And just like that, it’s been 10 weeks since Wilson was born. In some ways, it feels like yesterday that I held him in my arms for the first time — that my husband exclaimed, “It’s a boy!” — but his developing personality and emerging features tell otherwise. Time is fascinating like that. Minutes can feel like hours and days can feel like weeks, but then suddenly, it’s a new month or a new season and time passes effortlessly.
So here we are. Two months of navigating an unfamiliar routine, a slew of dirty diapers, sleepy evenings, and a whirlwind of unprecedented emotions. I’ve learned a lot in the last 70-something days; a learning curve that looks more like a squiggly line than anything else. But the peaks and valleys continue to pass, and we’re moving forward with more confidence than the day before. I’ve mentioned this previously, but I don’t think you can fully prepare yourself for the responsibilities, selflessness, and lack of independence that motherhood brings. To be a mama is to learn by doing. Or at least that’s been my experience so far.
A week before his predicted due date, we walked out our back door — for the last time — as a family of two. It felt surreal and exhilarating. And equally daunting. Was I prepared for birth, mentally and physically? Would I be able to manage the pain? How long would I labor for? Should I have hired a doula? Only time would tell.
A week prior to March 9th, I had my last prenatal visit. I was 38 weeks. My doctor mentioned an induction, on the basis that he was healthy but growing quickly. Ultimately, the sooner he was delivered, the better. In hindsight, we were trying to avoid delivery complications. Ironically, on the day of our induction, our baby — and my body — had other plans. After we arrived and my vitals were checked, I got an IV and was hooked up to two monitors: one to regulate Wilson’s heart rate and the other for his oxygen level. By 10am, I was already 3cm dilated and roughly 90% effaced (great things!). Our nurse started Pitocin to regulate my contractions, and off we went.
Getting an Epidural
For the next 8-9 hours, our nurse increased my Pitocin dose. Slowly but surely, my contractions regulated. Because my discomfort was surprisingly minor, I was able to drink water, eat snacks, and walk around. Time passed quickly. I chatted with family, texted friends, and listened to the whooshing sound of our baby’s movements. By 6pm, not much had changed. My contractions were still 3-5 minutes apart, and I wasn’t any further dilated. To encourage things along, my OB broke my water — a very quick, painless procedure. In what felt instantaneous, my pain quadrupled. For the next thirty minutes, I breathed through each contraction (read: gritted my teeth), trying to steady my breath with every wave.
I didn’t have a birth plan, per say, except to surrender to whatever my body needed. Thus — thinking I would labor through the night — I got an epidural. Because my husband and needles are less than amicable, my sister stayed when the anesthesiologist arrived. As soon as the epidural kicked in, I could hardly feel the contractions. It was wild. A few more hours passed, and around 8pm, my parents left to pick up dinner. As soon as they walked out, the resident physician came in. Calm and composed, she told me our baby’s heart rate was irregular and he wasn’t getting quite enough oxygen. As her words registered, my sympathetic nervous system skyrocketed.
A Change of Events
They put an oxygen mask over my nose and mouth, turned off the Pitocin, and told me to relax. As they left the room, my entire body started shaking, uncontrollably. Be it the hormones surging through my veins or my complete, sheer terror, I went into shock. The convulsing was unbeknownst to me. I was petrified for our baby’s health and safety. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on my breath, but each inhale was shallower than the one before. In many ways, I felt completely outside of my own body. To help steady my movements, my husband held my hands and my sister leaned on my legs.
Not long after they administered the oxygen mask, my parents returned (likely, startled by what they saw). Simultaneously, my OB walked in. She knelt by my side, calmly reassuring me that the uncontrollable shaking wasn’t harming the baby. Resting her hand on mine, she said everything was going to be okay. Speaking softly, she told me the team wanted to deliver our baby via c-section, given his sporadic heart rate and limited oxygen. Although I could hardly open my eyes, I could feel her comforting presence. I knew that was exactly what our baby needed: a c-section delivery. I thankfully surrendered. A blurry 10 minutes later, my husband and I were whisked away to the operating room.
By this point, my shaking had slightly subsided. My adrenaline and endorphins were through the roof, though. As the team introduced themselves and explained the operation, I knew it would be a matter of minutes before our baby was born. One of the nurses grabbed my phone to take photos, and I’m so glad she did. My husband sat to my left — equally as excited for what was to come. Our entire lives were about to change, forever. Because we opted not to find out the baby’s sex, he asked me, “Do you want me to tell you if it’s a boy or a girl? Or the name?” I told him to tell me the name (we had chosen two names, prior).
In what felt like an intense stomach massage, coupled with an immense amount of pressure on my chest, out he came. Our healthy, sweet boy, Wilson John was born on March 9th at 9:46pm, 7lb 3oz (with a full head of hair, to boot). He is our heart and soul. Our everything. I don’t know if it was divine timing or just sheer coincidence, but our hospital experience would have looked a lot different had he arrived closer to his due date. Our family members wouldn’t have been there, and it’s quite possible my husband wouldn’t have been by my side. Grateful is an understatement — from my doctor who helped us get pregnant, to the team who safely delivered our baby, to our families’ unconditional support — Wilson John is the epitome of the joy, love, and strength that exists in the world.
A heartfelt thank you to our beloved healthcare workers. As he grows older, our baby will understand and appreciate your dedication and heroic sacrifice.