Nine months ago you were born.
I found out I was pregnant with you at six weeks and really nothing was then same since then. But NOTHING could’ve prepared me for the impact you would make on me and your pappa nine months ago. Nothing, at all.
The joy you bring us is just so very great.
I haven’t shared your birth story before, but would like to now.
The week before you were born I was ANGRY. I was mad, sad, and just a rage of weird pregnancy hormones. I had two goals that week.
1. Get you out!
2. Stay in a dark, angry cave.
I pretty much accomplished both. I went on LONG daily walks in the hot, early September heat. I remember one walk was over 7 kilometers and when you are 39 weeks pregnant that is no easy feat.
I also had one of those big Pilates balls and would spend episodes of America’s Next Top Model bouncing on that ball. I also made all of those cliche “bring on the baby foods” like Labor Cookies, eggplant parmesan, Indian food, and just anything incredibly spicy.
So here is what happened on the day you were born. (The picture is above is taken on that day!)
I spent the morning at home, being generally angry. I was sure you were going to come early and I was now 39 weeks and you were due tomorrow. So yeah, you weren’t coming early. Your pappa had a friend who had an art exhibit out near Moderna Museet- so in the evening we decided to go to that. Anything to keep our minds off you and your impending birth.
The girl whose exhibit we went to told us, “the last time I met a pregnant person she had the baby the next day.” We laughed and said she could be our good luck charm. Afterwards, your pappa and I decided to go to a little crepe restaurant on Söder. We decided to walk. It was rainy and cold. It was a long walk.
I could not have asked for a better date night and I was able to put my grumpiness aside and enjoy time with your pappa, just the two us. Those last few weeks before you, we really tried to cherish our time together.
Anyways, the restaurant was this little cozy place and I had apple cider and your pappa had sparkling wine. For dessert we ordered crepes flambe and we were so giddy that THEY WERE ACTUALLY ON FIRE that we took a million pictures. (Yeah, don’t know what else we were expecting…)
So we got home kind of late and cuddled up in bed, watched a Top Chef episode, and went to be around midnight.
At 12:45 I woke up with some weird pains and went out into the living room to try to figure out if I was having contractions or not. Because when you are super pregnant, everything might be a contraction.
I guess that this time went really fast, because the next thing I remember I was waking up your pappa. I said, “Wake up, I think I’m having contractions.”
He said, “No, you aren’t.”
"Yes, I am."
"Why do you think that?"
"Because everytime I feel one, I moan in pain and say ‘no no no no.’"
He jumped out of bed after that. I had been half timing the contractions, but they weren’t super regular. Some were 10 minutes apart, some 7, some 5. We called the hospital, which is pretty strict about letting you come in if your contractions aren’t under 5 minutes apart and they basically said, “wait at home, take a pain reliever and warm shower.” HA.
We watched that horrible movie, Serial Mom, at 3:00am and half dozed on the couch. Around 6:00 your pappa took a shower and decided to shave. he also made this elaborate eggy breakfast, but I was took anxious to eat so I just had an apple. We called the hospital again and Henry, one of the things I have a hard time with is being assertive. I knew that I needed to go to the hospital, but I was so scared that I was doing everything wrong, that I was making it all up.
So they were like, “Do you think you need to come in?” And I was like, “Well, if you don’t mind, I would really like to, please.”
So we ordered a cab and I was like 60% sure they were going to send us home. At the time, your dad and I were super afraid about having to pay the cab fare more than once. Isn’t that so silly?
When we got there they decided to watch me for an hour before deciding to admit me. I wanted to be the champion of contractions to prove that YES I AM IN LABOR but I had no idea how I was supposed to be acting. I wanted to be polite and nice and friendly and strong and brave and seem capable of being of mother. I was so nervous. Every time a contraction would come on I would breathe through it like they zenfully do in the movies, I was bad ass. (They got worse…just fyi).
After an hour the midwives checked me and I was actually 2 centimeters dilated so I was admitted. We were really, truly having a baby. That was shocking. It suddenly got so real.
So I labored and labored and labored. A couple hours later I was only at a 4 and the midwife on duty was like, why don’t you take a bath and then we will break your water if nothing else is happening. All casual. “Ok” I said, all casual.
The bath was super relaxing, but still a bath in a hospital. The breaking of the water was not so relaxing, and incredibly strange. It was also kind of horrible because it was what started the really, incredibly, terrible contractions.
Up until that point I had a plan for a natural birth. Hahahahaa. But I did try. I labored with those horrible, backsplitting, bone breaking, terrible contractions for a few hours before I begged for an epidural and let me just say this: Best Decision Ever.
The epidural allowed me to finally relax, especially after laboring for over 14 hours and being up for over 24 hours (remember I had only been asleep for 45 minutes before I felt my first contraction).
And because the epidural let me relax, after four hours of it, I was finally at a 10 and soon ready to push. This is what we looked like when we realized that in a matter of hours we would have a baby:
We were so tired, in shock, and ridiculously ecstatic.
So the pushing part. That is hard. That is much harder than I ever thought it would be. You read these stories that go, “I pushed three times and then he was out.” So easy, so simple. Not. At. All.
It was the hardest thing I ever had to do and took every ounce of strength I had. It’s also a bit awkward because your there, pushing, and people are down there, waiting and coaching, and helping, and then nothing is happening and you’re just there… so incredibly vulnerable but also so strong. It’s such a weird feeling.
There was a point where they had me reach down to feel your head, Henry, and I was like, “ok, this is it- next push and he will be out.” But that didn’t happen. Not even after five more pushes. I lost count. You were stuck.
It took them awhile to figure that out. During a shift change too. (The midwives who started didn’t leave me mid-pushing, but the ones who were taking over joined the party so we had like 8 people in our room). By now it was a bit past 21:00. I was drenched in sweat and one of those screaming women in labor. I didn’t want to scream, I just had no other way to express myself when I was pushing.
Finally they decided that you needed a bit of help to come out. And after that you just came right out. Screaming and mad and all kinds of newborn slimy and lovely and you.
I know that I marveled at you and your tiny self, but I have to admit this, I was in such shock that I spent more time chatting with the midwives afterwards than really soaking you in. Or maybe it just seems that way? I honestly don’t know. It just kind of this big blur, because everything changed so fast and what am I supposed to do? All of a sudden I am a mom?
I know that once I was all proper again, they let me, you, and your pappa get to know each other by ourselves for over an hour. That was a fast hour.
I remember feeling really guilty when the midwife offered for me to take a shower and I accepted. It was an hour after you were born and I felt like I should be there with you, in your first hours, instead of showering.
I also remember feeling so overwhelmed with love the first few days. It was scary. It was so scary that I tearfully told your pappa, “I wish this had never happened, it is too much, I love him too much.” Because when you love someone as much as we love you, you want them to always be safe and happy and to feel loved and the very thought of them every being hurt or sad- it breaks you. And it was such a new feeling that I didn’t know how to handle it.
Let’s just say, I glad am that it happened. More than you will ever know. This love, Henry, it is far bigger than I every imagined it would be. And far better as well. You’ve given us so much in these past nine months, I can only hope that we can give you just as much in your lifetime.