The first few weeks of my pregnancy with Monkey Man were nerve wracking. It seems that no one at the OB/GYN told me about the chance for multiples when taking this particular type of fertility pills…well, maybe they did, but I probably ignored them. At eight weeks I went in for the typical blood test and ultrasound. For several days beforehand, I was convinced that I was pregnant with twins – and was totally crushed to discover that there was just one baby cooking in there. Needless to say, I got over it pretty quickly once I started thinking about the challenges of having one baby, let alone multiples.
I felt great – I had that pregnant glow, and was suffering no ill effects whatsoever. That is, until we flew to Nashville for a conference. I was 12 weeks pregnant at that point…I remember feeling vaguely green on the first leg of the flight but I chalked it up to my usual hatred of flying. At my layover airport, I popped into a Chili’s to have a side salad with blue cheese dressing and a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Let’s just say that I can’t pass by a Chili’s now without vivid flashbacks of the second flight and how sick I was. And that was the beginning of the end…I had morning sickness for the entire second trimester, which apparently is a family trait of my mother’s that she had neglected to tell me. I was also extremely sensitive to smell and motion. I am totally surprised that my teeth didn’t rot out from all the little red and white peppermint candies that I was sucking on constantly, because that was one of the few things that helped me regain my composure. Every drive to work was an adventure of seeing if I could make it there without hurling into the bucket I kept on the front seat. Yeah, good times.
Eventually, the morning sickness went away and I had a few glorious weeks where I felt good and looked good too. Well, as good as a beached whale could look. Then, the heart trouble started. I developed tachycardia and after extensive testing it was determined that it wasn’t a permanent thing and it wasn’t harming the baby, it was just one of those weird flukes of nature and I wore a heart monitor for several weeks to keep an eye on things.
The wildest part for me was how Monkey Man was so active in my tummy. I could look down at my stomach and see the elbows and knees sliding all around, and I would feel him turning somersaults at 2 AM almost every night. Yep, he slept all day and partied all night. I think the one exception would have been the days after 9/11 when we were all glued to the television and I would sit on our couch or at my desk with tears in my eyes as I watched people desperately searching for their loved ones, and rub my belly and thank God that Monkey Man wasn’t here to witness the terribleness of it all. For those few days, he maintained a reverential silence – every now and then I’d get a gentle kick, but it was almost as if he knew Mommy needed a little bit of a break so it was time to chill out.
At the end of October, I started feeling a little more tired than I had been, and one evening when I got home from work my ankles were so swollen that I had trouble taking my pants off. The next day, the doctor diagnosed me with preeclampsia and put me on partial bedrest, meaning that as long as I could put my feet up during the day and get plenty of rest at night, I could continue working. Have you ever worked at a computer desk with a regular keyboard, with your legs propped up in a chair to one side and trying to type over your grossly swollen stomach? I should’ve charged admission for how many of my coworkers came by to see the spectacle. But I kept on working and doing my thing until one Wednesday afternoon when I went for a bi-weekly check and the OB announced that I needed to have this baby immediately. I went back to work in a daze, changed my voice mail and e-mail, and drove home weeping. I was nowhere near ready for the baby to come…the clothes weren’t washed, we had barely gotten the nursery finished, and I still had stuff at work that I hadn’t taken care of because I thought I had at least two or three more weeks left.
We ended up not being able to get in for induction until that Sunday afternoon, so I had a few days to mentally prepare myself to go. Sunday at 4:30 we checked in, and by 6 PM the doctor came in and inserted the Cervadil to get the party started. And by party, I mean over 24 hours of sheer hell. By 6:30 PM, I was shaking with chills and a 104-degree temperature, my blood pressure was skyrocketing, and apparently I was having an extremely rare reaction to the Cervadil. I threw up all over the doctor on call as he came in to ask me how I was feeling, so he removed the Cervadil and gradually I returned back to normal. The decision was made that because of my blood pressure being so haywire, I needed to stay overnight and they would break my water in the morning and try Pitocin to see if that would work.
That night was horrible. I was exhausted from the reaction to the Cervadil and from having the nurses poke and prod me every 20 minutes. Not to mention all the indignities I was having to suffer in front of Joey, including getting a suppository and being shaved. I looked over at him at one point and he said, “Damn, I never thought I’d have to see something like that.” Finally, my favorite nurse came in to wish me goodnight and good luck since she was off for the next few days, and gave me this sage advice…”This is the new millennium, they make lots of pain medications so don’t make yourself suffer. Take the drugs.” A wise, wise woman. I loved her.
To make a long story short, my body wasn’t nearly ready to have Monkey Man – he had never dropped into my pelvis, they had a hell of a time even breaking my water, and I endured over 12 hours of hard labor and never got over 3 cm dilated. Talk about disappointment, but honestly at that point when my doctor came in and asked if I’d consider a c-section, I wanted to jump up, hug her, and then run to the operating room. Well, that and the fact that they wouldn’t give me anymore Stadol, that stuff is the bomb.
Monkey Man made his reluctant arrival into the world at 9:51 on Monday night. My doctor had to tug on him several times to get him out, and I suspect it’s because he’d firmly set up camp with a big-screen TV and snacks and had no interest in being evicted from his cozy little setup. They cleaned him up, brought him over to me, and I looked into those bright little eyes and knew life would never be the same.
This morning, he came running into our bedroom with a card and then offered me one of his most prized monster trucks for Mother’s Day. He told me later, “Mommy, Daddy and I are lucky to have you as our Mommy.”
Let me tell you, it doesn’t get much better than that. Stadol or no Stadol.
Happy Mother's Day!