Sunday, May 10, 2015

We Need Her

I had been in labor for several hours when the nurse came in with a concerned face. She looked at the monitors, looked at the printout tape of the contractions, and frowned. "Your son isn't recovering his heartrate as quickly as we would like to see," she said. They slipped an oxygen mask over my face and encouraged me to get some rest, assuring me that the oxygen increase usually helps the baby recover more quickly.

About an hour or so later, the nurse returned and said that it still wasn't recovering as quickly so they were just going to monitor it.

I got nervous with the next contraction as I watched the monitor. Though I had an epidural and didn't need to breathe for the pain, I realized that if I didn't do my "breathing" exercises that I was going to have an anxiety attack. It was late - maybe 1:00 AM - and I didn't want to wake up Steve who was also told by the nurses to get some rest.

So I breathed. And I watched. And I prayed. And it looked to me like his heart rate was recovering more quickly than it had been.

And so even though the nurses thought I was crazy, I went ahead and continued with my "proper breathing" through every contraction in the hopes to get my son more oxygen and help his heartrate recover. If there was something I could do to help him, I wanted to be able to do it.

Besides... stuck inside my womb, I was really the only one who could. So I kept breathing, and Steve and I watched on his monitor as his heartrate recovered a few seconds faster than it did before I had started to breathe.

I stayed up and got little rest the night before my son was born because he needed me.

Me and my mini-posse.
She cried as soon as her head was out. She cried so loud and so hard that I knew she was unhappy about being out of my womb and in the chilly OR.

She kept crying until she was wrapped up in her newborn swaddle. Steve gave the nurses her name - Evangeline Margaret - and they handed her to him, Soon after that they - Steve and the nurses - came over to me and the three of us had our first mother-father-daughter moment.

While we were being all happy and excited, Evie started to cough and sputter a little bit. Because she was born C-Section, she didn't have all the "junk" in her system squeezed out, and though the nurses had suctioned out quite a bit of it - there was still some left in her nasal passages that was dripping down her throat.

"Hey, guys - I think she's trying to tell you something," our OB leaned over and said to the nurses.

They took my baby away from me to give her another good suction, but she still was coughing a bit. The lead nurse took a look at her and paused, "Well," she said, "I think that she just needs some good skin-to-skin contact with Mom, and she'll be good."

"Great, Mom's almost ready to head to recovery," our OB replied. "Sound good, Mom?"

It definitely sounded good to me. If there was something I could do to help my daughter, I wanted to do it. What seemed like moments later I was in the recovery room with my tiny Evie-girl laid against my chest, her chubby little cheek resting snugly against my skin.

The snorting stopped and easy breathing came. When the nurse checked on me, she said "See? She just needed some skin-to-skin with her Mom."

She needed me.

L-R: My mom, Evie, me, Steve, Will
From the time we are conceived, we need our moms. We need them at first for nourishment, comfort, protection. Eventually we add to that disciplinarian, spiritual leader, teacher, coach, counselor, and many, many more roles that are "assigned" as the times happen to arise and depending on the need. Moms adapt, moms improvise, moms plan, moms organize. Moms wipe tears, ice bruises, wrap ankles, band-aid scrapes and cuts. Moms pack lunches, carpool kids, make playdates, and bring to parks. They take calls from schools, calls from friends' moms, make calls to doctors and dentists offices, and if necessary they call 911.

Moms sleep beside to keep monsters away and stay awake to make sure everyone gets home OK.

Moms worry, moms get excited, moms pray harder than probably anyone else.

Sleeping on the airplane... too hyper for Daddy, crashed for Mommy.
As I lay there looking at my husband, my doctor, my son, and a couple of computer monitors knowing that the decision to have my daughter a week ahead of schedule lay ultimately in my hands - I knew it. I knew I needed my husband to make the call to her.

I needed my mom. At almost 34 years old, I needed my mom. I needed to know my son would be spoiled by his Nana and I needed to know that when my husband and I would come home with our new daughter that we'd be taken care of by the one person who had always taken care of me. The person who, when I was 20 years old and suffering from a bad cold in college, showed up at my door on her way to work one morning with chicken soup, orange juice, cold medicine, a puzzle book, and a box of tea. That's the person I needed.

Almost 34 years later, and I still need my mom sometimes. Sometimes for big things, sometimes for small things, but I still have times that I need my mom. I always will.

Today, we celebrate the hardest working women in life business.

Happy Mother's Day.

L-R: My Nana D., baby Me, and my Mom

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