I lay there with my hand on my belly as I did every night since the first time that I felt him move, enjoying his kicks and flips; trying to savor that feeling for the last night. This had been a wonderful pregnancy with absolutely no complications. I had enjoyed every single moment of the last nine months and I was actually a little sad that it was almost over. But those feelings were quickly replaced with an excitement that I could barely contain as I thought about what it would be like to hold my newborn son.
I was awake well before the alarm, and decided that it was time to get ready for the hospital. I was showered, dressed, and sitting on the couch when Mike came out of our bedroom to start getting ready. I was wearing jeans and my favorite yellow maternity shirt. I don’t know why I remember that, but I can see it all as clearly as if I am looking at myself in the mirror. As soon as Mike was ready, we headed out of the door into the bitter-cold morning air of January to begin the journey that would make us parents. I remember how clear the night sky was and how bright the stars were shining. We pulled out of the driveway husband and wife, but would come back home a mom and a dad.
We made it to the hospital and headed back to Labor and Delivery where I told the nurse my name and explained that we were there to have our baby. We were going to have a baby. I was going to be in labor and I was going to give birth to a perfect little bundle that was going to be half me and half Mike, and I would have everything in life that I had ever wanted.
We were taken back to our room where I changed into a gown and got into bed so that they could start my IV. My doctor came in to break my water and start the Pitocin to get things moving. The nurse asked me if I was going to want an epidural, but I was all, “Oh no, I want to do this without drugs.” I really had no intention of getting any kind of pain relief because I really wanted to do it all completely natural like my Mom had done with the three of us girls. So the nurse smiled and said that if I thought that I would want one to just let the front desk know.
Now I had never really had any contractions during the end of my pregnancy and I was really unsure of what to expect. At the very beginning I thought, “Wow, um OK, I think I can handle this,” but that shaky confidence was short lived as about a half an hour in I started getting slammed with contractions one on top of another with hardly a moment to catch my breath. There was no gradual increase in intensity or frequency. One minute I was pretty comfortable, and the next I was in agony. I barely had time to get used to what a contraction was like before I was completely bombarded with them.
It was just after 7:00 AM when I told Mike to let the nurses know that I was going to need the epidural. Yep, I didn't even make it a whole hour before I was screaming for relief. So much for the all-natural birth. Anyway, it was after 8:00 AM that the anesthesiologist strolled through my door. By that time I was borderline hysterical and was begging for the torture to end. Once the epidural was in place though, I think that my head barely hit the pillow when the pain was finally gone. That anesthesiologist was my new hero and best friend.
After that, things progressed pretty quickly considering that this was my first baby. It was just before 3:00 PM when the nurse said that it was time to start pushing. The waiting room was overflowing with family anticipating the arrival of its newest member, and I pushed. Nurses came in and out of my room bringing in instruments and equipment, and I pushed. One push went into the next while time continued to pass still without a baby, and still I continued to push. I pushed constantly for over an hour and a half when somewhere around 4:30 PM my doctor finally made an appearance. She had me push just twice with her when she said, “Well, you can do this for another hour or I can give you a c-section now.” Are you insane lady? I have been pushing almost continuously for more than an hour and a half with just about no progress and you are asking me if I would rather be tortured for ANOTHER hour or make it all end now? Uh, yeah, give me the scalpel and I'll do it myself!
She tried to persuade my family to convince me not to go through with the surgery, but by then I was so exhausted that nothing anyone could have said or done would have changed my mind. I still tried to push all the way up until they wheeled me back to the OR around 5:00 PM. I don’t remember a whole lot once we were in there. I know I was freaked out that they would start before Mike had a chance to change and get in there, but he made it and things got underway. I remember feeling some tugging, and watching the masked faces of all of the people that were there when all of a sudden the room got quiet and then, at 5:46 PM I heard the most beautiful sound God has ever created; I heard my baby cry for the first time. I looked over to my left, and a nurse was holding him up for me to see, and he was gorgeous; 7lbs, 12oz, 20 ½ inches long.
We hadn’t decided on a name before he was born, but we had several that we liked. We knew that when we saw him we would know his name. As soon as that nurse held him up, we looked at each other and said, “He’s an Aaron.”