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Packing the Hospital Bag

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Maybe I am weird, but I love getting my hospital bag ready to go.  I definitely over-packed for Eddie’s birth, (I also packed a gigantic snowsuit for him to wear home from the hospital, and he ended up going home in just clothes, and bundled in the car seat under blankets–I totally had no clue how big the suit was (there was no tag) in comparison to the size of a baby. It was January.  My first parental fail was on the books!) but since then I’ve pretty much gotten it down to a science.  I’m finishing up work this week, so the coming weeks will involve lots of baby prep and packing my bag is high on my list.

I always buy myself new stuff to bring to the hospital.  I don’t want their toiletries, I don’t want their gowns and I don’t want their tiny cans of warm ginger ale (ok, I’ll take the ginger ale.  And Lorna Doons.  Give me All the Lorna Doons). Having new and exciting things in my bag makes the hospital stay a little bit better for me.  I can deal with the 25 wake ups per night to take my blood pressure when I know I can take a shower in the morning with a luxurious smelling soap and sample sized shampoo.

Here is what goes in to my hospital bag:

  • New Pajamas.  I will wear their gear on the first day when they are “checking by bottom” and while I deal with…other issues. Generally though, I hate the hospital gowns and I prefer to wear pants. I like to buy stretchy pajama pants at Target (Something O’Malley) and matching shirt–something that is stretchy and conducive to nursing, but that isn’t a mumu.  I’m hoping to get multiples this time around on the off chance that I will be in the hospital for longer than 2 nights.
  • New Slippers and new socks.  My feet will not touch the hospital floor, no they will not.  New slippers and socks are a very fun post-delivery item to look forward to.
  • My Robe. I don’t ever wear my bathrobe at home, but it’s a necessity in the hospital.  It has pockets and is medium weight.  I’ve found that the room temperature varies, so it’s nice to have an extra layer.
  • A Nursing Bra. I have yet to have any substantial milk come in while I am in the hospital, but I always do what I am told and wear my nursing bra.
  • A handful of breast pads. Same as above.  I bring them, but leakage never starts until a day or 2 after I am home.
  • Toiletries. I like to go through the sample section at Target and see what strikes my fancy for shampoo for shampoo and conditioner.  I also grab a new puffy sponge, deodorant, and tooth paste. Sometimes I find a nice body wash and lotion in the sample area as well, but other times I will pick up small sized ones from Bath and Body Works.
  • A brush and hair ties. This is just common sense.  Anything else I would normally pack for a trip gets thrown in my toiletry bag.
  • My own underwear. I know this is unpopular, but I hate those mesh underwear.  HATE THEM. I usually buy some comfy cotton underwear just for the hospital with full knowledge that they may get ruined.
  • A Phone Charger. I can’t be without my Twitters.
  • Snacks. I like to bring pop tarts, granola bars and cookies.  Any small snacks to nibble in the middle of the night, or in the morning when I’m waiting for my breakfast. It’s also nice to have a little snack for the kids when they come to visit.
  • Camera. This is a given.
  • Going home clothes for the babies. This includes a size appropriate jacket and hat.  I bought the JJ Cole carseat covers to keep them warm as well, since it will still be winter, but they will be on the carseats already. I don’t bring much else for them since the hospital has most of it.
  • Clothes for me to wear home. This is actually only a maybe item, because if my birth is scheduled, I will wear home the same clean clothes I wore on the way in.
  • Magazines. I am almost always too tired to concentrate on reading, but flipping through a magazine can be relaxing.
  • Nursing Pillow. This won’t actually fit in the bag, but I will have Ed bring it in post delivery.

Now that I’ve typed it out, it seems like I’m forgetting something.  I have some time to think about it though.  Do you have any must haves to put in your hospital bag?

The things you think about…

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**Disclaimer: this is pure babble.

When I was in the depths of my freakout the other morning, and by depths, I mean calmly walking to the basement to dig through an old purse to find a maxi pad, and grabbing paper towels and ziplock bags in case I needed to retrieve tissue, I said to myself over and over again “Please let them be ok. Please let them be ok. Please PLEASE let them be ok.” I wouldn’t call it a prayer, as much as it was a mantra, but saying it helped to keep me even, and calm.

Once we were at the hospital, and things were getting real, and especially after Ed had to leave to get the kids to school, I started thinking thoughts of “What will I do if this was all for nothing?”

It’s not a secret that I was conflicted, first about being pregnant, when all I’ve said for years is that I wanted just one more. When faced with it though, the very first thing I thought was that things are good the way they are. I cried.  I processed. And after a few days, I was good.  Better than good.  So happy to be adding to our family. Really.  And then we found out that it was 2 babies, and my husband was so excited he was pretty much dancing on the ceiling, and my only emotion was shock. Pure and unadulterated shock. And it took me a few days of processing, pacing, not sleeping and not eating to make myself be ok with it.  Not that I ever had any questions about whether or not I would love a baby, or 2 babies, or even 7 babies because of course I would, and already did on some level, BUT because if ever there was a time for a major freakout, if ever I knew that our lives would be in a complete upheaval, I knew this was it.  And I do not deal with upheaval very well.  By nature, I am calm, even and smooth.  I hate surprises.  HATE. This was anything but calm and unsurprising.  I’m babbling, I know, but the point is that it took me a few days to settle and process the new information and move forward with a plan and to really be ok and believe that 2 babies and 5 kids in total was the way it was supposed to be.

And then after that, I comforted myself with thoughts along the lines of “this is the last time I ever have to…” You know, have nausea, feel the round ligament pain, feel the belly stretching in general, I can finally get this umbilical hernia repaired, soon I can take good drugs again and forever after. The usual, I suppose.  The point being that I knew without a doubt that this was my very last pregnancy.  There was no more uncertainty that our family would not be complete, that anyone would be missing.  We would be done.  We would all be here.  We would take permanent measures to ensure that would be true. I knew for certain that babymaking and growing, and incubation, the Incubation Nation as it were, would be OVER.

So then we had Monday and it left me with thoughts along the lines of “What will I do if I lose these babies?” And seriously, what would I do? Be done? Just give up, and be content with our family as it is today? I’d already made peace with never being pregnant again.  If the end result of said pregnancy happened to be no babies, would I be willing to risk it all and try again? AND lets say I did try again, and we had one baby, would I want to have a 5th since I now have 5 stuck in my head as “our number”? I have no idea.  No idea no idea no idea.  I had a hard time reconciling that ll the sickness and pregnancy bullshit could have possibly been for nothing, which was why, along with the fact that I finally realized, FINALLY(!) that I am so attached to these babies, I kept going with my mantra of “Please let them be ok. Please let them be ok. Please PLEASE let them be ok.” I didn’t know what else to do.

And so now we are here, with things seeming to be fine. 2 healthy babies and the end of our first trimester. And I want to be happy and calm and a chill as I ever was, but I’ve sort of transformed into this girl on edge.  I’ve only had the slightest scare. Nothing happened.  But what if it gets worse?  What will we do then? I’m pretty sure that I won’t take a true deep and calm breath until these babies are here and healthy.  And then what? Worry for the rest of their lives of course. Or the rest of my life anyway.

What if? What If? WHAT IF? Seriously, I just don’t know.  These are the times that I hate that life does not have a road map, I hate not knowing and I hate that I have been shaken and that I’m struggling to be calm through all of this and live a normal life when inside I am screaming “OMG WHAT IF”.

Seriously.  OMG, WHAT IF.

How Did You Find Out??

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Well, I was struggling with what I was going to write today, if anything because I’ve got a killer headache that has lasted for a week and this mucus issue going on that is not helping. I was going to talk about my ever-growing stressful list of the baby products we need since ours have been through 2 kids and we have either thrown them out, or they are completely destroyed, OR I never liked them to begin with and dammit my 3rd baby deserves better! Then I read Swistle’s post. Asking how we found out we were pregnant, and there it was! I knew I had to write about it.

The first time around, I had been charting my cycle like a crazy person for 3 or 4 months—basically ever since we got married and I had stopped taking the pill. I knew that there was a chance, but when I started getting horrific cramps, I figured it was my period and started popping Pamprin like there was no tomorrow. I went to the doctor for something completely unrelated that week, and mentioned that I was a day late and that my cycle was usually 28 days on the nose. The nurse said that it couldn’t hurt to take a test, and I did. She told me to wait about 5 minutes for it to develop and then ran back in the room about a minute later yelling “You’re pregnant!!!!” I didn’t even know how to react. Hub had borrowed my cell phone that day, so I tried calling him from numerous pay phones on my way back to work. He didn’t answer. I finally told him in a whisper from my desk at work. I was taking classes in the evening at the time, and went to school and bombed a really important test. Luckily, my professor had a 2-year-old and a one-year-old and she understood. I retook the test the following week.

The second time around, my cycles were all out of whack. We weren’t being careful at all, so I was buying pregnancy tests in bulk. I was working this weird 12:15-9:00 shift at the time, but I was working days on this particular day because one of our partners was taking all of the managers out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. I had planned on having drinks on their dime since I was done nursing—ED was 11 months old and had weaned himself by then—but I figured I would be responsible and take a test just in case. Imagine my surprise when it was positive. I woke hub up to tell him and then laid back down in bed with him completely in shock. It’s weird because I can remember that it was 5:34 AM, exactly how our bedroom was set up at the time and the pajamas I had on.

This third time, again, my cycles have just not been normal. One day in November I happened to plug in the date of my last period and realized that we had a good chance of being pregnant based on “our activity”. The weird thing was that when I realized it was a possibility, I really really wanted it. I said a little prayer right then and there, that if there truly was a chance to please make it happen. I wasn’t surprised at all when I tested positive. The first test had a super faint second line and I woke Hub up to tell him the news. By now, it was no big deal and we both went about our mornings. I tested again over that weekend to be sure, and here we are, 6 weeks later, 10 weeks along. Despite being sick, and run down and all that jazz, life is pretty much the same as it’s always been.

For me, finding out that I am expecting is almost as exciting as actually having the baby. I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long.

Caitlyn’s Birth Story

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Unfortunately, I don’t have an entire back story about Caitlyn’s conception. Ed and I were not being particularly careful and my cycles were completely erratic. I took at least one pregnancy test a month because after ceasing nursing at 7 months (along with coping with the demands of an infant) I had no idea where I was in my cycle at any given time.

I remember, right after Thanksgiving, telling Ed “I’m sure I’m done ovulating by now…”

Yeah.

There was a work Christmas party on 12/16/04 and I planned on drinking for maybe the 3rd time since I had Eddie. When I woke up that morning I had it in my head to take a pregnancy test before I went to dinner or else I would never forgive myself. For peace of mind, you know. I did not even consider for a second that it would be positive.

SURPRISE!!

I had never experienced a positive home pregnancy test since I found out about Eddie in the doctor’s office. I peed on the stick and continued on with my business. It blared a positive result after about 3 seconds. I, of course, went in to panic mode. I had an 11-month-old. And I was pregnant, again. I was just starting to look normal again. And oh.my.god. What was Ed going to say? I woke him up at 6:00am. He’d had no idea I’d even taken the test. I told him, we talked about it a bit, and decided that we were totally fine with it.

We told our families early this time, over Christmas, with Eddie wearing an “I’m the Big Brother T-shirt” on Christmas Eve. We wrapped it up for my mom to help Eddie open on Christmas Day. People were surprised, for sure. But we all knew that Caitlyn was meant to be. My due date was 8/26/05.

Early on in the pregnancy, I contracted a horrible kidney infection and was hospitalized for 2 days. I continued to have urinary tract infections through the pregnancy, but that was my only complaint. In comparison to my first pregnancy, this one was cake! As much as I hated pregnancy the first time around, I just loved it this time. I was never sick. I was no more tired than I had been while caring for Eddie. I felt great!

The cravings were a lot different the second time as well. I still drank my coffee, 1 cup of regular in the morning and a cup of half-caf in the afternoon. I loved on strawberries and whipped cream. I needed to have Cedar Point Corn Dogs and Ed wouldn’t go get them for me. Instead, I wrapped hotdogs in crescent rolls and ate them for lunch and dinner for at least 2 weeks. I went to Starbucks almost daily for the strawberries and crème frappucino with a shot of vanilla.

I knew from the beginning that this was a girl, and we had it confirmed with our 20 week ultrasound. We knew her name already, and until about 3 weeks before she was born it was going to be spelled Catelyn. I changed it to Caitlyn and then we moved on to the middle name, (which to this day, Ed is not a fan of.) Her name would be Caitlyn Renee.

We traveled to Virginia Beach and Richmond when I was 8 months pregnant and it was probably the most miserable car ride of my life. We walked everywhere though and had a really good time. Here is a photo of me 8 months pregnant feeding a giraffe. If you recall the photos from my 1st pregnancy, you can see that I carried her a whole lot differently. She was up high and under my ribs for the entire pregnancy.

I worked up until the beginning of August. The summer averaged about 90 degrees every day and I could hardly walk because my ankles were so swollen. I saw the one doctor at my practice that I hated, and she pulled me, so she was my new best friend. I wanted to nest, I really did, but I could barely move. I had until the end of the month, right? The good news was that we had never put the bassinette away after we moved Eddie to the crib. All I had to do was put the linens back in. I did manage to get her clothes washed and put away in all of their pink and frilly over-abundance.

On August 16th, we went to our county fair. I was having tons of contractions as we walked around in the 95 degree heat. Figuring I was dehydrated, I drank 3 bottles of water. Everything settled down by the time we got home. I went to the doctor in the morning and saw my very favorite midwife, the one who assisted in delivering Eddie. I told her about everything that was going on and she checked me out. I was 2 cm but very thinned out so she stripped my membranes with her finger. (This apparently separates membranes from the cervix…….I can still feel it when I think about it. Not cool.) She was sure I would go in to labor that night.

I was nervous because Ed was working out of town that day, but the contractions held off. I honestly had my first one as he walked in the door at 7pm. They were sporadic all night and I went to sleep in the recliner wondering if I actually was in labor. I woke around 2am definitely in labor. I had the classic feeling of “maybe if I just poop I’ll feel better.” I didn’t. I woke Ed up and told him we had to go. Then I proceeded to do 150 other things to make sure Eddie was taken care of. I called the midwife (the nasty one was on call) myself and she told me that if I was talking to her, there was no way I was in hard labor, but that she would meet me at the hospital anyway.

Ed took this picture right before we left. He’s charming, isn’t he? (to be uploaded later because i don’t have it at work–it’s a miserable picture)

My water broke in the driveway at 3:45 AM. We were at the hospital by 4 and I was in excruciating pain. It took them forever to get the IV started and me hooked up to everything, so I had to wait for the epidural. The anesthesiologist was in around 5:15am to do the epidural asking me all kinds of questions. The midwife was still not there. He finally started threading it through and gave me the initial shot. I started pushing (involuntarily) just was the midwife walked in. The anesthesiologist never even started the drip because Caitlyn was coming. Ed ran back in the room just as they flipped me over to get going. 3 pushes and she was out. (Don’t worry, the epidural kicked in just in time for my 3 stitches)

Caitlyn Renee was born at 5:37am on August 18, 2005. She weighed 9lbs 5oz and was 21 inches long. As with her brother, the NICU was paged because of her size. She was also hypoglycemic, but the doctor also felt an abnormal bulge in her belly. She was taken away before I could nurse her, and just after I held her for a minute.

They were afraid that the bulge was an intestinal problem, and didn’t want her to eat anything, so they started an IV to get her blood sugar up. We were relieved to hear that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her after a few hours, but disappointed to hear that because an IV was started, they would have to wean her off of it. Unlike an adult, a baby couldn’t handle the IV just being taken out and it had to be reduced gradually.

And so began the long ordeal of Caitlyn in the NICU. I could go up there to nurse her, but they were giving her formula to keep her sugar up. Every time they reduced the IV, her levels dropped just enough to be considered “unstable”. Day one turned in to day two and she was still on the IV.

All of my hopes and dreams were shattered in this horrendous post partum state. She was supposed to be in the room with me, and Eddie was supposed to come bounding in, wearing his big brother t-shirt, and climb up in my bed and hold his baby sister for the first time. Everyone was supposed to be there to fawn over my baby girl. Instead, Eddie came for about 30 minutes and played cars with me on the floor in my hospital room. Outside of Ed’s Mom, his Aunt Gail and Uncle Rich, and Marisa and George, nobody came to see me. Why would they if they couldn’t see the baby, right? I gave up at that point. I didn’t go up and nurse her regularly. I stayed in my room, slept and watched TV, checking on her sporadically. Ed and I fought because I wasn’t doing enough. I just couldn’t do it, physically or mentally.

Day 3 arrived and they had no idea if she would be released along with me. Her final reading was scheduled for 10pm. I decided that sitting around the hospital hoping she could come home wouldn’t do anyone any good, so I went home. I pumped. I spent time with Eddie. And then Ed and I went to his 10 year high school reunion for a bit and waited for a call.

The hospital did call just after 10 to say that we could come and get her. Her reading was still low, but nothing that I couldn’t handle, they said. So off we went. I still hadn’t put the bassinette linens on and the car seat straps needed to be adjusted from the last time Eddie used it. I went to the NICU for the final time and put her in her going home outfit, even though it was after 11 by the time we got there, and we took our baby girl home.

Fortunately, this was where any feelings of depression subsided.

Caitlyn was a great baby, came home sleeping 4 hours at a pop. She fit right in. Eddie wasn’t thrilled with her at first, as she took up a lot of my time, but he quickly became a good big brother. We got in to a routine right away because Ed worked a lot. I kept her in the front carrier quite a bit so that my hands were free to tend to Eddie and housework. She came to the park with us, on the car ride while I took Eddie to school. I think the most important part of integrating her in to the family was keeping everything very much the same. She did what we always did.

Our family was, and is, perfect.





****On a side note, I know this is really long…I know****

I spoke briefly about this in my 100 facts list. When Caitlyn was about a month old, she spiked a really high fever and was hospitalized with suspected meningitis. A ton of tests determined that it was just a viral infection; however, they kept her hospitalized because a baby that young should not have a fever. I spent three days in the hospital with her, nursing her, hanging out and taking care of her. At that point, I felt like we finally bonded. Ed said it to me then, and I truly believe that this was sent from God. No, it is never fun to have your child hospitalized and it was certainly stressful. But I spent the time with her, just me, alone, that I should have to begin with. And somehow, I finally felt complete. He does work in mysterious ways.



And Now the Rest of the Story-Eddie’s Birth

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It was January 6th, 2004 and I was officially 2 days overdue. Other than having spent our entire dinner at Applebee’s the night before in the bathroom, I was feeling pretty good. I had a routine doctor’s appointment to discuss exactly how long they were going to let me be overdue before they induced. My appointment was around 11am so Ed and I had a quick breakfast at home and headed over there.

At my OBGYN office, anytime you are seeing the doctor over the midwife, there is a wait. We waited nearly two hours before we saw her. She asked a lot of questions about how I was feeling before she even checked me. When she did check me, she looked up in amazement and asked if I was sure that I wasn’t having contractions. I told her that I didn’t think so, and she said “well you’re 5cm!!” She decided to do an ultrasound to see what was going on with the baby, and again there was a wild and surprised look on her face.

“This baby is at least 9 lbs.”, she said. “You need to go to the hospital!!”

She then gave me a 15 minute lecture about how my worst fear might come true; I may have to have a c-section. I felt all of the color drain from my face and I felt like I was going to throw up. When you’ve been told since you were 15 years old that you have “the perfect hips for birthing”, the thought of a C-section never comes in to play. For my entire pregnancy, I never even considered that I would have a c-section. Much like the day that I was told I was going to have a baby, I was in shock. I walked out of the doctor’s office barely hearing her call after me “Make sure you don’t eat anything in case we do the c- section! Have them call me when you get to the hospital!”

As soon as we got in the car, I lost it. I sobbed hysterically. I couldn’t breath. I made Ed call Marisa at work to tell her everything, and then I got on the phone and blubbered to her. I know that I called my parents, but I can’t remember speaking to either of them. I was sure that I was having a nervous breakdown. I had just about calmed down when we got home, but as soon as we got in the house and started getting my stuff together, I was hysterical again. I went in the bathroom to compose myself, and Ed took this wonderful picture of me:

We left the house around 3:00PM and had to run a few errands, stop at the bank, etc. It was going on 6 hours since I had eaten and Ed was hungry too. He grabbed some food and we were at the hospital by about 5:30 PM.

As soon as we were checking in, they got me hooked up to the pitocin, which immediately gave me intense contractions. It was about 2 hours before I was in tears and needed the epidural, the greatest invention I know of. Marisa and George, my parents and Ed’s mother were in and out of the room. Marisa had to work the next day, so when things weren’t happening, they left around 10PM. Very soon after that it was time to push. I can’t remember anything that happened during the pushing phase other than telling Ed that if he put one more FUCKING ice chip in my mouth, I would strangle him. I pushed until about midnight before I overheard the doctor saying she wouldn’t let me push much longer. I had a renewed strength at that point because there was no way I was going through all of this crap just to be cut open, and started pushing like a crazy person after that. The problem: Eddie was posterior or sunny side up. After another 2 hours, his head was nearly out but we needed some help. (Apparently, all of the tearing didn’t help at all) Ed describes my episiotomy with great detail. “They both had a pair of scissors in each hand! They snipped you everywhere!” They ended up using the vacuum and finally, after 4 hours of pushing, I had my baby boy!

Edmund Mason, Jr. was born at 2:13 AM January 7, 2004. He weighed 10lbs 2oz and was 23 inches long. We couldn’t believe how much he looked exactly like his daddy.

I had never been happier. Ed held him while I was being stitched up and then the neonatal doctor took him to be checked out because of his size. His blood sugar was a bit low, so they took him upstairs and gave him some sugar water in a bottle. By the time I was in my room and slept for about 30 minutes, he was ok, and ready to nurse.

Now everything that I ever read said that babies are not hungry at birth; it takes them a few days to have that kick in. Eddie was ravenous when he was born. He nursed every 2 hours like clockwork the entire time we were in the hospital. So I would nurse for an hour, sleep for an hour nurse again…and so on. I couldn’t believe what I had signed on for.

Our second night in the hospital was the worst. First of all, I was more sore, and sore in the oddest places, than I had ever been in my entire life. Then I was more exhausted than I had ever been, and in the middle of the night, my 1-day-old baby forgot how to nurse. I couldn’t get him to latch on, he was screaming, and I was crying hysterically. I called the nursery and sobbed/screamed in to the phone that someone needed to come and help me. I think they thought I hurt the baby because they were down there so fast. And there I was, half naked on the bed, trying to get him to take a boob, just defeated. And you know what? The nurses acted like I was normal; like it was no big deal. They brought in some sugar water and helped me get him going. The whole nursing thing went reasonable well after that.

I loved staying in the hospital. We had tons of visitors, and Eddie was a hit. I had my fill of hospital food (which I love because I’m a F R E A K) and also my gourmet dinner. The nurses in the nursery loved him, and my favorite one, an older Indian woman, showed him off to all of the girl babies and thought about which one would be his girlfriend. (She kissed him on the head on her last shift before we left and whispered “I will see you back in a year or so with a baby sister” which is just way too weird) Nurses and doctors from all over the hospital came to meet me because I was the girl that pushed out the 10 lb posterior baby. In fact, on our way out to go home, our delivery room nurse introduced me to the patient she was walking out as “the girl I told you about, with the 10 lb baby.”

And home we went to start our life as a family. Having a baby was the best thing I ever did, and I had never felt more fulfilled as a person than when I became a mother. All of the misery of pregnancy and the horrendous delivery were worth it; worth it enough to do it again……and maybe even again some day.



Eddie’s Birth Story- My Pregnancy

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My pregnancy, at the beginning anyway, was horrendous.

First there was the constant nausea. I never once threw up, I just always felt like I was going to. I kept food on my night stand and just did the best I could. I couldn’t stand to drink or smell coffee which was a feeling so foreign that I can’t even describe it.

After the nausea came the bleeding. Incessant bleeding. Nothing was ever wrong, it just turned out that I had “a very vascular cervix” but to be safe, relations were suspended by my doctor until after the 1st trimester.

And after those two things came the worry; the ever-present worry. I had read so much about things going wrong for someone with my particular thyroid condition. I was so nervous about losing the baby, so nervous that it would be gone forever, I just counted the days until my 1st trimester was over.

The most defining moment in my pregnancy was having a cautious ultra-sound when I was 7 weeks along, during the bleeding. There was the baby, a teeny tiny bean in there with a heartbeat. A HEARTBEAT!! When I was 7 weeks…which is really only 3 weeks after my missed period-I was in complete wonder at the evidence of life in me so early on. 7 weeks.

When the 2nd trimester began, so did the cravings. I did not crave a single thing that was good for me. I was on a Twinkie binge for nearly a month (to the point where my boss was smuggling in Twinkies to work because Ed forbade me to eat them), and with the exception of having to have orange juice with my breakfast, I drank root beer, Mug Root Beer to be exact, morning, noon and night. I could not eat tomatoes in any form and thinking about baked macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs on it made me sick. I craved favorite foods from my childhood: creamed cucumbers, peanut butter cookies, and my aunt’s deviled potato salad. Later on, it was breaded pork chops. We ate them for a week straight before Ed said anything.

I was huge and in full maternity clothes by the time I was 4 months pregnant.

At my 20 week appointment I was ecstatic to find out that we were having a boy. I sobbed in the ultrasound room and Ed was sure it was because I wanted to have a girl, but really, it just made it so much more real. A boy, and he would be Edmund Mason Jr.

Of course, we registered immediately and my mother and aunt began planning my baby shower. I had never been so excited in my life. All the clothes and toys and blankets. Who knew that there was even so much out there for babies? I felt like an idiot, let me tell you.

Here is me at 7 months:

And here is me at my baby shower, with my mother.

I had planned on working right up until my due date because I had just been promoted, but just before Thanksgiving I started having contractions. Ed and I went to the hospital, and I was in labor, 6 weeks early. I was re-hydrated and given something to stop the contractions and sent home. I worked for just about another week before I was pulled indefinitely. This was actually pretty cool because I got Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years off. I felt fine, other than the heartburn that had me sleeping upright in our recliner, and we took the time to put things together and set up Eddie’s room.

Christmas came and everyone marveled at my huge belly and we all laughed at how I balanced my dinner plate and pop can on it for the duration of our meal.

It was perfectly relaxing, and a wonderful experience to have no obligations, and just be able to enjoy the last weeks of my pregnancy at home, just getting ready for this life changing event.

Preface to Eddie’s Birth

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I was 24 years old, and for at least 3 years I had wanted to have a baby. When Ed and I were married in September 2002 the instinct went in to overdrive. It was all I talked about, every single day. I had stopped taking the pill the day after our wedding, and had become proficient in tracking my cycle. Ed was uncomfortable with the thought of a baby, and barely even entertained the subject.

Ed and I arrived home around the same time one day in April 2003…ok, it was April 16th to be exact. He told me that he had been giving it a lot of thought and that he wanted to have a baby with me. I’m not going to give you the gory details; we all know how babies are made. I knew I was ovulating at the time and I called Ed on it. (It was very weird for me, because we had been “doing it” while I was ovulating for 6 months and I was always nervous that I’d be pregnant and he’d be disappointed. In a crazy kind of way, I feel like since Ed finally wanted it, that I allowed myself to get pregnant that night.)

After a few weeks, I started having horrendous cramps that Midol wouldn’t even touch. I was sure that I was getting my period. I went to my primary doctor for a check-up and mentioned to the nurse practitioner that I was one day late for my period. She asked if I was usually regular, and I was extremely regular at the time. She thought that it wouldn’t hurt to do a pregnancy test, so I did. She told me I’d have to wait about 10 minutes for the results, but burst in to the examining room after about 3 minutes and congratulated me on being pregnant. (It turned out that the cramping was implantation)

I was in shock. I don’t think I even moved when she told me. I didn’t laugh or cry. I stood up, my legs like jelly, and walked out to my car in a complete daze. All I could think about was how I would ever make it back to work and function for the rest of the day; how would I tell Ed without anyone hearing me? For whatever reason, I didn’t have my cell phone that day, so I stopped and tried to call him from a payphone. No answer. I tried again and still no answer. I drove reluctantly back to work.

I eventually reached him from work and told him the news in whispers. He was hard to read. (I later found out that he thought I said the dr. said I might be pregnant) He had a lot of questions that I really couldn’t answer because my job at the bank at that time had me in an environment where I was surrounded by people. I didn’t go right home from work that night as I was taking classes. I bombed an important math test and was finally home about 9:00 PM.

When Ed fully understood, he was thrilled. We talked for a long time, both of us scared, and excited.

We were going to be parents.