The pregnancy was more eventful then I would have liked. I had gestational diabetes and was put on a diet for the first time in my life. I had never been a dessert person before but suddenly I craved cakes and pies and cookies and ice cream, pounds and pounds of ice cream, which I could not have. I gained about 50 pounds which on my small (110 lb pre baby) frame was a bit shocking. Secretly I liked the weight. I've always been very insecure with my thin body and the fleshy curves made me feel more womanly then I did before.
At the six month mark I got in a bad car accident. Driving home from the theatre about half way home, the breaks went out in my car. I swerved to the left so I wouldn't hit the person in front of me and prayed no one was in my path. Thankfully no one was. But the median came hurdling toward me. I still remember the calm panic I felt in those seconds before I hit the wall. It was a strange combo of deep fear and easy surrender. I have no doubt the fact that the Volvo I was in saved my life. My car was crushed all around the "cage" that protects people in the car. I remember getting out and standing in the car pool lane. The woman behind me was hysterical and on the phone. She was calling my then husband screaming she thought my arm was broken. The police woman talking to me was not compassionate at all. A man who had gotten out of the car was telling another police officer I was driving crazy. (MY F'ing BREAKS WENT OUT DUMB ASS!!!!!! Eyewitnesses suck.) Finally the paramedics took me to the hospital. All I had was bumps and bruises. I was very obviously pregnant but no one asked me about the baby. I remember thinking that was so weird. Finally I asked them to check. They said, "Have you felt the baby move?" I said "I think so. But please don't take my word for it!" Finally I got them to check. Love Monster's heartbeat was the sweetest sound. I drive past my accident spot everyday and it still scares me a bit.
Anyway I digress, basically the pregnancy had it's moments.
February 7, 2007- I had five weeks to go. Plenty of time to rest, organize, mentally prepare and take the birthing class. I had just started my maternity leave from teaching. I was eating a turkey sandwich at Corner Bakery with Love Monster's dad when I peed my pants. At least I thought I had. I didn't think much of it. LM's dad went to work. I mean peeing yourself happens to preggo chicks, but something didn't seem right. I listened to that voice in my head and called the doc.
She asked "Did you have to change your panties?"
She told me to come in. She looked at the fluid under a microscope.
"Hey check this out!" She said. I looked at all the cellular type nonsense through the lens. "That's your amniotic fluid. Your water broke."
"So what does that mean?" I said. Denial was in full swing.
"That's means your going over the hospital right now and having a baby."
I called LM's dad who had just pulled into work and he turned right around and came to the hospital. It did not feel real at all. I had had no contractions. My bag was packed but only because I'm a Virgo and I am the queen of being prepared, but was I prepared mentally? No way.
"Is this okay?" I asked the doctor.
"It's early. But it will be fine," she said smiling. "Your baby just wants to get here."
Now looking back I don't know if this was her not trying to freak me out and maybe this could be bad, but I'm grateful for her, because I didn't worry. And knowing LM like I know her now, her coming early makes total sense. She waits for no one.
3:00 pm- At the hospital it took an intern about 7 tries to get the IV in so that was awesome.
The day went by uneventfully. No contractions were happening. Finally at Midnight they gave me Pitocin to get things going. Boy did that kick things into gear. I got my epidural a couple hours later and waited. Waited for you, my Love Monster.
The epidural only worked on half my body. I could feel the contractions, but I could handle it. Sleep eluded me. The night was quiet except for the occasional scream from preggos becoming mamas down the hall. Laughter from the nurses station which annoyed me. And the beep of the machines around me.
"I think it's time," I whispered to LM's dad around 6:55am.
He ran out to get the nurses. She checked me and boy was I right. LM's head was right there. I had not seen my doctor since my visit to her office. They called her and said she was on her way.
"Wait to push okay?" The nurse said.
Yeah okay right!!
I couldn't wait. Two more nurses came in. One held my hand.
"I didn't take the birthing class," I told her a little panicked.
"Aww girl you don't need those classes. I gotcha," she said and she totally did.
An intern was on the side of the bed watching nervously. Another nurse was ready to catch.
PUSH! I did. And I was way too efficient.
"Wait! The doctor isn't here yet."
Have you every tried to keep a baby in? Yeah that doesn't really work. LM wanted out.
The doc came in on my last push. I pushed a total of 5 minutes. 7:16 am February 8th. Love Monster was here.
Suddenly there was a million people in the room. The NICU team took LM right away to the bassinet and was making sure she was okay.
The intern was very emotional. "This was my first birth!" She said.
"What is it?" I yelled to the doctor getting up on my elbows.
They looked at me puzzled.
"Boy or girl??"
"Girl!!!" They said smiling.
"Are you sure?" I said partially to myself.
I was sure I'd have a boy. I sunk back into the bed absorbing it all. A girl. I really had wanted a girl.
Even though I know she'll hate me in high school.
Finally they let me hold her. She looked like a little eskimo.
She was tiny. I didn't get to hold her long. They were concerned about her breathing and vitals since she was a preemie and they whisked her away to the NICU. I remembered the words of my doctor, "It's early but it will be fine." It will be fine, I told myself.
And I knew it would be. Even though I couldn't be with her right away.
In the recovery room, I wrapped myself in the robe my mother had given me. The same robe she had worn in the hospital when she had me 30 years earlier. The nurses gave me the pictures below to keep by my bed until I could see my Love Monster. I knew it would be okay even though she was hooked up to all sorts of monitors and tubes. I waited patiently until I could hold her again. And tried to figure out how to use the breast pump which was oh so fun.
I could stare at that face all day.
Her NICU nurses were amazing and loving. The toughest part was having to leave the hospital before she could. I hated leaving her. We were there morning until night the six days that followed and finally we got the call we could bring her home. It was Valentines day.
We named LM a name that was a blend of beautiful and rough and tumble cool, which she embodies perfectly. I love you so intensely Love Monster. Being born early you caught up quickly physically, but emotionally and behavior-wise you were a bit behind. But babe that's okay. Love is the medicine I use to nurture you through some struggles you've had. You have come so far, my girl. You are smart and full of love, sensitive and creative, confident and fun and free. And I'm positive your obsession with ice cream has to do with my pregnancy cravings. We were one. You've changed me forever. I see so much of me in you (which is why I think we clash sometimes). I feel such a deep connection to you. We had already been through so much together. And today you turn seven! I cannot believe it.
Happy Birthday, Love Monster.