Max’s Birth Day.
I totally hoped and planned on sharing one more (way too) long-winded knocked up post with you, but… I had a baby instead.
I never reached the point of wanting pregnancy to be over or “just wanting the baby out” like I had assumed I would. In fact, up until the moment he was placed on my stomach, I was still in denial that it was even happening. I just couldn’t believe it went SO fast.
I was really scared the last few weeks of pregnancy. When I was younger I always had a very real fear of child birth, but around the age of 27 or 28 it disappeared and I was like… it’s nature! I can do this some day! That fear came back with a vengeance in the last month of my pregnancy. I was absolutely petrified and very fixated on it and nothing helped. I think it was just where I was placing my stress. I wish I could say the fear went away, but before I knew it, I was screaming in fear (okay and maybe pain) about how scared I was a mere few minutes before he came out.
Um, so. I really didn’t know I was in labor. Not in the sense of like, I-could-be-on-the-TV-show-I-didn’t-know-I-was–pregnant-and-birth-a-child-in-a-bathroom, but I really thought labor would be… different.
This was actually a huge fear of mine as well – I’ve shared before how my mom really “didn’t know” and just thought she was having cramps – and my brothers and I were all born so quickly that no doctor was ever present.
Huh. I guess it runs in the family?
Even as recently as last Tuesday I said to my doctor – “but what if I just don’t KNOW if I’m in labor?” She looked at me like I was a lunatic and was all “YOU WILL KNOW!”
On Wednesday, my mom and I drove a while away because I had to sign some books. After doing so, I started feeling some weird pressure but it wasn’t too out of the ordinary, so we walked around and shopped the rest of the afternoon.
I mean, I was convinced this baby was coming on December 20 for some reason. My entire pregnancy, I was SO scared that I’d go into early labor with all of the traveling I did – but once I was home and settled, I thought I’d go late. That was fine with me – I still didn’t have anything done! Or should I say… enough done. You get it.
So we shopped. My dad texted me saying that he bought a gingerbread house and I say let’s make it that night. Remember how I wrote about being obsessed with doing so in my Tuesday things? Yeeeeah.
When my mom and I got home, I started having some light cramps. Like just normal, not out of the ordinary, not unusual, cramps. A half hour later I realized they were kind of coming in intervals or maybe in a pattern, and was all “oh I’m going to use the new contraction app I downloaded for fun!” – because certainly it wasn’t the real thing. I really just wanted to use the app for practice.
I went to my parents’ house. We built a gingerbread house. We ate dinner. I kept timing on my app and the (very mild) cramps were like 5 or 6 minutes apart consistently. They never stopped. I think my parents thought I was utterly full of crap. I kind of did myself – I mean there was no way that THIS was the real thing.
I got home and jokingly asked Eddie if he had his stuff in mind that he wanted to take to the hospital. Was our stuff packed? Of course not. Was my car that we were taking to the hospital full of shopping bags and Christmas presents that would need removed at the eleventh hour? Yep.
I timed the cramps all night long. Five, four, three minutes apart or so – I only got about an hour of sleep because they kept me awake. Some were two minutes apart. All I kept thinking was… WEIRD. I didn’t tell anyone because again, it couldn’t be REAL. If anything, it was early labor and could maybe last a week?
At 4:30 that morning, Eddie got up to go to the gym. Around this time the cramps became slightly more intense and he said that he’d work from home and maybe I should go to the doctor when he got back from the gym.
One of my other biggest fears during pregnancy was being stuck in rush hour traffic while in labor. I figured that if this WAS the real thing, we had to wait at home for another two or three hours before leaving unless I wanted to sit in the car for two hours instead.
Let’s just say that this did not look very promising.
The “cramps” started to hurt a bit more. I tried to get a shower. I tried to clean the kitchen. I really thought I was being a HUGE baby. I’m so dramatic and figured I had zero pain tolerance – I was disappointed that I couldn’t handle this. I called Eddie and said he should come home, that we should probably go to the hospital. I couldn’t really walk or talk… like at all. But I was convinced that if we went to the hospital, they’d send me home or I’d be there for 48 hours.
We left as late as we could, but of course it was during RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC. Right before getting in the car, I was crying that there was NO WAY I could sit in the car. I don’t remember much of the drive but when I saw the state that my front seat was in when we left the hospital this past weekend… I was like WHOA. Traffic was baaaad. It was the first time I noticed Eddie being nervous – that’s all I remember. There was, of course, in addition to regular traffic, a freaking car on fire. It was rainy and cars were backed up further than usual. I pretty much thought I was going to have my baby in one of the tunnels, which is something I’ve joked about for 10 months.
I continued crying, saying that I knew I was being a huge baby for not being able to handle this pain and that I’d get sent home, that I was so embarrassed because this HAD to be a false alarm. Eddie was like, “who cares if it’s a false alarm? We will just go walk at the mall until you’re in real labor!”
Looking back now, this was HILARIOUS because I couldn’t even walk to the car, so how I’d walk through the mall would be… ? While we were in the car, my doctor called me back and said that hopefully I’d be 3cm dilated so they could keep me there. If anything, I hoped that the cramping was doing something.
Once we got to the hospital, I could barely make it inside. I hated myself for being so weak. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t able to walk through these cramps! Which were, by the way, still very much like cramps – nothing in my back or sides or in waves or moving from my back to my front or like anything I had learned in classes/from friends/from my doctor/from dr. google. Apparently I must have looked pretty rough because the registration people were like “get this girl some help!” and I quickly ended up in triage room where I just immediately started ripping my clothes off. Eddie was like… WTF? I just needed them off. I don’t remember anything the nurses were saying to me, but I’m pretty sure they grabbed a random doctor in hall to check me since I couldn’t even talk.
He did so, and said “well… you’re 8 centimeters dilated, so this baby is almost here.”
UM WHAT. Eddie and I both burst into tears (me, because I was so grateful that I didn’t have to go home (again, how?!) and petrified – and him because I think he was so worked up) and I just screamed “call my mom!!!” And then I felt like I was in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, because people were flipping me over and shoving IVs and stuff in me.
My hospital will give you an epidural as long as you can sit still. I got one, but kept saying to Eddie how much of a failure I felt like because we had discussed that if I could somehow make it to 7cm or so, I would push through.
Well. That didn’t really matter because the epidural didn’t take. Like, at all.
My dad says now that my next book has to be called “I FELT EVERYTHING” because during and after labor I just kept screaming that I could feel everything. Not that he was in the room, but apparently I made sure to tell everyone that I felt everything.
BECAUSE I DID.
[As a side note: I was pretty terrible to Eddie at moments, in a funny way when we look back on it, because I’d beg him to talk to me and then he’d say something like “you are so amazing, you’re doing such a great job” and I’d then scream SHUT UP DON’T TELL ME THAT!”
I kept screaming at him not to watch anything and then if he’d sit down I’d be all STAND UP! DON’T SIT! At one point he asked if I wanted music and he put on the Taylor Dayne Pandora station and within seconds I was flipping out screaming at him to “turn this $#*@ off!” and that it was piercing my ears. (Oddly enough, in the car, Josh Groban came on singing a Christmas song and I pretty much threatened to kill someone if he didn’t change the station ASAP.)
Oh I was such a joy.
Also, I can’t even repeat some of the words that came out of my mouth but I’m pretty sure the nurses and doctor thought I was some serious white trash based on my mouth. Apologies.]
It went SO fast though, and for that I am grateful.
Soon after, I started to push and was all around petrified. It’s super true when they say you go “inside your body” (or is it outside?) right before the baby is born in order to finish the process. I feel like I was looking down on myself in the moments right before he came out. I barely remember them. When he did come out, we were in such disbelief that for a few seconds we forgot to even ask if it was a boy or a girl. She told us he was a boy (so all of my dreams were RIGHT!) and placed him on my chest and I think I cried the hardest id ever cried in my LIFE. I expected to be teary and crying, but nothing like the full blown, cannot-breathe, hardest sobs ever. After a few minutes of that, I looked at Eddie and said “wait! oh my god, Eddie, he is so cute. Do you see him? Is he really this cute? He is so cute. Oh my god. He’s so cute.” The nurses were laughing pretty hard at that but I was completely serious.
And that’s that – Maxwell Leroy was born weighing in at 6lbs, 9oz and 20.5 inches long. Eddie and I have had baby names for at least two years, so it was crazy to have a baby in our arms that we had named years ago. Leroy was both of our maternal grandfathers’ names (Mother Lovett’s second husband!), and neither of us knew the other, so we both look at the “Leroy” in a different way. I love that. Maxwell is the boy’s name I would name all my male characters in my little fiction stories that I’d write when I was eight or nine years old. It’s always been my favorite boys name (for 20 years I knew I needed a boy in my life named Max) and I knew I’d have a Max someday.
I have so much more to write about and will do so soon, especially about the first magical week and how we are completely smitten and how I’ve never seen anyone or anything soften Eddie like this. In the meantime, thank you so, so much for all of your kind words and wishes on the blog, instagram, facebook and twitter. You guys are the best.