A mother’s instinct kicks in as soon as those pink lines show up on the third pregnancy test she takes (to be sure the first two were right). As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I slipped stealthily into Mom mode. My OB calculated my due date as March 25th, but I knew it would be earlier. Sure, he had science and technology on his side, but a mom knows her body.
I spent all of March saying, “today’s the day!” Every twinge, every hormonal surge had me convinced. I carried a beach towel everywhere in case my water broke, and raced through grocery trips, clenching those muscles so I didn’t leave puddles in Aisle 3. I was so ready.
However, it was a week past my due date when I finally noticed some leaking. I called my husband, who was at a water polo board meeting. He told me to call my doctor’s office, and they told me I might want to wait. But, a mother’s instinct knows, and I was persistent, so I went in. I called hubby back, thinking he would join me, but, you know … water polo. And I had been “in labor” for over a month by that point, so I guess it didn’t seem urgent.
Jumping in the car with my towel, I headed to Missouri Baptist Medical Center. Every mile brought twinges that steadily intensified. By the time I pulled into the parking garage, I was convinced I’d be delivering my own baby in the front seat of my car. Granted, I hadn’t actually had a real contraction yet, but you know, I knew my body, and I knew labor would be quick.
Racing through the parking garage in a frenzy, I saw The Spot. The one in front reserved for Women In Labor. For nine months, I passed this spot, driving in circles to find something open on the fourth level. Not today, baby! Throwing the car into park, I hopped out.
There went my water. I stood in a puddle next to my car, stunned. Do I use the towel to mop up the mess, or use it to clean myself up? It seemed wrong to just leave amniotic fluid on the ground like that.
Snapping to, I wrapped it around me. Then the contractions really started. Waddling up to labor and delivery, I called hubby again to let him know that this baby was coming NOW. I put on the gown and started asking how soon I could get an epidural because I felt like I was missing the window when I could. Apparently, the window wasn’t even open yet. It was hours before anyone would even talk epidural to me, and the next day before the baby even came.
Now, I didn’t have a birth plan. Very laid back, I had no expectations on how it should go, except … I didn’t want my husband to watch. He was with me, but his eyes were to be locked on mine, gazing lovingly the whole time, not on what was happening down yonder. He thought it was ridiculous, but agreed because, you know … hormones. It was all going according to plan until Dr. P shouted at him to grab my leg and pull!!! Wait… what?!? They brought him in, giving him a front-row seat. I don’t know what he saw … and he wasn’t talking afterward.
So much for the birth plan.
Then, between telling me to P-U-S-H and assuring me that I really could do this, Dr. P saw the baby. He paused, and with a sappy smile, asked, “Do you want to touch your baby’s head?”
Mother’s instinct kicked in, and there was the most awkward of awkward pauses. I swung my gaze around the room, looking to see if anyone else was rolling their eyes. Nope, just me. My husband was in the corner with my left leg, hoisting it up, over, and around … and a nurse was in the other corner, doing the same with my right leg. A tiny human, tired of tearing up my insides, began to tear up my outsides, and Dr. Sentimental wanted me to do… what?? My focus returned. “Um, no … but, I’d appreciate it if YOU did! LET’S GO ALREADY!” Seriously.
“It” was a “he” by the way – we had a boy!
I quickly learned that labor and delivery were the easy parts. Naming a child? I needed pain meds for THAT experience. Every person we spoke to while at the hospital needed to know:
“Does the baby have a name?”
“Is there a name yet?”
“What’s his name?”
Throughout the pregnancy, my husband wanted to call the baby something. We didn’t know the gender, so he settled on Hurricane Durango. I didn’t care what he called it, until after the baby was born. He assumed because we had a boy, that Hurricane Durango would stick.
Once he realized that no amount of pain meds could get me to agree, we had to START the process of naming our child. He made his list of names, I made my list, and we put them together to see if there were any matches. (There weren’t.) Then we went back and forth. I eliminated one name from his list, and he eliminated one from mine. And there was some sort of rule allowing take backs, where we could reclaim names from the discard pile.
It. Took. Two. Days.
As an aside, we weren’t any better with names by our third baby, either. My husband spent my entire (ACTIVE) labor googling superhero girl names, because, you know, what else did he have to do?
“Ohhh… Raven Storm!”
And that’s how I became a Mother. We now have four kids (all with names, thank you very much), and my mother’s instinct is still as sharp as it was then.