Sunday, May 8, 2011
My mom was the young wife of a Navy chief who served tours of duty on board ships. I was born when he was in Naples, Italy. He and my mom had discussed names, so when I was born, he sent her a telegram wishing her and MELANIE lots of love. Apparently, mom changed her mind when I popped into the world. I wonder how life would have been different if I'd been a Melanie instead of Heather.
Growing up in the Navy was nomadic. We moved every three years or so until I was 14 years old. I never really got to set down roots anywhere and longed for a life where I could just STAY. At 18, I left for school. I moved back and forth between home and dorms and apartments for the next five and a half years. After that, I moved between home and apartments every year or two.
Then I got married. Brian has lived in Bakersfield his whole life. He's been to Germany where he served a short mission for our church (he got sick and had to come home after only 3 months) and he went to Japan for his best friend's wedding. Other than that and a few places in California (oh, and Vegas), he's been a homeboy.
I looked forward to settling down in one place after marriage. I moved to Bakersfield for what I hoped was the last BIG move of my life. I was married to a wonderful guy, but still was homesick for something... I didn't feel rested or secure or at home.
Eleven months after we were married, I found out I was pregnant. It was 11pm and I was six weeks late. That had happened before so I wasn't really expecting to .. uh, be expecting. I took a test and couldn't believe it when two lines appeared... I was pregnant. I yelled at Brian to wake up and celebrate with me! I called my Mom and told her. Surprisingly, she was still awake...
My pregnancy was a blast. I was nauseated for two months and then I delighted in amazing everyone with my get up and GOGOGOGOGO! I couldn't wait to feel the baby move.
When I was five months along, I was up in Modesto visiting my mom. We had gone on a walk together and when we came back I laid down on the hide-a-bed in the living room. I felt the most peculiar sensation in my belly. Usually after a walk, I can feel a bubble-popping sensation in the muscles in my legs. I call it carbonated legs. That feeling was in my belly. I told my mom and she said, "That's the baby." I lay there for the longest time giggling at how funny and WONDERFUL it felt.
After that, I wasn't alone anymore. I had a buddy with me all the time. Work was fun because I had my baby with me. Sometimes, when my stepdaughter lay her head on my lap, the baby would kick her. That was fun, too. :)
It turns out that I wasn't going to be able to have the baby naturally, so a C-section was scheduled for January 19, 2007. I decided to work up through Tuesday, the 16th, the same day as my last doctor's appointment. Dr. U said I wasn't dilated at all and that I was good to go for Friday. I went home that night happy to have that last bit of alone time before the kid got there and also give me time to get ready to go to the hospital.
I went to bed that night intending to have a lovely relaxing day the next day. I'd clean the house, pack my bag, watch a movie and do Heather things. Around 2am I got up to use the bathroom. Just as I got in the bathroom, my water broke. It was the most peculiar sensation... And it wouldn't stop. Again, I had to wake Brian up... YEE HA! As I stood in the shower doing disgusting things, he called the hospital and got the go ahead to bring me in.
"Where's your bag?" he asked me. As I dripped in the bathtub, I reminded him that I had been SCHEDULED FOR A C-SECTION AND WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL BEFORE FRIDAY. My bag wasn't packed. So Brian put things in a bag for me. I was held hostage by my bodily fluids and tried to think what to ask him to bring. Puzzle book! Underwear! Chocolate! A book! MAKEUP!
I swaddled myself as best I could and we made our way outside in the cold and dark of Bakersfield in the dead of night. "I'm going to have a baby!" I kept saying to Brian. "Yes, you are..." he said smiling at me.
We got in the car and Brian broke every traffic law in the land. He was practically daring an officer to stop him. He went through 35mph zones at 70-80 and ran every red light. I told him I preferred to make it to the hospital whole, but Brian was charged on testosterone.
Once we were at the hospital it was a bit of an anti-climax. I wasn't in labor. Brian had brought me the wrong things in my bag and I hadn't had a shower. The nurse allowed me to shower with my IV bag on the wheeled-hook thing. It was hard to wash my hair, but I did it. And then I put on makeup. A friend in Modesto told me that her sister insisted on a full face of makeup and keeping her artificial nails on while giving birth. (I didn't realize that they didn't allow nail polish once upon a time...). My mom had always looked like death warmed over in her after-birth photos. Not me! I was going to look FABULOUS.
It was a good thing, too, because Brian had done something that made me spitting mad. His family is fond of dropping everything and camping out in patient's and waiting rooms for hundreds of hours at a time. I wanted to be alone with my husband and enjoy this. I did NOT want his family to be there until they absolutely had to be. When I came out of the shower, he confessed that he'd called them. It was 3am. "But don't worry!" he said, "I told them to be here at 6 am." They were there within 45 minutes. Needless to say, it was good he had someone to talk to because I certainly wasn't ever talking to him again...
My doctor happened to be on duty that night. I told her I'd missed her so much I came in. hahahahaha! I'm hilarious! Because I'd had ONE STINKING OREO at midnight, they wouldn't do my emergency c-section until 8am.
Just before 8am, they took me away. (My mom had moved to Utah just after that visit to her a few months before - she was on the road driving to me at that minute). I was nervous about the epidural because it sounds DISGUSTING to be injected in my spine... It wasn't so bad. And then my legs went numb. For some reason, it made me wacko. I started yelling at everyone that I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS AND I DON'T LIKE THAT! I noticed that the doctors and nurses ignored me and kept getting things ready. And then I didn't remember anything else until someone said, "Heather! Kiss your baby!"
A warm little head was put up next to my lips and I kissed obediently. I started becoming more aware and was sane again. And there was a baby squalling in the corner being cleaned. I. Had. a. Baby.
That night they brought the baby into my room to stay the night with me. I know they expected me to leave him in his trolley, but after Brian fell asleep and I was on my own, I got out of bed and picked up the little bundle and brought it back to bed with me.
It was the first time I'd been able to look at Kenneth Calvin George Eddy all by myself. I laid him down next to my face and fell asleep with my baby by my side. And he didn't suffocate or anything. He made the funniest little noises like a baby goat. He wasn't pretty and I was surprised by that. But I felt so ... intrigued by him. I didn't love him terribly yet, but that didn't bother me. I knew I really LIKED him, more than my sisters, more than my mom and dad, and even more than Brian...
Here was someone who would always be a part of me and might be like me and understand me when no one else would... I haven't been homesick once since.