Today is Miles's second birthday party. For those of you who don't know Miles, he is my cousin Dana's son. Which yes, makes me his cousin, but I think Dana would agree with me in saying that we both feel more like aunts to each other's children than cousins.
This birth sticks out in my mind a little stronger than most others. Honestly, it's because I played a bigger part in this one than in any birth before or after for that matter (obviously other than Joseph, who I'll get to later in this blog). Miles's birth on March 2nd was the cornerstone of Dana and my adulthood. At least that's how I feel. This was something we looked forward to being a part of since childhood. This was something that we were sharing together. Since we were young we dreamed about being pregnant together, and our children growing up to be as good of friends as we were and playing all the time. We were doing it. At the time when Miles was making his way into the world I was currently pregnant with Joseph. If I remember correctly I was about 14 weeks along.
Dana and I lived in great anticipation of this moment. Dana had been having signs of early labor for a week, and for anyone who knows hormonal pregnant women, waiting is darn near impossible for us. But, after many restless days and nights, finally it was time. Time to go to the hospital. Time to get this show on the road.
The plan was not for me to be in the room when Miles was born. I was there for support. I guess I kind of had the role of the cheerleader. But when everyone else was sleeping, I was the one who stayed up with Dana. Helped her through her contractions. Played skipbo with her. Played nurse advocate for her when she needed something. And tirelessly defended both of our stances on natural childbirth to any yahoo who may offer or suggest any form of pain meds. This was something Dana and I had agreed completely on for both of our labors. I was there to be her supporter, her friend, the only other person there as completely hormonal as she was.
Fast forward about 12 hours into the hospital stay. Fast forward past the pitocin drip, the 800 people in the room, the 90th bathroom trip (for both of us), the water breaking, and then breaking again because it didn't really break the first time.. It was time. I was asked to stay in the room, and I was about to be part of something life changing. Don't get me wrong, I've seen births on tv. But this was a front row seat to, in my opinion, the biggest most amazing miracle God had every created, life. Anyone who has ever firsthand witnessed a birth understands completely what I'm saying, and I'm sorry but anyone who hasn't seen it up close and personal just won't get it. At least not completely get it.
Approximately an hour of pushing. Arms tired from holding back her leg. Body tired from being up all day and night and from just merely being pregnant. Voice tired from coaxing, shouting encouragement. I'm sure she was tired too. But at last he was here. Miles was born. Finally. An amazing day. An amazing miracle. A wonderful thing to be a part of.
Just starting my second trimester of pregnancy though, I felt a little nervous. I knew that I had no choice, but I would be doing that in 6 months, give or take (wound up being less). Maybe I shouldn't have seen that I thought. It made me a little scared. I would be doing that soon. Okay, lets be honest, I was slightly terrified. But, nothing can change the fact that I saw what would stay in my mind and heart as one of the coolest, most amazing things ever. I will never forget the noises of that day. I will never forget the smells of that day. I will never forget the shear exhaustion and excitement I felt. I was knocked out and I didn't even give birth.
So, let's bring this full circle. This whole story as amazing as it is, does lead me up to something, believe it or not, just a little bit more amazing. The birth of my son, the birth of my godsend, Joseph. I know, I'm bias. There are some very important births that have happened in my life, some I played a bigger role and some not really a role at all, but the kids mean so much to me now. Oshyn, Aimee, Andrew, Amerie, Darwin, Alexis, Miles. All amazing kids. But, I'm sorry, like I said, I'm bias. Joseph takes the cake, or the ribbon, or whatever the prize may be.
We had by no means an easy time with Joseph. Most of you know that we tried for a year before getting pregnant. Something that just amazes me. When you're just starting out, and you don't want, can't afford, aren't ready, you try so hard not to let this miracle come to be. But when you want it, it's so out of reach. Frustrating, unattainable. For those of you who get pregnant just by sitting too closely to your husband, this doesn't apply to you. The women who have tried, failed, cried, doubted, worried that there is something wrong with themselves, their husband, blamed every unhealthy thing they've done in their life, this is for you. I'm on your side. I'm on your team. I know the frustration of taking negative test after negative test. I know all too well the charting, and calendars that come into the picture when things aren't as easy as everyone warns your they are. I know about the pillows and the waiting. The endless waiting. God has a plan, and sometimes his plans and our plans aren't always the same. But alas, a year into trying, a miracle occurred. I stared at two lines on a stick with pee on it with disbelief, and disgust. What an evil trick for this stupid stick to play. Didn't it know how to play this game properly? I get one line, I cry, I mope, feel sorry for myself, and throw it in the trash. The test must be broken. It had to be. I'll take another, and another, and another. When they all kept coming up with two lines I figured they were all from the same batch, a bad batch. I went to the store crying. I went to the store to get a digital test. One that would in big bold letters tell me what I knew to be true, NOT PREGNANT. At this point, we had been trying so long, I was certain there was not a miracle going on inside of me. My goal was to prove to myself and the stupid stick, that I was not pregnant. It wasn't really happening. I mean, it had been a year. Could it? Really? I got my stupid digital test and took it home. I used it as directed and before I could even lay it on the counter a big, bold, beautiful word appeared. PREGNANT. Huh, really? Amazed. Shocked. Happy. I actually jumped up and down for joy. Something I hadn't done since I was a child. Life had begun. Not only inside of my womb, but also the life I had been waiting for. My life. It truly was beginning.
Fast forward. Through the sickness, the pains, the leaks, the tears, the hormones, the kicks, the tumbles. The most amazing feeling. Pushing on my belly and feeling it push back. Fast forward through the swelling, the blood pressure rising, the liver pains, the fear, the doubt that I couldn't carry the baby to term. Fast forward through the trip to the high risk OB, through him telling me I needed to deliver at 32 weeks because of this pre-clampsia/PIH, through my doc assuring me we would make it to 36 weeks. Waiting, resting, trying to follow bed rest, trying to still prepare for our son. Through having to see the OB twice a week, having to go to L&D twice a week for NST's, having to have my blood drawn 2-4 times a week. Fast forward through my fear and doubt that I wasn't cut out for this, my inability to protect my child even from the womb, my doubts, my fear, my anxiety. Finally getting to 36 weeks exactly and hearing the doc say tomorrow morning we're inducing. Hearing him say, things are getting too bad, it's too risky. It's safer for him to be out here than in there. More tears, more doubts. One more sleepless night. One more sleepless night. The night that felt like the shortest and longest night of my life.
Fast forward through the pitocin. The unending supply of pitocin. The internal uterine monitor, the internal scalp monitor for Joseph. The inability to labor the way I wanted. Not being able to move or get up to pee. All of MY plans for laboring up in smoke. There would be no laboring in the shower, no laboring on the ball, no walking. Fast forward through the doubts of everyone else. Everyone but two people. Kimmy and JJ. Everyone else pressuring me to get the epidural. Crying, pleading, feeling like everything was slipping away. Finally giving in after 20 hours of exhaustion and nagging to the stupid epidural. Fast forward to me telling the anesthesiologist that I hated him for giving me this epidural that I didn't want. Stupid epidural. Three epidurals later. None of them working. 33 hours of intense labor. 33 hours of breathing, and focusing, and hoping and praying. Two episiotomy cuts without anesthetic. Fast forward to the doctor laying on top of my belly to try and get this stubborn little boy to come out before his stats dropped anymore. Relief. Release. Lives changed in an instant. My boy, my son, my child, my hopes and dreams, all born in a split second.
Fast forward through the exhaustion of laboring hard for a day and a half. Through not hearing him cry. Through not feeling him laid upon my chest as I had always envisioned. Fast forward past asking over and over what his APGAR scores were so I could properly digest how bad he was doing. Through the placenta, and being stitched up, and so many damn minutes of not seeing him, not hearing him, them working on him. Resuscitating him. Breathing for him. Suctioning him. Finally faint noises. Not even categorized as cries. But noises not the less. Seeing him for the first time. Having to fight and beg and plead to see him before they whisked him away to the NICU. Seeing him. Loving him. Hearing nothing else in the room. Loving him. Completely. Knowing my life had begun. Knowing my life had changed. Knowing that I never thought it possible to love someone so much in such a split second. My love. My Joseph. My heart.
Nearly nineteen months later and nothing's changed. He's my life. I was born to be his mother, and he my son. I love him with such a force I truly doubt there is anything stronger in the world. He's amazing, and perfect, and priceless.
So, as I wrap this up I just want to say how blessed, how thankful that I am. Some things are worth the wait, worth the pain, the effort. Joseph is one of them.