My Labor Day comes in May, not September.
Tomorrow my first born turns 12.
12 years ago tonight, at 0100, my water broke. I spent the entire day in labor, and gave birth in the wee hours on the 14th.
May 14 rolls around in my head almost constantly. At least 3 times per week, I look at the clock at 5:14. It's really weird, but it happens all.the.time. 514. fiveonefour. fivefourteen. oh five one four. may fourteen. May 14th. 5.14.98. May 14. May Fourteenth. It was my password for everything, for years.
BUT. May 13? That's my day. My Labor Day. That's the day I look at the clock and can tell you, at any given moment what was going on. In fact, I can tell you about the entire week. In my mind, it runs like an old film; really fast snap shots with no sound, or rather, like it's being narrated.
On the afternoon of May 11, at 39 weeks, I was running (trotting?) out to the car and tripped and fell FLAT on my belly. Everything was fine, but I always wonder if that's what lead to my water breaking less than 48 hours later.
On the afternoon of May 12 (it was a Tuesday), my boyfriend (not the birthdad) dropped me off after school and said "Call me when you go into labor tonight!" HAHAHA! We laughed!
At 0100, now Wednesday May 13, I woke up to go to the bathroom (again), stood up, and could not for the life of me figure out why I was peeing all over myself. OH! Maybe this is it! I sat on the toilet and dripped. And dripped. And hollered to my mom. She called the midwife who told me to get some rest. Oh, right, because it is so easy to sleep when you are 18 and about to give birth to a baby you will then not take home.
So, I did calculus homework. (I later asked my calc teacher for extra credit for doing homework in labor. He said no.)
I tossed and turned.
I was pretty unemotional; I was naive.
I called Colin's parents and they got ready for the drive.
I called my boyfriend in the morning; he had to go to school.
The principle said a prayer for me over the intercom.
Once the sun came up, I went to the midwife's office where ruptured membranes were confirmed, and mom and I were sent to the hospital. We got there late morning, and did the whole triage thing. I thought it was outrageous that I had to walk around dripping. I was settled into my L&D room around noon. Contractions were bearable. I was on complete auto pilot. The biggest emotion I can remember is being so excited for Colin's parents. I wanted them to get to me asap and enjoy this stuff.
I got an epidural around 3. I honest to God thought the anesthesiologist was joking when he told me I'd have to stay still during a contraction. It seemed impossible, but I shut my mouth and did it. I tried not to make any waves through any of it. There was already so much fuss and comotion over my pregnancy, I didn't want to be any more of a burden.
The afternoon dragged on. Boyfriend came to see me. We watched the Last Ever Episode of Seinfeld. Colin's parents were stuck in major traffic. Like, bumper to bumper for hours. A 3 hour drive took >7 hours that night. I felt so badly for them; I couldn't imagine the torture of sitting still on a highway while you are trying to get to your baby's birth.
I was declared ready-to-push at 10pm. Boyfriend held a leg, and mom held the other. I pushed, and nothing happened. At 11pm boyfriend had to leave, it was a school night after all. He passed Colin's parents in the hallway and they held each other and cried. Colin's mom, D, wiped my brow as I pushed. and pushed and pushed. Dad, G, waited in another room. I pushed for 4 hours. They put forceps on, and Colin was finally, mercifully born at 0159. "It's a boy! You have a son!", the Ob said to me; I appreciate that more now than I did then.
We all cried. He was so bruised. I had the hormone shakes, and remember thinking it was very metaphorical. I was being shaken into my new life. G&D held their son and looked at him like new parents do. You know that look. You can feel it on your own face when you look at your kids, esp when they are brandy-new.
Everyone went home, and we all got some sleep. Colin didn't room in with me, I didn't even think of it. Later that morning, I rang for the nurse and asked for my baby. I fully expected her to tell me "no", and I would have accepted that. I was surprised when she said "yes".
G&D came back and we began this whole Open Adoption Thing. They bought newspapers with the date, fivefourteen. We all held, changed, and loved this new baby. We each rubbed our cheeks on his, and tried to honor each others' feelings.
Friday May 15, everything came crashing down. Birthdad said he would not sign. G&D brought me their car seat so I could bring my son home. I considered changing his name to Jake, but just couldn't do it. I felt so badly for my mom, she was going to have to help me a lot. I was crushed for G&D. They were crushed, too. A social worker came to my room and talked to me like I was a 5 year old; "now you know the baby needs to eat often, right?" in a very high, sing-songy voice. Yeah, lady, I was making an adoption plan, I'm not a dunce.
Saturday May 16, I took my son home. I was numb, and scared, and relieved, and sad, and scared scared scared. He didn't sleep a wink that night; we both cried much of the night.
Monday May 18 was my due date. It was my first full day alone with the baby. I read to him from The Bastard. Boyfriend thought it was inappropriate reading material for a newborn, but I reminded him: it's good for the baby to be talked to a lot, and I ran out of things to say. I started reading What to Expect the First Year, and tried to be the best mom I could.