Now that Howard and I are taking the steps to get tested and getting healthy for pregnancy and TTC, I realized that I haven’t written Benjamin’s birth story yet. I don’t know that it’s very spectacular, but it’s his story, my story, and I thought I would just share it with you today.
Our Little Surprise
As you know, Benjamin was a little surprise for Howard and me as we were just getting to know one another and hadn’t been dating for long. About a month and a half after we met, he was just about to move in with me and I had to go away for a weekend to be in my best friend’s wedding. That weekend was so much fun as I was the maid of honor in their wedding and was completely stressed out, but it was a beautiful wedding and I had a blast. I had to wear heels for the first time in many, many years and I was on my feet for a long time that day. I drank a little at the wedding and then one of the other bridesmaids and I went by the liquor store on the way home and picked up a few more drinks so we could enjoy the evening alone in the house of the newlyweds. The next morning I had to get up and pack and head back home from Missouri and thank goodness I was flying because I was exhausted!
When I arrived home, my feet were noticeably swollen and my legs were exhausted. I laid in the bed telling Howard all about the wedding and then I slept…a lot. I had to head back to work the following day and I’m not even sure I made it through the entire day because I was just plain worn out. I came home and slept some more, noticing that my feet were still swollen. I told Howard that I felt overly fatigued and I was worried about my feet. I figured it was because of the shoes I had worn, the alcohol I had drank, and then being on the airplane for a couple of hours. He suggested that I might be pregnant.
Positive Pregnancy Test
I thought he was crazy, but he insisted so we went to get a pregnancy test and sure enough, it was positive. Um…what?! We were shocked, well, I was shocked. Howard just knew it because he said he knew my body and he just had a feeling that something else was going on besides me just being tired. We talked A LOT about having a baby and we decided that we both needed a few days to think about things and consider our “options”. I knew from the moment that I saw the positive test that I wanted the baby, but I barely knew Howard and I didn’t want to rope him into a family if he wasn’t ready. He told me later that he also knew from the moment it was positive that he wanted the baby and wanted to marry me, but at the time we both were a little frightened and didn’t want to scare the other away.
I guess it’s pretty obvious that we decided to keep the baby and get married. In the next week, we planned a doctor’s appointment and found out that I was less than 4 weeks pregnant. The sonogram tech actually said that she couldn’t tell which dot on the screen was my baby, but one of them was definitely a baby. The following week my family had planned a beach vacation in Galveston and Howard had to work so I headed off to be with my family with my new little secret. We had thought we would keep out secret for a few more weeks, but we decided to go ahead and tell them while I was at the beach. My dad and stepmom were over the moon excited for me and then worried because I barely knew Howard. Luckily, they had met him and had already noticed that I was in love so they took it really well. I told them that I loved him and I loved my baby and that’s all they needed to know to support me in my decision.
The next nine months were so incredibly busy and exciting and heart-breaking and fun for Howard and me. We found out we were having a boy. Howard lost his job. My mom passed away. We decided to find Howard a job near my parents’ house (we were living in Austin and moved to Palestine). I quit Graduate school. I quit my job. We got married. Howard got a call that he got the job in Tyler while we were still on our mini-honeymoon. We moved to Palestine. I got another job. Howard lost his job in Tyler. And then it was time…
The Big Day
On Friday, February 8, 2008, I was at work. I had driven to Tyler (an hour away) to do interviews for one of my worker positions. I was a supervisor and needed some new workers. I sat in the Hiring Specialist’s office all day with her and she was just amazed at my big belly that would jiggle all day because Benjamin had the hiccups all day. My boss and another coworker had told me on Thursday that I was about to give birth, but I didn’t believe them because I was still 3 weeks away from my due date. After sitting in Tyler all day, I finally got to head home and start preparing my house for a baby shower. Howard had cleaned the house and was cooking dinner for my sister and me while we waited for my best friend (the one from Missouri) to arrive. I was supposed to have a baby shower on Saturday and all of my family and friends were travelling to visit for the shower.
At around midnight, my best friend was about 45 minutes to an hour away and my sister decided to shave her legs. She asked me to come in the bathroom and talk to her while she was shaving and we started giggling about something. The next thing I knew it felt like I had wet my pants. This had happened to me a couple of times during my pregnancy when I laughed or coughed so I didn’t think anything of it. I just went into my room to change my underwear and pants. Only, this time, the leakage didn’t stop. When I took off my pants, there were drips on the floor, and I had to call Howard into the room to see that I wasn’t crazy. He knew it before I knew it…my water was breaking!
Headed to the hospital
Of course, we hadn’t packed a bag, we weren’t prepared, and I wanted to take a shower before we went anywhere. Howard was so funny that night because he got out a list of what to pack and he was so focused on finding snacks to put in the bag because that was on the list. I told him not to worry because there was no way the hospital was going to keep me. I hadn’t been having contractions at all and I was still 3 weeks from my due date. He managed to get a bag packed and we loaded up in his car. We left my sister at the house to watch for my best friend coming and headed to the hospital. About halfway there, we realized that neither of us had brought our ID so we turned around to get them and then it happened. My water broke in a gush of fluid all over his seat. I told him that he might want to bring a towel out when he brought out our ID’s.
When we got back to the house, we pulled up just as my friend was pulling up so they followed us to the hospital. We were all so excited even though I was convinced the hospital was not going to keep me. Well, it turns out that once your water breaks, you don’t leave the hospital.
We got all checked in around 1-2am and I was settled in the bed and the nurse was asking me about contractions when I told her that I hadn’t been having contractions, but my back had been bothering me off and on through the day. My back was always bothering me, but this was just a little different. She looked at the monitors and asked if my back was bothering me at the moment and when I said “yes” she informed me that I was having a contraction. I had no idea, but I had been in labor pretty much most of the day.
Making the calls
Around 6-7am, my sister started calling people and telling them that I was in the hospital. She had to go wake up my parents and they came by to visit. At this point, I wasn’t in a lot of pain, but I was very uncomfortable. I was trying to sleep when I could, but I was just too darn excited. I hadn’t slept since Thursday night and it was Saturday morning. My sister went by the house and put up a sign “no baby shower, having a baby instead” so that if we missed anyone from the guest list they would know.
I had told my doctor and Howard that I wanted to try a natural birth or at least stay off the epidural as long as I could. I wanted to experience the birth and not be knocked out. I made it quite a while before the nurse suggested that I at least take some medicine to help me relax and sleep since I wasn’t sleeping and I would need my energy. I agreed…and then I slept.
The Time Bet
I don’t remember much of the day on Saturday except that I would sleep, wake up for a contraction or someone new coming in the door, and then sleep again. I remember very clearly; however, when people started telling me they were taking bets on what time the baby would come. My best friend, who had flown from Missouri to Dallas and then drove from Dallas, made her bet at 10:38 pm. I glared at her with a smile and said “why would you wish that on me?!”
Epidural or not
It was a long day with frustrating moments and then the pain really started kicking in. I was having huge contractions and I hadn’t really rested. I think I was 8cm dilated when I finally gave in and asked for the epidural. I really didn’t have anything against it. I just wanted to see how much I could endure. Getting the epidural was probably the hardest because the contractions were coming fast and hard and the tech had to try several times to get it in. He told me “one last try and we’re giving up” and then it went in and I was in relief. I laughed at Howard’s face when he would watch the contractions on the screen and look to me when I had a big one and I was calm as could be.
It was around 10pm when the nurse came to check me and said that I was almost to 10cm. I told her that I needed to push and she told me “no”. I told her that they had been telling me all day that when I felt like I needed a bowel movement then it would be time and that was what I was feeling. She told me it wasn’t time. When she walked out of the room, I looked to my best friend and told her “I’m pushing”. She jumped up and said she didn’t want to be around for that, but she would tell the nurses. Then it was time.
Howard was right by my side and the nurse was on my other side and I started pushing. At first I couldn’t get the technique right and the nurse had to put her hand down there and tell me where to push. Once she did that, I knew what to do and after less than 30 minutes, Benjamin was here. By the time he came out, my epidural had worn off and I felt almost all of the feeling of him coming out. I had some tears and I could feel them happening. He had no complications and he cried within seconds. I cried and laughed and just couldn’t wait to hold my baby boy. For some reason, the doctor didn’t let Howard cut the cord and we were both disappointed later about that. It didn’t occur to us at the time. I had to have a few stitches while the nurses weighed and cleaned Benjamin. And then it was time for me to meet him.
He was perfect and beautiful and Howard and I cried together.
Benjamin was born on Saturday, February 9, 2008, at 10:37pm. He was 19.5 inches and 7 lbs, 7 oz.