Sunday, July 10, 2011

On the day you were (Angela) Jean

In the days before your arrival, I had no doubt you were coming soon. I was nesting like a maniac. Your Beppe and Nonno came for a visit and I insisted that we remove all of the California shutters in the kitchen and take them outside and scrub them. The next day, I took a bucket of soapy water out to the patio and gave Amelia's Big Cat and Little Cat a bath.
That same day, I went out for lunch with Auntie Huma, and as legend goes, a meal with Auntie Huma is a sure-fire way to bring on labour.

I woke up the next morning and had a feeling that today was the day. I told your Dad, and he seemed skeptical, but asked if he should make the call to sub out of his gig that night. Since I hadn't had any contractions yet, I was hesitant and suggested we wait until 11am to see what happened. We had some breakfast, then got the stroller out, and took your sister for a long walk. I wanted to get things going.

It was July 9th, but it wasn't too hot or humid so we walked and walked and walked. The contractions started within a few minutes of walking, but they weren't strong or frequent. I didn't want to call the family yet because I didn't  know how long it would take, and I didn't want them to get too excited. We kept walking, and I had a giddy feeling of excitement mixed with fear...the one you get when you know birth is imminent, but you remember that there are still a few hurdles before you get to meet your little one. I gave Daddy the go-ahead to sub out of his gig.

We came back home, and I tried to stay on my feet, but I was getting tired. I watered the garden and all the flower baskets, but then I thought I should have a rest. As soon as I lied down in my bed, the contractions stopped. Hmph. I didn't like that one bit. I wanted my baby to come, but I forced myself to have a little nap.

When I woke up and started moving around, the contractions started up again. We had some supper and I packed our bags for the hospital. I went outside again and watered the front garden. As I was watering, Uncle Ken, Ethan, Sam and Maddie rode by on their bikes. We chatted with them and I said that I thought I was having a baby later that night. Uncle Ken looked a bit confused, but he nodded and smiled.

At 7pm, we put Amelia to bed, and I was getting frustrated. As long as I was moving around, I had contractions, but when I sat down they stopped.

We finally called your Grandpa and Grandma and told them that we thought things were happening but we weren't sure. We told them we'd call as soon as we had some news. We called Beppe and Nonno and said that we might be calling them to come to stay with Amelia if things started moving any faster. By about 9pm I was feeling silly that I had asked Daddy to miss his gig and there was still no baby. I suggested that he get some sleep, just in case you decided to come in the night. I wanted him to be rested for the trip to the hospital.

I called Beppe and Nonno to tell them that I was going to bed. I had given up hope that you were coming that day. I put on my jammies, brushed my teeth, and got into bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow I felt a POP! My water had broken! One second later, I had a powerful contraction. It was 10pm.

I picked up the phone and called Beppe and Nonno and told them to come right away. They said they would leave in a few minutes, and be here within two hours. I woke Daddy up and we started timing contractions. They were about seven minutes apart, and strong. I started to worry that maybe Beppe and Nonno wouldn't make it in time.

I spent the next two hours sitting on the couch, in the dark, breathing and letting you do your work. I could feel you moving around and I was getting so excited to meet you.

Beppe and Nonno arrived at midnight, and by 12:15, Daddy and I were headed down the QEW to Toronto. My family doctor delivers babies, and since her practice is in Toronto we had to go to Women's College Hospital to have you. It was about a forty minute drive but I remember very little of it. Daddy and I didn't talk at all. I was too busy dealing with contractions, that by this point, were very powerful, and seemed to be coming one after the other, with very little break in between. Daddy was worried you were going to be born in the car.

When we arrived at the maternity floor it was very quiet. The nurse put us in the triage area and said she would have a doctor come to check me. We waited. Things were progressing quickly at this point....but nobody came....we were completely alone until about 2am. I was not comfortable on the triage gurney, so I sat in a chair. I was in hard labour, but I was completely silent. I had my eyes closed and Daddy even thought I was sleeping!

Finally, an intern came. She checked me....and anyone who has had a baby knows that 'checking' is not a pleasant experience. She couldn't get a good 'feel' because there was still some membrane between your head and my cervix. She called for the doctor and I got the bonus of being 'checked' again. Lucky Mama. Unfortunately, all the checking broke my labour trance and at this point I started to feel like the pain was overwhelming. The doctors told me I was 7cm dilated, but that you weren't moving down because there was a pouch of fluid and membrane in your way. They found us a labour room and I had to walk easy feat.

The next hour was the hardest part. I had managed labour the first time with no pain medication, but this was different. The contractions were coming so quickly that I couldn't catch my breath. I wasn't sure how much longer it was going to take, and I didn't think I could last. I was crying and kept saying "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." over and over again. Your Dad kept asking my what I was sorry about and I said "I need DRUGS!" He said "That's nothing to be sorry about" and we asked for the anesthesiologist to come. She was busy, and didn't get there for another 20 minutes. By this time it was about 4am. Since I had initially said I didn't want pain medication, I didn't have an IV, so before I could get an epidural I needed one. Once the IV was in, they sat me up and cleaned my back with iodine. The anesthesiologist prepared the needle and had it held up to my spine. She asked me to hold still, but I just couldn't. As my next contraction came, a huge gush of fluid poured out and the nurse yelled for the doctor who was just walking in the door. The doctor said she wanted to check me again before the epidural. I was yelling "No! No! No!" but they rolled me over anyway. Without even 'checking' the doctor said '"You're not having an epidural. You're having a BABY!" Your head was practically already out. The anesthesiologist put down her giant needle and clapped her hands. "Yay! I'm staying for this! I NEVER get to watch a natural childbirth!" and she grabbed my right leg. I let out an epic yell and less than a minute later, you shot out like a cannonball. I wish I was exaggerating. It was 4:19am.

As soon as you were plopped on top of my chest I knew you were perfect. You were only 3oz smaller than your sister was, but I said "He's so TINY". I was surprised to see what little hair you had. I got to hold you for a long time but finally the nurse needed to weigh you and wipe all the junk off of you. A few minutes later you were back with me and nursed for the first time. You were an expert, and so was I.

The next several hours are a blur. There was the little matter of the 120 stitches in my perineum, which we will not discuss here except to say....ouchie.

We called Beppe and Nonno and Grandma and Granpa and asked them to spread the news. We told them your name and I think they were all surprised.

As soon as we were released from the Labour floor to the Post-Partum floor, we asked for an early discharge. The only room available for us was a ward room with 3 other mothers and babies so I knew I would get more peace and quiet at home. Grandma and Grandpa went to the house to pick up Amelia, and Beppe and Nonno came to the hospital. We were discharged by 3pm. I don't remember the walk to the car, but it can't have been comfortable. I do remember that you were as quiet as a mouse the whole way home. I kept turning around to look in the back seat to make sure you were breathing. You were such a great sleeper, right from the first day.

We were home by 4pm and shortly after that, Grandma and Grandpa brought Amelia home to meet her baby brother. Your sister was less than thrilled at the time, but she has grown to love you as much as Daddy and I do.

Grandma and Grandpa seemed oddly quiet and we learned then that Grandma's sister, Aunt Iris, had had a terrible stroke a few hours earlier. They left to go see her at the hospital, but sadly she never regained consciousness. She was removed from life support two days later, and you attended her funeral when you were 6 days old. Your birth was such a blessing to the family and helped everyone through a very difficult time. I think having you there at her funeral is something that everyone will remember about that day. I am sad that you never got the chance to meet Aunt Iris, but I know she will always watch over you.

It has been two years now, and I am thankful for you every day.

You are a sweet, fun and happy little boy. You have a beautiful face, and eyes so deep and dark that I often cant even see your pupils.

You love your sister, your Teddy, and Elmo most of all. You will read books for ages and your hugs lift my soul on days when I really need some soul lifting. You are easy-going (most of the time) and you adjust to change with very little trouble. You fit perfectly into our little family. In fact, we can't imagine it without you.
Happy Birthday Otis. Happy Birthday to you.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this post. Happy Birthday Otis. Happy Birthday indeed.