Sunday, November 18, 2007

My "baby" turned 11

I cannot believe it has been so long since he was born. I remember his birth. I was 17 and in high school. It was 6 weeks before my due date, so my mom was out of town caring for my sister's kids, whilst *she* was out of town. I went to work the day before, and I was a cleaning fool. It was cold, being half-November, and there I was in short sleeves, washing the windows! Outside, I mean. I worked at a restaurant and I can still see my reflection in the glass--brown hair pulled back into a bun, white buttoned workshirt, black pants and shoes, scrubbing away at those filthy windows, and any other surface in that restaurant that I thought needed cleaning. My manager Heidi even commented that she thought I was nesting.

I had a backache all that Saturday at work, but thought nothing of it. What third trimester lady doesn't have back pain? And I wasn't due for 6 weeks. I came home and completed my science project with my class partner Laura, and I remember joking, "Wouldn't it be funny if I wasn't at school on Monday because I had the baby early?" She did not think it was funny, because I was the one who was bringing the project itself to school. And I clearly remember my back hurting more frequently, and more sharply when we were working on the project. But I did not recognize them as contractions, merely backache, and they went away.

Laura went home and me, my dad and brother went out for dinner. IHOP, I think, and my brother made me laugh so much that I spit orange juice all over my plate. I was graceful. Later my brother went to a party. I didn't want him to go, and I begged him to stay home, which was odd. Who cared what he did, right? But for some reason, I wanted im home. He wasn't harsh or anything. Maybe he recognized my request as being out of character? He left a number where he'd be, and promised he'd be home in the morning.

I felt a little lousy and I went to bed. I left my dad asleep in his recliner. At 11 PM I woke up to use the toilet. When I wiped, the tissue was bloody and I groaned. Where were my pads? And how inconvenient was it to start my period in the middle of the night? Ugh.

But wait--my period?? Oh crap, this was that bloody show they were talking about in Lamaze class! But I had only taken 2 of those 6 classes and I still had six weeks! Disgruntled, I went downstairs and shook my dad awake. I told him about the bloody show--he had gone to the classes with me--and he asked if I was sure? Yes. Did I want to call my mom? We tried, no answer. I wanted to go lay down and I would wake him up if anything else happened. They told us in those Lamaze classes that one could lose one's mucus plug days prior to birth. OK.

I go to lay down, and the dog will.not.leave.me.alone. She is trying to drape herself across my belly and this, along with that nagging back pain, was making sleep difficult. I dozed off only to wake again at 4 AM to use the toilet again. And with the sound of a water balloon bursting, well, my water broke! And in my favorite sweatpants too! I had to change into my "ugly" ones to go to the hospital. I woke my dad and told him my water broke. We tried to call my mom again and finally there was an answer. It turns out that my sister's roommate turned the phone's ringer off while she was out for the evening, so any late callers would not disturb my mom. But she returned home at about 2 AM and turned the ringer back on, since she would be able to intercept any calls. So we got through to my mom, who freaked. My dad hopped in the shower. I called the doctor and packed a bag.

I threw in a book to read, in case I got bored between contractions, an apple in case I was hungry, some clothes for me and an outfit for my baby, who was supposed to be a girl. Stop laughing! Who knew what to pack? Not me!

We arrive at the hospital, I am admitted. I had a mean nurse who didn't like that I was unmarried. She started me on an IV, hooked me up to a monitor and started me on Pitocin. This was about 530 AM. I was stuck with the mean nurse until shift change, when I got a nice nurse named Jeri. I remember her eyes, which were my focal point.

I labored. We called my mom from the hospital and she tried to coach but she was in Florida. So Dad helped me, and chanted push-push-push-push in my ear at about 930 AM when I felt the urge. I held my legs back, knees to ears, chin to chest and pushed. All I had to deliver was the head and the doctor slid the baby's body out: a purple-skinned creature, covered in cream cheese, I mean vernix. His head was flopped to one side as the doctor held him, yes, HIM up to show me it was a boy. During delivery I had been grunting, "Come on Hannah!" Now I had a Jonathan, who was born at 10:12 AM, weighing a hefty 5 pounds, 12 ounces, measuring 18 inches. He was due December 30th and born November 17th. He had a little cap of black air at birth that quickly fell out. He had colic and would scream for hours. He liked to sleep rather than eat, and we had to fight to get him to eat. Once he outgrew his sleepiness he ate every three ours round the clock until the following June. He started sleeping through the night a week before final exams. I like to think it was a present for me.

I went back to school when he was 2 weeks old, and I took my SATs when he was 3 weeks old. 1310 isn't so bad for 3 weeks postpartum. And that science project? I called the school first thing Monday morning and left a message with the teacher that the project was completed, and I'd bring it in on Tuesday after I was discharged from the hospital. He later told me that Laura's face was priceless when she saw I was not in class.

So I made Jonathan a cake, his Omnitrix cake just like he wanted. He blew out all the candles in one go. I bought his favorite ice cream and a few party snacks. I had a little craft as a time filler. We had 2 neighbor families in and it was very low key. He enjoyed his gifts because they were exactly what he'd asked for. And the kicker? He is having a sleepover at someone else's house! Happy Birthday Jonathan. I love you.

1 comment:

Eliana Miriam Hoffman said...

Great story. Has he read it? I'm sure he's heard it. Keep a copy of it to give him when he's older. Michelle Z (from the board)'s family has a tradition to tell their birth stories every year on birthdays.