Archive for December, 2010
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
December 21st. Today. The winter solstice. The longest, darkest day of the year. Or, it used to be, anyway.
One year ago today, I was offering up indecent favours to anyone who’d listen at Grand River hospital in exchange for an epidural.
This was NOT how it was supposed to go down you guys. More on that momentarily.
7 years ago today I was furious with God and hysterical in the parking lot of Royal Victoria hospital in Barrie. After a 4 month battle with bone cancer, my mother had died. I hated Christmas.
Back to almost present day. While I was pregnant I had BIG plans the birth of our son. There would be no drugs. There would be dim lights, a calm room and no crying. There would be no inducing. There would absolutely, under NO circumstances be a C-section. I briefly considered having our baby at home until my husband intervened.
December 7th, 2009. My due date. I waited patiently. Okay, not patiently, but I waited. One week after that (still no baby) my wonderful doctor and I decided we had to discuss induction. She said, “How’s December 21st at 7:00am?”
That day, being burnt into my memory as the worst of my life made me blurt without any thought, “That’s the day my mother died.”
“Oh…well…we can switch it to another day then. ” She said gently.
“No, actually..I’m going to take that as a sign from above and stick with that date if you don’t mind.” I replied, knowing it was exactly as it should be.
My mother loved Christmas. We adored my mother. I had honestly come to terms with the fact that I’d never truly have another perfect “Merry Christmas,” in my life because it’s hard to be festive when you are remembering the violent ways cancer can rip apart a family. This predetermined birthday for our son was a sign from my Mama to change the holidays back into a time of joy and newness from the loss and sadness we had all suffered through over the past 6 years.
December 21st, 2009. Todd and I are up early and anxious and excited. Off we go to the hospital to meet our son. But first, we had to meet Pitocin. The devil’s candy. Made to bring on labour. They hooked me up to this stuff around 8am and at 9am Todd went to grab food from the cafeteria (on a great tip from our angel nurses) knowing we’d both be ravenous later. By 10am all my granolahead plans of tranquility and a peaceful drug free birth were gone. When my husband returned from his food run, I was hanging onto the side of the bed, quite literally begging for relief. Many of you know Pitocin makes you have one, long, painful constant contraction with no breaks to breathe or have a clear thought in your head.
I get the epidural. All is right with the world. I labour for 10 hours. Todd is by my side. We both doze and wait for baby boy. At one point Todd says to me, “I have the Sargent Pepper Beatles album running through my mind. Like, over and over. I don’t even like that album.”
You know who DID like that album? My mother. She loved anything even remotely related to the Beatles. Even Yoko. I know, right?? Interesting. “Hey Mama…thanks for the sign(s)…” I think in my hazy, drugged up state. I pray for strength, guidance and maybe, if she could give me another sign. Just so I KNOW she’s here. One more. I’m getting greedy, I know. But when you’re in labour, all you want is your Mom. And, in my case, drugs.
More time passes. I see our nurse watching charts and concern on her face. She goes to get the doctor. He explains to me that I’ve gone from being 8 centimetres dilated back to 6 and that the baby’s head is doing a number on my cervix…(I know! TMI..I warned you in the title….) and that we should go ahead with a c-section. I bawl. I get crazy emotional and try to just let it go and know that all that matters is that tonight, on this day my mother picked for us, we get a healthy baby. But I cannot stop crying.
They round up the surgical team. A new nurse comes into the room. I am still crying, emotional, overwhelmed. The old nurse explains to the new one that today is the anniversary of my mother’s death and that I’m a little overwhelmed.
New nurse takes my hand and asks, “What was your Mom’s name?”
“Barbara,” I reply.
“That’s MY name!” She says with a smile and a wink.
Sign number 3. You are here. Thanks Mom. I’ve never needed you more. Well, except the day you had me, I guess. I needed you a lot then too. And a billion other times over the years. Thankyouthankyouthankyou. Now, I can do this. The tears stop. I feel peaceful and ready. And thirsty. I had never been that thirsty. No water for those who are about to go under the knife as they’re afraid there may be barfing in the O.R. I try to explain to them that if I’m awake and they’re cutting into my body, there may be barfing anyway. No luck. Still no water.
9:19 p.m. Ayson Todd Nutbrown comes out into this big badass, terrifyingly wonderful and sometimes painful world. No screaming. Just one little wee yelp from his almost 9 pound exquisite little self. Todd shows him to me. I smile. We smile. I’ve never loved anything more than I love these two people right this minute. I say, “Now, for the love of God, can I please have some water?!” They laugh.
Back in the room I stare at him. I touch him. I trace his little lips. I nurse him. He snuggles into me. I explain I have absolutely no idea what the hell I’m doing. He assures me that we’ll figure it out. I can’t sleep. He does. I stare some more. His ears are small and velvety. His little hands are like perfect stars. Finally his Dad takes him from me, places him in the bassinet and begs me to try to sleep. I do, peacefully for a few hours. When I wake up I’m so full of the urge to have him back into my arms I can barely stand it. I miss him when he is sleeping 3 feet from me. I’m someone’s mother. Are we sure this is right? I’m not qualified.
Christmas eve I explain to the staff at Grand River hospital that come hell or high water, (one of mama Barb’s fav. expressions) I. Am. Taking. This. Baby. Home. Today. They graciously concur. We go home. My Daddy meets us in the driveway. He looks at his first Grandson. He looks to the skies and silently thanks the love of his life for delivering us from evil. From sad memories. For making us happy and comfortable because we KNOW she is with us.
And you know what happened next? We had a perfect Christmas. The next morning, we all woke to the sweet sounds of baby coos and cries and gave him a bath. He hated it. We opened presents at 4:30pm and ate dinner at 9pm. There I was. Surrounded by the 2 best men I’ve ever known, safe in my pretty little house with a tiny new person to try to figure out. (Still trying to figure out, FYI.) My world was quiet and perfect. For the first time in 6 years that cold, dark hole in my soul felt full. It wasn’t gone. But the dull ache had subsided.
So, there it is. That’s the story. My mother turned the worst day of my life, into the best day of my life. She reached beyond the heavens to give her daughter some Peace and healing. You can call it whatever you want. I will always insist it was a Christmas miracle.
Happy birthday my perfect little prince. I love you more than I ever knew possible. You are the best thing that’s ever been mine. (Shout outs to Taylor Swift for that line.)
Thanks Mom. For everything. I’ve looked into you grandson’s eyes a hundred times this year and realized that you did the same with me a long, long time ago. You whispered your dreams for me into my tiny baby ears the way I do to him now. As promised, you are always here for me. And now, for us. I love you.
”There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein~