Sunday, January 9, 2011

1-9-11 (and 93)

It's just after midnight and we're getting set up in the hospital room with the belly belt monitoring the heart and the contractions are getting bad. There is, of course, no way to communicate the level of pain, but here's my take: your whole torso tightens to the point where you start expecting to see your insides come bursting forth, rock-like, out of your skin. And you are pretty much frozen in pain, wondering if there is any better form of torture ever devised, while some lady in pink scrubs and your big-eyed husband tell you not to forget to breathe.

After the first monster contraction passes, I am completely expecting the pain meds to arrive any minute. And then the lady in the pink scrubs looks at me as though I've lost my mind and tells me, "Oh, no, hon, you're too far along. It's too late. You're going to start pushing here very soon."


I want my drugs!!!

Nope, no can do. So I comfort myself with the thought that they'll tell me to commence pushing and, whoosh, like every medical television show I've ever seen, the baby will be here as they reenact New Years Eve, count down from ten, and let that ball drop.

So at 1:00 when I'm getting hit with these monster pains every couple of minutes, with the rest times now shrinking to almost no recovery period, I am wondering where in the hell the countdown crew has gone to. And still no OB/Gyn.

Let me just say here, I appreciate my friends in the nursing profession, but in this case, every one who walked into the room assumed I, too, had been through upteen births, knew the whole drill and all the reasons why things were dragging out, and communicated almost nothing with me. And when you're doing that writhe thing like Luke Skywalker does while the Emperor is zapping him with those blue lightning bolts shooting out of his fingers, you don't have a lot of ability to form coherent, kind queries.

Turns out, I'd stalled at about 9.5, the doctor wasn't going to be bothered to show up until the magic number 10, and the contractions continued to get worse and worse. I'd stalled?! Then get the damn jumper cables!!

So finally, at around 3:30 in the morning, the doctor saunters in, cold as a cucumber, and says we're ready to push. So, again, I'm thinking, finally, this is almost over.

Oh, no.

Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

Nick was born at 7:18 a.m.

Yes, I pushed for nearly four freakin' hours.

I never again watched a television birth without screaming at the screen LIARS!!!!

As they're cleaning off baby Nicholas Anderson, whose name was actually a topic of conversation between Bob and I on the day we met, I look over at Bob who looks like hell. I decide I do not want to see a mirror. Holding my hand throughout, he now has no feeling in it other than throbbing pain, but very wisely doesn't tell me about it until days later. Good man.

One thing I never remember anyone telling me about was that once you're done, you're not actually done. For another hour or more afterward the nurse comes back in to mash the crap out of your belly to make sure everything's out. And it really hurts. Maybe I should put a disclaimer at the top of this post: "not exactly celebrating the miracles of natural birth."

They say the memory of the pain fades very quickly. If that's the case, then it was 5000 times worse than I've just described.

But, yes, of course, it is completely worth it.

My beautiful, healthy, 8 pound 8 ounce son with a head full of black hair was laid in my arms, sleeping peacefully. I have a picture of Bob sitting on the couch that afternoon with Nick in his arms, all burrito swaddled, looking up, watching the Steelers play the Bills. Their first football game together. Nicholas decided after sleeping all day that he'd scream all night, and between visitors and admiring my new son, I'd not gotten any sleep since Thursday night myself. I think there was a period around 3:00 a.m. Sunday that we were both wailing away at each other.

This Sunday, January 9, with the snow falling in Colorado, I sleep in and marvel at the last 18 years.

Nick is a member of a select group: only those born in the 20th century with a birth date of January 9 also have the year of their birth as their birthday: 1-9-93.

He's also the most fantastic son any mother could dream of.

Happy 18th Birthday Nicholas Anderson Mask. I love you to infinity and beyond.


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