*sniffle* My precious guy is 4 years old today. I remember vividly that day 4 years ago when he came into this world...
Actually, it all began November 5, 2005, the day before Henry was born. I awoke and did notice one physical sign that labor may be imminent, and I will spare you the details of what that sign was. But I wasn't due for another week, and you know what they say about first babies - they're usually late. As with most labor signs, it could mean that I would go into labor either within the hour, or 2 weeks from then. I didn't think too much of it. Mostly though, that was because my nesting brain was set on so many other things. Knowing what you know about me, what would you think I did the day before I gave birth to my son? That's right; a million different things, all of which kept me perpetually in motion with a tremendous burst of annoying high-paced energy.
First, I rearranged our pots and pans. A pressing problem that just could not wait, right? I was actually down on my hands and knees, belly and all, stacking and re-stacking things in the cupboards. Once that was complete, I figured with all of my pots arranged, I might as well put them to good use and make homemade sauce (which I haven't done again since that day, fyi). Mike comes into the kitchen to find me frantically chopping bell peppers and onion, tomato puree sizzing on the stove top. He managed to get me to turn off the sauce for a bit so that we could take a walk together. At that time, we still lived in an apartment in the city, and we took a beautiful walk, even taking some pictures in front of trees in their full fall foliage glory. That sucked down about an hour, and still, I was not drained of energy.
We got back and I finished the sauce, and our dinner. I made the announcement that I wanted to go to the vigil Mass that evening (Saturday) just in case I didn't feel up to Mass in the morning. A fortuitous choice. Off to Mass I trekked, where I also went to Confession before the service started. At the conclusion of Mass, Fr. Jim announced that the Sacrament of the Sick would be available, so I went to that as well. That's 3 sacraments in the couse of an hour and a half, people. Now that's impressive. I was loaded up.
After I got back home, I did more general house and nursery straightening and re-straightening. I folded teeny tiny sleepers and itty bitty socks. Finally, I was spent. My belly and I went to bed.
I was sleeping (uncomfortably, of course) at 2 am and awoke with cramps. I shifted position (not an easy feat for a woman who is 9 months pregnant) in a vain attempt to get more comfortable. I did that for at least 15 minutes, in denial that I had to actually get out of bed. Finally, and very crankily I might add, I got out of bed without waking Mike and went into the living room.
I remember wondering why this all couldn't have started at, oh I don't know, 9 am instead of 2. After I had a full night of sleep. And I also remember thinking, "well, with as uncomfortable as sleeping has been this whole pregnancy, it's not like getting up with a newborn could be any worse." SNORT. Ok parents, just admit it, you're dying laughing right now. Because, oooohhhh yes sir, the sleep deprivation that accompanies having a newborn is so much infinitely more difficult for so many reasons.
But at any rate, on that day I was blissfully living in my ignorance of such things, and I had a whole different problem going on. I timed my contractions, and read a bit of the Diary of St. Faustina. *halo* I paced around, inspecting my belly for clues. Around 3:30 am, Mike discovered that I was missing and came out in search of me. When my contractions got to 5 minutes apart, I called my obstetrician's 24 hour nurses line and Vicki advised me to proceed to the hospital. So at 4:30 am on November 6, 2005, we did, nervous excitement permeating our car windows.
Once I got to the hospital, I saw my obstetrican, whom I adore, which was great. But then they shuttled me to a birthing room and that's when I got unhappy. I was hooked up to all manner of devices and couldn't walk more than a foot from the bed. Plus, they had to "check me in" and asked me a slew of annoying questions, all while I was writhing in discomfort.
Hours passed. Any number of hospital employees managed to tee me off, though granted, I wasn't exactly myself. I actually banned the general on-call obstetrician in the labor/delivery wing from my room because I just didn't like his attitude. The CatholicLibrarian Unhappy Mind Ray was pointed in his direction in full force. I liked my nurse and agreed that the midwife could come near me, so I stuck with them. I didn't see my own doctor again, of course, until I was ready to deliver. And by that point, I had pretty much agreed to marry the anesthesiologist, meaning that your CatholicLibrarian was in some serious, serious pain.
In the final hours, I remember thinking to myself "there's no getting out of this now, is there? Boy, this sucks." Ah, well :) I remember writhing and clutching the hospital bed armrest. In between contractions, my doctor (quite young, and had an 18 month old at home and one on the way) was chatting with the nurse. My doctor mentioned that my nurse had also been her nurse when she delivered her son, and I remember thinking "Gee, that seems a bit awkward," but they didn't seem to think so. I like them both quite a bit, but they were starting to put me in a near occasion of saying a swear word by taking their gloves off between my contractions. At this point, there's like about 10 seconds between gut splitting contractions and I want THIS BABY OUT NOW so for the love of God, KEEP YOUR GLOVES ON!!!
And so the big moment finally arrived. Mike and I had chosen not to find out our baby's gender, so we were all excited about the big reveal. Well, I imagine Mike was excited; my sole mental focus was beseeching God to please let this all be over, and I didn't want to divert any energy away from that. I heard my doctor say "It's a Henry!!" And so our little guy came into the world.
I opened my eyes (all that beseeching requires eyes squeezed closed for maximum effectiveness) and I saw Henry for the first time. It was a poignant moment, seeing how he looked like us. I remember that the look on his face said "What on earth just happened here?" The doctor placed him on my belly and he gave one of those adorable "wah wah" newborn cries. Mike cut his umbillical cord and we were in business.
One final anecdote. That night, after all of the family had left, and I was left in my hospital room, blissful with my cable tv and no-longer-pregnant body (instant relief from sciatica and any number of other discomforts) I recall rolling on my belly and nearly dissolving from the pleasure of that position, denied me since about month 4. I fell into a deep sleep, denied me since about, oh I don't know, fertilization? and awoke at 3 am to nurse Hank. When he was done, I happily buzzed the nurses' station and told them that the baby was all set. A nurse came and whisked him away, and I fell back to sleep. At 6 am, he appeared again, swaddled in his little bassinette, to nurse. I happily awoke to accommodate him. And do you know what I thought? I thought that in between those times, THE BABY WAS SLEEPING. Go ahead, fall over laughing. That was the final night of my blissful ignorance.
And here we are, 4 years later. *sob* My baby!! How far we've all come.