I don’t know exactly what I expected out of motherhood. Maybe I had some idea, I envisioned the baking cookies part (which I rarely do) and the afternoon filled with crafts (yeah, I don’t do those either). I imagined the first day of school and Christmas morning, as if life was going to be a series of smiling photographs.
Four years ago today I was in a labor and delivery suite, scared, excited, full of hope, and ready to become a mother.
At 37 1/2 weeks I was diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction, which basically meant that Carson wasn’t growing as expected. Despite spending my entire pregnancy preparing for a drug-free birth, I ended up being induced.
Pregnant and hormonal, I felt let down and disappointed, but I knew that being induced was the right thing for Carson. The pitocin was started very early in the morning. I had a very understanding nurse who respected my wish to be mobile throughout labor, but did restrict me to movement around my hospital room only. For several hours, my contractions were mild enough, Tate and I listened to music, and hung out on my birthing ball.
Labor was no big deal!
Until it was a big deal. The contractions became incredibly painful and were back to back, with no breaks in between. Tate told me afterwards that I had been consumed by the pain, saying things that made no sense. I don’t remember losing it or speaking in tongues, but I do remember the point that I’d had enough and asked for an epidural.
I still regret, sort of, well, kind of…asking for the epidural. The end result was that I got a pretty great kid, who was healthy out of the deal. I just had planned on going drug free and really wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.
The epidural caused my blood pressure to drop dramatically, Carson’s heart rate decreased, the pitocin was stopped, there were nurses in the room staring at the monitors, ready to call for an emergency C-section at any moment. Eventually both Carson and I recovered and then I remember feeling that urge to push, though I wasn’t sure if that was what I was really feeling since I’d never done the whole “having a baby” thing before.
Tate called for a nurse who checked me DOWN THERE and determined that yessirree, I was ready to push. My doctor was called while I spent what felt like hours panting, waiting for her baby catching hands. I think I only pushed for about 15 minutes and then there was the ring of fire and then there was Carson.
I had no idea how my life would change. It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about Tate and I anymore. My entire existence suddenly became my son. His life was dependent on me and my ability to keep him fed and warm.
Now that he’s four, (OMG! He’s FOUR! FOUR!!???) I really wish that I could have relaxed and actually enjoyed him those first two and a half months.
I’m certain that when he’s twelve, I’m going to say the same thing about when he was four.
Age three for Carson was …so much. It was great, it was horrifying, it was embarrassing, it was a honor to be his mother. By age three, I had finally gotten into that groove of being a mom. No, life wasn’t a series of happy photographs. It was filled with daily feedings, constant vigilance to keep the kid from implosion, laughing, and crying.
He still fills the majority of my existence, but I watch as his independence blooms everyday.
While Carson spent some time in the nursery after he was born, I spent some time alone in my hospital room eating the most delicious hamburger and fries that had ever passed my lips.
Tonight I’m going to enjoy some Macaroni and Cheese, chocolate milk, a specially decorated John Deere cake and “homemade” vanilla ice cream (courtesy of Mayfield Dairy) with my birthday boy.
Not exactly as delicious a meal as four years ago, but I’m sure there will be plenty of smiling photo opps.