It was 4:00 AM and the OB doctor-on-call yawned as I pushed out the baby. David and I had decided to wait to find out the gender (which meant we had lots of rubber-ducky baby clothes), and after a short time the doctor announced, “It’s a boy!” It was a relief to hear those words and know the labor and delivery were finally over and I could hold my prize. As I reached to take my son for the first time, he started peeing all over me . . . but I didn’t care.
I held and nursed him awhile, then my nurse helped me to the bathroom so I could get cleaned up, and I finally saw what others had been seeing . . . my hair looked awful. It was matted up and stuck to the back of my head in a really hideous way. Laboring in the tub had made it wet, and then tossing my head during contractions had matted it up (in the picture, it looks like it’s sticking up because I’m leaning against the bed, but it was sticking up like that all by itself). When my mom saw me, she left and came back with a detangling spray and carefully combed it out.
David and I hadn’t landed on a name for our baby prior to his birth, but we had narrowed it down to our favorites. We decided he looked more like a “Brayden” than an “Ethan,” and announced it to our family and friends.
I was a little embarrassed to admit to others that my plans for an all-natural childbirth had fallen through. I didn’t know why my labor was dysfunctional, so it seemed I must’ve labored “wrong”. But I was holding my healthy baby, and those feelings faded into the background.
We took Brayden home and got to know each other. I nursed him constantly, felt chronically sleep-deprived, endured many headaches, and felt all the while like I was doing what I was born to do. Once, at one of his well-child checks, I asked the doctor why Brayden kept waking me up at night. “You could try giving him rice cereal to keep him full longer,” said the doctor.
“Are you talking about Rice Krispies?” I asked.
“No! Don’t give that kid Rice Krispies!” he said. “Rice cereal. It’s in the baby aisle.”
Two years later we decided to grow our family by another, and I was facing — now with dread instead of confidence — another labor experience. But at my 20-week ultrasound I received some unexpected news . . .
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