Throwback: The Birth (aka How My Definition of Love Changed Forever)

I’m posting my Throwback Thursday post a day early in honor of my son’s sixth birthday. The original blog was posted on MySpace just a couple of weeks after his birth.

Originally posted May 8, 2008

How does the adage go? If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Well, He definitely got a guffaw out of me!

Dateline: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It was a rather rough night. The baby, who has had a history my entire pregnancy of pushing up against my diaphragm, literally cutting off my breath, was doing it a lot while I was trying to sleep. I gave up on sleeping at about 7:30 a.m., taking my time getting out of bed to get ready for work. Fifteen minutes later, I felt like I suddenly lost control of my bladder. I rushed to the bathroom…and for some strange reason…could not stop peeing.

I suddenly had a thought: Did my water just break?

Three days before the event. I thought I had another ten days.

There was no pain, no contractions. Just this constant flow of what I thought was urine. I called my doctor and left a message stating: “This may sound strange, but I think my water just broke. Please call me back.”

I then called my mother in Georgia. I said: “Can I ask you a question without you freaking out?” I then proceeded to tell her of the current activity occurring with my body and she stated, “Honey, your water has just broke. Get to the hospital.”  At that point, my doctor returned my call. He asked how close I was to the hospital and when I told him I was only a couple minutes away, he told me to meet him there.

Now I’m a little freaked. The baby isn’t due for another week (we had scheduled a c-section) and there was so much I was going to do that weekend to prepare for this exact moment…like pack the bag I was going to take to the hospital.

I debated on whether or not to take a shower and put on makeup, but decided I should probably get to the hospital. As I was driving there, I convinced myself that this was probably just a rupture…that happens, I hear…and I was going to be told by my doctor to remain in bed until the next week when we were scheduled to have him. Four minutes later, I was at the hospital. Since I drove myself, I decided to valet park…I figured I wasn’t going to be there that long. I forgot to ask if I was supposed to meet my doctor in emergency or labor & delivery so I went into the emergency area.

I informed them that my water may have just broken and I was meeting my doctor there, but I wasn’t sure where I was to meet him. The lady at the desk freaked out. She said, “Oh my god!” and ran to the other room and grabbed a wheelchair. I tried to refuse and convince her I really was okay…after all, I had just driven myself to the hospital….but she insisted that I sit down and wheeled me into emergency.

It’s about 8:15 a.m. at this point…I’m feeling very silly sitting there in the wheelchair while they call labor & delivery to tell them to come get me. I tell them I know where it’s at and have no problem walking over there…but they weren’t having it. About 15 minutes later, a nurse comes to take me to labor and delivery. She said my doctor had called them to expect me, but they didn’t expect me so soon. It was then I realized I probably could have taken a shower and put on make-up…I was a little bummed that I hadn’t.

A few minutes later, I’m in a labor and delivery room. A tag team of nurses start introducing themselves to me. One tells me to go into the bathroom and pee on a strip of paper. If it turned blue, it meant that I was leaking amniotic fluid. It was very, very blue.

She then had me get naked and put on one of those lovely hospital gowns. I thought this was an awful lot of work to be going through just to send me home once my doctor got there. He did arrive about 8:45 a.m. He said since he had to catch a plane at 3:00 p.m., they were going to go ahead and do the c-section right then…they were just waiting for the anesthesiologist.

Now I’m getting a little concerned. All I could think about was everything I had to do at work…there was still a lot to do to get ready for my maternity leave…and how I still hadn’t gone through the baby shower gifts from two weeks prior…and how my mom was supposed to be there but she was still in Georgia…and damn it, I forgot to charge my cellphone!

So with the few bars left on the cellphone, I called my mom to let her know that I was indeed having a baby. She had anticipated that and was heading to the airport on the next available flight out of Atlanta…but wouldn’t be there for the birth. I then called my friend Kara…who was going to come to the hospital as soon as she found someone to take care of her little one. I then called my friend Eric to see if he could pick my mom up from the airport. I then had to make sure that my mom, Kara and Eric all had each other’s cell phone numbers and could coordinate with each other.

I also made sure someone went by my house to get my cellphone charger.

I then called the office to inform my boss that I wouldn’t be in – he wasn’t in the office yet (I didn’t think to call his cell phone) – but I talked to the receptionist…who decided to also freak out. He asked if I wanted anyone to come to the hospital…I told him I was okay…and just to let my boss know what was going on. A few minutes later, Robin from the office called basically informing me that she was on her way to the hospital. The conversation was longer…but that was the end result.

(I would later find out that the receptionist had made a panicked announcement on the office intercom: “Crystal is at the hospital! In labor! By herself!”).

During all this flurry of conversation, nurses were informing me of what was going to happen once I got into the delivery room, they started sticking me with IVs and then shaving me to prep me for the surgery. The anesthesiologist came in and asked me a few questions about my history…and based on what I said decided he was going to give me an epidural. He explained what was going to happen with that and said he’d see me in the operating room.

At about 10:00 a.m., they have me walk across the hall to the operating room. There are two nurses, my doctor, the anesthesiologist and a very, very old man who was apparently assisting my doctor with the delivery. Over the next few minutes, needles are stuck in my back, more tubes and machines are hooked up to me. They wait a few minutes for the drugs to kick in, lift a sheet to block my view of my lower body…and then I hear my doctor say, “scalpel”.

This wasn’t an episode of ER.

For what felt like twenty minutes, I feel a lot of tugging and pulling…and commentary between the two doctors. Constant questions from the anesthesiologist asking me how I’m doing…and moments of reassurance from the nurses and doctor. I think this is the closest I’ve ever been to an out-of-body experience. All I could do was think about all that I hadn’t done to prepare for this moment…and realized it was all moot, since the moment was here.

At exactly 10:34 a.m., they delivered the tiniest…and I must say whitest…little boy I had ever seen. They take him over to the warming table and do what they need to do…a few seconds later, I hear a piercing scream. He was okay.

Yes, this is exactly the way he looked at me when they placed him in my arms.
Yes, this is exactly the way he looked at me when they placed him in my arms.

They wrap him up and hand him to me. He immediately stops crying. I start talking to him and he opens his eyes. I’m meeting my son for the first time with no makeup and crying…but I don’t think it scared him. He just continued to listen to me talk and check me out.

I started losing a lot of blood, so they had to take him and put him back on the warming table. I looked at him the whole time…and he didn’t cry once. He just looked around, checking out his surroundings. He was so mellow.

They sewed me up, handed him back to me and wheeled us into recovery. My friend Robin meets us there. About an hour later, my son is nursing from my breast like a champ…and all was good with the world.

My friend Kara met us in the postpartum room…and my mom arrived later that night.

And that is how the love of my life was born on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 10:34 a.m. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

My definition of love has changed forever.

Photograph by Josh Patterson Photography
Photograph by Josh Patterson Photography

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