Happy Anniversary to Me

3 07 2010

Ten years ago today I became a mother.

I wasn’t expecting it. (Well, okay, I was expecting it, but I thought I had about three more weeks to continue to expect, if that makes any sense.) I had just finished a musical stint (what we in the business like to call ‘a gig’) where I played in the pit orchestra for a production called “The Title of Liberty.” It mixed religion, patriotism, and music in a pleasing and stirring manner. (Really, it did. My biggest complaint was the length of the first half and the distance from the stage to the bathroom. I always, every single rehearsal and show, arrived there first.) If you’ve ever been in a musical, you know that they take over your life for the length of the production run. You stay up late every night rehearsing and/or performing, then you sleep as much as possible during the days-in-between so you can be on your game for performances, letting normal life slide into a slushy puddle of stuff to do later. If you haven’t ever been in a musical, well, you’re missing out.

Saturday marked our last two shows, a matinee and an evening performance. I slept poorly, and at church the next day I felt so awful I went home after Sacrament Meeting. “‘The Title of Liberty’ wiped me out,” I told myself. “I’ll be right as rain after some rest.” I couldn’t rest, though, at least for very long. I’d just nod off when a rotten “Braxton-Hicks” would wake me up again.

This went on all day, and extended into the night. I left the bedroom and lay on the couch, not wanting to wake my husband with my fitful non-sleeping. I made a list of the slushy puddle, trying to figure out what needed to be done before the baby’s arrival. “Take the hospital tour” I wrote at the top. They offered them every first Tuesday, which was coming up. Perfect.

I read A Room With a View by E.M. Forester, even though it was hard to concentrate. Really, pregnancy was such a pain sometimes–ha ha, I cracked myself up. But not too much, because here came another contraction–

It was about midnight (what? only midnight? Why does night last so long when you aren’t asleep, yet slide by so fast when you are?) when I thought, “Maybe I’m in labor.”

I talked myself out of it quickly, though. “It’s only the third. You aren’t due until the 25th. This is just the warm-up.”

Paramount to my young heart was not embarassing myself by going to the emergency room, not actually being in labor, and being sent home. Humiliating.

I was in a lot of pain. Like, a lot. One of my friends, Jenny, who had just had her second baby a month earlier, told me, “When it hurts so much you feel like crying, then you’re in labor.” I finally felt like I was going to cry, and I took out one of the labor books I had checked out from the libary (being too cheap to take the $60 childbirth class, I had self-educated).  I found the section with the chart that told about how long each stage of labor lasts, and looked at my little notepad where I’d started timing my contractions.

They were something like seven minutes apart, lasting three or four minutes each.

Hmm. Consistent with the third stage of labor.

Wait, what?

Greater than my fear of the nurses sending me home was having a baby in the car.

I woke my husband and said, “It’s time.”

No, not really. I can’t remember what I said. Probably, “I think we need to go to the hospital.”

(He thought we were going to be sent home, but in eight-and-a-half short months had learned that arguing with a pregnant lady is futile.)

“Wait,” I said as we got into our car. “What about the car seat?”

“We’re not going to need the car seat,” he said.

The nurses reacted in much the same way. “Oh, it’s your first? Hm, okay. Put this on and we’ll come by and check you.”

I crawled onto the hospital bed in triage, my clothes dangling in a plastic bag at my side.

The nurse took my temperature, then went to check me.

“You’re dilated to a ten!”

Ha. Take that, nurses.

“Your water hasn’t broken yet, though.” Just as she said that, well, it did.

I was so relieved not to be in my own clothes.

45 minutes later, the sweetest, hairest little baby ever was in my arms. I loved him instantly.

(I didn’t set out to relate that entire epic, but who doesn’t love a good labor and delivery story, hm?)

So happy birthday to the child that first made me a mother, that first called me “Mom”, and who made me truly swear for the first time.

I love you, Zack!

I will now indulge in my need to post pictures of my adorable offspring, although after age 5, since before then I don’t have digital files and I don’t have a scanner.


I love your curiousity and enthrallment with all things mechanical. I love how your third grade teacher wrote, “You always share interesting facts.”

I love what a good big brother you are, and that you play so well with your sisters (at least when you aren’t trying to ruin their lives . . . )

You were the one I tested things out on, like public school and chili powder as a punishment.

I love your sense of humor and your goofy jokes.

I love how you like reading non-fiction more than you like reading fiction (even though I don’t understand it).

Of all the things I call myself (woman, wife, friend, daughter, aunt), I think ‘mother’ is my favorite–and it all started with you!

Happy 10th Birthday, Zack! Let’s make a pact that over the next ten years we won’t kill each other, okay? Love you, buddy.