Becoming a Mom (Part I)
"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;
I checked the pictures on the box three times to make sure I read correctly. I used a second test.
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.
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.
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.