Well, here we are. Week 11 postpartum. The time has flown – sort of. That old saying… the days are long, but the years are short? I get it. I finally get it. In this case though, it’s weeks. The days are SO LONG sometimes, you guys. Especially those early days. But the weeks just seem to fly by. And it’s been one heck of a journey.
You’ve hung with me through all this baby business over the past year (not being able to get pregnant, then getting pregnant finally!) so I feel like I at least need to fill you in on the most exciting part thus far….the “birth story.” Obbbbviously it’s the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to us, but I also know I need to take into account that I’ve officially been lumped into the world of parents who think everything with their kid is THE BEST ALWAYS. Some of the details may be old hat for those veteran parents out there, or not that spectacular because they’re details that’ve happened to every parent that has gone through this process, but still, here we are.
First – childbirth is nothing like you imagine. Not in like the “oh my goodness it’s just so magical!” sense (because yes, there are some incredible parts) but in the sense that you hear about it, you read about it, you see it in the movies…but it just doesn’t happen like you think it does. Yes, it’s amazing. But some parts are so weirdly… normal(?) (Not sure if that’s the right word?!).
Without jumping around too much in the story – let me just give you an example. During the early part of the labor process, we were just “hanging out” watching the College Football National Championship. (My water broke at home literally the minute Jon sat down to watch the start of the game. WHOOPS.) So, naturally we had to turn it back on when I was laboring, because what else can you have on in the background while your wife is making strange noises while enduring the pain of contractions.
Fast forward hours later while I was waiting to dilate more… we watched a million episodes of Friends and The King of Queens. Labor took forever guys. Then, when I was ready to push, it was just me, Jon and the nurse in this huge delivery room. Jon on one side, the nurse on the other….and Seinfeld playing in the background. During breaks when I’d need to gather myself…we’d all glance over and chuckle at something Jerry said to Kramer. It was hilarious and ridiculous at the same time. See what I mean about weird but also normal? Who gives birth to Seinfeld playing in the background?
Anyway, I basically caught up on all my sitcoms and rested/”slept” exactly 27 minutes in 16 hours.
Ok rewind. Back to the beginning. My water broke (I was pretty sure that’s what it was) at home around 8pm on a Monday night. We hopped in the Jeep and headed to the hospital. Because, better safe than sorry. If I wasn’t sure that my water broke at home… I was 100,000% confident that it had by the time I got to the hospital. Pants = soaked. This thing was actually happening. Thank goodness for black sweats and long jackets. We walked ( I waddled… because….wet pants) into Metro and checked in. Jon took one look at me and it felt like the scene from Billy Madison where Billy looked at the kid who peed his pants and offered to pee his too so the kid wouldn’t feel so bad. Jon jokingly offered. I obviously declined because that would have been awkward, but I appreciated his effort to keep things light while also trying not to freak out about the fact that we were about to give birth to a tiny human in a short while.
I was basically still at a zero (dilation) when we got to the hospital so we had to do all the labor meds and tricks to try and get me to a 10. (Which is the magic number you need to hit before you start pushing.) I didn’t get an epidural at first…but after a few hours of contractions and enduring that craziness, I swallowed my pride and said GIVE ME THE GOOD STUFF. I’m no hero and I’m not afraid to admit it. Bless those moms who do it with no pain meds. May your child be a saint for all of their years as repayment for you going through that.
Finally, after 16 hours, I was dilated to a 10, which put us at about 2pm the following day.
There’s nothing pretty about labor. It’s literally a waiting game. Yes, the pregnant partner has it tough for sure during the process… but I also have a little pity for the spouse that’s not pregnant. They have to try and sit patiently and watch their baby mama endure the pains of labor and delivery and can do little to take that pain away or change things. And whatever their spouse says, goes. No matter how ridiculous the request, especially during a long labor. (At least in my mind this is how it should be haha). For example, I started having SERIOUS contractions pre-epidural and Jon (bless his heart) had asked me again and again if he could do anything to help. I told him to just take a seat and watch his football game, there wasn’t really much to do. As I’m trying to breathe and not lose my mind during an especially painful contraction, he proceeded to struggle to open a VERY noisy bag of plantain chips to which I just looked at him wide eyed and exasperatedly said, “Nope. Just no. Not now. Not allowed to eat those. Too annoying. ” Because obviously I had to focus on my pain…with no distractions…and that bag of plantain chips was absolutely distracting me from my breathing/misery. He looked at me like… “Yes ma’am, whatever you say!” And set them down in .2 seconds. Smart man. (And also, how ridiculous am I? Sorry I deprived you of food, Jon. I cannot be held accountable for what I said/did while having your baby. Free pass?!)
[Side note: DO encourage your spouse to eat sometime during the process. After the plantain chip “incident,” Jon forgot to eat for the rest of my labor and delivery and nearly passed out when all was said and done. Probably my fault.]
Back to the story. I proceeded to push. And push. And push. But our little guy was stuck with a dropping heart rate – hence the emergency c-section that was called. I remember when my doc told me that was the next step. For the next five minutes, I felt all the feelings. I was exhausted. I was disappointed. I was weirdly feeling shame for not being able to deliver “normally.” I was mad. I remember thinking… “All that working out I did during my pregnancy? Everyone said it would probably make delivery easier!”
Everyone…you are liars.
(However, it’s TOTALLY helped with recovery, but I digress…I was not thinking of that in the moment. Can you blame me?!)
… I remembering trying to hold it together, Jon holding my hand and just saying…”It’s ok babe. You did great. Let’s get ready to meet this baby.” There were tears for sure on my end. After giving me a couple minutes to process that I was about to head into major surgery, there were about five new nurses and docs in my room, giving me more meds and anesthetic, and at that point, I sort of checked out. My body and mind was just…done. I don’t know how else to explain it. I was mentally and physically exhausted. It was time to let the doctors do their thing.
30 minutes later, we met our firstborn son. Dempsey Jacob. He was absolutely perfect. I only remember tiny parts of that time in the OR. I think that was the hardest part about having a c-section…not being able to be fully present in that moment.
We were in the hospital for a total of five days and four nights. Our experience with the hospital and the staff was incredible. Metro has some pretty amazing doctors and nurses. We were so grateful and overwhelmed with love from our family, friends and staff who helped us and encouraged us in those first few days of Dempsey’s life. We literally couldn’t have done it without them.
It’s weird to think that to drive a car, you have to take hours and hours of drivers training, have a training permit for close to a year and take a big drivers test before they let you get behind a wheel on your own. To take care of an actual human being who depends on you for every little thing, you have to take exactly zero tests or mandatory classes. You have a baby, you stay in the hospital for a few days (if that), the nurses give you a few quick tips, and then they send you on your way. “Here, take this tiny human home. GOOD LUCK!” So wild.
I cannot even explain to you how hard those first few nights were at home. We had slept exactly negative hours while we were in the hospital that whole week because you’re up every couple of hours when the nurses check on you and in between those couple of hours you’re not really even sleeping because your mind won’t shut off. I was so sleep deprived. I was so in love with this tiny thing that I thought my heart was going to burst open, BUT I was also losing my mind. They sleep only a couple of hours at a time, want to eat at all hours, and oh yea, you also have NO CLUE WHAT YOU’RE DOING with your first one. For the most part I mean. And either do they! They just spent 9 months in a dark warm place where they didn’t have any needs that they knew of, they were just hanging out in there. Now they’re out in this big bright world and have to figure out how to tell you when they need something and how to sleep in a strange new place. Life’s tough, man.
I mean, common sense does take over, but still… it’s a process.
I remember the second night at home I rolled over in bed and clutched Jon’s arm so tightly and just started crying…”How do people do this? I just don’t think I can do this. I just can’t.” I was terrified of facing another night. Of doing something wrong. I felt like the biggest failure admitting that out loud. I was so sleep deprived I didn’t think I could handle anything else.
But then you do it. And you do it again the next day, and the next night. And step by step you figure out. Schedules start to fall in place and things get easier. And also…way more fun once you get to know each other. As they grow you start to see their little personalities and their smiles and the way others light up when they meet your kid. Love is a crazy thing. It’s all so worth it.
I’ve never been more thankful for my husband during this whole process. Our relationship has absolutely reached a whole new level of awesomeness/comfortableness. That for better or for worse part of your vows? Yea, that’s a thing. I had to depend on him for everything in those first few days. To help get me out of bed after the c-section, to get to the bathroom, to make sure I was eating and drinking enough. He got to experience seeing the loveliness of me in hospital gowns and mesh hospital undies and now he gets to see me every day with a pumping bra on with bottles attached, looking like a strange(r) version of Madonna. So hot. And he still hugs and kisses me after all of that. If that’s not love, I’m not sure what is.
Seriously though, there’s nothing better than seeing your spouse as a loving mom or dad. Oh my goodness. THE BEST. It makes you appreciate them in ways you never thought possible.
And now, it’s hard to believe, but next week I go back to work. All the feelings about that. But one thing I know for sure, being a mom is by far one of the best challenges and blessings I’ve ever experienced. Game changer. And until I actually had a kid, I didn’t understand how much it could change things. Your time, your heart, the important things in life. I feel so lucky God chose me and Jon to be Dempsey’s parents. What a wild ride….and one we’re totally winging. Because that’s mostly what parenting is, right?! 🙂
Stay tuned… as I’m sure there are many more Dempsey boy stories to come.
All the love.