Five years ago today I was on my second day of contractions, wondering at what point I would have my first baby. I had read all the books and taken all the classes, but somehow my baby wasn’t listening to any of the rules. After you have your first baby, you realize there are no rules and that babies run the show.
My baby, my first baby, is turning five on Wednesday. Five. A whole hand of fingers, a whole half a decade, a whole bunch of moments and memories and tears and nonsense and happiness and terror and pain and love and light. A whole lot of growing. Five.
It marks my five-year anniversary of being a mother.
She, my Sophie, made me a mother.
It was a rough start. There were days (Literally. Four. Not a whole hand, but FOUR days.) of contractions. There were multiple midwife visits, including one where my midwife at the time slept on my couch overnight. She was impressed that there were freshly-baked cookies in the house. I was wondering when the hell my baby would show up.
Then there was the drive to the hospital at four in the morning on the day she would be born, the 30th of April. Ben drove through red lights and I was barely aware of where we were. My mom was in the car too. It was her idea to go to the hospital – she didn’t want me screaming and sleeping in the tub anymore (go figure).
There was the couple outside the hospital that congratulated us (it was pretty obvious why we were there) as we went in through the ER door. I wanted to punch them. At that point, I didn’t know what they were congratulating us for – so far this motherhood thing sucked.
When we got upstairs to the obstetrics floor, the nurse asked my mom if I wanted an epidural. My mom said, “Ask her.” Love was in short supply between them. The. Whole. Time.
When I finally got my epidural, and my break from the days-long contractions, I napped. That nap lives forever in my mind as the most blissful because I was by far the most exhausted when I got relief from the pain and was left alone in a quiet room for what seemed like hours.
At 5:00 p.m. my mother-in-law got to leave work ‘early’ on tax deadline day – the first and only one since she became an accountant. She took over for my mom in the delivery room because my mom wanted to kill the nurses (difference of opinion would have been an improvement on the situation). Thus began the insane intimacy I have with my mother-in-law.
At 6:00 p.m. I was finally fully dilated with my rule-breaking baby. And I was ‘allowed’ to push. Woohoo. My mother-in-law held one of my legs in the air while I did so. Yes I pooped. Yes I pushed. Yes she was there the whole time. Yup.
At 8:00 p.m. I was told that Sophie’s heart rate was dropping during contractions and that I had a fever. That if those things weren’t true, they’d ‘let’ me push for another hour. How nice. The obstetrician strongly suggested a C-section. All I heard was, You get more drugs! I said yes.
We were then told that some poor man fell from scaffolding twenty-feet high and that the anesthesiologist was busy in an operation with him. I was told we were waiting and that I wasn’t allowed to push anymore through my contractions. *sob*
Finally, blissfully, I got to the operating room, I got my more drugs, and my baby was born at 8:50 p.m. They said what it was, but I couldn’t hear them. I asked my anesthesiologist (the one I took away from dinner, I was told) what it was and he said, What do you think? I think people in the hospital were begging for punches that night. He told me a girl after I refused to answer him.
Ben got to go with her to get cleaned up, go with her to meet the family and tell them we had a Sophie, go be her person first while I was getting sewn up. It’s a privilege I never got with my babies. I was never the first to hold them, or carry them, but that’s okay. I was the first to feel them, the first one to hang out with them, and the first one they heard. I was that first.
And she was mine.
Happy, happy, happy fifth, my beautiful first. Happy, happy fifth to us.