There was a post someone sent me on Instagram that said, “Nobody said it. Not one person mentioned it throughout the whole nine months. Nobody told me, “You’re about to meet someone entirely new. And it’s not your baby, it’s you.” That statement rang truer to me than any other sentence ever uttered to me in my entire life.
I don’t think that one is ever prepared for the changes that motherhood brings. It’s like for nine months you are growing this little human, but you are also in a cocoon yourself… morphing slowly into a totally different person – ready to emerge the day that you give birth.
Nothing really prepared me for the pain that was labor. I always had a feeling creeping into the recesses of my mind that I would deliver early. Sure enough, on July 2, 2023, I started having labor pains at 5:30 in the morning. It was two full weeks before my due date, and lemme’ tell ya John was in no hurry to get to the hospital AT all. Granted, we had just been to the hospital a few days before. I had tripped over Maggie, our rambunctious golden retriever, and landed flat on my stomach. I will never forget the fear that enveloped me that day. As soon as I hit the floor, I started sobbing uncontrollably. In my mind’s eye, I was seeing all that I had worked and prayed for over the past 8 1/2 months gone in the blink of an eye. I was so terrified that I hurt Addie that I could barely breathe, and we spent the rest of the day at the hospital strapped up to machines and monitors – a good foreshadowing for what was to come. I left the hospital that night so relieved and grateful that my daughter was safe… Little did I know that less than 48 hours would pass before we would be back.
Y’all, there’s something about a man When a woman is in labor… I just don’t think that they really take it seriously! Especially first-time Dads. I had to just about drag John out of bed to go to the hospital. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning on the 2nd of July and something inside me just clicked. I knew it was go time. John, however, did not. It took me about four hours to get him out of bed to drive me to the hospital. Here I was timing my contractions, putting on makeup, and packing the hospital bag, and he was up in the bed counting sheep. Finally, I used some very colorful vocabulary and told him if he didn’t get out of bed I was leaving him behind. I think that was the moment it FINALLY clicked for him – he realized okay… this woman means business.
We arrived at the hospital around 11:00 am and I did not receive the news that I wanted. I was only 1cm dilated and I could tell both the doctor and the nurse thought I was jumping the gun coming in. Everyone thought I was just the typical first-time Mom having Braxton hicks rushing to the hospital at the slightest twinge of pain. I winced when they told me my only option was to go walk for two hours straight at the local mall and then come back. I have to admit… I love a good shopping trip… but not when I am doubled over in the fetal position. You should’ve seen John and I, we made quite the spectacle. Me stopping every ten paces to white-knuckle the railing of the top floor walkway of the mall and go “ooooohhhhhh,” and John walking beside me with a concerned look on his face. We did this for two hours and BELIEVE me I thought that baby was going to just fall out right in front of the Forever 21. I had thought to myself, sweatily clutching that railing, that that might just be the longest two hours of my life – that was until I got to the hospital.
You know y’all I am just in awe of what women’s bodies are capable of. John and I got to the room where they were going to check if I was dilated anymore and y’all I forgot myself… I started begging the nurse. “Ma’am, whatever you find please PLEASEEEE don’t send me home. I can’t take it. I am BEGGING you. Pleaseeeee don’t send me home.” You know it’s always a great time to do your begging when somebody is messing around under the hood of your trunk. It was after that humbling rant that she popped up from beneath the sheet and said, “WOW, you are 4 centimeters dilated. Give me a few minutes and we will get you checked in.” I have NEVER been so relieved in my entire life.
15 hours later we had a baby. Y’all I hulked out. Never in my life had I imagined that I could go through that amount of pain for that long. There was a point in there where both baby and I were having heart issues. She was having decels and my heart rate was abnormal and the doctor was convinced we were on track for an emergency C-section. I was stuck at 7 centimeters dilated and was pretty much living on the peanut ball… if you know YOU KNOW ladies. To make matters worse my epidural had numbed only my legs… I told John that if I was having the baby out of my calf muscle I would be just fine… but everything from the torso up, I could feel, and it was rough. By the grace of God, we made it to full dilation and I was finally able to push a full 24 hours after those first contractions started. Adeline was born at 5:31 a.m., wailing like nobody’s business.
It has been three months since our daughter made her big debut, but she wasn’t the only one who I met that day, because the woman who left that hospital wasn’t the same woman who walked in. The woman who left that hospital was exhausted, hair in a messy bun, covered in spit up, rocking yesterday’s clothes – but she was also braver, more selfless, more empathetic, more resilient. Honestly, I am still getting to know that woman who left the hospital that day. Some days I am tired of her. Some days I miss the old version of her: The spunky one. The fit one. The one who got 9 1/2 hours of sleep every night. But mostly I am just grateful for her because at 5:31 in the morning, a baby was born… but a Mom was born too.