We were lucky from the beginning. I always believe that “lucky” is one of those words that is extremely overused, taking away from the true power of its meaning. But I stand by my choice of “lucky” in this case.
Scott and I were lucky in the fact that it only took us two months to get pregnant. In fact, we would wind up having our first child before we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. And we had a healthy, relatively easy pregnancy (At times, I can block out the bedtime “morning” sickness I experienced nearly every night for about a month; or the stomach virus Scott and I had for a week in the second trimester; or the hottest summer on record in 30 years… )
So yes, we were lucky.The proof is in the huge blue eyes staring up at me right now, saying “ma-ma-ma-ma-ma.”
This is Part One.
We knew long before we were married that we would start our family (hopefully) right away. We had been together for several years and had already done all of the “fun” stuff together — dinner dates, bar trips, road trips and home improvement projects. We would have started trying right away, but there were those amazing swim-up bars on our honeymoon. Mmm.
I was actually more devastated than I had expected when we got our first negative pregnancy test. I guess that was how I realized I really and truly wanted a baby.
Luckily (there’s that “lucky” word again) we didn’t have to wait long.
On a whim, I took a pregnancy test in early Dec. 2009 after several days of feeling like I had a cold. The shrieking from the bathroom caused Scott to run up the stairs two at a time intending to kill the mouse he thought was causing the ruckus. He was so excited when I told him the news (“What does that say?” I asked him first) and just smiled and said “Merry Christmas.”
We promised each other we wouldn’t tell anyone for a while. And then I got in my car, drove to work and called or texted at least five friends on the way.
Not even we knew the little one joined us for Thanksgiving.
And then we pulled a fast one on some loved ones in December and January.
(We got really good at switching Scott’s empty wine glass for mine… he took a lot of wine for the team)
My Christmas present from Scott that year? Maternity clothes!
And then, once we were able to tell my parents during their February visit to see us (through Valentine’s cards addressed to “PopPop” and “Nana”), we let the cat out of the bag and enjoyed a beautiful Spring fille d with belly pats, love, advice and absolute peace.
With the hot summer days came warm hearts in not one, but TWO bridal showers in two separate states for two distinct yet equally amazing groups of women I absolutely adore.
There was so much love and I remember constantly telling myself over and over again in those days just how LUCKY I was. (There’s that word again)
And my son brought to me new friends. Mommies of little boys and girls who would become his friends.
Like sweet Owen No. 1 and his Mommy Reva, who gave birth just two days after Zack’s Big Debut. (The hardcore natural way, by the way!!!)
(Sidenote: The other night, Reva was telling me about how when she found out about Zack’s DS diagnosis she researched everything she could on DS. “I want to be able to provide Owen with answers to any questions he might have,” she said. And if I weren’t driving, I would have hugged her right there in my front seat, Bear Hug-style, possibly not letting go for at least 10 minutes. Our talk that drive home really meant a lot)
And then each day suddenly felt like an eternity and I could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. Actually, I couldn’t even see my feet anymore.And did I mention how hot it was?
Then came the early morning hours of Aug. 5.
I couldn’t sleep. I kept having these weird stomach pains. Nope, actually they were a little lower. No, actually sort of like a cramp. Oh wait, it stopped. Nope, couple minutes later that pressure is back. Then again. And again.
I watched the clock.
OW. 3:42 a.m.
Owwww again. 3:46 a.m.
Ouch! 3:50 a.m.
I got so excited. I thought maybe my water would just burst right there and I’d spew a baby out in a few hours.
Scott’s alarm FINALLY went off and he looked at me really strangely. (What, your very-pregnant wife is just randomly sitting up at the edge of the bed, fixated on the clock?)
“Don’t be alarmed,” I told him, “But I think I’ve been having contractions every 3 to 5 minutes for the past few hours.”
My cool, calm and collected hubby shot out of bed.
“Do you need to go to the hospital now?” He asked, pulling clothes on and reaching for his glasses.
“I think I’ll just wait a bit,” I said. I thought he would kill me.
After an argument about whether or not I should go or just call the doctor’s office when they opened, I sent him to work, called my boss and called off of work that day and passed the time until 9 a.m.
At 9:02 a.m., I called the doctor’s office, explained what had happened and was told it would be a good idea to head to the hospital. I called Scott’s boss (who had better cell phone reception) and just casually mentioned they wanted me in the hospital for observation, could Scott come home?
Off to the hospital we went… only to find out I was indeed having contractions 3-5 minutes apart but that I wasn’t even an teeny-tiny bit dialated. The nurse suggested we walk that evening to speed things along.
So my husband did what any dad-to-be would do I’m sure, and called his parents inviting them to go to the local golf course. I walked nine holes (after my mother-in-law tried to throw the baby out of me by doing some off-path driving in the golf cart).
<— the cell phone was being used to keep track of my near-constant contractions. This Momma is NOT happy.
We wound up back in the hospital the next day and still no dice. Our second false alarm, me becoming more and more frustrated by the minute, Scott wondering if I really knew what contractions felt like.
And so I became desperate.
Like push-the-lawn-mower-uphill-for-an-hour-in-100-degree-heat-that-night-kind of desperate.
But it worked.
I was jerked out of bed around midnight by the most painful sensation I’ve ever experienced. And because I didn’t want another false alarm, I spent 10 hours pacing our house, hunching over in agony every 90 seconds. It was horrible. I should have gone to the hospital right away, but all those false alarms, remember?
Finally, we went to the hospital.
Arrived at 11:30 a.m.
5 centimeters dialated!
Into a hospital gown, IV in arm and a new room by 12 p.m. Part of me became sad. I had loved being pregnant. Maybe I was the only woman in the world to really enjoy all nine months, but I did. I was at my happiest, my calmest. I was full of so much joy.
At 1 p.m., epidural was relaxing me quite nicely and a popsicle was making my world go ’round. 7 centimeters dialated.
Then 8 centimters.
The baby’s heartbeat was sinking lower and lower (it really had never been where it should have been but as labor progressed and contractions intensified, it was becoming more dangerous).
We tried different positions. Fluid was injected to give the baby some better wiggle space. A couple of medications.
And my popsicle was taken away.
At 3:30 p.m., Dr. L told us she had tried everything she could but that we were running out of time. We would be having a C-section within the hour.
Suddenly it was a mad dash to locate my glasses (left in my car along with our other belongings because we worried it was another false alarm), for Scott to don his scrubs… and then… probably only 10 minutes of waiting that felt like an eternity.
I wanted to panic, to scream “NO, let’s try something else!” I had to remind myself to breathe after every third breath because a knot kept forming in my stomach.
I tried to act cool, like an unexpected, unplanned surgery was no big deal.
And I thought about the baby. About the baby we discovered was a boy, that we named after flipping to the last letter in the book of 100,000 names and finally agreeing on Zachary. About the kicks and hiccups I had been feeling for months. About the smell of baby lotion. The boxes of diapers in the nursery at home. The crib waiting for tiny hands and feet.
I had read What to Expect When You’re Expecting and a dozen other books. I had attended my parenting and childbirth class. I had eaten right, taken my vitamins and rested as much as I could.
I was ready.
I looked out the window as the nurse came into the room to wheel me into surgery. I recalled the way the warm sun felt on my ponytail and bare arms as we had walked into the hospital, smiling, laughing, full of hope and excitement. I told myself to remember that feeling.
And I’m glad I did.
Because when we walked out of the hospital five days later, I didn’t even notice whether the sun was shining or not.
I just saw that the world had kept going outside while inside those hospital walls mine had come to a screeching halt…