Nine years ago today plus one day I heard the most toilsome three little words I would ever come to understand the meaning of…It’s a Boy! Some might argue here that, I love you is a complex trio but I beg to differ. When you go from simply women, sister, co-worker, daughter and friend to a mother something quite surreal happens.
See, when you are any of the above except for mother, it takes time to develop and understand your position. You build friendships over time, siblings relate and work relations evolve slowly. When you get wheeled into the hospital and are hoisted up on a cot to Labor and Delivery, there is no turning back. You can’t back out like you can a friendship. You can’t duke it out with your sibling. You can’t quit your job to break free from a co-worker. You are becoming a mother whether you are ready or not. Sure, some might comment that you had nine months to prepare, but I am not so sure about that.
So, as eager and excited as I was, I was also scared out of my mind. Throughout the popsicle sucking and ice chip chewing and frequent walks to let gravity kick in throughout the halls of L & D, it didn’t occur to me what was really happening. I now truly believe all the aches and pains and contractions are in place to take our minds off of the bigger picture. The fact that in a long or for some, a short time, we will become mothers.
After pulling an all nighter in L & D and going in and out of consciousness as a result of a lack of sleep and oxygen (really O2 mask and all), the nurses finally decided it was time to get me into my big girl room. This is the room as defined by me that is the real deal. Upon entering this room there will be no more popsicles, no more what ifs, no more false alarms and no more just about me anymore. This is the room where the real business takes place. This is the room where I was told now that the process has just begun (cause the other 10 hours didn’t mean a damn thing, right), the average delivery process (also known as the pushing part) takes approximately 3-4 hours for first time mommies.
Oh heck no little baby whatever gender you are. I am way too competitive for all that. Plus I navigated most of my then 28 years as defying the norm, so there is no way in my OB/GYN’s fantasy that I am going to be pushing it through for 3-4 hours. Me and the little one had a talk while in and out of consciousness and I gave it a two-hour time limit.
Two hours later when a baby did a back flip onto my abdomen and I heard, “It’s a Boy,” I knew me and this little guy would go places and be good friends. Or perhaps the right analogy is we would be mother and son. Wait, what? Did you just say, “It’s a Boy!” Oh my goodness, I am a mother. Now what?
Everyone and their mother was ecstatic. Literally EVERYONE and their mother because I was not so smart back then and said yes way too often. Yep, little junior changed that. I am not a “Yes girl” anymore unless you are offering me a Starbuck’s. All present while I labored or delivered or both, whatever actually happens, were my mother, my husband, my mother-in-law, my not so OB/GYN (mine was on vacation, figures), nurses, the anesthesiologist (sorry I caved and needed the drugs) and paramedic students. I am sure there were others but I cannot recall at this point.
Now you might ask what was I thinking. In my defense, I had no idea what the bleep was happening to me and every time someone walked into the room and asked to stay I was nodding with an oxygen mask on. Whether I was nodding up and down or side to side, they were taking off their coats and popping a squat on the comfy couch while I laid helpless and paralyzed from pain. So, what was I to do? With respect to the paramedic students, my husband brained washed me into thinking that it would be a good idea as he was deprived of that experience when he was a paramedic and firefighter student. Uh, huh, let them stay. I had no idea that I was saying yes to people he went to medic school with let alone what was about to REALLY take place. Lamaze, shame on you for not warning against the open door policy.
Anyways, after two swift hours, my little man was born and nine years later we are doing just fine. There is something to be said about your first-born. Something that happens when you become a parent for the first time. For some and many in my case it happens instantaneously. For me it happened ten days later.
All those curious people in my L & D room where all crying when my little guy was born. I heard words like beautiful, congrats, miracle, amazing, handsome and perfect amongst all the sniffles. But a few words that really got me were when the
intruders people present kept coming up to my bedside and saying things like, “why aren’t you crying?” I felt horrible but I couldn’t cry. Not even a half tear. Nothing! Was this setting me up for mom failure? Besides being in shock, I just couldn’t cry. I was happy and scared and had so many emotions not to mention hormones raging through my body and everyone wanted to know why I was not crying.
This became a really big deal for me. I tried to cry and ended up pulling a muscle. I wanted to cry when I got my first baby boy rain shower, but couldn’t. Since my little man was the first baby in our very big Italian family in thirteen years, I had visitors coming in and out non-stop. They were all crying. When I was discharged with my little babe on my lap, not a tear. When I brought him home and took the first few steps into our home, still dry-eyed. What gives?
Then 10 days after he was born when all the visitors migrated back into their own lives, my husband went back to work and the grandparents finally gave me some space, it happened. While I was nursing I looked at my son and saw the most beautiful, perfect baby boy. He opened his teeny, weary eyes and we connected. The way this mother and her son, should. It defined our relationship. We are going to do things on our terms and not abide to the norm. The eye contact sent tears streaming down my face and for the first time as a mother, I cried. I let it out and it felt natural, not forced. It was our time together away from everyone and the chance to connect one on one with no visitors.
Looking back I know I was overwhelmed and frazzled but realized with so many visitors and people and medical personnel it took away from my bonding time with my little bundle of joy. It wasn’t until we were all alone with his hand clasped on my finger, his blue eyes piercing into mine that I realized I was a mother. It was that 10th day that I knew I would do anything for this child. It made me want to be a better person, give more to everyone including strangers and change my priorities.
So, my dear son, on your 9th Birthday I wish the happiest of days! I want you to know that you never have to conform with the norm or try to be something you’re not just to please someone else. I wish that you will stay true to who you are and follow your passions and dreams. Also, it is okay to cry when you need and want to and you don’t have to cry if you can’t. Oh and yes, it’s your Birthday and I WILL cry if I want to! Happy Birthday to my little Nickobello! Oh and stay off YouTube, ride your bicycle instead and wear your helmet! I love you more than words can express and if you ever doubt that sweetheart, just look into my eyes!