So....I"m a Mom!
Two and a half months after welcoming a watermelon into the world (watermelon? Baby? Feels the same coming out) I finally have time to sit down and write about my experience adding a whole new title to my name: Mom. Two and a half months into poopy diapers, leaking nipples, and never ending searches for 'bitty' i.e soothers, my biggest takeaway so far has been to throw all your plans out the window and go with the flow. What's that saying? If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan. That's definitely motherhood in a nutshell and it all started the night Faye was born.
So, how did her birth go? Well, let me tell you, it was dramatic (hey, I'm a broadcaster, it's in our DNA!) First thing I gotta say, to all the pregnant women out there wondering "Hmmm is this it? Could I be having my first contraction?!" Like food poisoning after a night at the Sizzler, trust me, you'll know!) The night of Saturday Feburary 6th, Deryck and me went to bed like any other night (a deep embrace followed by whispers of sweet nothings, obviously). Then, all of a sudden at 3am I woke up to this rush of Niagara Falls between my legs. "Oh my god!" I thought. "My water broke! I'm officially in labour!"
I bolted out of bed, leaving a trail of goo like a snail on a front porch behind me, and jumped on the toilet to release the rest of the liquids. Once done, I turned around and there staring back at me in the bowl was the tampon-looking thing I had put in me two days before to try and get contractions going. Well, it definitely worked!
I called up Langley Memorial Hospital Memorial Ward to tell them all about my water fiasco, when the nurse on the other line simply told me to go back to bed. Come again? In a few hours I could have an orangutang coming out of my cooter and you want me to go back to counting sheep? In her defence, there really isn't anything doctors can do until contractions start and even then they need to be around four minutes or less apart before you can head to the hospital. I knew sleep was out of the question. So, what does one do waiting for a fetus to fling out of you? Read a book? Knit a sweater? Crush some whiskey? Luckily I didn't have to do any of those things as my contractions started coming on fast and strong the minute I hung up the phone.
Hmmmm....how to explain a contraction? I would say think of it as Freddie Krueger ripping your insides, but even that wouldn't do it justice. There really are no words to describe it and I work in the communications field!
Here's how one woman described it online "an all-encompassing pain. There's the tell-tale belly tightening, but then the sensation is something that is hard to describe other than to say it was so intense, my whole body felt it. There's no way to fully "escape" what's happening, so you just succumb and use your best coping skills." Well, that's comforting! My best coping skill was to go at it alone. In Lamaze classes teachers often give husbands tips to try rubbing their wife's shoulders or applying pressure to their lower back to help relieve the pain. For me, didn't matter if it was Deryck or Brad Pitts paws, the feel of another human being touching me repulsed me. I simply told Deryck to sit down, play his video games and I'll see you on the other side (wife of the year award? I think so!) A friend of mine had told me when a contraction starts, the best thing to do is pick an item in the room to focus on and that will help you get through it So there in the dead of night while Deryck battled post-apocalyptic zombies, I battled my own inner zombie one breath at a time. Along with the shock of how painful contractions are, another surprise I found out was not every woman's water breaks in one big gush like in the movies. For me it was never-ending bursts of water, one after the other. I thought I had gotten all of it out, but on the drive to the hospital more and more kept pouring out of me, soaking Deryck's newly cleaned leather interior. Luckily it didn't seep into the seats and wiped off fairly easily (Jeep Grand Cherokee - dirt and amniotic fluid proof!')
While for most future Dads the drive to the hospital is an anxiety riddled one, for Deryck he was calm and collected. And...a little hungry. We decided to hit up A&W for some greasy breakfast where as we pulled up to the window, I proceeded to have yet another contraction. As I'm moaning and more water flowing out of me, our desensitized Generation Z worker didn't bat an eye, simply asking us if we wanted extra napkins. I'm assuming he's witnessed fifteen A&W births already on Youtube.
When we got to the hospital the nurses showed us to our room. I gotta say, it's a weird feeling walking into a bright, clean space that you know in a few hours will look like a scene straight out of Carrie.
After hooking me up to the 'hospital stuff' i.e IV and baby monitor, the nurses told me I was only two centimetres dilated so to pretty much sit back, relax (ha!) and ride it out for a bit. Forget the painful contractions. Forget my drenched Fila leggings I'll have to burn the minute I get home. The biggest travesty? There was no cable in our room! Where are we, Liberia?! There on the wall hung a perfectly good TV that hasn't been turned on since the hospital cancelled its cable subscription last year. What are we supposed to do? Talk to each other?! I'm carrying this man's child, believe me, we've "talked" enough!
Five hours or so into contractions I finally broke down and asked for an epidural. And by asked I mean told the nurses if they didn't get me one stat I'd slash every one of their tires! Unfortunately unlike other hospitals, Langley Memorial only has one "epidural man" on shift at a time who apparently was on quite the jabbing spree that morning as we were told he wouldn't be free for at least a few hours. When he finally showed up around noon, I was more worn out than Harvey Weinstein on the stand and instantly burst into tears. Not only that, as he was giving me the epidural I all of a sudden had a panic attack where I was shaking and struggling to breathe. Probably not the best idea when you'e having the biggest needle of your life stuck into your spine. Thankfully the nurses calming words and non stop 'you can do its' got me through it and that epidural never felt so good!
It was around midnight, almost twenty four hours after my water broke, that I was dilated enough to begin pushing. You know those scenes in the movies where the woman's screaming like a hyena for all the hospital to hear? Turns out that's more for show (shocker, I know!) While every woman's experience and advice she's given is different, my nurse told me the best way to push is to actually take a big gulp of hair and hold it while you tuck your head down and then push, push, push! After each push I'd turn to Deryck and yell "Do you see the head?" It's crazy, in your mind it feels like the biggest poop of your life is dangling out of you when in reality the baby's head hasn't even started to appear.
After two solid hours of pushing, it was clear this baby wasn't coming out. The doctor told me the baby was having trouble fitting through my pelvic bone and that everytime he or she slid one or two inches down the birth canal, the minute I stopped pushing it slid right back up. I could either keep going for who knows how much longer or have a c-section. Doc...prep that knife!
Deryck and me were led downstairs to the operating room where before going in we were given a few quiet moments to ourselves. Looking at Deryck knowing this was the last time it would be "just the two of us" as Will Smith would say, and soon we would meet our baby boy or girl was a feeling I can't really describe, besides utter excitement. When the surgery started, I was surprised how much you can actually feel. There's no pain but still, you can fully feel the doc's hands in rustling around in your belly getting the baby.
After a bunch of poking and prodding, the big moment finally arrived. The doctor held up the baby and pointed to it's "bits" for Deryck to announce the big gender reveal. Let's just say he was speechless. In Deryck's mind, the baby appeared to be of the black African descent. Luckily just as he was about to walk out, the baby's skin began to return to its caucasian color (baby's tend to come out looking darker than they actually are, at least in our case! ha). One look into his new daughter's eyes, not to mention her thick, jet black wild hair and alas, he knew it was his. I was so hopped up on morphine all I remember of the entire event is Deryck yelling "It's a girl!" before drifting back into la la land.
When I finally woke up back in our hospital room cradling my new baby girl it finally him me. We did it! We made it through one of the most crazy nights of our lives and now this beautiful nine pounds 13 ounces ball of perfection was ours to call our own. Now, let the fun begin!