My journey to motherhood began like most of you. I looked down at a pregnancy test and saw a positive sign. And did not believe what I saw. I sat back down on the toilet and just stared. My body felt weak. And tingly. My first thought was, “Wow. So that’s how it happens. This little tiny test just told me that a baby has begun growing inside of ME? Is that really it? Is it really real?” I didn’t believe it. So, of course, I went and bought four more tests. Because two, three, or four positive tests were not enough to confirm it was true for me. After the fifth positive result, I was convinced.
I. Am. PREGNANT!!!!!
When I found out I was expecting my first child, we were not trying for children. I was in the middle of an intense two-year Master’s program in Marriage and Family Therapy that was not a start and stop program. So it was a little scary how I would balance it all. But I believed that God knew that was JUST the time He wanted our first son to enter the world. And my shock quickly turned into elation.
When I called my husband at work, I just plainly said, “Uh, babe. I just took a pregnancy test. And it says I’m pregnant?!!”
To which he responded, “This is good. This is good. Now go buy fruit.”
And I was like, ”Wait, what?!”
To which he once again said, “Go buy fruit.”
At that point, I decided he must be talking in code. So I sat and tried to decode what he “really” meant for the hours until he arrived home. But once he arrived and hugged me, he said, “No, there was no mystery code. I just wanted you to eat something healthy for the baby.” We still laugh about the fruit thing to this day. (For the record, in keeping with my sweet tooth, I did not buy fruit that afternoon. I think I ate a chocolate bar instead. And my oldest son still loves chocolate to this day.)
The beginning of the journey.
From that point on, my pregnancy journey began like so many others. We immediately and creatively told our families. Since we found out December 27, we came up with fibs to have them drive to our house two hours away after we had JUST been with them for Christmas so we could tell them in person. And both moms immediately cried!
At week 6, I began to feel nauseous. I began to gain weight. I began to feel tired. So desperately tired I could not believe it. But after the first trimester, my symptoms subsided. But I still wasn’t showing. Then around week 18, my belly bump popped. And from that point on, my body began to take pregnancy very seriously. I gained 43 pounds total (the same amount with each of my sons) and swelled up to look unrecognizable. Particularly my nose. I like to say I gained my pregnancy weight in my nose.
By week 30, my cute baby bump looked like a torpedo in my stomach. And unfortunately, I had heartburn so badly that my eyes would just flood water while seeing clients, and they would ask me if I was getting emotional. I’d just politely say, “No, I’m just having heartburn. Please continue with your story and try not to mind the tears streaming down my face over here.” And they obliged me. And then would ask me the same thing the following session.
To be honest, I am one of those women who does not love pregnancy. I feel and look so unlike my normal self, which is strange for me. But to stay strong, I focus on the fact that I have LIFE growing inside of me. And what an amazing miracle that is. I also try to avoid the mirror and scale.
Labor started, and life forever changed.
For the last month before my due date, my anticipation grew and grew and grew. I so desperately wanted to go into labor and meet my amazing little baby boy! But it just wouldn’t happen. I felt like I would be pregnant forever.
One day in August 2008, five days before my due date, I woke up to mild cramping. But I did not think a thing about it. I just went to see clients, and it continued through my first two clients of the day. After going home early, I called my hubby at work and told him I was canceling my clients for the night. He immediately said, “You’re in labor.” But I insisted I was not. I just wanted to take it easy and not add stress to a client by delivering a baby in session.
My contractions continued throughout the day but didn’t seem to be getting much more intense or consistent until around 8 pm. I decided to have my husband time them, and sure enough, they were five minutes apart consistently. I took a shower while he got other stuff ready, and the contractions began to get painful. My Dad came to get our dog as we headed to the hospital at 11 pm. As he drove up, I said, “Don’t worry. I don’t think this is the real thing.”
I stopped and couldn’t talk because it hurt so badly, then continued, “But we’ll call you.” Then I began throwing up all over my yard. To which my Dad looked at my husband and said. “She’s in labor. See you at the hospital.”
Our son is born!
Sure enough, when I arrived at the hospital, I was dilated to four centimeters. I continued progressing with little pain, which was good because I had decided to have my son naturally. The resident came in and checked me after about 2 hours and told me I was at a 9. And I looked over at my hubby and said, “If this is all it feels like, I’m easily going to be able to do this.”
Then the real doctor came in and said, “You’re only at a 7, sweetie. I don’t know what the resident was doing telling you that you were at a 9.” And no sooner had he walked out of the room, and my contractions felt like someone turned up the dial about 100 percent. Suddenly, the pain hit. And I was desperate. And not enjoying my life. To put it nicely.
I hung out in a tub through the transition period, then told my husband and mom I needed to get out of the bathtub to use the restroom. My mom, who had worked in labor and delivery for 10 years, told me that I was likely ready to push. And sure enough, I was.
After about 15 minutes of pushing, my son was born! I held him for about 1 minute, then felt like I was so weak, I had to hand him back to my husband, which was not the memory I had hoped for. I will spare you the details of how much I enjoyed natural childbirth. And just leave it at this: I chose to use epidurals with my next two deliveries. And the first thing I told my sister when she walked up to congratulate me was, “Get drugs.”
Those first precious moments are what I dreamed about.
After about 15 minutes, I felt more recovered and was able to take my son again. I breastfed him and held him. I had the first memory I had hoped for throughout pregnancy. And it was wonderful. And it was magical. Honestly, it was the sweetest thing I’ve ever experienced.
For the next two weeks after he was born, I cannot think of a time I felt so happy. (I experienced the same thing after my other two sons, too.) It’s like this beautiful time in life where you finally have what you’ve waited for, for so long. And I could not get enough of him! I would tear up when he would leave the room. And honestly, I stayed on a baby high for the first year of motherhood. I was simply joyful. Despite being sleep deprived.
My son has changed me.
His birth, his life, was the start of my journey of motherhood. From the moment I first took the test, there was no looking back. I was my baby’s mommy. And that baby was mine. And there is nothing I love more.
Motherhood has grown me in ways I never imagined. Been pushed further than I ever thought possible. And celebrated things I never knew would make me happy (Everybody clap! He just peed in the potty!!).
My sons are my inspiration for all I do. Before becoming one, the title—MOMMY—did not seem super glamorous. But once I had him, once I had them, I cannot think of a title I love more. And I cannot thank God enough for the privilege. Or for the craziness that ensues on this journey through motherhood. Because if there were no crazy, there would be no them.