Compared to Maggie's birth story, Will's is not at all dramatic. It's as if their stories, from finding out I was pregnant with each of them to the pregnancy itself to their births, reflects their personalities — Maggie's dramatic, with lots of peaks and valleys, highs and lows, and suspenseful moments, and Will's pretty chill and easygoing, with some blips along the way but mostly just completely straightforward. Of course it could be the different mother they each had –Maggie's sure that every! Decision! Carried such grave weight and would significantly affect her beloved baby's chances of a happy life unto eternity, while the mother Will got had been through some great successes and some royal screwups in the three years since his sister was born and feels a lot more confident in her abilities and her choices. I'm not struggling ith the identity crisis I did with Maggie, with the world-rocking love for this little person and the vulnerability I felt from that love. Maggie remade my heart, and Will gets to benefit from that.
So onto the story before I forget things.
Maggie was off school Monday for President's Day (WTF is up with that, anyway? In nearly 20 years of schooling I never once, not one time, remember getting that day off). It was serendipitous for us, because Paul's "paternity leave" had begun so we were able to spend our whole last day as a family of three together. We took Maggie to the Children's Museum, went home and enjoyed our naps, and then headed out for a celebratory ice cream. I made roast chicken for dinner, and then waddlingly helped Paul put Maggie to bed.
I felt like I needed to keep reassuring her that I love her beyond measure, that she is and would remain my darling girl. She was of course all "whatever, mommy, you love me, I get it." I was a weird mixture of excited, terrified, joyous, and feeling like it all needed to slow down a little. I never emotionally connected to pregnancy the way I did the first time. I pretty much consider it a state to be endured, not enjoyed. But I realized this will likely be my last chance to ever be pregnant, so I spent a lot of time running my hands over my giant belly, trying to imprint the feeling of a little body flipping around in there.
But mostly I was just so excited to finally see the face of my little boy I just couldn't wait.
My main memory of that morning is waking up and feeling that little body moving urgently. I told Will he was finally, in just a few hours, going to get to see us and put faces to the voices he'd been hearing all these months, and that we were so excited to be able to hold him and get to see his face as well.
Paul loaded our stuff and our girlie into the car, and then I said, "Let's go have a baby."
We dropped Maggie off at school, making sure her teachers knew today was the day and that my folks would be picking her up. They were all excited for us, and she ran up to her teacher Karen and declared "My baby brother is coming today!" My only tough moment came in giving her a big hug and saying goodbye, knowing that the next time I saw her, even though it would only be a few hours, everything would be different.
I'd been having some cramping in the last day, so that fact we'd made it and my doctor of choice would be doing the surgery was a nice relief. Also unlike Maggie, I was able to waddle under my own power to labor and delivery. The path from the parking garage takes you past the place you get the "big" ultrasound as well as the ultrasound that goes with the quad screen, and I was very conscious that this would be my last time making this trip through that skywalk, past OB ultrasound, over to the labor and delivery floor. I wanted to remember everything about what it was like to be there. This institutional hospital setting has been the site of some of the most joyous moments of my life and thus is imbued with a beauty totally out of proportion to how it really looks. It's where I found out both kids were healthy, that Maggie was a Maggie and Will a Will, where I remember very clearly standing in the hallway clutching an ultrasound photo of Maggie and weeping grateful tears. The thought I will never be there again, as a hopeful and nervous pregnant woman or as a big waddling about to deliver mama to be headed to L&D makes me surprisingly sorrowful. The fact that I never get to have this experience again is bumming me out – the next time I spend lot of time at a hospital will be for something that sucks, for example.
We checked in and were stowed in the jam packed family waiting room, filled with one enormous extended clan awaiting a baby. If you ever want to feel like Exhibit A, be nine months pregnant in the family waiting room.
They quickly got us into triage. One of the many advantages to Beaumont is they have like the nicest nurses in the world – I have adored almost all of the ones I have dealt with and miss them when it is time for us to part.
And they're professional too – Thank God. Because one, reviewing my chart, asked, "Now, you'll be getting a tubal today as well?"
WHAT?? Paul and I had discussed the issue, my OB and I had discussed the issue, I’d told the person from his office who booked the date, and the answer had always been NO TUBAL. We're more than likely all done, but after infertility treatment including some invasive testing and painful IUIs and two c-sections, if anyone's junk is getting messed with to avoid any new babies it will be Paul's.
"I am SO giving Brodsky a piece of my mind" I muttered to Paul. The nurses swore up and down they wrote "NO TUBAL" in big red letters all over my chart, and I learned a new factoid — that even I had gone in there avowing my deep desire for a tubal but had not prearranged it, they wouldn’t let me. "You're in no state of mind to be deciding that at this point," Margee explained.
Then, a tall, handsome doctor with an eastern European accent and ice-blue eyes came in — turns out he was assisting my doctor on the surgery. I just laughed—I have a great rapport with my doctor and think he's kinda cute, which many of my friends find horrifying. I'd seen this doctor walking around the floor and thought, what would my friends think of THAT guy as an obstetrician? He would also turn out to be the one who made rounds early in the morning, so woke me up and checked my incision at 6 am for the next three mornings. There are indeed worse ways to wake up in the hospital, although I was very conscious I looked like crap on a cracker every time he came in.
Finally the word came—time to get Paul into this thoroughly hilarious white paper hazmat suit so he could go into surgery. Last time they tossed him some scrubs — this time, he was encased neck to toe in these white coveralls. We'd left the camera in the car to avoid the possibility of losing it, and I strongly regret not having those photos.
And then I started getting scared.