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April 3, 1992

Seventeen years ago today, I had a baby.

For several years, my husband and I had wanted to have a child, but month after month that hope had been coming up empty. I'd see moms holding babies or pushing them in strollers, and I'd feel the pang: Will we ever have that?

Finally, it was the summer of 1991, I was 'late' enough to hope, and -- at last -- I had a positive pregnancy test. I jumped into my car and drove over to hubby's office to give him the good news in person. We were going to have a baby!

We were also a day away from leaving for a two-week trip to Maine. I tossed my copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" into my suitcase and we set off for a journey up the coast for a few nights each at bed and breakfasts in Kennebunkport, Camden, Georgetown and Bar Harbor, with a friend's wedding on our return trip.

I think it was the first day in Camden when I woke up and discovered the joys of morning sickness. "Honey," I mumbled in a queasy haze, "could you go see if our hostess has any Saltines?"

Then came the moment that made me spend the rest of the trip -- and, frankly, the pregnancy -- on pins and needles. One morning, rolling out of bed and heading to the bathroom, I discovered some bleeding. It wasn't a lot, but it terrified me. Was I losing my baby?

In these early-morning hours before the days of cell phones, I grabbed my copy of "What to Expect" and did what I've since learned you absolutely should not do: I read every word of every thing that could go wrong.

And scared myself even further to death.

While we had a wonderful trip, I began making that shift that new moms make when they become fierce mama tigers, ready to defend their cubs against the world. I evaluated all potential risks to my baby -- rowing in the Maine waters, dancing at the wedding reception -- and tried to make sensible choices for the tiny one entrusted to my care.

And when we got home, I got an immediate ultrasound to make sure our baby was all right. Thankfully, the answer was yes. As for the morning sickness, it continued at least into the second trimester, but I never actually lost my breakfast (or lunch or dinner).

That Christmas, in Massachusetts with my family, was special; all the carols about Mary and her baby spoke to me as never before, and with me in full bulge mode (six months along!) and getting baby gifts, it all began to seem real and possible and fun!

I remember singing songs to my baby as I drove places.

As spring grew nearer, some friends threw me a fantastic baby shower, and they only grumbled a little about our decision to not find out the baby's sex in advance, since they knew it from a later ultrasound. I decided I would breastfeed my baby and connected with local nursing mothers' groups (this is invaluable so you will know in advance who to call with new-baby nursing questions at 2 a.m.!). And of course, hubby and I also took the requisite labor classes with the "hee-hee" breathing; however, if you want to know how it works in practice, you'll have to ask someone else because I never needed any of it, as you'll see below.

My due date was in mid-March, and I was about two weeks overdue so they decided to induce me. They suggested a birth date of April 1st, and I said, "Given the choice, I'm not having my child born on April Fool's Day!" I suggested April 2nd, which had been my grandfather's birthday, and I liked that connection.

So on April 2nd, we jumped into the car (okay, hubby jumped -- I lumbered!), and we headed off to Bryn Mawr Hospital, where they pumped me full of Pitocin for an entire day to induce labor.

Nothing happened.

Hubby said it was because the baby was cozy and didn't want to leave -- he had free food, drink, shelter, and cable! :-)

After a whole day of this, they gave up and sent us home. We went to Friendly's and had hot-fudge sundaes.

The next morning, Friday, April 3rd, we went back to the hospital and started it all again. As before, I was ready with my labor "focal point" (a stuffed kitten), and some reading material for those long hours with Pitocin. As it happened, I had been reading a book that I think was called "Maternity Ward," which included, among other things, a detailed description of a C-section.

Meanwhile, the Pitocin was pumping. On the paper the machine was spitting out, I was having great contractions. But there I was, sitting up with my earphones on, be-bopping to music, clearly without a care (or a pain) in the world.

The doctors began giving me weird looks.

This went on all day.

Evening came. At about 5:25, I was watching the news when the medical staffed swooped into my room and informed me I was going to have a Caesarean. They wheeled me off to the operating room, rolled me onto a table, gave me an epidural (and probably a few other things I thankfully forget), and set to work doing things I couldn't see because they set up a little curtain between my top and the Baby Area. Meanwhile, hubby was installed in a chair in the corner where he could provide moral support.

The anesthesiologist asked me what we were going to name the baby, so I gave him the boy's and girl's name options.

I could hear the doctors asking for instruments, and I was snickering because I remembered them all from the maternity-ward book! I remember at one point saying excitedly to hubby, "Oooh, the belly blade! They're getting close!"

The doctors, at this point, thought I was REALLY weird.

And at 6:21 p.m., a miraculously healthy and beautiful 8 lb., 3 ounce, 21-inch baby boy emerged from my body. The anesthesiologist announced, "It's a [the boy's name I'd told him]!"

Seventeen years ago today, I had a baby.

Today, the 'baby' is a junior in high school -- caring, honest, hardworking, brilliant, fiercely individual, and taller than me -- and tonight my hubby and I gave him a big hug and took him out to dinner.

Happy 17th Birthday, Fudgeteen!

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
Hope he had an amazing day of fun! 17 seems so far off since mine are younger, but wow, those memories of the first moments never fade, do they?

Heather K
Apr. 5th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
Happy birthday!
to your wonderful son, and Happy Mamaversary to you!
Apr. 5th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday, Fudgeteen...(now belated....) And I like that above.... Happy Mamaday!! giggles
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )