When I discovered that I was pregnant with Lois, I immediately knew that I wanted to carry her with purpose during the months that she was in my womb. My purpose as a mom-to-be was very simple; to protect her by remaining calm and at ease. That was the only thing I planned for with my pregnancy, in part because it was the primary thing I knew that I’d be able to control. I knew once she left my womb, I wouldn’t be able to protect her in the same way so I promised us both that while she was all mine, protected by my womb, I’d offer her the best environment that I could in my physical body.
Some of you may roll your eyes at this but I, myself, was born under fairly chaotic circumstances. I joined the world three months premature and so one of my primary goals was also to carry Lo to fullterm. I’m happy to say that we succeeded in that as well.
Lois James joined our world almost a month ago and I oftentimes feel like I spoke life to her. It sounds melodramatic but when I envisioned our daughter during our pregnancy, Lois is exactly what I had in mind, from her calm demeanor right down to her blonde hair and blue eyes.
My water broke shortly after midnight on September 22. I was asleep in bed with a towel underneath me (I hated sleeping with that towel but I highly recommend it now) and I felt liquid exit out of me. Confused, I said to myself, “my water just broke or I just peed myself,” both of which were very real options at 40 weeks pregnant. I rose out of bed, wrapped the towel around me and rushed to the bathroom where water gushed from me to the toilet. It hit me then that I was in labor. I smiled and laughed. I had waited for that moment my entire life and here it was. I was finally going to be a mom.
I woke up James, who was confused. I said, “my water just broke” and he said “huh?” I still laugh at that. I suddenly felt really nervous and I channeled those nerves into showering, starting the dishwasher, wiping down our countertops and gathering our hospital bags and belongings. By 1AM, we were ready to go.
We stopped at McDonald’s on the way. Which in hindsight, was an insane thing to do but I was starving and where else were we supposed to stop for food at that hour? I devoured a Big Mac and fries, something a few people told me I’d regret – more about that later.
When we arrived to Millard Fillmore, the receptionist asked if my water had broken. Turns out, a lot of babies were being born that night. There was no delivery room available for us so the nurses placed us in a secluded, private room and that’s when my contractions started coming.
I am going to be honest with you – when the contractions started, I felt a little smug. I breathed through them, thinking that the pain wasn’t that bad. I even slept for about 30 minutes while we waited to be placed in a private room.
When we arrived to our private room, I was soon given pitocin to speed along my contractions. This is something I did not necessarily want but the medical staff and my sweet nurse recommended it so I decided to listen and they began upping my pitocin levels gradually thereafter.
Let me tell you… After that, the real contractions started. James had left our hospital room to go eat. It was 2PM in the afternoon at this point and his sister and mother were visiting us. While they were there and James was out of the room, I put on a brave face. I kept telling myself that I only had to breathe through 60 seconds of pain and I kept bouncing on my medical ball in an attempt to distract myself from the pain. I kept my composure right until James walked back into the room. That’s when I couldn’t keep a brave face anymore.
In hindsight, the pain was not that bad. I know that every mom says that the pain is forgettable and I always thought that wasn’t true but it is. I had originally also been afraid to get an epidural but James talked some sense into me when he said, “why make giving birth a painful experience for you? Why not enjoy it as much as possible?” and he was right.
Once my epidural was administered, it took about 20 minutes for it to kick in. I went from being tensed up and wincing to talking and laughing a little. I felt a lot better and I’m so thankful I chose to get it. I know a lot of women worry about the potential side effects and the longer recovery periods that sometimes come with getting an epidural but I am happy to say that the only side effect I had was some nerve spasms a few days after. Those have since disappeared.
Shortly after my epidural took place, I was dilated and I was able to start pushing. James grabbed my leg and our nurse grabbed my other leg. I pushed for 20-30 minutes and out came Lois James at 5:01PM. She weighed 7 lbs 8oz and measured 20 inches in length. When they placed her on my chest, I briefly cried and then I just felt disbelief. We had a child. How did that happen? I know that we had nine months to prepare for that moment but it just did not feel real. It still doesn’t feel real when I look at her sometimes. She’s ours. We made her.
Our birth story is simple and that was my exact goal the second I realized we were expecting. Our Aunt Maria was our doctor and she delivered Lois, who was named after her Great-great Grandma and her Great Grandfather, Grandfather and Father. It did not register with me at the time but the first person to touch Lois was Aunt Maria, someone who already loved her. That alone was and is amazing.
My body responded so well to childbirth too. I had been nervous about pooping out my McDonald’s while I pushed but I didn’t. I was also really worried about tearing but that didn’t happen either. Thank you, God. I don’t know how anyone survives a perenial tear but I salute the women who have. I didn’t need to take sitz baths or sit on special pillows. I used ice-packs the first night in the hospital and that was that. Oh and the mesh underwear… The mesh underwear is EVERYTHING! They were my # 1 item for postpartum care.
I know I’m incredibly lucky. I had a supportive partner, family and medical staff and they all lovingly contributed to our daughter entering the world, healthy and happy.
My experience postpartum was not without complications but I will write more about that later… For now, I’m just grateful that Lois joined us the way that I had hoped. She followed my birth plan to the T. My plan was just to be calm and present and she exhibited those qualities too. I’m so proud of her and so thankful.