Before another year slips away & while I can still remember the details, here, Reagan, is the story of your entrance into the world.
A year ago tonight, on Sunday, December 12, 2010, I attended evening services at church & then ate dinner at LongHorn Steakhouse in Monroe. It had been a good day. I stayed in bed that morning & didn't go to church because my back hurt, which I knew could mean I was in early labor, but with what I was carrying in front, an aching back was becoming the norm, & my December 28th due date was still two weeks away. My mom & I decided to do some shopping (& some walking) that afternoon. We hit the mall, & for someone who would give birth in less than twenty-four hours, I did well.
The walking worked. After dinner that night, I went home & attempted to sleep, something that had become almost impossible by that point. One of the things I still vividly remember about being pregnant is the feeling of turning from my left side to my right side while in bed. It was a detailed process of lifting all of my organs, a large bag of water, & a small baby, shifting my body, & then rearranging the organs, bag of water, & small baby; sometimes, you, Reagan, would throw in a kick or two to make the ordeal just a little more difficult. At two-thirty, having no success finding sleep, I got out of bed to use the restroom. Something odd happened. It was minor at first. Your daddy was, of course, still awake & rocking in his recliner, so I told him to bring me my cell phone. I called my sleeping mother & told her I thought my water may have broken. By the time our conversation was over, I was certain that it had.
They say your water can break incrementally, leaving a pregnant woman unsure if that is indeed what's happening. There was no doubt in my case. I was in no pain, so I calmly got the bags & a towel for me to sit on in the car. I kissed Sophie & told her my mom would be there shortly to pick her up, & your daddy & I left the house. On the way to the hospital, I noted to him that you would be born on my dad's birthday (December 13), to which he replied, "Maybe not." I was thinking Well I hope for my sake, she is! I explained to him that once your water breaks, that's it. They don't send you back home.
When we checked in at St. Francis, the nurses took one look at the back of my pants & said they didn't need to check to see if my water had actually broken. In the movies, they often depict this event as a small burst of liquid maybe equivalent to an eight ounce glass of water. From my experience, this is an inaccurate depiction.
I was hooked up to monitors & while I was very comfortable, I never slept. About eight that morning, I was given a little pitocin. Around ten, I requested an epidural, after which I never felt so much as a twinge of pain. Once I was fully dilated, a nurse asked me if I felt like I needed to push, which almost made me laugh because not only did I not feel the need to push, I couldn't feel anything at all. Zilch. This was the answer they were hoping for, as Dr. Sheppard hadn't yet arrived.
Around eleven forty-five, the nurses told me to push, so I tried, but I could tell from the looks they were giving one other that they were completely disappointed with my effort. I pointed out that while they were telling me to hold my own legs, this arrangement wasn't really all that helpful because I couldn't feel my legs. I also didn't feel the need to push & didn't know when I was having a contraction, so I wasn't purposefully being uncooperative even if it appeared that way. Then it occurred to one of the nurses to raise the handlebars on the side of the bed so I could hold onto those, which worked much better than my legs as the handlebars were far sturdier.
At twelve twenty-seven pm, a few minutes after Dr. Sheppard arrived, you were born, weighing seven pounds & five ounces & measuring a little over twenty-one inches long. I think I've grown almost as much as you have in the past year.
Sunday night, one year later:
You've gained about twenty pounds, & I've lost about twenty. We're at a healthy weight & are both sleeping through the night (in our respective beds, no less). There were countless moments this past year when I thought all of these things were impossible. I am proud of us.