Natalia is my first born and of course will always be the one who taught me how to be a mom but I will always say that Peter is the one who taught me to never say I can’t do something. Today, on his 6th birthday, I thought it would be a good day to share his birth story and why I say he’s the one who taught me this important lesson!
I remember the day before he was born like if it was yesterday. Peter and I were already working together and it was tax season. I couldn’t stay at the office late because we had Natalia but he had to. I remember leaving the office at 6PM and telling everyone I would see them the next day, never expecting to be holding a baby before the office opened the next morning. I know some women take some days off when they know their due date is approaching but I’ve never had the luxury of doing that. Not only did both my kids come before their due date but it was never in the plan for me… especially with Peter being a tax season baby! I remember coming home with my huge belly to deal with my 17 month old, alone, because Peter was working late. I brought her out to the yard to entertain her for a bit and I remember there were puddles on the floor from some rain. She started jumping in them and I remember squatting to take her out of the puddles before she created more of a mess. I always wonder if that squatting and lifting her is what sent me into labor that night!
I did my usual bedtime routine with Natalia and at that point in the pregnancy, I could not help but wonder if this would be the last time it would be just her and I. Later that night I remember watching TV with Peter and I started to feel contractions. It was my second pregnancy so at this point I knew the difference between Braxton hicks and the real thing. Peter saw my face and noticed something was wrong and I told him I was feeling contractions, the real thing, but I didn’t want to get excited because I knew that could happen and it may not be labor yet. I tried to go to sleep that night but the contractions kept me up. I decided to try timing them. There was actually an app for this and while I don’t remember exactly which one I used, I have to guess that 6 years later apps for this still exist and are likely superior! Peter heard me breathing heavily and he insisted that we needed to go to the hospital. I did not want to be that person who showed up at the hospital claiming I was in labor to be sent home so initially I was refusing to go. Fortunately though, he convinced me to go.
We got to the hospital around 4AM and i’ll never forget a lady waiting for her daughter who was laboring, standing at the counter at triage and telling me that there was no way I was in labor because my belly was too high. I was taken in and checked and I was dilated only 1 or 2cm. The nurse decided to monitor me and about 45 minutes later came back to say that maybe I should take a walk around. We had only called Peter’s sister to stay with Natalia and did not want to wake up anyone else in the family until we were sure it was showtime. We asked this nurse and she said it might be pre-term labor but we could not be sure yet. In that moment I get a strong contraction so she decided to check me again. In less than an hour I was already at about 5cm. She FREAKED OUT. This nurse said she did not deliver babies and that I needed to get to a delivery room IMMEDIATELY. She did not even get me a wheelchair because she was in such a hurry to get me out of there!
With Natalia I had wanted to try to have her without an epidural. I think I felt it was what Peter and my mom wanted but when they saw the pain I was in they were the first ones to tell me to get the epidural. With Peter it was my second time around so I asked for the epidural almost as soon as I got to the delivery room. Unfortunately, things happened too fast and it was too late! While they did administer the epidural, turns out if you are too far along, you might as well not get it. The pain continued and they ultimately told me the epidural wasn’t going to take and it was time to break the water. My mom asked if it would help a little but sadly, they said it would not. It was like if I had not gotten anything at all.
Needless to say, I was scared. I’m not one to give up but I hadn’t made it with Natalia and I don’t regret that decision. In fact, after having done it both ways I tell every pregnant woman GET YOUR EPIDURAL! It was very painful and I remember being close to the required 10cm but not quite there yet so the nurse told me not to push. Your body wanted to run it’s course so my natural instinct was to push. It was such a different experience from laboring with an epidural where you aren’t feeling every single thing.
Peter was wearing a Yankees shirt and I will never forget grabbing his shirt, twisting it and telling him that he needed to get that nurse back in there because I needed to push! She came in and we got going and it felt like the pain was worse and worse. I don’t think I have ever experienced such pain. Child labor is no joke! It felt like my whole body was going to break or explode. I did not know how I was going to do it.
I kept asking God for help and telling everyone around me I needed help! It was like something out of a movie. I am pretty sure I said I CAN’T DO THIS! The doctor finally came in and told me that I needed to stop freaking out and focus on having this baby because that was the only thing that would take the pain away. It was in that moment that I CAN”T became I CAN and I CAN became I DID. Fortunately, while it was a painful labor, it was a fast one and by 7:04AM I was holding my baby boy! So much for me not being in labor because I was carrying too high!
I learned that day that even if you have to fight through pain and your mind telling you that you cannot do something, when you decide you are going to do it, YOU WILL succeed. Since then I’ve done quite a bit that I did not think I’d be able to do! After Natalia was born I did not think I could lose the baby weight and I thought I’d always have a pouch on my stomach, I proved that theory wrong after Peter was born by putting in the work working out and dieting. I actually went down to the weight I was in college and while I have not been able to sustain that, I think it was incredible that I did it after kids. I did not think I would find the time to workout, especially since I worked full time. I not only found the time to workout but I found the time to train for a half marathon and eventually a full marathon! To this day, I still workout 5-6 times a week. Most recently I did my ’30 Kinda Hard Challenge’ ! Over the years I have juggled being a working mom of two and all the challenges that come with it. I had two under two for over 6 months, 2 in diapers, 2 waking us up in the middle of the night at times. As they grow the challenges change. Now we are in the homework, tests, and all balancing all the school and extracurricular activities phase.
The day he was born and the whole experience of his birth has so much to do with who I am today and many things that I have accomplished which I never thought I would! I have not had a chance to write about my experience running a marathon but it’s not even something I can say was on my bucket list because it’s not something I EVER IN A MILLION YEARS thought I would be able to say I did!
I write this 6 years later and I will always say my little boy is the one who taught me to NEVER say I cannot do something! He probably does not understand this lesson yet but I hope that I can pass it on to him one day. 6 years later I love the little person he has become! He is athletic and was even named the most athletic in his class last year and he is very smart! He’s a unique combination though because the other word I can think to describe him is- quirky! He can be a goofball, loves video games, and things his dad considers nerdy like Pikachu and Garfield the Cat! He doesn’t care what anyone thinks of it. He is just his happy go lucky self, likes to make others laugh and has a BIG heart! There is still so much I can learn from him!
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