I hope you would please excuse me (I’m pretty sure you will) but I’ve had kind of some big things happening here and haven’t had a chance to post recently.
First of all let me just put it out there that I’m only 41. I had my first child when I was 20. A daughter. After 36 hours of labor they put her on my chest and all I remember was crying tears of joy and hollering “my baby girl!” and this beautiful ray of light shone down on her (okay maybe it was the drugs) and she was just the most perfect child I have ever seen in my life. Fast forward to 17 years later. She and I were thick as thieves she was my buddy and I was hers. She thought I hung the moon, until one day she caught on to me. She decided she was going to start her life, do things her way and suddenly I was her least favorite person. Overnight it seemed I had became the person that was keeping her from her dreams. It broke my heart (I literally felt my heart breaking), but I had no choice. She was almost an adult so I had to let her go. I worried about her choices (I probably was justified but I really don’t wanna know the details), but I always kept my door open. She kept making her own decisions and two weeks after graduation she got married and moved 1200 miles away. Again, broke my heart, but I supported her. Since then we have been on and off. She says we get along better when we are further apart. I remember saying that to my mother (cringe) (whom since all this started happening has been on the receiving end of my apologies for my teenage behavior). Then in a blink of an eye, it all changed.
Fast forward four more years. She called me late one night just as I was about to drift off to dreamland and there it was. “Mom, I’m pregnant!” “Congratulations!!” I said, uncorking a bottle knowing that there would be no sleep in sight.
But you see something happened this past week. I saw a strength in my daughter that I had never seen before. I also realized a closeness with my daughter that was closer than we had ever been. When I watched my daughter labor for 26 hours it changed my life.
I’ve given birth to three children, two with epidural and one with allegedly an epidural, but given the language I was using and the sheer terror I saw on the anesthesiologists face as he observed me turning into the Incredible Hulk I think he probably missed the mark on that last one (gee thanks). But I was not prepared to watch my daughter go through that experience (she would say the same thing for the record watching me go through that last one with the alleged epidural). But it wasn’t just the shock of seeing it. I mean I guess it was but not in the way you would expect.
My daughter has an extreme phobia of needles. The thought of having her blood drawn or an IV put in is usually accompanied by hyperventilation and bargaining, “okay, but you can just figure out some other way to get the blood, will a finger prick work??”. In the end she usually has to be held down by a few nurses. I watched my daughter overcome her fear (even if was temporarily) to get an IV and then to give blood work. She was brave and did what she had to do, but then a new nurse came in that we had never seen before and said “I have bad news” (really?! that is the opening line you choose to say to a woman who is in labor??). The nurse was quivering and I could tell was trying to muster some sort of strength for what she was about to say and then it came out. “The lab has rejected your blood work”. (Um, come again? I’m sorry, I must have misunderstood It sounded like you said the lab rejected the blood work, ha-ha-ha.) I immediately jumped to my daughter’s side because I knew the wrath was about to be unleashed. The nurse (who clearly drew the short straw) explained that we needed to draw it again. Again, there was hyperventilating, pleading for a sedative, bargaining, but once again, she did it. Because she knew it was necessary for her and the baby’s safety.
She progressed in her labor and I started watching my baby girl suffer pain that was unbearable. There was nothing I could do. She decided she was going to want an epidural. She had already had a dose of Fentanyl and while she felt comfortable on it it was short lived. She thought that it would be best if they could do the epidural while she was relaxed on the fun-for-all (Fentanyl). The anesthesiologist came in and proceeded to begin his explanation of what would be taking place. She stopped him and said she didn’t want to know any details, just put it in. She was able to stay still and keep control of her fear all on her own – without any of us holding her down for those few minutes while they inserted the epidural. It was in and she rested, but still had a good deal of pressure. I could rub her temples and her lower back, but I couldn’t take her pain away. With every contraction I saw on the monitor I would look at her face. I would feel it with her, hold my breath and tell myself its almost over. At one point she said it felt like a parking cone coming through her vagina, but for the most part she would just keep her eyes closed and moan through them. Until she didn’t. In the middle of the night she was feeling it. Really feeling it. We were 18 hours in and she was done. She wanted to talk to the doctor now and she wanted them to do whatever they had to do to make this labor progress faster. She was convinced that he had some magic potion that was going to make this happen right now. This is kind of what I had been waiting for. I expected this side of my daughter. The one that was not going to take no for an answer. If there is a will there is a way and she is going to make somebody give her what she needs. She was hungry, she was in pain and she was not progressing. She was a 3 when we walked in and 18 hours later she was a 4. She insisted they let her eat, but since she had pre-eclampsia they were worried if she needed to be intubated she might aspirate. Again, all things that are terrifying, but my daughter didn’t even flinch at all these possibilities. She told the doctor that she was ready to get up and walk out of there and just wait at home (silly woman you can’t feel your legs). She convinced me to give her Cheetos and made her husband drive back to their house to get them (the vending machine was out). Once she got them she ate 4 and went to sleep. But her labor was not progressing. We were looking at a possible c-section. We spoke to the doctor at about 23 hours in and they said my daughter could decide in an hour if she would like to do a c-section. My daughter was scared of the thought of going through a c-section, and told me she wanted to be completely out while it was being done. I told her we would talk about it when we got to that point. Two hours later my daughter decided. She was done.
The nurse came in and my daughter let her know her wishes. The nurse checked her one more time and surprise. It was almost time to push. She went from 4 to 9 in 2 hours. This is when I felt more worried than I had the entire time. I didn’t let on, but I don’t think I took a breath from that moment on. I thought she is going to lose it like I have never seen her lose it before and then what?? How the hell am I going to help her through the pain she is about to feel. What can I say to make her snap out of her hysterics and get the baby out?? Inside I was panicking, outside I smiled and said “oh that’s great! Yay!!”.
Well it’s happening, no going back so here we go. I grabbed a leg, her hubby grabbed the other and we started the whole push, push, push thing and my daughter didn’t flinch. She pushed that baby out in about 5 pushes. No hesitation, no quitting and when her daughter was placed on her chest there was a ray of light that shone on them both. My daughter cried, “my baby girl!” and I looked at my baby girl crying with joy and all I could think that that moment was how extremely proud I was of her. She handled herself so perfectly through this whole process and I was just in awe of what a strong woman she had become. I saw a strength in her that I have never seen before. I’ve always known she could do anything she set her mind to. She has something that makes people stop and take notice, but this inner strength and peace to overcome her fears, push through the pain and do what was best for her daughter, no I had never seen that.
And I’m so glad I did.
And of course I’m a grandma!!! My granddaughter is the most perfect, beautiful little baby I have ever seen in my life. I’m sure she is also the smartest and funniest with a ton of gusto just like her momma.
Have you ever seen your child in a different light that took you by surprise? Please comment below I’d love to hear your story!