Your “Birth Day”

Happy 364 days. In a few short hours, you will be 12-months old, I can’t even explain how fast the past year has gone or how crazy beautiful it is watching you to morph into a new person every day as you navigate your uncharted world and absorb everything in sponge-like learning fashion. Feels kind of like the day I jumped out of a plane, only a million times more exhilarating, exhausting, and beautiful. From the day I first felt you kick, I knew motherhood was going to fill me more than I ever imagined possible. I guess I didn’t realize it would test my ability to multitask on limited hours of sleep (or food) [Trust me folks, if you need something done at work or life in a timely and efficient manner, ASK A MOM, they’ve got whatever is needed HANDLED]. Being a mom surely is a paradox of love & craziness, but I digress.

I guess now that you’re nearing the starting line of your first birthday, I should finally write a post about exactly how your birth went down (or as us Mamas refer to it: Your “Birth Story”). For your birthday will always go down as the best (yet longest) day of my life. [[Although our wedding day was pretty amazing too [it’s not often you’re dad will: (1) keep a secret he’s excited about, (2) cry actual tears, OR (3) learn new dance moves, which he did all that and more that rainy(beautiful) day in the Berkshires **someday, remind us to show you the video of a man who can’t dance {your dad} doing Gangnam style in front of 220 people**]]. I tell you this to get to a  lil’ tid bit I want you to know: your usually stoic, emotionally impenetrable dad also cried the day you were born, so I’ve now seen him cry a total of 3 times, the third time was after his childhood dog passed. I think that’s what some refer to as “the good stuff.”❤

365 days ago, I woke up at 3am with intense contractions. These were very different from the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having the prior two months. They were much lower, starting in my back, and more intense. I knew this was it.

Graduation day, graduation day, how could you come on graduation day? Should I wake up your dad, what should I do? All of these questions running through my head. At around 3:30am I went downstairs, did some light cleaning and dishes just to occupy my brain. Around 5am, I woke up your dad by first confidently stating that (1): after 5 long years, I am NOT missing graduation, but (2) we may be heading directly to the hospital afterwards because you were ready to evacuate yourself from your 9-month stay in Hotel Mama. No passing GO, No collecting $200, and SO much for the week of relaxation I was supposed to have until your actual due date (or later), since most first births are late. This is something I’ve learned about you, you definitely play by your own rules. What is it they say about an apple not falling far from a tree.. hmm.

Around this time, contractions were still 10-12 minutes apart, so I knew this could be false labor. We arrived to Brandeis and I was so excited to tell a few colleagues that I thought I was in early labor, and sure enough, I was. I had an awful cold and contractions throughout the graduation ceremony; but am still SO happy I made it, such a beautiful ceremony. Still 10 minutes apart, we did attempt brunch directly after, where my mom (your Nonnie) didn’t really believe me, saying I definitely didn’t look like I’m ready given that it looked like you were still very high.

Luckily, pregnancy had been easy for me, so I was naively expected an easy labor and delivery– you know expecting to rock the all-natural birth with solely the help of deep breathing and essential oils. HA, the birth plan I spent so long planning went RIGHT out the window {as well as everything else I either: (1) thought I’d never do or (2) think I’d always do as a mom over the past 365 days. Life tends to unfold in its own way, ways you have absolutely no control over—so you learn to just enjoy the ride and as the ice princess would say: “let it go” so you actually stop over-analyzing and let yourself just enjoy the simple good stuff}.

Your dad and I went home, relaxed on the couch as we timed my contractions until they got down to 5 minutes then around 11pm we headed into Mass General Hospital (MGH), where triage said I was 80% effaced but only 2 centimeters dilated, so they didn’t know if it was true or false labor. They had us walk around the halls of MGH for an hour to see if I would progress in that time, otherwise, I’d be better off heading back home and waiting. Nothing progressed in that time, I was still able to walk through the contractions, we had some godawful hospital muffins and went on our way. To me, the contractions were awfully painful, I did NOT want to go home, I was petrified, but we did. Doctor’s orders.

I spent all night basically cringing in pain as I was having back labor and didn’t know it. I may had briefly decided we were adopting next during this time. Your dad slept for a bit and I sat up in our bed with a heating pad and holding his hand, squeezing every 2 minutes. How did he sleep through hand crushing, I have no idea. Contractions at this point were lasting over a minute and coming every 2 minutes, but I feared going back to hospital and being sent home again. I was in way too much pain to play that game again.

Around 7 am, we got ready and headed in again, just in time for Boston morning commuter traffic. We arrived to the hospital and at this point, I could no longer walk through contractions, they were so painful. They put me in a room and instantly threw up in a trash can in front of the on-call doctor, I was so embarrassed. She did a quick assessment of my progression and I was 80-100% effaced and 4 centimeters dialated and said: “oh, you’ll definitely be staying with us.” So there we went! We met our nurse, got moved into the labor room and started the day.

After being awake since 3am the previous morning, hours of early labor, and back labor nonetheless, when asked if I wanted an epidural, I all, but basically screamed YESSSS! I was ready for a nap and to be relieved of the pain. And since I had the world’s (no joke) longest lasting cough and stuffy nose, my pre-planned breathing techniques as a means of holistic pain relief method went out the window. Ouch! Little did I know that even with the help of an epidural I would be too excited to even think about sleep, you were FINALLY arriving TODAY!

Our nurse, just like every staff member at MGH was absolutely wonderful. The epidural team came in and did an ultrasound of my back to be careful of my rods from my cliff diving injury (a story for another day), which made the epidural a little more tricky—and as I learned, a lot less effective (sigh). The resident put in my epidural and within 20 minutes, the intense pain was gone, but contractions slowed down. For a few hours, I could feel the contractions, but didn’t have much pain. We watched a TV show on Netflix, chatted and spent the day in the hospital room (with a BEAUTIFUL view of the Charles River). At one point, your “Aunty Ash” snuck in to say hello and see how we were doing. I still had a ways to go though. When I wasn’t progressing fast enough, I got Petocin to get the show on the road, which made contractions come on quicker than they had been. A little while later and at 7 centimeters dilated, the epidural wore off, something I knew might happen because of my rods. OUCH doesn’t explain it. I was 7 centimeters dilated, having Petocin and no pain meds. The nurse advocated for me and had the epidural team come back in and talk to me. They offered to re-try the epidural and I said ABSOLUTELY! This new epidural worked again for a limited amount of time, then again wore off, right before transition time. [I did tell you that I have often have really bad timing, right? OK.]

It was nurse changeover time, so we met our new nurse, who would be with us through the last phase of the delivery: transition/BIRTH. We were READY!

Mass General Obstetrics was crazy busy that day, so by the time the doctors came back to check, I was fully ready to start pushing. The nurse prepped me, with Brian on one side and the nurse on the other, I pushed out the head VERY quickly. The nurse panicky stated “well this baby is going to be born very quickly” and ran to get the team of delivery doctors in and 7 minutes after starting to push, the doctors handed you to us, slowing unwrapping the blanket wrapped around your little frame asking: “do you want to see what it is?” We did. You, a beautiful baby girl, were born at 8:10pm [6 pounds 10 ounces, 19 ¼ inches long], pure perfection. You had a head full of blonde hair, something I was not expecting given your dad’s locks, but we were instantaneously overwhelmed by all the love you, this tiny human brought in a matter of only moments. Brian kept kissing me and looking at you with such awe and happiness, it was truly amazing. Talk about love.

The past 12 months and my crash course in mamahood has been filled with a lot of adventure, growing pains, a few house moves, and more love than my heart could handle. You are growing to be fiercely independent, but a very happy, giggly, adventurous baby—and to me, perfect. This week you’ve been teething and I think you actually snuggled for a total of 45 seconds in one sitting today, which obviously rocked my (and Logan’s) world(s), for you my dear are forever-wanting to go and navigate your world, which despite my wanting to snuggle, makes me prouder than you’ll ever know. Watching you grow and learn is allowing me to learn these things for a second time with a whole new set of eyes—and I’m thinking maybe the Peter Pan syndrome is real because I think seeing things through an untainted childhood lens is what happiness is all about.

I love you my baby-turned-toddler, in what seems like overnight fashion.

I am forever in awe of you, my little smiley, bright-eyed ninja,

MA-MA

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