I remember the day I found out as clearly as if it were yesterday.
I had suspected something may be up but I really wasn’t sure, I mean I didn’t really know exactly what it would feel like. The only way other than practically having a chemistry degree to work the darn tests (no pee on a stick in those days) was to visit the doctor.
There was a exam, urine test and a blood test to be 100% sure. When the Doc patted my knee and congratulated me and called me Momma I felt this rush of complete joy. Sure I was young and newly married but I was ready, I knew I was. I had always dreamed of having kids 21 years old or not, I was going to be a Mom.
I skipped home. I didn’t live far from the Doctors office at the time, just a couple of blocks away. I kept hugging myself bubbling with the secret that only I knew and bursting to tell. I got home and told my ex and his face registered shock. I think he was kind of hoping I wasn’t pregnant. We were both only working part-time hours and hadn’t tried to have kids. In fact it was kind of an oops. One of those things as I was on the pill but was also taking a anti-biotic for an infection. As it turns out a few years later they realized that anti-biotics kind of nullify the pill.. which explained a lot. I will give him this though, after the initial shock wore off he was very supportive.
I remember calling my parents and my In-laws. Everyone was really nice but I’m sure in the back of their minds, along with my Ex I’m sure they were thinking, oh but they are so young.
Not long after I started to bleed. I was heartbroken because I thought I was going to lose this child that I had already grown to love and I cried so hard. I was rushed to emergency and waited for agonizing hours in the hallway of the emergency ward (there were no rooms available) for an ultra-sound alone and scared. My ex went to work, no work no pay and I was so glad to see my Step Mom-in-Law show up and hold my hand. When I was finally wheeled into the room and they squeezed the cold jelly on my stomach the tears just started leaking, I was afraid of what I was going to see. I heard the tech mutter an oh! and did some more clicking and adjusting and then went out to get someone. The other person came in and they both peered at the monitor. With grim faces the doctor explained to me that it appeared that there was a lot of blood in there and most likely I would lose the baby. They pointed out what looked like a dark mass below a cashew nut to try and get me to understand but I was kind of numb. It hadn’t happened yet but it was only a matter of time and they sent me home.
I was booked an appointment to see my regular doctor and I went in to see him a week later. Nothing had changed so he decided to book me another ultrasound. The tech had the same face on that the others did and did a lot of the same mumbling. My doctor kept a close eye on me and I still kept right on bleeding but still tested very much pregnant. But I was still so scared and sad.
My G.P. decided to send me to a specialist earlier than normal, he wasn’t one that did deliveries anymore anyway. My first appointment with the specialist he examined me, looked at my records and smiled. He told me not to worry, that what was wrong was something common called implantation bleeding but that I was an extreme case as was it turns out his Nanny. He said give it a couple of weeks and it will stop and stop it did.
The rest of my pregnancy was pretty textbook. I went through all the normal tests save for another ultra-sound as I had already had two of them early on. I guess they didn’t change doing it more than twice? Anyway I got bigger and rounder and much happier as I knew that baby was growing too. As my pregnancy was considered risky I wasn’t allowed to carry anything heavy. I was a teller in those days which meant carrying a cash drawer. My Supervisor or the other tellers would help me carry my drawer back and forth to the vault every day. My branch was like a family, everyone was very close and they were all excited about the baby coming and treated me like I was made of glass.
I couldn’t stand all day so now and then I would sit on the swing out stool in my wicket and balanced my poor swollen feet on my garbage can. One day I fell off my stool when my feet tipped over the garbage can. I fell right on my drawer with my stomach and scared a year or two off the life of my boss and pulled a whole bunch of muscles to boot. He sent me home and when I came back in the next day sore I found my garbage can was turned upside down. Cal insisted that I throw my garbage on the floor and they would pick it up for me. He wanted my foot stool to be stable for me. I was so touched.
According to the doctor the baby wasn’t due until the end of the month so I worked up until November 18th and on my final day my coworkers had a shower for me. They had all chipped in and bought me a diaper bag full of stuff and a beautiful wooden highchair. The left over money they had put in an account opened for the baby who of course was at that point was nameless so it said Baby L.
I was going to miss them all but I was all ready to nest and rest and prepare. Turns out I didn’t have much time. On the 21st I started to feel pains. I had experienced the false labour contractions but these felt different. I toughed them out for a while but they seemed to be getting closer together so I went to the hospital. My ex once again had to leave me to go to work but my Sister came and stayed with me. The doctors thought that it was going to be a long haul anyway and man they were right. Turns out I had back labour where the baby is facing the wrong way, though head down. That was so not fun. They sent me home saying that it appears it was going to be a while. Nothing was really progressing but the pains sure didn’t go away. I continued to feel contractions in varying degrees over the next day or so.
I remember that when the labour intensified that the only thing that got me through it was singing a song my Dad taught me years ago called “The Grand old Duke of York”. It’s a marching song and repeating it out loud or in my head would help. I also remember that when my water finally broke it was around 9 Pm and I was talking to my friend Becky on the phone. She would wait quietly while I worked through a contraction and then we would start talking again.
The minute I put the receiver down in the cradle my water broke.
I calmly gathered my nightgown up and waddle through to give the news to my Ex. He went into Ricky Ricardo mode. He was flying around the house trying to find:
I just sat serenely watching.
It was lightly snowing that night and the roads were frosty. He was trying to hold his panic together and drive as normally as possible but kept glancing over at me with fear, especially when I would start huffing and puffing. I’m sure he had visions of having to deliver the baby by the side of the road or something and he was VERY squeamish. Hah!
We got to the hospital in plenty of time, I changed and they told me to walk around. WTF? I was TIRED!! I hadn’t slept properly in days with the damn contractions and now I’m supposed to walk?
They offered me some Demerol and I refused saying oh no, not I! I was going to do this naturally!! When transition hit I changed my mind. DRUGS!! I cried, GIVE ME DRUGS!
I was told it was too late, it wouldn’t do me any good anymore. DRUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so they gave me a shot. They were right, it didn’t help.
I was whooshed into the delivery room and the doctor showed up, had his peek (along with so many of the others so far that night) and said “LETS HAVE THIS BABY SHALL WE?”
When he finally gave me the ok to push I was so relieved. And I took a shit on the table. OMG I was soooooooo embarrassed. The nurses were so ok with it and said not to worry happens all the time. I’m sorry, not to me it doesn’t!!!! Ew!!!Don’t worry, nothing got near the baby!
The doctor gave me shot to numb the ‘area’ just in case they needed to do any cutting to assist (eek) and my ex almost passed out. He hates needles. It was pretty comical.
I pushed for a long time and it seemed like that baby was stuck. My pelvic bone was too small and I was exhausted from lack of sleep for days so they decided to use the vacuum extractor to help things along. They had to use it twice to help along with my pushing and out popped the head. FACING UP. After all the damn back labour and the baby STILL came out facing the wrong way. FIGURES! Doc said that most babies come out facing down and I had a star gazer. And a boy! One with a GIANT HEAD!
It was a little after 1:00 am November 23rd.
The suction from the extractor left a swollen bruise on the baby’s head like a yarmulke. He was one of the only non-coneheads in the entire nursery. He was beautiful.
We spent a couple of days in the hospital and I had in-room boarding with my baby.
As exhausted as I was I would just catch catnaps here and there and spent the rest of the time staring in awe at this tiny tiny baby sleeping so peacefully in his little plastic bed on wheels.
I named him Christopher in honour of my love of all things Winnie the Pooh and James in honour of my love of all things Sean Connery (in Bond mode of course). I told my ex the middle name was for his Dad (shhhh don’t tell) which ok, was kind of true too cos he is a dear.
All this happened 20 years ago, if not to the hour, to the day.
Christopher was my first. The one I made more mistakes on. The one that grew up with me to some extent because like it or not I was little more than a child myself. But to be fair, I was pretty mature for my age.
My first experience of the overpowering love that is Mother love.
20 years ago today he graced my life with his presence and I am and will always be ever so grateful no matter how he drives me completely and utterly up the wall at times.
He was the bright little boy that said “Yes Mommy!!” with enthusiasm every time I asked him something and the one that mumbles at me for the most part now unless he is in a particularly chatty mood. But I know he loves me just as much as he ever did. Maybe more. Despite the grunts. The best big brother in the world to Sean who he used to call “His baby” when he was four and treated him like his best pal and keeper.
Happy 2oth Birthday Chris. Thanks for being born. I love you.