When Spencer was born, it wasn't like a light bulb went off and I felt "motherly." I went to the doctor for my regular weekly appointment at 11:30am on July 10, 2007; my mom dropped me off and I went in. When my OB/GYN used the Doppler to get her heart rate, she frowned and said she was going to go get another machine. When she did the next reading, the frown appeared and her eyebrows furrowed. That's when she told me the baby's heart rate was very fast and she was a little concerned. A few minutes later I was told to to head on over to L&D- they were expecting me. She explained it most likely wasn't anything to worry about, but to be on the on the safe side I was going to be hooked up to a fetal heart rate monitor and a bicarb IV drip.
It all seemed very surreal and I in no way thought I was having my baby that day. My mom was waiting for me in the parking lot and when I told her she said I was NOT having her today, they were doing this as a precaution- and that she had to leave to pick my brother up from volleyball. So off I went to L&D all by myself. After three hours of being on the IV, Spencer's heart rate had only come down a little, not nearly as much as they would've liked. They wheel-chaired me over to the Perinatology department where they performed a very uncomfortable internal ultrasound. VERY uncomfortable! I don't know why I wasn't panicking at that point, I think it's because everyone was acting as though this was just a weird thing and it was all precautionary- everything would go back to normal shortly. But when that wand came out the technician looked at me, shook her head and said "that baby's comin' out today, I hope you're ready!" The words didn't really sink in, and I was like "when?" But she was already on the phone calling L&D to give them the news. When she hung up she said "Now! You're having the baby now, they're booking you an OR as we speak." Everything after that was hurried- hurrying to get my family there, hurrying to get my doctor there, and hurrying to have me prepped and ready for surgery. In some ways I'm glad that it was so rushed because it didn't give me the time to have an emotional breakdown. I went back to the OR around 4:45pm and Spencer was born at 5:24pm, weighing an impressive 6 lbs 7 oz. for being 5 weeks premature.
They took her away from me immediately and my parents actually saw her before I did. In the recovery room they worked to stabilize my pain- due to some extra "trauma" done to my insides when Spencer stubbornly refused to come out of my uterus. I was purposefully not thinking of her because I was so scared something was going to wrong. I had feared all along that God was going to punish me for what I'd done by bringing some harm to my daughter. My thought was that I'd spend as long as possible in sweet denial- I was in no hurry for what I feared was going to be my fated reality.
I was so thirsty in that recovery room, and freaking HOT. I was sweating and shaking from all the medicines and one of the younger nursed took pity on me and gave me little sips of room temperature cranberry juice. If I was able to keep it down, she said she'd give me a small glass of it, but before that could happen, some other nurses took me to my regular room. When I asked for my cranberry juice, a different- and much more stern- nurse informed me that I couldn't have any liquids for another hour.
My voice started to quiver as I said "But, they other nurse said..."
"I don't care what the other nurse said," she said, cutting me off mid-whine, "you cannot have any liquids for another hour!"
"But I already had sips of warm cranberry juice and I was fine and IjustwantalittlecupofsomethingtodrinkPLEASE!" Tears had started to well up in my eye and my words slurred together, as one might expect of someone on a morphine drip.
By this time everyone in the room was looking at the two of us as if we were a powder keg and I as if I was a little nuts. But I didn't care. I was thirsty, in pain, hot, I hadn't seen my baby, and I was still terrified about her prognosis. The least this mother- freaking (not the word choice I actually said in my head) nurse could do was give me something to drink!
When she calmly, and firmly restated her former position, I burst into hysterical, uncontrollably sobbing. I tried to explain to everyone that I didn't know why I was crying, I couldn't help it! This went on for a few minutes until my doctor, the perinatologist, and few others walked in. I got that sick, pitty feeling in my stomach, knowing that the moment had arrived. It was hard to breathe.
I didn't notice the smiles on their faces, only that since they came en masse, it must be really bad! When they said she was perfect, I didn't believe them. I kept asking what's wrong with her, what weren't they telling me- I wanted to know every negative, and every possible negative, thing that could be wrong with her. My doctor said that the cartilage in her ears hadn't completely formed yet, but that in the next month they'd be completely formed. She still had a lot of lanugo, fetal hair that usually falls off in the last weeks of gestation, and her temperature was a little bit lower than they'd like, but otherwise she was a healthy, normal baby.
No sooner had she told me the wonderful news, the "mean" (she actually was very nice and soon became my favorite) nurse wheeled my Spencer baby into the room for her first feeding, and our first real meeting. I'd say this was the moment that my heart exploded with love. I'd been too afraid to fall in love with her before, too afraid that she'd be taken from me- but the moment I looked into her eyes, all those pent up feelings came flooding out.
She was mine, I had made her, and she was perfect.
The next few days were quite miserable. My baby had to spend all of her time in her little isolet to keep her warm, except for the 30 minutes they gave me every three hours, when I'd feed her with a syringe. I felt so alone. My parents tried to be there as much as possible, but they were so busy at their house trying to get it ready for us to come home- so it was just me all by myself. Her early, unexpected entry to this world meant that nothing was put together or washed. My emergency C-Section meant no stair climbing- hence a makeshift room had to be made for us. I think they might have been more tired than me trying to get everything done in time. My grandpa was also in the hospital at the time, so that meant my aunt was dividing her time between us. I eagerly anticipated each new day, hoping it would be the one when they'd finally let me take her home, when I could be with all day. It took three days after our expected release date before Spencer was able to maintain a temperature of 98 degrees for 24 hours. Then she had to pass the mandatory preemie car seat test, where they hooked her up to electrodes while she sat in her actual car seat. She had to be able to maintain a certain heart rate for 35 minutes (the amount of time it would take for us to get home) or else we weren't going anywhere. The Britax seat worked it's magic and Spencer passed the test with flying colors. Finally, one week after making her grand entrance into the world, we went home!
This was NOT the outfit I had bought for her to come in, that one was WAY too big. My mom bought this for her at a local store called Milby's, which is where both my coming home from the hospital outfit and my mom's had come from! I think that's pretty neat.
I expected to feel depressed, everyone was talking about post partum depression and how normal it was. But I didn't feel depressed, it was the first time in months that I could breathe again, (literally and figuratively!). I don't like for people to see me cry, I always try to come off as strong- like things don't matter to me, when they actually do. That all changed on July 10, 2007. I became a fountain of free-flowing, frequent tears. But I wasn't sad- it was as if my heart had been cracked open, and I was consumed with love- not just for Spencer, but for everything. Every emotion I felt was amplified by 1000. I never used to cry when I was happy, but all of a sudden I was getting teary eyed at commercials, choking up during So You Think You Can Dance, and crying when she'd smile at me; all tears of love and happiness.
I'd love to be one of those women who can honestly say that becoming a mother was the single most wonderful thing that ever happened to them. I wish I could honestly say that becoming a mother gave purpose to an un-purposed life. But I can't. It wasn't motherhood that changed me, or defined me, or gave me a reason or purpose to wake up each morning:
It was Spencer.
It was Spencer.
Spencer is the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me, the most precious gift I ever received. Spencer gave purpose to my un-purposed life. Spencer is the reason I wake up each morning.
These last 21 months have been the hardest, the most emotional, the most trying, the most happy, and the most fulfilling moments of my life. It was my beautiful, precocious, strong-willed, colicy, milk intolerant daughter who made me smile again. She makes me want to make the world a better place for her. She has taught me empathy (almost too much) and compassion. Not a day goes by that I don't think about how lucky I am- even when I'm having a pity party. One of my favorite Bible verses has always been To whom much is given, much is expected - Luke 12:48.
As undeserving as I am, I was given so much. Because of that, I know owe an un-payable debt, that I have a unending job. Spencer may only expect me to feed her and change her poo right now, but I have much greater expectations of myself. And that is amazing. I love that it's my duty and obligation to give her the best life possible, to make sure her life is filled with happiness, and for me to leave this world a better place than when I entered it.
I hope the next 21 months don't go by as fast, but I hope they are just as wonderful!
Isn't she cute?!!