Three years ago, I was calm.
I was at peace.
I was ready.
I've talked about how motherhood has thrown me for a loop over and over on this blog. How utterly unprepared I was for this challenge and this life change. But for labor and delivery? I was ready.
Going into my 38 week appointment felt different. I had been feeling really awful that week but being my first experience with pregnancy, I chalked it up to being... well... pregnant. I was so fatigued that I could barely function, I was nauseated all of the time, and I was so swollen, as in abnormally swollen. Walking into that appointment I was 99% sure that things with me and baby were just fine. But that 1% would just not shut the hell up and I had this irritating voice in my head telling me today was not any normal, average day.
Soon after 3pm, it wasn't just the voices in my head talking, it was my doctor sending me to triage telling me that baby needed to come out. My blood pressure was climbing and my pee was apparently pissed off. I had pre-eclampsia, which was a condition I feared my whole pregnancy.
On the ride to the hospital, I was nervous but by the time I got to triage I was collected and calm. And I stayed that way. It was the most calm I've ever been. I didn't have a birth plan or even an overnight bag with me. I had no expectations or preconceived notions. I did not over-thing or analyze. It was almost a euphoria. I was certainly worried about Lily's well being, knowing what pre-eclampsia can do, but I knew this was it. I was going to have a baby. I felt meant for it. I was in the moment and I was present.
As the hours passed, the pitocin dripped, the sitcom re-runs with canned laughter played, and the epidural failed, my mood didn't waiver. I had a handle on this labor thing. I was focused on the task at hand and just waited on directives from the medical professionals.
At almost 4am when the nurse said, "It's time to push! You're ready to go.", I was tired, but I was ready. There were moments in that hour of pushing that I was certain my body would not get through it. My medical condition was wanting the best of me and I was convinced that passing out was in my near future but somehow, I was still calm.
At 4:45am on May 15, 2009, my baby girl arrived. She was flipped upside down, tore me a new asshole, and wreaked havoc on my body...but she was there. Healthy. Wailing. Pink. Perfect.
Although the following 10 hours were full of intravenous (legal but should be illegal) drugs, staying in the Critical Care Unit by myself, hourly blood pressure readings and blood draws, I had done it. I created a life and she was healthy and thriving. I was proud. Lonely, being without her, but proud.
I was over come with emotion when I saw her for only the second time at almost 7pm that evening. I had a baby in my arms. She was mine and she needed me, her mama. It was like I knew her for a lifetime, yet she was a stranger. She made so much sense to me even though this whole experience was so foreign. She made me a mom. She made me stronger than I've ever been. She gave me courage that I didn't know I had...and she was only a few hours old.
Thank you, Lily Ocean, for teaching me so much. Most importantly, thank you for teaching me how to love. I love learning so much from you. I am one lucky mama.
Happy 3rd birthday, sweet girl.