree on this decision literally is enough to conceive a child. In fact, we have bad chicken wings in Atlantic City during a weekend getaway when I ovulate so when I go to dinner with a friend a week later and we meet up with our husbands after that for a drink, I can’t understand why I feel so terrible and why for days later it won’t go away. I take the afternoon off from work and I tell my housekeeper that I am going into the guest bedroom that is as dark as a crypt. She asks if I am pregnant and I tell her not that I know of but my period is 5 days away. I lay in the dark and wonder could it be? Off to Walgreens to get a test…. Or 6. I run home and quickly pee on the stick…. Nothing. Hmmm, revenge of the chicken wings I think as I throw it in the trash can. I fix my makeup and lean to toss out my trash when I see it….. The freaking stick turned positive in the trash! Holy sperm, Batman! How did that happen?
So now we are pregnant….. Actually I hate that statement. Only one of us is pregnant. Only one of us falls asleep every afternoon and drools on her desk, only one of us who wants an egg sandwich everyday but the minute anyone gets one within 10ft of her she runs to put her head in the toilet, only one of us pees like a racehorse. There is only one pregnant person and my husband ain’t it!
At 10 weeks, I begin spotting and I am traumatized. I call the doctor and they say to rest but there is nothing to be done to save the baby if I miscarry. I call my husband sobbing. He can’t stand it when I cry and he immediately tries to say anything to make me feel better… Are you ready? Here it comes…. “Please don’t cry. If you lose this one, we will make another one tonight.” He is drop dead serious. My husband who holds 2 degrees and is a successful businessman must have slept through every freaking biology class. I tell him that it doesn’t work like that and didn’t he pay attention to the teacher in health class. He is thoroughly confused…. Thankfully I do not lose the baby and this passes.
As I grow and grow, my husband waits on me hand and foot and I am a princess. Speaking of growing, my nose begins to do this thing where it spreads from ear to ear and I hold every molecule of water found on planet earth in my hands and feet. Pretty! This is the happiest time in my life. One day I am at work and he delivers a brand new Mercedes to me because I should be safe when driving around town. He rubs my feet and takes me to my favorite restaurants. I feel fantastic, I love being pregnant and decide right there that I will have 5 more of his children.
I hit an icy patch with a bit of preterm labor but then progress on to the night of April 7th right after we are seated at a new restaurant. I notice that my Braxton Hicks are actually very regular, like every 9 minutes….. Hmmmm. I quietly time them all through dinner and they stay regular and then get a bit closer. We get home and I make my husband hang all the pictures in the nursery and still don’t mention the contractions. Except that they aren’t pain free anymore…. Hmmmm. Now I tell him that I have been in labor for about 4 hrs now. We go to the hospital and the nurse says it’s very early, why don’t you go back home to rest and come back in a few hours.
What a terrible idea! There are no drugs at my house. I can’t rest or find a comfortable position, I shower every hour and use up all the hot water. This sucks. And it hurts! A lot!
I decide that I don’t want to have this baby and I am not sure how I feel about my husband. This goes on for hours and hours, for 12 hours I stay at home and suffer, bounce on a birth ball, walk with my doula, shoot dirty looks at my husband, cry, shower and basically try not to lose my shit before I head back to the hospital. I don’t care if my water breaks in my husbands Benz, it will serve him right. I hope they can’t get it out of the seats, I hope it stains, I hope it stinks. It never breaks and I walk with my doula into the birthing center while my husband parks when the mother of all contractions hits and my knees buckle as I cling to a railing in the hallway. At just that minute, a door opens and 3 prospective couples who are touring the center enter the hallway and stop and gape at me. I am ugly with pain all the way to my soul and I say, “This is exactly what you are in for.” I tell myself it’s a public service message but really I want to kill them for looking happy when my inside are being torn out.
They settle me in to a room and I start shouting for an anesthesiologist. Epidural, now!
“Did you watch the video?”
Really? That’s what we are going to talk about, the freaking video. Yes, I watched the damn video! Now. Give. Me. The. Drugs.
Drugs come and I am happy for 3 hours.
I have now been in labor for 25 hours. My water has been broken and life is good! But what is that? Ow! Why is it hurting again? What do you mean the baby is posterior? What does that have to do with anything!? Omg! Back labor? What do you mean epidural so don’t always work with back labor? You know what!? The freaking video did not say anything about this. Fix it now!!!!! You wanna know what the fix is? Getting the baby out! So we are going to do this the hard way!
Here is the ugly part. I make big, beautiful babies but I am a little girl on the inside. 3 hours of pushing and sobbing make me insane with pain and when they ask me to try to get on all fours to help deliver this baby, I do it. I will do anything! Just get it out now! I don’t know who is President, I don’t know what day or year it is. I do know that I am going to die. There is no way I will survive this and when death comes, I will welcome it. Crack goes my coccyx breaking from the pressure. They let my mother in law in to see me. I am naked and on my hands and knees with my butt facing the door. We don’t speak about this ever but we will never recover from this place.
On and on it goes and then I hear a loud crash behind me. My husband has gone down. Seriously? I repeat it again. Seriously? Get up and get my cool washcloth. He says he needs a minute and they are checking his head. Fabulous, I will just get back to dying here.
And then it happens, after 28 hours of labor, I have given birth to this beautiful almond eyed, perfect head and skin, healthy and beautiful baby girl. She barely makes a sound after her first squawk and just looks around and takes the world in. She is captivating and just like that I am in love.
Happy 14th birthday to my sweet Reese Nicole. May you never lose your desire to understand the world and all it’s moving parts. May you find love in the hearts of all that know you. May you find joy in all that life brings. May you always remember that you are fiercely loved and one of my greatest gifts.
Happy birthday! I will always love you beyond words and measure.