I can tell you very little about the rest of my pregnancy, except to say that I was too big to sit in a restaurant booth normally – I had to sit sideways – and that the doctor had been wrong about my due date. Matthew was actually two weeks late in coming when it was all said and done. Picture this – 42 inches around, and I’m only 5’2, so that’s 62 inches tall. I had to have been a sight. His dad and I got back together, and I agreed to move to Toledo with him. Due to my condition, I spent the last week and a half of my pregnancy at Dad’s, near my doctor and the hospital. I didn’t work the last month and a half of my pregnancy either, and when women say they couldn’t reach down to tie their shoes and had to roll to get out of bed, that’s a real thing. I lived it. Matthew was born at the end of July and I remember his dad rubbing ice cubes on me to keep me cool, I remember looking down at my bare stomach and thinking it looked like an albino watermelon, with how pale I am and the ridiculous stretch marks I gained. I remember not fitting in maternity clothes anymore and having to wear my brothers over-sized t-shirts, I remember not being able to eat more than a couple bites of food at a sitting because the punk took up so much room inside me there was no room for food. I literally weighed less after I had Matthew than I did when I was initially pregnant. I really thought I was going to die in those last weeks.
Much to my horror, on July 21st when I got to the hospital, there was a thunderstorm and the power went out – so they were running on generators and my little induction was not on the list of important things to do during that time. I was scheduled for 4pm and the process didn’t start until 9pm. They inserted some little thing inside me to start the process of softening my cervix, and I sat in a hospital bed, uncomfortable and annoyed and worrying about the little boy I was about to bring into the world until I fell asleep. To be rudly awakened by my doctor talking about something to do with breaking my water, and then have something shoved inside me and a gush of fluid exiting my body. I immediately burst into tears. Where was my dad? This was all of a sudden very fucking real. I was scared to death, and extremely uncomfortable. Matt’s dad was there but he wasn’t much comfort becuse he was just as confused and nervous as I was, and pissed off too due to the lack of explanations.
It dragged but also happened too fast. Soon my room was filled with people – dad was there and a couple of my friends. There was very little progress in my condition though, so they hooked a monitor to Matt inside me and a band around my belly. I was stuck sitting in one spot and my back hurt. I was starting to feel the contractions but they weren’t horrible. It was mainly just my fucking back – the contractions were like bad period cramps, which I’d had my entire life. The only difference was the length of time that each contraction lasted compared to a period cramp. I’m stubborn and I don’t like to let on that I’m uncomfortable in front of a bunch of people. So I did what I had heard and/or read, found a focal point during each one and just thought about that object. I kept my face expressionless, and my mouth shut. Dad saw through my bullshit though. Called me out on it, even. “You’re having a contraction, aren’t you?” I snapped my head in his direction, and the conversation in the room stopped as everyone looked first at him and then me. I don’t know if it was just the elephant in the room, or if no one else had really realized it but me and dad. I sighed. “Yeah.” I couldn’t hide a goddamn thing from him. “You okay?” he asked. “Fantastic,” I answered and smiled sarcastically. Dad just shook his head. He knew without me saying a word.
Soon I got a lot more uncomfortable and much more pissed. The first thing that happend was the idiot doing my IV. They decided to start me on pitocin, another medication to get things moving faster. She prepped my arm for the needle, and I shit you not, she grabbed a wad of the brown paper towels that were on the roll in front of the sink, and stuck it under my arm. “I tend to get messy,” Not even kidding. She really and truly said that. I looked away with wide eyes at dad. And he watched her like a hawk. She was digging and I was wincing and finally he walked up and very calmly and quietly said to her, “Ma’am. If you dont get someone in here who kows what the fu. . . What they’re doing, I’m going to run her IV myself. Get out of here.” She quickly disappeared. *sidenote, for those who don’t know, my dad was once upon a time a nurse, and I would have trusted him to run an IV on me over her any day. In a dark room.
So, I’m hooked up to all this shit. My arm was hurting like a motherfucker, and the vein itself starting to bruise. When it was all said and done, I would look like a drug addict. My back felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to it. Repeatedly. I couldn’t move because of all the equipment. I was pissed. I snapped at a nurse that someone needed to let me out of the bed, that this was bullshit. Still very little progress. They got me out of the bed finally and in a rocking chair which was much better. Dad went home to make Aaron dinner, and Matt’s dad walked him down to his car so they could both smoke. And suddenly ninja doctor was there telling me they were doing an emergency cesarean and whoa whoa whoa all my people just left! I ordered them to call my dad, find my boyfriend, I cannot go into surgery alone! Earlier, they had gone ahead and given me an epidural, and now since I was going to have the cesarean they had to give me a spinal, too. Just a blur. From the chair to the bed down the hall and still noone there. They ran the spinal, but I could still feel my right side and suddenly Matt’s dad was there but all I wanted to know was where my dad was at. He reassured me that dad was on his way back. Sheet up and I couldn’t breathe. . . why can’t I breathe? I asked I guess because the doc said I was talking just fine so I must be breathing fine. I’m sure he didn’t mean to be a smart ass, just trying to calm me down. My vision was blurry and is this what being high feels like cause dude what the fuck? And then there was a cry and people rushing across the room (I assume) to get Matt what he needed.
And then they held my Matthew up. All ten pounds, five point six ounces of him. And he looked like a toddler- as Dad later said he looked like he could have ridden a tricycle out- and I knew what love looked like and sounded like because there he was in front of me, crying his little lungs out. Oh, that’s when my life changed. That is when I started really living.
I slept. Woke up in recovery and asked after my family. The nurse asked me how to spell Matt’s first and middle names. Donovan for my Dad, his middle name. Later he asked me why the hell I would do that to my son, curse him with that middle name, and I told him simply because I wanted my son to have his middle name. He never understood it, but I wanted to honor my dad for all that he did for me.
As I was wheeled out of recovery and past the nursery, the first thing I saw was dad in a gown, his hand held out and Matthew’s little hand grasping his finger. And that image will be in my mind forever. The two most important people in my life had met, and they were entirely wrapped up in getting to know one another.
Let me just reiterate, nothing’s been easy with Matt. From the day he was conceived. But always worth it in the end.
And so we waited for the doctor. On our phones, not talking about the situation. I can’t get inside his head to tell you how he felt or what he was thinking. He claims he was just bored when I ask him. I can tell you that by this time I had the idea for this story and the writers itch was hitting me hard, but I also was still worried.
And finally the doctor appeared. Praise Jesus.
She examined him, asked questions. She looked slightly puzzled when she felt the lump.
And said that we would need to get an ultrasound of it. She informed me that they no longer do ultrasounds in the building and I could either set something up at a hospital near where I live for another day, or go to St. Luke’s today. I told her that if we could get in today that would be preferable.
Mind you, this was the 30th. Rent time. (I am a property manager for those who aren’t familiar) And I was also stressed about not being in my office.
It’s hard being a working mom. You’re always so conflicted. Yes, my son was my priority and regardless I was going to be there for him for this. But my mind kept wandering to my move in that was supposed to occur in less than two hours, and all the pissed off residents that were undoubtedly trying to pay their rent and not get a late fee. I couldn’t be in two places at once. And my place was by my son’s side. Period, point blank.
Thankfully, they were able to get us scheduled over at St. Luke’s for a 1245pm check in. After a hurried cigarette and a call to my boss to keep her updated on the situation, we headed down the road to hopefully get some answers.