On August 4th, 2010 at 8,59 am our lives changed forever, William Isaac Mandy was born! It has been six…er, eight (yes, I started this post two weeks ago!) weeks and the best way to describe it is whirled wind. My life has changed drastically…some ways I expected but many I had no idea.
I guess I should rewind a bit and reflect on the labor and delivery. I woke up at 12,40 am on the 4th with contractions every 7-8 minutes apart and this continued until about 2 am. At this point I woke Mason up. I decided to get a shower to see if the contractions would slow or even stop. They didn’t. In fact they got closer together, about every 4-6 minutes apart. Then we went on a walk for about thirty minutes and they continued. I think Mason and I will always remember that walk. The moon was so bright and big. It was warm with a slight breeze. I remember looking up at our building seeing only one light on – my parents room. As we walked we talked about “will this be the last walk we take before our little one arrives?” “Is this really THE TIME we had been waiting for” “What will the following hours be like?” I wasn’t completely sure I was in labor; Mason was more convinced. Once we got back upstairs my parents were pretty much ready to go. Mason called his parents and told them he thought it was time. I fixed my hair and put on some make up – yes, you read correctly. I wanted to look half way decent when I met our first little boy! 😉 My Mom called Matthew and Brooke to tell them we were heading to the hospital. So, once my Mom, Dad, and Mason finally convinced me that we should go to the hospital we headed out at around 4,30 am. At 4,43 am I had the strangest feeling a pop then gush: that would be my bag of water that just broke!
We were still an hour from the hospital. It was dark and there were not that many cars on the road. Mason was driving over the speed limit and broke several traffic laws, but it was all for a good cause! Once we got to Pensacola the contractions were much stronger, Mason’s foot on the gas pedal got heavier, and we ran a red light. That’s when we heard sirens. We got pulled over by the police. The policeman came over to Mason’s window and thankfully saw that I was in labor and ran back to his car to escort us to the hospital. It was quite embarrassing! He had called ahead and we had a wheelchair and several nurses waiting for us. Once we got settled in to our room on the labor and delivery floor the contractions began to be extremely uncomfortable. I was throwing up and feeling sick all over. So, I got in the jacuzzi tub at a little after 6:00 am to help ease the pain and this is when I thought I was going to die. I honestly did not think I would survive the pain I was feeling. I couldn’t move, talk, or even open my eyes. I remember begging Mason twice for pain relief. We had discussed how important it was to me to not have medications during labor throughout the pregnancy and he stuck to our plan, much to my dismay. I remember vague occurrences of my time in the tub: Dad bringing in McDonald’s breakfast for everyone; Mason saying his Dr. Pepper tasted like pure syrup (the worst he had ever had); begging for meds; Mom trying to get me to drink lots of water and ice; Jenny (our midwife) coming in and out telling me to curve my back when I was having a contraction; wanting to die so this pain would end; hearing the nurse say she’s never seen a patient lay in the tub that way; laughing; silence; Mason and the nurse telling me very sternly that I HAD TO GET OUT OF THE TUB. Yep, it was all a blur, almost like a dream, or should I say nightmare?
Some time after 8,15 Mason and the nurse FINALLY got me out of the tub, I didn’t think it was going to be possible to walk to the bed, but, somehow we did it. I squatted on the bed using a squatting bar and yelled very loudly, my first of only a few blood curdling (as my Dad described them) yelps. I understand the description “ring of fire” like never before. Jenny really helped me concentrate and push effectively. I pushed through two or three contractions and Liam arrived at 8,59 am, a little over eight hours from when it all began. What a beautiful little boy. I will always remember the feeling of seeing him and holding him for the first time. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. I was a little chatter box as soon as he came out, saying, “We did it!” “It’s over!! It’s finally over!” “HE LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE MASON!!!!!!!!!!” “He has such long fingers! Just like me” “He’s perfect” And he was perfect: 7 lb, 2 oz, 19.25 in long. I would do it all over again. I have said several times that I think birthing Liam will be what I am most proud of in my life. Nothing can top the feeling of going through labor and experiencing what a woman’s body goes through to deliver this beautifully perfect child into your arms. I will also remember how sweet Mason was. I loved watching him hold Liam for the first time and talk to him. Mason gave us both tons of kisses and “I love yous”. I don’t think I have ever felt so connected with another human being than I did with Mason at the moment we laid eyes on our son. I will cherish those hours always, pain and all.
Liam was able to nurse right away and has done an amazing job since then. We really haven’t had many, if any, problems nursing. I am eternally grateful for this! Although, now that I am breastfeeding, I can completely see why woman don’t! It is exhausting in every way. I am thankful I have my Mom and Mason here to help me, I don’t think – no, I know – I couldn’t have done all of this without them.
After a special request, we were able to go home the next day. Mason and I were both very anxious to get home (I think we were going a little stir crazy). It was nice being home with our new addition, introducing him to Max and showing him around the house. But there was already a sense of sadness because we had no friends to come visit and meet him. I had never really thought how sad I would feel. I was sad because Matthew, Brooke and the kids weren’t there to greet us. I was sad that all my friends were so far away and couldn’t experience this joyful time with us. I was sad because we didn’t really know anyone here. I can never express how important it was/is that my parents were there when he was born and the months after. I’m not sure how I would have survived without them. There is something about having your Mom around when you have a baby. I feel as though there is this unexplainable need for your mom when you have a child, no one else will do. I am much closer to my Mom throughout all this and feel as though I understand her a bit more than I ever have before.
Even though there was so much joy and admiration on Liam’s arrival I had a deep sadness. I had not considered how the plummeting of hormones would affect me. The baby blues was the worst part of this experience. I have said several times that I would go through the agony of non-medicated childbirth a million times over, but the baby blues were almost insurmountable. Even though I love Liam I hated those first few weeks. I can’t imagine ever getting over the guilt of feeling that way either. I hesitate writing any of this, but I want to be real and honest and maybe even encourage other new moms. I don’t think I will go into any more details but to say that I am thankful that I have an understanding and loving husband and parents who are willing to do absolutely anything for me.
The last few weeks have been so much better. Liam has been smiling and that alone is worth it. He is precious and has captured my heart. I feel as though I can “see the sunshine” again and “smell the roses”. I am slowly getting back to who I use to be. Well, I will never be that person again, but I am feeling more like myself in many ways.
Being a parent is difficult work. There is a mixture of reading books, listening to others’ advice, going with your instincts, and trial and error. It isn’t black and white. It is better and worse than I thought it would be. The journey has only just begun. I am grateful more than I can express that I can be on this path with my husband and best friend. Our old lives are just that, the past. Our future is full of the unkown that is parenting. I am stoked. Life is good.