My One and Only
After 9 terribly long months of pregnancy, 22 hours of labor, and 13 years of life, my Son enters the realm of teenagerdom today.
Until I actually got pregnant, I was told that I would be unable to conceive a child, due to my Endometriosis. I had actively tried to conceive for several years prior to actually accomplishing it. In 1996, almost 3 months after moving in with his father, on Mother’s Day (yes, I actually know the date!), it finally happened.
Whether it was that I was trying with the wrong man, or that my stress level from my previous marriage was drastically reduced, or that his father had some Super Sperm (his words, not mine!), or maybe a combination of the three … I don’t know. But it happened. I was understandably in a state of shock. I really didn’t believe the home pregnancy test when it came up positive. And when I started having some light bleeding, I was sure it couldn’t be true.
My best friend took me to the hospital because of the bleeding, and because I was having some abdominal pain. After doing some blood-work, and putting a catheter in me (ouch!) for an accurate urine sample, and doing an ultrasound, it was determined that I was in the middle of a particularly painful bladder infection, and definitely pregnant!
I came home in a fog, and I remember sitting on the edge of the bed and calling our parents – one by one. My mother guessed before I even told her. My father, when I said to him, “Dad, are you sitting down? I have something to tell you.” replied jokingly, “What … you’re pregnant.” with a laugh. He wasn’t laughing when I said, “Actually, yes. I am!”. He was still trying to come to terms with me leaving my husband. But he was supportive of me, throughout the entire pregnancy! My ex’s mother was just as happy as could be. She was hoping for a bigger family (they’re Italian) and even more so hoping for a boy.
My pregnancy was tumultuous, to say the least. I was plagued with not just morning sickness, but ALL DAY sickness! I have no idea how I gained so much weight, since my days resembled that of a bulimic person with a bad case of the flu and food poisoning! My hair at the time was waist-length. Things got so bad that I put my hair in a ponytail, and forced my ex to cut my hair right below the band. He actually cried, and saved my hair in a baggie. I shit you not!
As if that weren’t bad enough, I started suffering from the worst case of heartburn that I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I was told that if the Old Wives’ Tales were true, I was going to have a very hairy child. Turns out … they’re true!
During my 2nd month of pregnancy, I had a mini-stroke. Something called a Transient ischemic attack (TIA). While driving home from a lunch date with a couple of our online friends, my right side went numb, and my speech went haywire. In the middle of trying to say something about one of our friends being really funny, I ended up saying “flurky”. That was odd enough, but then I couldn’t manage to get my mouth to say anything my brain was thinking. I was terrified! By the time we got to the hospital, it was over with, thankfully.
My doctors were very concerned with my high blood pressure. By my 6th month of pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Preeclampsia. I was put on bedrest. And I wasn’t happy about it! I wanted nothing more than to get that child out of me! And I became a raging bitch about everything. I was the epitome of every pregnant woman joke. I spent my days on the couch, running to the bathroom every half hour, alternating between barking orders at everyone and sobbing myself to sleep.
The boy also had a knack for kicking me directly in my cervix. Several times. Daily.
My mother came to help me in January. That brought an interesting mix of relief and stress. Relief, because the housework would be done, the girls would be taken care of, and I could rest without worrying about everything. Stress, because she also brought my pregnant sister and her boyfriend with her (unannounced). They had no place to stay, because I wouldn’t allow the boyfriend to stay at our house. I knew nothing about him, and I had 2 young girls to protect. Because of that, they ended up staying at a shelter for a little while, then made the trip back to NC. And I was to blame for everything that went wrong with them. Which is actually typical. But I digress.
Around my due date, my doctors decided to induce labor, instead of allowing me to go naturally. They were afraid for my health, and the health of the baby. On February 6, 1997, at 4 o’clock in the morning, they injected me with Pitocin. At 4:01, I was having contractions. STRONG contractions! PAINFUL contractions! at 4:02, I was begging the doctors to “GIVE ME SOMETHING FOR THE PAIN!”. I thought I was going to die. How wrong I was! Not only was I not going to die, I was going to have to actually live through that pain!
Oh! The inhumanity! The indignity!
Given the choice, I’m pretty sure I’d have chosen death. Or the death of the one that did this to me. Whichever came first! (I actually had the balls to yell at him, “Fuck you! You did this to me! I hate you!”. Not my best moment.)
Later that morning, after the girls were tended to, and my ex was done work, my mother and my ex came to the hospital to see me through the final stage of labor. They’d been told by the hospital staff to stay home and get some rest, so they could be helpful to me later on … the nurses would tend to me in the mean time. I think the nurses may have regretted that decision. If I had to be that miserable, I was damn sure taking everyone down with me!
My doctor had to manually break my water. I wanted to manually break her face after that! I was on some really good drugs by that point. Dozing in and out of sleep. My mother said I looked like I was dreaming of a NASCAR race, complete with sound effects. Once my water was broke, the real fun began. I received an epidural. For anyone who wonders – THE. BEST. DRUG. EVER! I was finally able to calm down enough to sleep through a couple hours of labor pains.
At midnight, February 7th, I was dilated enough to start pushing. Only one problem. I couldn’t feel anything to be able to push! I didn’t know if I was actually pushing or not. I remember my doctor telling me to strain as if I was trying to have a poop. But I didn’t know if I was accomplishing that goal or not. (found out later that I did! which is why the boy has the nickname of “my little shit”. )They decreased the flow of the epidural, so that I could feel just enough to get the kid out. And I pushed. And pushed. and pushed. and pushed. I even had a nurse who was by my side, pushing downward on my belly, trying to help him come out. I was exhausted. I couldn’t push any more. I didn’t want to push any more. I wanted him to just walk out when he was good and goddamn ready.
My doctor had other ideas, though. She got out the big ol’ salad tongs. She was gonna get this kid out, even if it had to be one piece at a time! (ok, not really! but she really did try to help him come out.) After several tries, she announced that if I didn’t get him out with the next push, she was taking me in for an emergency C-section.
“Like hell you are!”, I remember yelling.
He was out with the next push! And promptly whisked away from me. I had no idea what was happening. There were no fewer than 2 doctors and 5 nurses in my room. And all of them, along with my mother, were blocking my view of what was happening. I didn’t hear any crying. All I heard was commotion and medical lingo. Finally, I heard him cry, and a collective sigh of relief from everyone in the room. Turns out, he wasn’t breathing, and was a bluish-gray color. But he was ok! And that’s all that mattered! They got on with the task of cleaning him up to present him to me in all his glory. All 7 lbs 12 oz, 21.5 inches of him!
A doctor was between my legs, asking me to push again so she could deliver my placenta. I had bronchitis, and needed to cough, so I told her to hang on a second while I did just that. It’s a good thing she was paying attention, because my placenta literally shot out of me and into her hands! 10 years later, this was still talked about at my OB/Gyn office, it was that funny and unexpected!
I was not done with the medical problems, however. I wasn’t even allowed out of bed for 3 days. I remained there, hooked up to a Magnesium drip, because my blood pressure would not return to normal. I was diagnosed with Toxemia. I just found out recently, that Toxemia and Preeclampsia are practically one and the same, but that the terms are used at different stages of pregnancy, with Toxemia being used generally after birth.
When I was finally allowed to come home, I was still on full time bed rest. In addition, I was supposed to lie on one side (I think the right) only. I had a home health nurse who came to visit me daily, to monitor me and check on the baby. I finally recovered, and got on with life. And what a life it’s been!
He has been my pride and joy. He is my reason for living. He is my one true love. I am absolutely, unconditionally, in love with my Son – my Matthew!
Which brings me to his name. I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t sure if I believed in a higher power or not. I knew I wanted his name to have some meaning to it. So I poured through baby name books, looking at the meanings. I knew I wanted his name to mean “Gift from God”. 3 names fit the bill. 2 of them were easily discarded, as 1 was the name of a cousin, and the other was just a name I didn’t like at all. The only name left was “Matthew”. He was given his father’s name as a middle name. And so he shall be called forevermore.
Especially when he’s in trouble!