Labor in Love

This week Rocky left on his first TDY since his injury.
I’ve spent over a year of the last five without him. These past two {short} days have triggered the independence that has been a staple of my sanity during his military career, but I’ve also been reflecting a lot about this incredible month and how this lovely new chapter started just a few weeks ago…

The contractions started the evening of July 4th. They were mild, so we watched several episodes of “Last Comic Standing” On Demand until we both fell asleep. My husband lovingly put a gigantic fan in front of me so that I was able to rest in spite of the heat. The contractors had our dining & laundry room tore apart, so our air conditioning was not in service during the renovation. I woke up around four am and couldn’t go back to sleep. The contractions were stronger and steady. I tried to tough it out on my own, but it’s boring to be in labor alone in the wee hours of the morning. I knew that the sun would be coming and it would be a hot one. I resolved that I didn’t want to labor in my house without air conditioning. I woke Rocky up and explained that he needed to get some coffee. It was time to wake up. If there is one thing I’ve learned after {almost} six years of marriage… it is that Rocky is unable to talk or function until he has had at least one cup. Two would be optimal, but he must have at least have one. Trust me.

My memories of getting ready to leave are all a sunny haze. I do remember attempting to make the bed & arrange the pillows in an orderly fashion. Our house was such a disaster construction site that I decided I must come home from the hospital to a clean bedroom. I had previously packed almost everything that I own, so after Rocky loaded it all into the Vue there was just enough room for the two of us to squeeze in. It’s always surreal for me to get in the car the last time before the baby is born. My brain tries to make the connection between the empty car seat and my gigantic tummy, but the two seem so strikingly unrelated.

I was a little nervous about sitting in the car for the contractions. To my relief, they slowed down during the half hour drive to base. It was Monday morning, but I guess a lot of people were still on vacation the morning after Independence Day. It was unusually peaceful along the highway. He drove carefully and I relaxed. When we got to Wright Patt, it was also a bit of a ghost town. Sometimes you can drive in circles for several minutes trying to find a parking spot at the hospital, but thankfully, it was vacant.

Before I could even get out of the car, I realized that my break was over. The contractions started coming strong & very close together. I could barely walk between them. Rocky went ahead of me to grab me a wheelchair. It felt silly to sit in it, but it made my journey upstairs much easier. Only a few short weeks before, he had been sitting in one when I picked him up from surgery in the very same atrium. The irony of our positions being reversed was not lost on me as I braced myself for another contraction.

We finally made it to the triage area and after they had me lay down, the contractions slowed down again. I didn’t really mind. I rested & almost fell asleep. Since I was a four and wanted a natural birth, they recommended that I walk around the hospital for an hour. I liked being released from the annoying fetal monitors, but walking seemed ridiculous. That’s why I opted for the wheelchair, right?! I decided I would sulk in the lobby until my “time out” was over. SpongeBob was rambling nonsense from a large tv and it was hard to find my “zone.” Sitting was terribly uncomfortable. I was starting to feel like I was in a no win situation.
Emphasis on the not winning part.

Rock could tell I was struggling. He suggested we try to start walking.
It sounded like a terrible idea.

He promised we could go slow. He said he’d take me down the quietest hallways.
I studied him.

He was still wearing the black walking boot they’d upgraded him to after the cast. I joked that he looked like Iron Man in one leg, but wearing it was actually very taxing on him. He’d ice his foot regularly after work & regularly took advantage of his prescribed pain killers. Walking the scope of the hospital was probably the last thing he wanted to do too so newly recovering from tearing his Achilles tendon. But here he was, willing to take my hand & go with me. His eyes were sleepy but he had the same expression that I fell in love with seven years ago.

What can I do to make you better? I will do anything to make you better.
His lips were silent but his eyes were pleading for me to give him the slightest direction so he could serve me.

I’ve trusted those big brown eyes for many years.
Through many zip codes.
Through many goodbyes.
Through many battles.

As I mustered up the energy to take my first step, a beautiful thing happened.

Piano music gently cascaded from my iPod to my ears.
As Regina Spektor started singing the lyrics to Samson, {one of my favorite songs of all time}, I took a glorious deep breath. It was just the coincidence I needed.
You know the moment in, The Grinch, where his heart grows three sizes larger?
Something to that effect happened to me.
We could get through one more battle.
Emphasis on the we.

*** That walk was a good idea… here we are about halfway through. Damian was born about two hours later with no complications {I will spare all of my future parent readers any further details pertaining to his arrival}. I wish I could be one of those glamorous new moms. The kind who wear make up & brush their hair… but I always get woken up in the middle of night to start labor. By the time I get to the hospital, I just don’t care how I look {obviously}. The “Labor Playlist” I made on my iPod was easily the best pain management tool I had during my labor… I listened to Samson about nine times on repeat. Happy weekend loves ♥

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  • Ashley - August 9, 2010 - 8:49 am

    I love this… you write beautifully : ) And I am contemplating a natural birth whenever my time comes so it’s always good to hear a positive story pertaining to it. Thank goodness for Regina… the things she gets us through : )

  • jackie - August 9, 2010 - 8:58 am

    Andre you have a beautiful gift for writing, please don’t ever stop or take it for granted! I enjoyed every word as I wiped the tears from my cheeks. I could see your story come to life right in front of me!

  • Courtney - August 9, 2010 - 12:31 pm

    Such a beautiful and memorable story. I LOVE the pic. Congrats!!!!!

  • Sarah - August 12, 2010 - 7:00 am

    Your posts almost always make me cry. What a beautiful thing love is!

  • kimia - August 26, 2010 - 1:07 am

    you looked BEAUTIFUL.

  • […] little Damian turned one today. At 12:55 PM. You can read his birth story here & see some newborn pictures […]

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