Hard to imagine it has already been three years since a snowy February 9th! We had gone to your last baby doctor appointment two days prior and seeing as how you were already a week overdue (your initial due date was February 2), and I was starting to experience the effects of preeclampsia, Dr. Trabue decided to induce you. I woke up super early on the morning you were to be born and girl, I got ready! Hair, makeup, jewelry, wax, shave, nail polish… everything! lol! I was so excited to finally meet you! We took presents for your doctor and nurses and more luggage than ever possibly necessary! I planned your hospital outfits, the outfit and blanket I wanted you to wear home from the hospital, and soooo many accessories for fancy newborn pictures. You name it, if it was on Pinterest as an option for birth prep, it was considered. Anyways, it had snowed the day or two before and so the fresh blanket on the ground only added to the heightened swirling emotions that accompanied driving to the hospital at 5:00am on the day your first child is to be born. We arrived, parked, and got checked into our hospital room. Your dad went back to the car to get all the luggage and I started getting settled in with the nurses. If you read this as an adult and look back on your life and think, “omg, mom, you were so obsessed with your weight and working out, and everyone around us…” well, let me tell you, this day is why. Everyone wants to represent and remember themselves well so I don’t really regret having put a lot of emphasis on the stuff I wanted to take to the hospital, but literally, I decided after having you, I never wanted to be in a health situation, if I could personally avoid it through healthy choices, that was anything like what I had gone through during your delivery again and here’s why… I emphasize so strongly making healthy eating choices and exercising regularly because I gained so much weight while I was pregnant with you. Your dad and I ate whatever we wanted and since I pretty much took it easy and stayed in bed or worked from home, my health suffered. With that…
I will forever be suspicious of the fact that shenanigans took place in the hospital while you were being born. They’re no foreign topic as you’ve heard your father and I talk about them often where people and human interaction is concerned. The accumulation of embarrassing experiences during the duration of the hospital stay was a definite catalyst for my theory that people respond based on the stimuli around them. Not in every case, of course, because there’s hardly ever any evidence to prove such things…
Anyways, back to the day… the hospital gown I was given didn’t close all the way in the back, so I asked the nurse, a black woman with a larger build herself, if I would be allowed to wear the gown I brought from home and was hoping to wear during your delivery. The answer was no and so she set off to find a larger one. After returning, she made me take off my jewelry, including the cross necklace I had given my grandmother for Christmas several years before she died and I felt really really gloom. Embarrassed and gloom. BUT! You were on your way because shortly after I was having contractions. The staff started administering petocin as soon as the hospital gown situation was worked out and my water was broken. I wanted to try and have you naturally, so I opted out of an epidural. Unfortunately, because of the onset of late-term preeclampsia, avoiding an epidural wasn’t an option. Due to the fact that my blood pressure had risen so high they had to administer magnesium so as to avoid further complications, Dr. Trabue decided to go ahead with the epidural. For some reason (cough, cough), the nurses on staff that day thought I would be a good candidate for epidural practice. I had to sign a waver, which gave the student nurses the go ahead to do their thing; and so they did, all while I was contracting at about seven cm dilated. Four or five nurses attempted four or five grueling and unsuccessful attempts to find my spine. Finally, the head nurse was called, arrived, and completed the procedure. I cried the whole time… contracting, humiliated, scared, annoyed… all the things… I wanted to have you naturally and I was helpless in the hands of my situation. The next several hours I laid there and waited for my cervix to dilate. Your dad and grandma helped and rested; they waited to meet you along beside me while the nurses continued monitoring your progress and my blood pressure.
FINALLY! My cervix dilated to 10 and it was time to push! The room filled with nurses and doctors and they started to get everything ready for you to arrive! Since I couldn’t feel anything due to the epidural, I was really focused on your birth being captured on video, which grandma did a great job of accomplishing! I asked your dad something about my makeup since I had made a late night run to Walgreens the night before in search of water proof mascara and was really curious if it had worked, cause girl, it was put to the test! He said something to the effect that I looked like a movie star and I think I was flattered. The nurses looked at me blankly and I waited for further instructions… you were almost here! I started to push and not six minutes later, there you were! You were perfect! Squishy, healthy, and undeniably the product of both your dad and I… your toes are just like his, something I unabashedly exclaimed, due to high regard, right after you were born. You were 8 pounds 12 ounces and 21.5 inches long. You had a clogged sound in your windpipe when you arrived so after I held you a couple minutes, the hospital staff explained that you needed to be taken to the nursery area for observation. I asked about whether or not you would be hungry and what I needed to do in regards to breastfeeding but wasn’t given an answer, and they whisked you off. I was so thirsty.
I can’t remember much after that point. I do remember that your dad accompanied you to the observation area and grandma wasn’t far behind. I wasn’t allowed to have water due to the magnesium required for my blood pressure maintenance and was more thirsty than you can even imagine. I begged for water… your grandma and I even got into a major fight over her refusal to administer due to doctors orders. Then I started asking for ice chips… still, the answer was no. Your dad came back from where you were being observed and afforded me a small drink after I begged, but I puked… then I drifted off… You were born at 9:40ish, I think, so this would have been shortly thereafter. Between then and 4:00am the next morning, they had to transport me and all of our luggage from one room to another. We weren’t released to the maternity ward yet due to both of our complications so it was something more like that of a holding cell, limbo, purgatory, or whatever… there was a lot of to-do about our luggage, I remember, but more than that, I just wanted to hold you and I was so, so worried… At around 4:00am the next morning, a nurse wheeled you silently in a bassinet into room #2 and I was amazed by your perfection. There was a teal paci in your bassinet and I always wondered how much you cried between your birth and that moment. Not long after, the same nurse that brought you to me brought a breast pump and told me I should start trying to administer colostrum. Obviously, I had no idea how to do that, so I just kind of winged it.
We stayed in that room for another night. Then, we were moved to the maternity ward and I had a hard time figuring out how to feed you. To this day I still wonder what happened between the hours of 10pm on February 9th and 4am on February 10th, but I’ll never know. In terms of connection, I constantly analyze your birth experience with your recent sister’s and can only surmise based on what I’ve encountered. I know for sure that you had a hard time locking eyes with me, something to which I will always contribute to the fact that it took you so long to practice facial recognition with me after your birth. But Eden, you were perfect. You cried a lot… another thing I attribute to our lack of connection directly after your birth, but we figured it out. Breastfeeding sent me for a doozie. I wondered for years about whether or not the paci they gave you in the hospital had anything to do with the fact that you had a hard time breastfeeding… nipple confusion and all that… now that I look back on it all, I can understand the role that magnesium had to play. Still, I wouldn’t trade you for the world. I love you and the picture perfect vision of health you were that day and I will forever be grateful for the gift of motherhood.
Happy Birthday, baby girl! You are the reason I continue to breathe and I want you to know that I would do all of the above over again as long as it would afford the same outcome as you have contributed to this life I’m so blessed to lead.