As an adult, there are very few things in life that you get to do for the very first time. It seems like childhood and adolescence takes that right away. Tasting a new dessert, riding a rollercoaster, driving a car, kissing your first boyfriend, getting your first job. As an adult...it seems like it's all been done.
Luckily for me, having a baby would be a whole new experience. You can read as many books as you want, watch a million episodes of A Baby Story, but nothing, nothing prepares you for having a baby.
July 5, 2006: 12am.
My day had arrived. Or, her day had.
The pain was mild; a fluffy white cloud moving slowly throughout my tummy. And still, I knew it was the day. The day I had been waiting for since I found out I was pregnant. The day I would meet my daughter. So many questions: what would she look like, smell like, sound like? Would we love each other instantly? Would she know me? Would I know her? Can I do this? What will my life be like after she's born? And on and on.
I'd like to say I was brave. That I had faith in my body and that I would have her 'naturally'. But the reality was I was scared. After all, it was a whole new experience for me. When was the last time I'd tried something new. Really new? Oh yeah, when I went rocking climbing a few years before. Rock climbing....having a baby....rock climbing....having a baby. I'll let you decide which is more significantly life changing.
The pain is a little blue bouncing ball. Boing-boing. I know baby. I want to meet you too. I tell Chris that we'll need to go to the hospital. Now? he mumbles. No....not now, later. That was his cue to roll over and resume snoring. Men! How do they do that?! I called my mom to let her know. She immediately jumped in the car and began the 7 hour drive. Oh sweet mom. Her first grandchild would be born today. I knew I didn't have to ask her to come, she wouldn't miss this new experience for the world.
The pain was a blue-green fish swimming lazily in my tummy. Coming, going, coming and going. Chris packed things in the car, showered, ate breakfast (Really!? How do they do that?!!) and helped me into the car. The hospital was only a 20 minute drive but somehow he turned down the wrong street. Oh sweet, nervous Chris. My hands were clenched as my blue-green fish began to swim faster and faster. But it's ok. It goes away.
Ouch! Hoping the nurse doesn't have to check for progress very often. So much worse than my own pain. 4cm. I get to stay. Do I have to stay in bed? It's so much worse when I'm lying down. I'm every nurses worst nightmare. I have a birth plan. No IVs. I want to walk. So I walk. It's better if I'm alone. I can focus on the pain. I can be a fisherman and catch my little blue-green fish and hold it and release it.
The pain is a yellow star blinking in my tummy. Mom and dad arrive. Sweet Mom rubs my back. Oh! I realize instantly I'm one of those types. Please don't touch me. Everything hurts. I hope I don't hurt her feelings but I'm pretty sure she understands. Dad who knows all about being a man takes Chris to get something to eat.
The yellow star is no longer blinking. It's always on. Why are there no breaks in between contractions I wonder? This isn't what it's supposed to be like. My body laughs at me; silly, new girl. It knows what must be done. It's doing what it's supposed to be doing. I move to the room. I sway. I sit. I stand. I hold my breath. I clench my fists because the pain is turning into a fiery red ball . Chris comes in and I see the worry in his eyes. He knows. He knows I'm hurting. The nurse asks me if I want an epidural. No, I groan. You won't get a gold star by doing this to yourself she states. But it's best for the baby I think. I have to do this naturally, for my baby.
The pain is a raging, red fire in my tummy. Make it stop. Please! Begging for what I said I didn't want. Please, I can't do this. Suddenly, there is relief. I hear the music that has been playing all along in the background:
Lord you have my heart.
And I will search for yours.
Jesus take my life and lead me on.
I no longer focus on the pain. There is no pain. Just relaxed sleep and sweet comforting music. 7cm my nurse whispers to me. You made it to 7cm before you got the epidural. Maybe I should get half a star?
There is no pain. A white cloud is static in my tummy. But it's time. Time to push. Push?! I can't feel anything. How do I push? Try. So I push. The nurse looks surprised and yells for me to stop. She needs to get the doctor.
Hello. You aren't my doctor. Nevermind, doesn't matter. I want to meet my girl. My girl. So I push. I see the disappointment on his face. I can tell he's thinking we are going to be here a while. No! I can do this. I focus all my energy and push. I'm doing it right. I can tell. Chris is holding me, encouraging me.
And suddenly she's here. So beautiful she takes my breath away. So very beautiful, I see my husband crying for the first time in my life. She's on my chest, crying. Crying so loud. We cry together. Black hair and pink skin. She looks just like Chris. So beautiful, so perfect. My Claire Rose. My heart. She is more than I could have ever hoped, dreamed or imagined. I know her and she knows me.
Happy birthday, Sweet Claire Rose. My firecracker, my moon, my stars, and my sky. My girl.
All this time I was waiting for you. From the moment I was born, I was meant to be your mother. You've been part of me my whole life. I was living my whole life for this day to come. I had no idea God be so perfect. So good. So loving. So very giving; when he chose to give me, you.