Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Princess

Today, my Princess turns five. Every child has a birth story, and here is hers. Any stray men who might have wandered in here by accident, feel free to scuttle off to something more manly, like, given the amount of gushy mom feelings that are about to drizzle all over your keyboards....(except my husband, because honey, YOU are obligated to read.)

Five years ago, on a cold and rainy November evening, I was making fettucine and chicken for my family, eleventy-thousand months pregnant. I was a short weeble-wobble of a woman, and were it not for my overall squeamishness, would have performed a self C-section after dinner. We sat down after eating to play a few rounds of PS2's Moral Kombat (hey, don't judge. I don't care what YOU do with your Wii, now do I?). I started feeling icky. Then sort of crampy. Then, I started feeling like I had inadvertently fallen on a steak knife, kidney first, and jabbed it around a bit for good measure. It passed. I put my dishes away. I told my stepdaughter, whose eyes grew big. "No big deal....oh wait, oh crap, oh that hurts!" She looked at the clock and told The Man that it was probably Go-Time.

I was in denial. I wanted nothing more than some chocolate milk, a foot rub, a nice game of Mortal Kombat, and then after ripping my husband's spine out, a nice early bed time. I did NOT want to have this baby after all. The baby felt differently. My husband, ever helpful, jumped in the shower. What the.....??? He might not be able to shower for a few days. Well. Of course his cleanliness was my top concern. Ahem. I spent a three-minute shower writhing on the floor and yelling at God. Fun!

We all jumped in the car and drove through the rainy streets, me yelling at The Man to "run the $@#$@#$@#$ lights! Get me to the hospital!" In my haze of back-rending pain, I remember changing into a hospital gown while standing up, while having massive, earth shattering contractions.

Then, a very nice woman gave me a very nice drug. Novacaine? Nubain? I think that's it. was like a fuzzy bunch of tequila shots, and I suddenly didn't care quite as much about the horrific spine-ripping agony going on in my back. For the record, my stomach felt fine. I could have belly danced the night away for all my stomach cared; nope, I had what the specialists like to call "back labor" - which is medical slang for "the worst fucking pain a woman could have during labor, and live to tell about it." Ask them if you don't believe me. I deserve a medal.

All I remember from the Tequila Shot Drug period was crying, asking The Man for my mom, and asking some random theological questions, like "do you really believe in God???" For whatever reason, this was a burning issue. I'm sure it's because I thought I was going to die and wanted to double check. The nurses just smiled, made 'crazy' eyes at each other and told me the epidural would have to wait.

Here's something for you: epidurals are wonderful. Screw beer and that it's proof God loves us and all that jazz, epidurals are proof that God loves us. They are the best thing since hot sandwich makers, and I don't care if they charge a million dollars and a Diet Coke for those suckers, I'd pay it. If you were one of those miracle moms who pushed and breathed and said the rosary, God love ya, but I asked for an epidural at the door thankyouverymuuuuuuch.

Once the epidural took place, it was alllll gooooooood. I watched some interesting television, chatted with everyone and endured the occasional 'dilation check' - which didn't matter anymore since I couldn't feel anything south of my waist. Then, during a re-run of America's Funniest Videos (I have a memory like a steel trap my friends...) a nurse announced it was 'time to get the doctor in here!'

I swear I only pushed about fifteen times. (I warned you men to leave, so if you're still reading, it's your problem...) I just remember it vaguely as the Ab Workout from Hell. But it wasn't long - about ten minutes tops, and my beautiful nameless baby girl was born. 1:54 in the morning; exhausted and wicked hungry, I held my 6 lb, 10 oz little lady for the first time.

She looked like a little porcelain doll; she was tiny but perfect. I know I'm her mom, but seriously - the kid was perfect. Gorgeousness. My mom carries the hospital picture in her wallet and strangers comment on it all.the.time. So no, I'm not biased. I swear!

Being the paranoid anxiety monkey you know and love, I was afraid to wheel her out of my room, EVER, so she stayed in my room, in her little plastic baby-tupperware thingy the entire hospital stay. I didn't sleep much. I didn't know what to do when she made those weird, adorable, squeaky baby noises. I just tried to nurse and she latched on with the ferocity of a hungry lamprey, and that my friends, was that.

Random nurses would come and check on me, ask questions, then double take when I told them how long my labor was. "Well she's NOT your first, right?" No, she's my first. "Mmmmm, hmmmmm." They would look at me again, all suspicious like, as if I'd really been popping out babies since I was 14, and was a total liar. Then they'd mutter something about a 42 hour labor and huff out.

(I swear those nurses cursed me in some OB-GYN floor coven meeting. One word = colic. It's not a four-letter word, but it should be, it

I have pictures of The Man sleeping with Princess on his chest in the torturous hospital fold-out chair. She was nameless for almost three days until we settled on a name my mom had been adamant about. Vanessa. It means butterfly. (For those literary-minded, it was also created by famed author Jonathan Swift in honor of an unrequited love. You're welcome!)

She is our spirited child, our verbally gifted lady, our butterfly baby, our rose. And today, she is five years old. Today, we celebrate the day I set a first-time Mommy land speed record and shoved her into this old world. Happy Birthday Princess! And many, many more wonderful birthdays to come. We love you.