READ PART ONE OF THE BIRTH STORY? IF NOT, PLEASE CLICK HERE FIRST.
April fools day came and went. Each day that followed seemed like just a huge empty space that was supposed to be filled with a new baby. Each day the only thought in my head was the unborn burden in my belly that my arms were aching to take away. Each day seemed like an eternity.
That weekend felt like nine months all by itself. The length of the wait was punctuated each time I had to answer the question, “So, when are you due?”. And it came from all angles. The fact was, just thinking about the answer was embarrassing. Like I didn’t know how to give birth. like I didn’t know how to give the world to this baby inside me. like somehow I was a failure. And the only comfort was the fact that each day we planned another productive ‘event’ or project. Somehow our accomplishments helped me from dwelling on the one thing that I desperately wanted to achieve…our son’s birth.
Jeremy did his best to brighten my days and check off each item I daily added to the list. He listened to me cry and complain and rant about our child not wanting me. He held my hand as I waddled along the street lined with the Bradford pear trees and made me giggle about the foul smell. He planned the dinner with my family & friends at the local Greek place so that we could put the ‘eggplant parm’ theory to the test. He even planted a tree in honor of our son’s impending arrival. No method to bring this baby on was left untouched and Jeremy helped with each one (even the crazy ones!) with an encouraging attitude.
And that’s when Monday occured. On Monday evening I had an entirely different distraction. As I tried to sleep one day closer to our induction date, the pain in my stomach was undeniable. Is this labor? I wondered over and over. Is this it? Is Will finally ready? The only thing was – these pains didn’t feel like contractions. They felt like a gurgling. A very uncomfortable gurgle.
“I’m gonna take a bath.” I whispered to Jeremy as we laid in our too-small-for-a-41-week-pregnant-girl-and-her-boyfriend bed.
Ten minutes later, the warm water trickled down my skin giving me goosebumps as I squeezed the washcloth over my giant belly. I felt my bump with both hands – trying to ensure that the baby was still head-down. I decided to talk it out for the millionth time. “Will – it’s okay honey. It’s okay to come out. I may not be the best mom. I may not know what I am doing or remember everything I read about in that giant baby book or what we learned at the classes. I may not always be able to protect you or defend you or keep you from pain. But I promise that nobody will want you more than I do.”
Suddenly, I felt my stomach lurch. Is that Will? That doesn’t feel like a kick. It feels like something wrong. Am I laying in this tub wrong? Am I crushing the cord? Something is definitely wrong. I did my best to hoist my ballooned stomach up and out of the water. Struggling not to slip, I finally stepped over the side of the tub and grabbed a towel. As I leaned over to wipe my legs dry, I felt my entire abdomen push up into my throat.
I barely had enough time to grab the edge of the sink and pull my head over when it happened. I hadn’t thrown up since middle school and here I was clinging to the edge of the porcelain fixture wishing that my nonsick-streak was still going strong. But it didn’t stop there. Thirty seconds later, I reenacted the scene from Dumb&Dumber when Jeff Daniels was ridding himself of a healthy dose of X-lax. Literally, my hands were gripping the edges of the toilet as my legs were sticking straight out.
“Jeremy!” I called out – hoping he would wake up at 4 in the morning to hear my cries. “Jeremy!”
“Are you ok?” he asked as the door started to open.
“DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!” I shouted. You see, Jeremy had never seen me sick before and I wasn’t about to let him start now. “Could you just bring me a glass of water and set it outside?”
“Are you ok?” He sounded a little more panicked this time.
“I’m fine. I think I got food poisoning.” Secretly I didn’t mind the thought of clearing the bowels. Afterall, it was supposed to be one to bring on labor and at this point, I was trying anything…ANYTHING. One hour (and several “drop-everything&run-to-the-bathroom) later, my hair was vomit-free, my teeth were brushed, and my stomach was empty and I was back in bed.
The next morning, Jeremy & I walked into my obstetrician’s office with a little more hope for progress. First, I had to lay down to have the non-stress-test performed. Afterwards, the doctor stated that in thirty minutes, I had five contractions and Will had responded wonderfully. “This is an example of a perfect NST. The heartrate was on target and your results were textbook.”
His words gave me a glimmer of hope.
“Alright, now let’s check your cervix.” I took a deep breath and waited for him to speak again.
“Well. It’s still thick and ripe. I could go digging around in there but you would be very uncomfortable.”
All my hopes scattered like a flock of birds at the sound of a barking dog.
“So I am not dialated at all?” I asked.
“Maybe to a one. But you never know. You could still go on your own.” He stated as he handed me my paperwork for the induction scheduled for Thursday morning.
As we climbed into our car, I turned to Jeremy with more tears in my eyes. Surely he was tired of seeing me cry constantly. He had to be wondering what happened to the happy wife he used to be married to. I was here. I was just trapped. Gagged and bound by my fears and my unfullfilled expectations. Paralyzed under my emotions. And I didn’t know how to get free.
Later that night came the answer. As we laid in bed, cuddled underneath our duvet, I asked Jeremy to pray. “Please honey, pray that the baby is ready.” And that’s when I realized that I needed to pray too. I needed to confess something. Tearfully, I said it outloud. “Lord, help me realize that it’s not about me. Help me give this up to you. I know that this is your baby and not mine and that I don’t need to be afraid. Help me give up my expectations. Help me give up my birth plan. Help me remember that you have the perfect plan for Will. Lord, I want your plan and not mine. Amen.” And with that prayer came a sense of relief. The fact was, I needed to give up. I needed to trust that induction wasn’t the end of the world, but the beginning of a family….our family. And that God would be with me even through Pitocin-riddled labor pains. Everything was going to be ok.
That was my last thought before drifting off to sleep. Sleep that was soon to be interupted.
TO READ PART THREE OF WILL’S BIRTH STORY….PLEASE CLICK HERE.