Twenty-one years ago today, at 12:36 a.m. to be exact, I gave birth to my first son, John. I remember to this day, what the entire pregnancy was like before I had to be rushed to the hospital for delivery. On the day I found out I was to become a mother for the first time, I was in an emergency room with my mother wondering if I ate something to cause me to be this sick. I was 18 years old. What was I going to do with an infant who would depend on me for the rest of his or her life? So many thoughts ran through my mind at that time. I was elated with joy, knowing I was carrying this baby which is a part of me and would forever be. I had a “little someone” that I would one day be able to hold and cradle in my arms, who I would love dearly more than my own life, and I would receive that same love in return.
I read pregnancy books, baby naming books, and a “mother to be” package of papers that a health department would give a new mother. It showed different images of how your body would look through the varying stages of pregnancy, what I would be feeling, weird cravings other mothers have had. Let me tell you the weird cravings kind of freaked me out! Who wants to eat soot out of a fireplace anyway? The only cravings I had with my son came in the form of a king size “Snickers” bar and a 32 ounce “Coca-Cola”! I know it’s not the best thing to be eating, but I had to have them-EVERY DAY!
In terms of how I really felt throughout my entire pregnancy, is like this: Imagine waking every morning, as soon as your eyelids open, jumping out of bed like it was in flames, to rush to the porcelain god of thrones, retching and feeling like your gut was twisted in knots! Morning sickness for me was actually “all day and night sickness”. I was sick all day, into the late night hours and even found myself hugging the toilet at ungodly hours. Would this feeling ever go away?? From what I had read, it would only last a month or two then my body would adjust to all the changes my baby was creating in me. WRONG! Who wrote that garbage anyway? It was a big fat lie- at least from my own experience it was! I suffered morning, noon, and night sickness for the first 7 months of my pregnancy! Yuck.
To all those mothers that say they enjoyed their pregnancy and actually glowed throughout the entire thing, well in plain terms, “you suck!” (Said in a nice way of course) The only glow I had was perspiration from vomiting so much. Certain smells just triggered my morning sickness too, which didn’t help me at all! Shalimar perfume, the smell of eggs cooking and anything else being fried, and cigarette smoke all made me ill. I wasn’t a smoker and therefore, couldn’t stand the smell of stale smoke.
During my pregnancy, I loved to feel my baby kick. At first, it felt like butterflies in my stomach but as my baby grew it became more intense. I remember laying down to go to sleep, laying on my back, my stomach would shift to the side and I would pull up my night shirt and just watch the little feet poke my stomach out in a deformed kind of way. It was truly amazing!
Being that it was my first pregnancy, I didn’t know what to expect as far as labor pain was concerned. After watching movies where women were giving birth and screaming obscenities at their husbands, I just knew I couldn’t be in labor yet because I wasn’t like those possessed looking women I seen on television. My water broke mid afternoon on July 15th. Sitting on the sofa, I was in pain but thought it wasn’t time yet. But the pain intensified to the point that I couldn’t sit still or get comfortable. Legs stretched out, my stomach like a big balloon under my clothing, I decided it was time to see my OB and get to the hospital.
My “to-be” in-laws drove my fiancee and I to the hospital, which was a good 40 minutes away. I can’t remember the exact time we left for the hospital but I know it was after 11 p.m. In the car, I can remember them saying, “I didn’t think you were in this much pain!” Really? I guess this is what labor is supposed to feel like then. I was nervous, but not about to have a panic attack. Calls were being made for family to visit because I was about to have my son! I had my fiancee, John, my mother Carolyn and Helena, my soon to be mother in law in the delivery room with me. The mothers wanted to watch me give birth to their very first grandchild. I was a little self conscious knowing that they would be watching the actual delivery but that soon passed. I was given ice chips to chew on and oxygen to help me breathe better. The hardest part about delivering was having to bypass a severe contraction when all I wanted was to push! Pushing the head out was the worst I think, as the nurse put both her forearms on my stomach and tried to help push him out as my body was getting weaker and I felt like I didn’t have the strength to push any longer. That was uncomfortable! I can remember saying, “Can I have something for the pain?” and the doctor saying, “No, you are too far along for any of that. You are delivering this baby au naturel.”
So now my son John Raymond has been born! Everyone that was in the delivery room held my son before I did. Finally I had enough and wanted to hold my baby in my arms. I felt complete! There is nothing that compares to holding your infant in your arms for the very first time. I held him so long, laying him on my chest, he fell asleep and so did I. In comes the nurse, scolding me for that! So I insisted he be kept in the room next to my bed. I didn’t want to be apart from him for one second!
Happy birthday son!
And the rest, as they say, is history…