Well, since it’s my son’s 19th birthday today, I figured I would write a little about that auspicious occasion. I won’t go into too many gory details on the matter, but, as I mentioned in a previous post, a child’s birthday is really a “special” day for the mother, as well.
19 years ago, at this very moment, I suspect I was a very unhappy camper. I had been in some easy labor the day before, when they forced me to rush to the hospital with unshaved legs, no bags packed, NO SOCKS and ultrasound gel all over my clothes; I think they started me on Pitocin, but it seemed like an easy gig. I was able to walk around, joke with people, etc. They decided this was far too much fun for a person to be having whilst in labor, so they did the whole Breaking of the Water ceremony the following morning.
I’ll tell you now, that is pretty gross. Apart from the strange fact that they’re using something like a crocheting needle, gleefully poking around, and the resulting sound is that of someone rubbing a balloon, what happens when they succeed is just… ew.
I’m going to insert a sidebar here on the fact that when you are in labor, all modesty goes out the window. Now, upon arrival at the hospital, I was insistent that someone find me a pair of socks, because you all know how I am about feet. Interestingly, my feet were the only non exposed part of my entire body, and I suppose I took some comfort in that. During the whole labor process, it got to the point where I was willing to accept any random white-coated stranger into the room, in hopes to get the whole process moving. Apparently, word got around that I was carrying a very large baby, so a bunch of residents and/or Med Students were invited into my room to view the phenomenon of a woman laboring with a 26 pound baby. (I’m exaggerating here, they expected Spenser to be well over 10 pounds) Apart from feeling a little freakish, I was excited and hopeful that somehow this would expedite the process.
Anyway, after the Breaking of the Water Ceremony, the whole real labor thing kicked in, and that was not fun, either. About ten hours later, they wheeled me into the operating room, as Spenser was suspected to be a Giant baby, and I wasn’t progressing as they had hoped. Time for the dreaded C-Section!
Again, I will skip the gory details, as I don’t wish to frighten any prospective laboring Mothers out there. Needless to say, after being completely exposed from the neck down (why even bother with those little paper sheets? Come on!), and being told to lie completely still while in a fetal position during full on labor (this was definitely made up by some guy… “fetal” position is great for a fetus, not so great for someone with a gargantuan object protruding from their midsection), we eventually got to the good part.
Thankfully, my sister Rosalie was there with a video camera, because I have no real recollection of what happened once they started rearranging my internal cavity to extract my newborn and bring him into the world.
My first fuzzy recollection of being presented with my baby (no name yet) was in the Recovery Room, where they kind of pushed him close to my face and I kissed his forehead. Or her forehead. I wasn’t even sure. The next morning, when I was slightly more coherent, they brought in my little bundle of joy.
I remember the nurse (or my Mom?) taking a brush and kind of brushing his hair to the side, in order to make the best first impression for our introduction. Well, it was pretty surreal. He looked nothing like I had expected. First of all, his hair was dark and curly. Second, his face was really chubby, and it seemed as if he had gotten into a prizefight the day before. His dark eyes were pretty hidden underneath all that chubbiness. I admit, I was a little concerned that I had been assigned the wrong baby. Where was the blond haired, blue eyed, pink cherub? Who was this dark haired Sumo baby?
Regardless, I was pretty amazed. Mostly at the fact that it just felt so normal to have this creature at my side. Despite the fact that his looks were a little unexpected, the rest of it just felt really “right.” I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s not like I was outpouring with love and felt this great bond, it was really just like thinking, “okay, so here we are!” I didn’t even question whether there was a bond, that felt like a stupid thing to even consider. All those crap magazine articles about bonding were exactly that: crap. It felt completely natural and normal, and I was silently impressed by that.
Now, I won’t go into the whole thing about the fact that my roommate had given birth “naturally” to a 6 pound girl, who, not only kept waking me up whenever it was breast-feeding time every five minutes during the night, but was also able to dance a jig and do normal bathroom functions. I also won’t go into how I rolled my eyes (secretly) when she talked about how difficult her labor was, when, to me, her baby looked like an afternoon snack for the likes of my Giant baby. But I will say, my Spenser was pretty damned awesome as a newborn.
He looked strong and healthy, he didn’t cry a whole lot, and looked like he could kick the a$$ of any newborn within a mile. When you held him, you weren’t afraid that you would break him. That also felt right. He was my perfect match, in truth.
So now it’s 19 years later, and I can’t believe we’ve made it this far. The years really do speed by, even though it doesn’t feel like that, when it’s happening. Through all the ups and downs and sleepless nights and tears shed, we’re still here. And though we drive each other crazy at times, and don’t always like each other, the thing is, it’s still feels “right.” He still is my perfect match. And thankfully, he no longer resembles a Sumo wrestler with a black eye.