Monday, September 12, 2011

Becoming a Mom (Part I)



I watched my husband transform our home office from a fire engine red, selected by the previous owner, to a soft yellow.  I thought a mellow color would provide a peaceful environment for my crafts and other projects. I hate painting; he doesn't even ask me to do it anymore because I make a mess and complain the whole time. At this point, he was bored.

"Let's go get wings and drinks," he suggested.

"Ok," I said, as I slid down from my perch on our over sized desk where I was dutifully overseeing the painting.  Gotta go be responsible first.  Due to my PCOS, we had been trying to conceive for 18 months with no luck.  I would take a pregnancy test before going out for sips of my favorite wine, just in case.  Each negative test was a reminder, no biological relatives for you--not ancestors, not descendants. Imagine my shock then when;

Positive.

I checked the pictures on the box three times to make sure I read correctly.  I used a second test.

Positive.

I re-entered the office, arm outstretched holding the test as if it would bite me. My husband was halfway through making a long yellow stoke on the wall with his brush when his eyes met the little plastic stick in my hand.

"Yellow is a good baby color," I said.

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As my belly grew, so did the amount of unsolicited pregnancy and child-rearing advice I received. My pregnancy would no doubt be similar to my own mother's pregnancy with me.

"How big were you when you were born?"

"Was your mother late with you?"

"Were you cesarean or vaginal?"

People were kind, but perplexed with my pre-reunion replies of "I don't know."  Good grief, how could you not know if your own mother carried high or low, had trouble in labor, or how much you weighed at birth?  Who doesn't know something like that?

I read every book I could get my hands on, attended birthing and parenting classes, and made frequent use of the nurse line at my doctor's office.  I overwhelmed myself with information and worry, all-the-while rendering myself to the role of "clueless pregnant woman."

------

It was Thanksgiving day and four days past my due date.  I claimed the couch and announced that anyone who wanted to eat better find something to cook; "and if you want to do something for me, make sure there is chocolate or cheese involved!" My growing belly did nothing to diminish my sense of humor.

My water broke and I was in labor throughout Thanksgiving dinner that evening. At the conclusion of the meal, I shocked everyone when I calmly rose from my seat and announced I would be driving to the hospital to have a baby now.

"Aren't people supposed to scream, cry, run around and fling clothing into an overnight bag when a baby comes?" my mom asked, noting aloud she had never had a baby.

An hour later, I was admitted to the delivery unit and projected to have my son by the following morning. My mind protested, You can't be a mother. This can't be real.

Labor progressed slowly, and my thoughts questioning whether or not I could successfully mother a child did nothing to help the process. I nearly fainted during the epidural. The epidural did nothing but make my legs numb. I covered my face with my hands and I cried.

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At 9AM the following morning, the doctor declared that it was time to push. Flanked by his side was a nurse--a stunning vision of Jennifer Love Hewitt in scrubs. I felt every bead of sweat and every clump of my tangled hair, my body barely covered in a paper-thin gown, as the Hollywood pair in front of me coached me to push.

After two hours of pushing, of covering my face and sobbing, panicking, hyperventilating, my son emerged from my body. They placed him on my chest, his face inches from mine. A loud, beautiful blast of first cries left his lips.  He was a wonderment with deep blue eyes, wild chocolate brown hair, and a kissable button nose.  I stared at this precious, tiny boy....the first biological relative I had ever known.

The sleeping baby in my own soul awakened. Tears streamed down my face as I held my son.  There was an immediate bond I cannot describe, but the thought of it brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat.  I realized that I had this experience with someone else as a baby and I wondered if she had the same tears in her eyes and lump in her throat, the same indescribable feeling of connection, to me.

I cried for her, I cried for both of my mothers, and I cried for myself.

4 comments:

Von said...

So relate to this Amanda, my reaction was pretty much the same.The joy of having a biological relative was beyond words.

*Peach* said...

Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Amanda, you asked if mothers (natural/first) have this moment... Yes... for some it lingers on in their emotions because it is the only thing that you get to keep. For others, like me, it is what gives us the drive to search.

But every mother - EVERY - mother, no matter how much they want or don't want their baby, has that moment.

I truly wish my daughter knew that for me, that moment is always part of me and her.

Lori

Amy said...

Well, not every mother has "that" feeling, or at least right away. I have five children, and I don't know if it's hormonal (I had some PPD and/or anxiety with each pregnancy and post-partum) or whether it was due to poor attachment with my own adoptive mother... but I never experienced that "after birth I LOVE YOU SO MUCH" moment. A bond. It's almost like I can't even believe they are mine, even though they just came out of me. But that's my messed up adoptee mind, I suppose. This is one of my greatest sadnesses.