"The Lord rejoices in all He has made!" Psalm 104:31
Today, my nephew and his wife are at the hospital awaiting the arrival of their first child. What a wonderful day in their lives. They will never be the same from here on. Today, they become parents. I think back to the day that Freddie and I became parents. It was arguably the best day of my life. Sure, I had some wonderful things happen before that day. I had accepted the Lord as my Savior as a teenager. I had met and married the most wonderful man in the world. But, this day, I began the only career I ever wanted!
It was a Wednesday. For some strange reason, I had thought that my baby would be born on a Wednesday. Not necessarily this Wednesday. My due date was still 2 weeks away. First time mothers usually do not go into labor very much before their due date. I had read everything I could get my hands on to prepare me for labor. I had taken Lamaze classes because I was determined to avoid an epidural. When people heard this they would all say, "Yeah, right. You are never going to be able to do it. You are going to beg for an epidural. There is no way. The pain is horrible." This only fueled my fire. If you know anything about me you know that the easiest way to get me to do something is to tell me that I can't.
Anyway, fast forward to about 12:30 am on Wednesday, April 7, 1999. I woke up sitting straight up in bed gasping to catch my breath. I had been having contractions and they woke me. I thought about waking Freddie, but I decided that if I was going into labor that he'd probably need his sleep. So, after a few contractions I managed to fall back into an uneventful sleep. I woke up to sunlight, and dismissed the events of the dark, going about my normal routine. Around 9:00am I had a contraction that just felt "different". Not necessarily more painful than any I've previously had, just different. I thought it was strange and began to pay attention. I called my sister and we had a nice conversation. A little time passed and she began to notice that I was not able to continue talking during my contractions. She told me that she thought that I should call Freddie to come home. I really was not convinced that I was in actual, "for real" labor and that the contractions would stop just as quickly as they began. After much begging, pleading, and threatening, I finally agreed to hang up and call my doctor's office for advice. I told the nurse about my contractions and she asked me if I could come to the office now. I said that it would be an hour or so before I could get there because my husband worked 45 minutes away. She suggested that I get someone else to drive me there and have Freddie meet me because my doctor had a meeting at 1:00pm and he was seeing his last patient now and then would be heading out soon after. So, I arranged for my grandmother to take me. Freddie said he'd come home and get my bags then meet us there.
My grandmother showed up at my house in her IMMACULATELY clean car with bath towels on the seat. I offered trash bags and said that I cannot make any promises for my bag of water to make the trip! She declined. We engaged in small talk along the way, and she began to get very nervous when she realized how frequent my contractions were. I may or may not have asked her to shut up along the way. (blushing) She put on her hazard lights and pressed on the gas pedal. I begged her to turn them off, but, she sneaked them on anyway. We crossed Freddie on the way to the doctor's office and she was certain to flash her lights rapidly at him as a signal to hurry up! We arrived in about 15 minutes and I got out of the car and stepped up onto the sidewalk and my water broke! I was panicked for a moment. What would I do? Should I go home and change? I couldn't walk into the office all wet. Could I? My grandmother was trying to comfort me. She said, "It doesn't show." I said, "What do you mean, it doesn't show? My socks are wet!" I decided that I would walk past the waiting room straight into the nurse's station. When I arrived the nurse's were quick to let me know that I didn't look so good. I said, "I just lost control of my bladder." They said, "Get the doctor!" I said, "I have to go to the bathroom first." Don't ask me what I was thinking, but, before I left my house I had put a washcloth in my panties, "Just In Case". In case of what? I have no idea. So, I took the washcloth out and threw it away and went into the exam room. I removed my bottoms and the doctor came in to check things out. He said, "You are every OB's dream. Your bag of water has broken and you are dilated to 6cm." The nurse came in with a wheelchair, but, I insisted that I put on my soaked panties before getting in the chair to be wheeled up to labor & delivery.
When we arrived on the 3rd floor of the hospital no one was prepared for me. They were extremely busy and did not have a room ready. The nurse handed me a lovely gown and said, "Take everything off, the gown opens in the back. I'm going to get a monitor down the hall. I'll be right back." So, I dutifully removed my pride and rolled it into a ball in the small closet of my hospital room. I climbed into the bed and after a couple of contractions (literally every 3 minutes) I looked at my grandmother, who had delivered 5 babies without the option of pain medication, and said, "Please don't let me wuss out. I don't want an epidural." She began, "Sha, if you need it then get it. Don't do that to yourself...." Before she could finish urging me, I stopped her mid-sentence and said, "Go tell the nurse that I am pushing!" Her eyes were as big as saucers and she was torn between leaving me alone and getting help. She didn't have to go far and the nurse bolted in the door and screamed, "Don't push!" I said, "I'm not, the baby is coming on it's own." Things got VERY crazy and jumbled from this point on. The nurse pressed the call button and instructed the nurse's station to call my doctor, stat. She began getting things ready for delivery. I was screaming something about defecating and she was screaming something about NOT PUSHING! By the time my doctor got to my room I was saying things like, "I cannot have this baby without my husband!" They were saying, "You may not have a choice." When Freddie finally walked into the room the only thing touching the bed was my head on the pillow and my feet in the stirrups. No Joke.
Some poor, innocent student nurses were in my room to observe my delivery and when I caught sight of them I almost stood up straight in the stirrups and pointed at the door and screamed, "What are all these people staring at me for? Out! Get out!" (I sent a card of apology the next week.)
People were running around. You couldn't make heads or tails of anything. I felt like I was on a runaway train, very out of control. Then, all of a sudden, in the midst of the commotion, I yelled, "STOP. Everybody just stop. I need to breathe for a minute." My sweet, loving doctor looked at me and said, "You have to push. Now." Twenty-eight minutes and two pushes after I arrived in my room on the labor & delivery floor of the hospital, my beautiful Karli Blayne was born 2 weeks and 1 day before her due date at an even 7lbs and 20" long. I was a MOM.
I am sitting here while my 11 year old daughter is in her room watching television. I wonder if she knows how much I love her. I wonder if she knows that I really would do anything for her. I wonder if she knows that she is the reason I was born.
I feel the same way about all four of my children. I rejoice daily in them. I praise God for sharing them with me. I take it seriously to teach them about their heavenly Father. I take it seriously to teach them all they need to know to be as happy as they possibly can be. I make it my business to make sure that each one of my kids feels like they are my favorite!
There is only one today. I want to make the most of it. Ordinary, or exciting. I want to savor each moment I have with my children. And I want them to grow up and have children and realize how very much they were loved!