It happens just like that, doesn’t it?
One moment you’re a woman who is living a carefree life; getting drunk on the weekends and staying out until three or four in the morning. The next thing ya know, you’re looking at this little blue line on a stick.
A momentous occasion of having a baby shouldn’t happen so instantaneously. There should be things happening up to the point of realizing your pregnant–sort of like getting married. You have an engagement party, send out invitations, punch people in the face to get your dream wedding dress, and have a wedding shower in which you have to play some stupid, mind-numbing games with kitchen utensils, or worse yet, look under your chair.
I mean, really? Who came up with that idea anyway? This isn’t Oprah. Don’t play games at a wedding shower or a baby shower. It’s stupid. Trust me–no one wants to play them. Just get on with opening up the presents at a glacial pace. We have nothing better to do on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
For me, it was a surprise; a surprised look of, really? Are you sure? Maybe-you-want- to-take-the-test-over-again type of look. I had been married seven years and we didn’t have plans for children. I wasn’t ready. Is anyone really ready to have kids? I had seen my friends having children and all I could think of was, there is no way in hell I’m prepared for a mini-me–or a mini-him.
But, as fate would have it, I got pregnant in the early fall of 1992. My body was a well oiled and timely machine. When I missed my period, I knew something was up. I went to the doctor who told me I was six weeks along.
My husband at the time was thrilled. So thrilled, as a matter of fact, he refused to touch me until the baby was born. He didn’t want his penis hitting the baby’s head.
This just shows you how stupid some men can be.
Anyway, back to me.
Back in 1992, there wasn’t any “green” anything, okay? Let’s just get that point out of the way. I went to my doctor’s appointments, took my prenatal vitamins and had the occasional glass of wine when junior was kicking up a storm.
When I was four months pregnant, junior (no name decided, but we knew it was a boy who was good for me. Otherwise, the girl would be dead by now since I have a zero tolerance policy for drama), decided to start expanding my rib cage. The only way to relieve the pain was to raise my left arm up like I was answering a question in a classroom full of pregnant women. It was ridiculous looking, but then again, I started to look ridiculous looking.
I always hear people say to a pregnant woman, “Oh! You’re glowing!” Really? Did she swallow a glow stick? Flashlight? Maybe a string of Christmas lights? No. She’s sweating. Profusely. Or, maybe glistening is a better term. As for me, the response I received from people were things like, “Wow! are you having twins?” You look bigger from the last time I saw you and that was just last week. Do you have a football player in there?”
That’s what she said. Seriously. That’s what they all said.
I had one specific craving: bologna slathered with cream cheese and a dill pickle rolled up inside of it. This may explain why my son was obsessed with bologna when he was a toddler. This may also explain the reason why to this day I don’t eat bologna.
Processed meat. The breakfast of pregnant champions.
And, as most women who are pregnant, I got big. Really big. Even my toes were fat. I had gained over fifty pounds when it was all said and done, but I admit I went over the edge in the area of indulging in certain foods. My thought was that I was eating for two, so hell yeah! Bring on the double servings. After Christmas came and went, I went to the doctor’s office for my monthly appointment. When I was weighed, the nurse looked at me and said, “You know, you should see a nutritionist. You gained 11 pounds this past month.” I said, “Well, the baby likes cookies and so do I, bitch. Don’t make me go into hormonal over-drive because I’ve been that way since I was four months along. Let’s not even go into the weight arena, okay? Nancy doesn’t want to go there because Nancy can’t be responsible for where her fists will end up.”
I start talking in third person when I get pissed off.
The nurse backed off, but the doctor told me to start eating healthier.
FINE. Be a bastard and ruin the only time I can get away with eating whatever the hell I want because it turns out you can’t eat whatever the hell you want. I think my doctor was Putin in disguise.
When I approached the seven month mark, I went to the bathroom one morning and had blood on my underwear.
Well, this isn’t supposed to happen. I mean, the book didn’t tell me to look for blood clots in my underwear. I called the doctor and he wanted to see me right away. As my luck would have it, I was having contractions and my plug came out.
I didn’t realize I was a bathtub until I had a plug. He strapped me up to this machine which had me press on a button whenever I felt my stomach tightening. As I laid there, I kept pressing the button every three minutes.
Early labor, but only seven months along, didn’t go over well with my doctor or me. He gave me some medicine to make me jittery which seemed to be the perfect solution for a pregnant woman going into premature labor, and who also had to be sedentary for one entire month. I could only go up and down the stairs once a day. No walking, riding unicycles (which was my favorite activity when I was pregnant), tight rope walking or sky diving. I could knit, watch people exercise on television while I watched my stomach get bigger as the hours wore on, and pet my dog.
For one month I behaved myself. I didn’t want to have Matt (we had a name now), come into this world partially baked, so to speak. The day after my one month “staycation” was over, I went into labor.
Nothing is whatever I expect it to be. I had visions of going into labor and seeing a beautiful, big, pink baby after my delivery.
Instead, after dilating most of the night and into the morning, the doctor decided to induce labor. My water bag broke and the contractions started. So, this is the point in the program where woman use their Lamaze method of breathing. Well, like I said, nothing is whatever I expect it to be because I had only one class of Lamaze before I went into labor and I couldn’t stop laughing. Don’t ask me why I laughed–the whole process seemed hokey to me.
So, I’m having contractions and I feel like my entire body’s blood flow is in my face. The nurse said I was hyperventilating. She gave me a thirty-second tutorial on how to do Lamaze breathing.
To all the pregnant women out there–Lamaze classes are a waste of money and time. Just do what the nurse says.
In between contractions I’m watching, I Love Lucy. It’s the episode where she’s stomping grapes. Why I would remember that but couldn’t remember the look on my ex-husband’s face is beyond me. But then again, he’s my ex-husband for a reason.
At 11:03 a.m. on May 26, 1993, I gave birth one month early to a six pound, two ounce baby boy. I have to admit that the dilating part was worse than the pushing part. However, my son was under seven pounds. I can’t begin to imagine having to pass a ten pound baby through my vagina.
Someone pass me an epidural with a shot of Cuervo on the side.
The nurses quickly took Matt away and I didn’t get a chance to hold him. I heard him cry, but I knew they had to do all of those newborn baby tests on him. However, when I was able to walk back to my hospital room, I saw my son in the nursery.
Again, nothing is ever what I expect it to be. Instead of seeing my beautiful, pink, baby boy with a full head of brown hair lying peacefully in the nursery, I saw a baby strapped up to all sorts of wires, watching his chest rising up and down like a stock market ticker.
Fear just filled my heart. I didn’t know what was going on, but I certainly knew this wasn’t normal activity for a newborn. I read, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and there was no chapter on what to do when you see your kid with wires all over his body breathing fast and hard like he just ran a marathon.
He was born premature, and even though his lungs were developed, he swallowed fluid on the way into mom and dad land. Because of that, he was having a hard time breathing. Antibiotics and a week’s worth of staying at the hospital gave him enough time to come around and we were finally able to bring him home.
Unfortunately, there was no manual which came with the baby. I was waiting for it to come out; possibly attached to his wrist like a pair of baby mittens attached to a jacket. The only thing that made its way on the table after Matt was a big pile of after-birth, which I don’t recommend keeping for a year in the freezer like you would the top of your wedding cake.
The whole parenting thing is another topic which I can’t even go into on this blog post unless you want to stay up until midnight eating the top of your wedding cake. I will state that it’s full of surprises, smiles, tears, and the endless opportunity to mold that little someone in your life into a human being you can be proud of.
Hopefully, he or she will turn out to be everything you expected them to be. I’m proud of my baby boy!