Where there’s a Will…
On Saturday, I became a mother.
As much as I tried in the last two weeks of my hospital bed rest to prepare for the likelihood of my son’s arrival, especially 10 weeks early, I could never know how I would truly feel. I have all the rush and range of raw emotion that most new mothers experience as they take on this role. I’m joyful for his health and fearful of all that comes with delivering a preemie. I’m thankful for his top-notch neonatal care and boastful of how beautiful his strawberry blonde hair and pink skin shines in the light. I’m often flooded with so much happiness that if I were a Care Bear, I would have a rainbow on my chest.
That would make me Cheer Bear.
The amazing fact that he is here with us, breathing on his own and growing stronger every day, even at a small 3 pounds, fills me with hope. Since our baby, who we aptly call Will, arrived early Saturday morning, he has earned the determination component of his name in epic fashion. He made me a mom when I least expected it, but now I can hardly think of anyone else but him and his well-being.
I was told that would happen.
The night he decided he was joining us here on the outside, there was not much activity from him on the inside. From 10-11 p.m. Friday night, I sat calmly in bed as the monitor tracked a steady heart rate from him and no contractions from me. The stats were as consistent and steady as they had been since my water broke 11 days prior and I was admitted into the hospital for an extended stay.
No news was good news at this particular junction in our adventure.
I decided to go to bed after they removed the belly bands that did the monitoring — at least I had thought as much. Soon I was feeling some cramping and headed to the bathroom where I found myself finding some solace on the cold floor. Being that I hadn’t had the chance to take any birthing classes, I went by what the doctors and friends told me to expect if labor was starting.
A call to the nurse was in order.
I’ll always remember the nurse who helped me as I started going into labor. His name was Bob, he was tall, and he wore glasses. Bob knew to call the doctor, and it wasn’t long before she came in and told me she could feel a foot. Also one detail of Will’s birth I’ll never forget.
I enjoy some humor in life, but that was no joke.
In the world of birthing, breech babies — meaning, in this case, coming out feet first — are grounds for a C-section. It wasn’t long before a quick surgery welcomed Will into the world at exactly 1:59 a.m. on Saturday, July 18. He weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces and was 16 1/4 inches long. The most beautiful baby in the universe, in my humble opinion.
I may be a little partial.
When I heard his cry and they held Will up to me so I could see him, there wasn’t anything else to do at that moment but cry, well, like a baby. He was here, on his own terms, and I have not been the same since. I’m no longer the “girl from the paper” who was terrible at dating and would write all about it. I’m not the single friend who’s always fun to have around at a party. I might still be a comic, but the joke telling is mostly limited to Will’s dad, family and friends who appreciate sarcasm in a typically nonamusing scenario.
I’m still good for lightening the mood.
What I am is stronger than I ever thought I could be. I can go through labor, bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan — a ’70s reference to being a working momma — just like my own mother did when I was growing up. What I am is a caregiver, a lover and a fighter. Someone who will never give up on Will and will always be his biggest fan.
What I am is a mother.
April E. Clark thanks all the friends and family who have visited and reached out by messaging, and the doctors and nurses who have provided his wonderful care. The love and support is immeasurable. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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