Hello. My name is Charity. I am a designer (chartreuseinc.com), a blogger (iheartcleveland.com) a best friend, partner, daughter, sister, cyclist, adventurer and, as of late, I am a new Mom to our little “Baby Ninja.” I’ve been back and forth on when and what and even how I’d write and share about my little guy’s birth story. How could I possibly put into words all of the varying emotions I’ve felt over the past year? And honestly, how to get it out without sitting in a puddle of tears. But here I am, tissues at the ready, and here goes nothing.
Seth Godin once said, “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” To be honest, I have always been so afraid of the idea of being pregnant or actually giving birth so much that it had paralyzed me. Giving up control over my body, my mind, (Yes, “pregnancy brain” exists!) my daily activities and my future plans scared the beejeezus out of me. Then, last year happened and I realized turning forty was coming up in the next two years and if I had even the tiniest desire to try for a bambino we probably should give it a shot…and so we did. And the rest is history. And boy, was I SCARED.
I was very lucky that, overall, it was a pretty easy pregnancy. I had the gestational diabetes scare but I was cleared and all was well. At about month seven I started swelling up like a balloon and became very uncomfortable. My size 7.5 feet were now squeezing into size 9s, with flip flops as my only option. I could barely walk as waddling was more my speed. Exercise was off the table while I longed for a hard spin class or a hot yoga sweat fest. At a certain point, just making it through daily activities made me pretty elated. I became so uncomfortable that I was hoping the little man would make an early appearance, and I think everyone else thought so too. So I kept going to my weekly check-ups and with each time nothing, nada, no movement, no “Ninja.” We kept waiting…and I was SCARED.
We ate spicy foods, went on long bumpy drives in the car, had eggplant, drank rose hip tea and yes, tried a few other “unmentionables.” We tried everything, but nothing seemed to do the trick.
At a visit to the doc’s, post due date, she decided it was time to be induced. We planned to “check in” to Fairview “Hotel” that Thursday night. We had dropped off our little pug at a friend’s, I wrapped up final work projects, sent a few emails and downloaded a couple of movies onto our laptops for any hospital downtime. We were ready. As we drove to the hospital I was internally freaking out but I also had this exciting, calm feeling. Like deep down, I knew everything would be okay.
At around 6:30pm we checked in, the lobby was filled with people, so many that the nurses actually told us we would have at least a two hour wait. I couldn’t bare to sit there in the waiting room with impending new grandparents, aunts and uncles…so we went home for a nap.
At 9pm we were guided into the nice, birthing room that, unbeknownst to us, would become our home away from home for the next week. The nurse came in and started talking nonchalantly about doing this and that and on and on. I had to take a step back and tell her…I’M SCARED and if you wouldn’t mind slowing down and speaking my language, that’s be great. She smiled and from there we moved at a slower and better pace – one explanation after the other.
From then it was a series of blood tests, needles and DVF Hospital gowns – pretty chic for hospital fashion. I was given a dose of a drug called Cervadil to soften my cervix and to make the upcoming drug, Potocin work. I spent Thursday night sleeping on and off, praying for the Cervadil to kick in. When Friday morning rolled around it was exciting like “it might happen this morning or today!” Friday evening rolled around and…nothing. I was scared.
The doctor decided to try another round and so we did. Then it was Saturday evening and still, nothing. No change, no movements, no baby. At that time, we had almost ten different nurses who we had come to know. We were keeping track of their names in our cell phone notes and it almost became humorous each time a shift change happened and a new nurse came in and we had to review my case notes with her. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the nurses and I am so thankful for each one who cheered me on in one way or another.
Saturday evening “Baby Ninja’s” heartbeat was still strong but I was loosing enthusiasm for the process. After some talking with the nurses and my parents we had all come to a conclusion; as much as I resisted, a c-section was in order to get the show on the road. When my doctor came to check on me at around 11pm Saturday evening she really wanted me to experience labor and swiftly and without me even knowing, she broke my water. And just like that…BAM I was having contractions.
Contracting through the first few centimeters wasn’t that bad. But as they heated up, it became pretty painful. While I concentrated on my yoga breathing, the pain was too much and my body wasn’t having it. So, I puked. (Yes, puked.) The nurses offered me a bit of a relaxer to take the edge off…which I welcomed at around 4 cm. dilated.
A few hours later I took the epidural and I could see the end in sight…Baby Ninja would be here sooner than I knew. At around 11am on Sunday morning, it was time to push. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. It was a combination of lots of pressure and the worst cramps imaginable. It was a bizarre feeling but knowing there would be a pot of gold at the end of the cloudy weather was worth the sweat and tears. I had lots of wonderful help as I pushed and twisted and played tug of war and counted to ten over and over again. Still, nothing was working. Baby Ninja was comfy inside and not descending, nothing was working. As I grew tired I looked to my nurse and said “how much longer?” I was beginning to think he might never come out. I remember her looking at me and very kindly saying to me that after four hours of pushing through labor they would call it…we were at 3 hours, 50 minutes. So, then and there I smiled back and said…I’m calling it now. Let’s get this baby out of me one way or the other. (Baby Ninja was later diagnosed with “failure to descend;” due to the size of my cervix…who knew it was too small?)
As they prepped me for the c-section surgery I just remembered feeling relived at knowing the babes was still healthy and that I felt the pain of labor and that I was on the last leg of this baby journey. I am petrified of shots, needles, the site of blood and yet the idea of having myself cut in half brought a sense of peace and calm over me. It was a true out of body experience. As they rolled me into the operation room I felt like I was a character on Grey’s Anatomy hoped that McDreamy would be there waiting for me in the OR.
I kept my eyes closed as they steered me through the halls into the cold room where Baby Ninja would arrive. It smelled weird like medical cleaning supplies. It was cold. While my eyes were closed, the bright blue light shown through my eyelids. There was loud music playing in preparation for the baby party ahead. I have no idea how many people were actually in the room but there seemed to be a lot of commotion and activity. With a few touches of pressure from the doctor a soft cry from behind the curtain could be heard and all the feelings of being scared and worried and sick just melted away. He was here!
They brought him up to meet us and I remember thinking how big he looked and how something of that size could possibly been living in me – it was a wild feeling. From there, he was weighed (8lbs) and measured (21.5 inches), he was examined for all sorts of little this and that – all to be given a clean bill of health. While they sewed me up, the team casually chatted about their Saturday night plans from the night before…again very Grey’s Anatomy. The doctor assured me that everything was going as planned and if it wasn’t it would be a quiet room. Finally, I smiled.
The next few days were filled with visitors, time with Baby N, NO sleep and lots of HGTV. I couldn’t wait to get home.
At home I suffered from the baby blues for the first few weeks. Stress ran high, hormones ran rampant and the pressure to make the newborn happy was frustrating. Would I ever feel like myself again?
Fast forward to now. I’m feeling 85% like myself again. Baby Ninja is smiling and eating well. We are still getting up a ton during the night but overall it’s not horrible…you get used to it.
While my life is not exactly as it was a few months ago…it is filled with new challenges, new joys and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. This mom stuff is no joke. It’s hard and scary. It’s challenging and sometimes hurts. I have a new appreciation for all who have done this including my mom, my friends with kids and again all the nurses who cheered me on and pushed me forward.
And while I didn’t mention him earlier, I couldn’t have done any of this with my best friend, partner in crime and love. Thank you for holding my hand when times got tough and helping me welcome our babes into the world while I was pretending to be on Grey’s!
So, that is my story. It wasn’t glamorous. It wasn’t how I had dreamed and planned it would go, but it’s how it happened. It’s real and I am glad I took the time to write it all down so that someday I can look back and remember how scared I once was and how now, it’s just another life experience under my belt…one that I will forever be grateful for.
*This post and Baby Ninja’s stunning birth announcements were made possible by minted.com. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Minted is the world’s premier marketplace for independent design. Their mission is to find exceptional artists and designers all over the world and bring their work to consumers who appreciate great design. Minted.com provides templates and paper to create beautiful birth announcements, holiday cards and unique artwork for your home. Thank you minted for allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!