I wanted to document this not only for my blog, but to show her when she becomes a Mama herself. I had only been married to her father for 11 months, 3 weeks when it was time for us to become parents. Her due date was actually July 18, but I apparently have a cervix of steel, and was not dilating. Of course, being only 20 years old, it never occurred to me to question my doctor. He said, INDUCE, and I showed up. That’s what good patients do, right?
I showed up at the hospital on the morning of July 29. Again, I was a good patient, and didn’t eat anything after 12 midnight on July 28. It was only 6am, so I wasn’t hungry yet. I signed in, got a cushy room, did paperwork, the usual. Because this was my first baby, I already had a steady stream of visitors. Around 10am, I started feeling hungry. Imagine my shock when I was refused food…not even a drink! Hello, I’m pregnant, I’m tired, I’m hungry, and I have no energy. FEED ME!!!
Thankfully, there was a TV in my room, and so I watched Saturday morning cartoons, trying to take my mind off my growling tummy. Nurses came into the room consistently to check my cervix, which was very painful. You’d think after 7 years of pap smears, a cervix check wouldn’t hurt, but considering I was barely dilated, it felt like someone was trying to pry me open. It was not pleasant.
Finally by noon, I was in tears. I was hungry, thirsty, and barely dilated to a 3cm. This was taking forever! The nurse decided it was time to crank up the Pitocin. As I keep mentioning, I was hungry and thirsty. I said, “Turn it up as high as you can go. I want a coffee!” (Yes, that was my train of thought at the time. Not, I’m so excited about my baby. Just the coffee please, thanks.) I don’t recall if she rolled her eyes, but thirteen years later, I am mentally rolling my eyes at myself over that. Within 30 minutes of my executive decision for an extra super duper dose of Pitocin, I was screaming for Mr. Epidural Man. That Pitocin stuff is no joke. I don’t recall how long it took Mr. Epidural Man to show up. My husband suggests it was less than an hour. I think it was along the line of several days, but pain does funny things to a gal. I do recall asking the nurse for her car keys so I could perform my own C-section and pull that baby out on my own. I also remember her laughing at me, which was cruel, cruel, CRUEL! Finally, Mr. Epidural Man came and I thought he was the best looking man I’d ever seen. Husband? What husband? Hellooooo, Mr. Epidural Man. You are so hot - until he asked me to bend over. Seriously! At first I thought, “Hey, that is not a first date activity, loser!” But once he promised me pain relief, I flipped over and bared my rump like I was in a rap video. I didn’t care who saw it. It was the fastest I’d moved in at least three months.
Then he mentioned that I needed to sit, and roll my body forward and touch my toes. I actually laughed at him in the midst of my pain. I had not seen my feet in three months, bud. So my poor, poor husband actually had to grab my head and push my head down like I was…ummm…doing something vulgar. Then came the needle. I never saw it, but my husband saw it and immediately got down to where my head was. I thought he was being sweet. Turns out he just didn’t want to see the needle enter my spine. The sensation of the epidural…well, lets just say it was my least favorite part of the labor. It was painful, but the relief afterwards? SO WORTH IT. However, I did have a reaction to the epidural. I couldn’t stop shaking. I think that was the scariest part of the labor. I couldn’t control what my body was doing. After being told it was a common effect (something NOT mentioned to me while it was offered) I turned from a hysterical shrew into a smiling, pleasant woman again. I was still hungry, but at least I wasn’t in pain. It was now about 5pm, and I was dilated about 5 to 6 cm. They told me I should have the baby before midnight. I was down with that.
I actually fell asleep. Until I suddenly felt warm and wet. I thought, “oh no, I peed myself. That’s not good!” But it turned out my water had broken. My husband got a nurse, and I was checked again. 8 cm. Hey, we’re getting somewhere. Someone finally took pity on me and brought me ice chips. I don’t know who you are…but thank you. Thank you! My mouth was so dry, it seemed like I had been chewing on some sweat socks. However, I started shaking and sweating very badly. It was July in Florida, I get that, but I was in an air conditioned room. I didn’t realize I was near transition. Without warning, I threw up all over the floor. Again, I had NO IDEA that was a sign that birth was imminent. Suddenly, nurses, doctors and staff…possibly a custodian…ran into my room and started setting up the bed. I heard someone yell, “She’s complete!” I thought to myself, “Yes, a complete fool for being here!” My doctor (not the doctor who ordered the induction, but a female doctor I had never met before) sat down between my legs and smiled warmly at me. I liked her a lot. She looked exactly like my Aunt Nancy and I called her that several times while I was pushing. She never once corrected me. She rocked!
Because of the epidural, I had no concept of how to push. She said “Push like you’re having a bowel movement.” Now, I don’t know about you, but how many of you have a bowel movement in front of an audience while two people are holding your legs up? I was MORTIFIED. I even remember my husband snickering and I thought, oh, shut up. You’d love to have someone hold your leg while you poop. Men! I pushed for TWO HOURS. I was so tired. Not to still mention thirsty and hungry. At one point, a nurse tried to cheer me up by saying, “Sarah, the baby has beautiful black hair, we can see it!” At which time my husband smirked, “Are you sure that’s not Sarah needing a wax?” Yeah, nice. 6 weeks no sex for you, buddy! And I mean it!
Finally, at 8:02pm, on July 29, 1995, I had a beautiful baby daughter. I was 20 years old, and my husband was 22. We both cried. She weighed 8lb, 2oz, was 20 ½ inches long, with black hair, huge blue eyes, and set of pipes like Aretha Franklin. She didn’t just scream, she bellowed. I don’t remember much after that. I remember holding her, and looking deep into her eyes. My husband remembers being upset because Aunt Nancy (uh, the doctor) cut the cord before he could. He remembers the placenta being delivered, me getting stitched up, and our parents all filing into the room. I don’t remember a single part of any of that. I didn’t even know I had stitches until I used the bathroom later that evening. (I had 26 of them, by the way. My first time ever having stitches, and I couldn’t show them off to anyone!) It was just me and Madeline, connecting, bonding, and falling in love. We literally stared each other down, she into my soul, and me into hers. The day before, I had not been a mama. And now I was.
I’d always heard how after a woman gives birth, that she is exhausted. Not me. I couldn’t sleep. As Jake went out to get some food (I do believe he got me Hardees, but I can’t remember), my infant daughter slept in a bassinette next to me, and I filled out her birth announcements. This was pre-internet, so I had to do it myself, not just print them. Hahaha, showing my age!
On July 30, I went home with my new little family. Me, Jake, and Madeline. We put her in the infant seat, and strapped her in the back of our un-friendly family car (a 1994 Mustang) and went to our 2bedroom apartment in Orlando, and started our lives together.