One year ago this month (Feb. 12th to be exact) one faint line brought me to my knees as I cried tears of joy and realized I was pregnant.
And seemingly in a flash, today, I find myself a mom to a beautiful 3-month-old baby boy.
So much has happened and so much has changed in the span of just one year, I can hardly wrap my mommy brain around it. These days, much changes in just a week, so to realize that is has been a full year since finding out probably the happiest news of my life, I am floored. Still riding the postpartum hormonal roller coaster, this anniversary brings both smiles and tears. Happy smiles to recall a wonderful moment that I feared would never come and tears about the realization at just how fast life goes by.
Each day I watch my son grow both physically and mentally. He quite literally amazes me. The female body amazes me. My body amazes me. My whole pregnancy amazed me. Week by week I would read about the new developments and changes both baby and I were going through and though even when reading the “science” behind everything, I couldn’t help but think of the whole process as some kind of miraculous magic. I mean, I was growing a PERSON, building bones and forming organs. How AMAZING is that? But that process seemed to me at the time like it was taking forever and my guess is because I was so anxious to meet my boy, see his face, kiss his cheeks and hold his little hands. Now that he’s here, I feel like someone is pressing the fast forward button on my life.
In the blink of an eye, almost four months have passed since my son entered the outside world. He is just about sitting up on his own, constantly talking (in his own baby language) and I suspect already teething. Being with him every day, I don’t always notice how much he physically changes until I look at pictures from sometimes just a week before. Like any parent I find myself wishing daily for time to just SLOW DOWN.
The night before my due date, a Sunday, was spent with me coming to terms with the idea that I was probably going to have to be induced on a scheduled day. While I wasn’t excited to go past my due date, I went to bed that night actually somewhat relieved. For the past two weeks I went to bed every night wondering, ‘is this the night?” I slept on top of towels on top of a bed protected by a water-proof mattress cover, had my hospital bag (really a suitcase) packed and ready to go for about a month in advance and was always a bit on edge not knowing when it would happen, when I would go into labor. But that night, I went to bed relaxed, well as relaxed as I could, there was no getting comfortable at 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I went to bed knowing I had a doctor’s appointment the next afternoon and would know for sure when I was going to meet my little man. And I was half right.
At 2 a.m. I woke up with cramps and had to pee. As soon as I was able to get my very rotund body off of the bed I was frozen in place – my water broke, on my due date.
After a call with my doctor’s office, waking my husband and ultimately deciding not to do my hair and makeup, we headed to the hospital. It was a little after 3 a.m. when I was admitted and came to the realization that this was happening NOW.
A ball of nerves, I was finally in my delivery room and hooked up to all sorts of machines. According to the screens, my contractions were quite steady but I couldn’t feel them. At about 7 a.m. I was given Pitocin because apparently I was supposed to be in pain at that point. Once that kicked in, I was well aware of each contraction. I don’t remember the exact time, but I would say around 11 a.m. I received an epidural. I was so scared, especially since they make everyone leave the room when it’s administered, making the experience just a little more overwhelming. Most likely due to the incredible staff and nurses at my hospital, getting the epidural actually wasn’t that bad. My reaction to it however, was horrific.
Within minutes my blood pressure dropped dramatically, my body began to shake uncontrollably and the monitors said that baby’s heart rate was dipping a bit. After about an hour of laying on my side and wearing an oxygen mask, I finally felt good – and relieved. I had started to worry that something was really wrong, but everything eventually balanced back out.
At 12 p.m. I was just 4 cm dilated and my nurse said that I would probably be meeting my son by nightfall. An hour later she came back to check on me and delivered the news that it was time to push. I was stunned and simply said, “No.” I wasn’t ready. I thought I was in for the long haul and here it was go time already. My nurse, God bless her, saw how nervous I was, and since the baby wasn’t under any stress, told me we were able to do a resting labor, where I basically just let my body do it’s thing while she prepped the room for delivery and notified my doctor. That bought me about a half hour before they had me start pushing. An hour after that, at 2:38 p.m., my gorgeous little man was in my arms. Whatever else went on in my room from that moment until I was wheeled into recovery is a complete blur. I only had eyes and ears for Dean. Dean William Schaefer McCollum, born at 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 20 ¾ inches long.
I think I cried happy tears for an hour straight. As soon as I laid eyes on him I was overcome and overjoyed. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like it and have nothing to compare it to. I can only say it was the greatest feeling of my life and I can’t believe that moment is already almost four months gone.
Being a new mom has not been all sunshine and lollipops though, the first couple of weeks were probably the hardest weeks of my life. For all the love and happiness this boy brought me, there was an equal amount of stress and exhausted tears to match. I cried and I cried. Sometimes from the pain of breastfeeding, sometimes from the lack of sleep and sometimes for the most ridiculous reasons imaginable (the counter wasn’t wiped properly!!). It was rough, it was an adjustment, but somehow we made it through and found our groove.
From the first days at home where we found ourselves constantly making Amazon purchases, worrying about belly button care and searching for the best sleep solutions, to hitting milestones like Dean’s first smile, rolling over and sleeping through the night (praise Jesus!) the past three months have been a whirlwind of experiences I wish I could freeze in a bottle. We’ve had Dean’s first Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and now in 2016 have a new round of firsts and milestones ahead of us, all of which I fear will fly right by me! With that being said, I may be taking way too many pictures and videos of all of it but am trying to put the camera down long enough to really soak it all in and retain as much as I can.
I have no idea what’s in store for us in the coming months but am excited for all of it! Since becoming a mom I’ve learned that every day is a new adventure. Sometimes it’s the kind that leaves you wearing spit up instead of makeup but all in all every moment is worth it, even the ones involving poop. So let the good times roll and welcome Baby Dean, we’re going to have a great time together.