Cameron’s Birth Story:
Not my baby bump. Found the pic here.
There isn’t really very much I enjoyed about being pregnant.
I enjoyed the anticipation of what was to come.
I looked forward to doctor’s visits where I would learn more valuable information about the little life growing inside of me.
I have fond memories of spending evenings reclining on the couch with my husband, staring at my belly, waiting to see the baby move.
I did enjoy birth class because it always felt surreal just being there.
And I liked dreaming about Cameron’s life and future.
However, pregnancy, while full of whimsical moments here and there, was caught up within a larger shell called “enduring.” I don’t think most women float through pregnancy. Maybe a lucky few do. But for most women, I think the nine months feels a lot more like enduring a very tough, very uncomfortable challenge. One that’s very worth it in the end, of course. But nonetheless, a challenge.
For this reason, I had a good amount of worry about what would happen once the baby actually arrived. Sleepless nights, emotional roller coasters and the fear of experiencing Post-Partum Depression all looming in the back, or sometimes in the front of my mind. I also worried about how my relationship with my husband would change. Would we still have time for one another? Would him watching me give birth ruin my feminine mystique, as one co-worker shared with him? Would I have what it takes to be a good mom? I think the fear of not being a good mom is what plagued me the most.
When the time came for Cameron to be born, I realized that labor wasn’t quite what I had imagined it to be. The picture I had in my mind was of a somewhat peaceful, meditative state. I would give birth “naturally” without any kind of drugs or intervention unless absolutely necessary. I even remember praying, “Lord, I want to feel the intensity and significance of this event in my life.” This is a statement I later wished to retract.
Membrane stripping lead to two full days of cramping before my labor actually began. However, it did work to kick start my labor so it’s still up in the air about whether that was a good choice or not. It was Saturday, January 14th, four days before my due date. Jon and I decided to go get coffee at my favorite place in Shell Beach called Seaside Cafe. I got a decaf vanilla whole milk latte, extra hot, as usual, and we walked around the Dinosaur Caves Park that overlooks the ocean. We stopped to take a picture, then realized that we’d forgotten the memory card for the camera at home. A few minutes later I told Jon that I thought I was experiencing contractions. He didn’t really take me seriously, but that’s exactly what I was experiencing.
Jon and I were planning on going to a local sports bar with friends to watch the 49ers play the Saints, a game he had been looking forward to for weeks now. I told Jon that he should go watch the game as planned, but that I would go sit on the couch and watch the game from home. I felt funny imagining myself sitting in a loud, crowded sports bar with male sports fans all around me while I quietly snacked on french fries and secretly had contractions.
At half time Jon came home to join me. He wanted to come home sooner but I kept telling him through texting that I preferred to be alone. I wanted some time to just reflect and be quiet before the labor really got going. I spent most of the second half bouncing on an exercise ball and pacing around our living room. On commercial breaks I’d head to the kitchen to bake banana bread for the hospital nurses as my doula had suggested.
The 49ers beat the Saints that day in the last three seconds of playing time, securing their place in the Championship Game. This made for one very happy husband – thankfully, because I don’t know how I would have felt about having a depressed husband support me through labor.
After the game was over, Jon asked me if I had felt Cameron move very much throughout the day. I honestly couldn’t remember. So just to be safe, we headed over to the hospital to have things checked out. It was around 7:00pm by this time, so the hospital felt quiet and peaceful. I laid down in a hospital bed and a nurse hooked me up to a machine that monitored my contractions and Cameron’s heart rate.
After a while, the nurse informed me that Cameron seemed fine and that I was in fact in labor. But she suggested that at this point I return home where I’d be more comfortable and come back only when I felt it was necessary. So we went back home, but returned to the hospital only three hours later.
My labor felt like it went from zero to sixty in the course of one hour. It became so intense so quickly, that by the time I got to the hospital I was sure that I’d be giving birth at any moment. However, when the nurse informed me that it was still very early on in my labor, I knew I had a long night ahead of me.
I did a bunch of standing, sitting and breathing. Later on I would use the tub for three hours straight. By the time my midwife arrived at the hospital at 7:00am I was nearing the end of my ability to hang on. Up until that point I had remained calm and extremely focused. My doula prayed for me, read me some scriptures I had picked out ahead of time and encouraged me to keep relaxing and imagining the baby moving down through the birth canal.
But at 7:00am the midwife informed me that over the course of the last eight hours I had only managed to progress by one centimeter…and that’s when all hell broke loose inside me emotionally. I broke down into tears and started begging Jon and my doula to help me and make it all stop.
I hung on another couple hours before the idea of some relief from a painkiller seemed worth it. The drug would allow me to relax more between contractions, but it wouldn’t take the edge off the contractions themselves. I appreciated the drug for what it did, but resented it for not doing more for me at the same time. After two rounds of the drug, I knew I wasn’t allowed any more. At this point I had been in labor for twenty three hours, and in intense labor for eleven.
The midwife checked me again and informed me that I was still at a four. I endured a few more contractions before I reached my breaking point and asked for an epidural. Going into labor, I was convinced that I did not want or need an epidural, so I hadn’t even signed the necessary paperwork to get one. I had told the first nurse who first tended to me that I didn’t want to have a back up plan.
So now, in a moment of pure frenzy, I pretended to read over the paperwork and quickly scribbled my signature on the dotted line.
The next thirty minutes were the most unfortunate of my labor. I had waited to to ask for the epidural until I felt like I could not possibly endure even one more contraction. However, the anesthesiologist still had to be called and he would still have to ride his bike to the hospital. I started panicking and the nurse gave me an oxygen mask to place over my mouth and nose and she kept telling me to breathe deep.
The anesthesiologist finally arrived. He casually walked into the room, made some small talk and joked around with the nurses. It took all the self control I had left in my being not to yell at him to hurry up. He administered the epidural and while I was waiting for it to kick in I asked Jon if he could get my mom on the phone. I spoke briefly to my mom, tearfully telling her I loved her and that I wished she could be there with me.
The epidural took effect and the sensation of not being able to feel the lower half of my body was the most welcomed relief of my life. The nurses told me that I was likely to fall asleep for a couple hours and that they would check my progress once I woke up. But fifteen minutes later they informed me that I was at a ten and ready to have a baby. In my case, the epidural had been the perfect choice at the time because it allowed my body to relax, and when that happened, everything moved along very quickly.
So I pushed for thirty minutes, making every sit up I’d ever done worth it, and in the blink of an eye my baby was placed on my chest. I did my best to take a mental photograph of the moment and soak up the incredible, indescribable, amazingness of it all. I held Cameron for two hours before I decided I could let him go for a moment so Jon could help the nurse give him his first bath.
And in the blink of an eye, the same instincts that mothers have had since humans were created, seemed to be imparted to me. Moms never have all the answers and they don’t do everything right, but somehow they just know how to love their babies the moment they meet them.
Becoming a mom is the best thing to ever happen to me. Of course, marrying my dream guy was the best thing to ever happen to me too. But having a baby has been this amazing gift that my husband and I have been given together. Instead of our love just existing for each other, we now have the joy of investing our love into this little person who resulted from our relationship.
I’m not saying that the past six months have been easy at every moment. In fact, in the past six months I lost my job and my family got thrown into financial turmoil, my relationship with my husband felt unfamiliar at times and some days I just felt so darn tired. But despite all of that, the past six months have been, hands down, the best six months of my life so far.
I feel like it’s important to share this because it seems like my generation believes that having children is the death of all things fun and worthwhile in life. People wait until they’ve chased all their dreams, traveled the world and attained success in the business world before they decide to settle down and have kids. Having kids is like the inevitable next step when you become too old to be considered cool hanging out at hip bars and nightclubs.
I get that having kids is a BIG change and that it is sometimes easier to face the endeavor when certain aspects of life and finances are secure. But I’m addressing the underlying lie that kids are little sea urchins that suck the life out of you and your social life and your marriage.
On the flight back to the US from our honeymoon in Mexico, parents of a family with three children warned my husband and I to not be in any rush to have kids. Right in front of their own children, the parents shared the many reasons why having kids was hard and tiring and inconvenient and basically lame. I felt sorry for those kids who were old enough to understand the things their parents were sharing with strangers.
1 Timothy 2:15 says, “But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” When taken in context, this verse means that “women will find true fulfillment through childbearing. Paul is saying that God calls women to be faithful, helpful wives, raising children to love and worship God and managing the household wisely” (source).
When I say that becoming a mom is the best thing that ever happened to me, I mean it. Although I have to add that the ultimate best thing to ever happen to me was having an encounter with Jesus. Every good thing that has happened in my life or been given to me has only been so good because Jesus continues to rescue me out of my sin, heal me from my problems and lead me in a better way than I can lead myself. Without all that, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the gift of motherhood because only I know how deep my problems run and the many things, that without Jesus, would conquer me and leave me stuck in my depression, diseases and chains.
But because of Jesus, being a mom is incredible. It’s the first job I’ve ever had that feels like a perfect fit. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. And I get a lot of affirmation in the form of smiles, giggles and playfulness from the happiest six month old I know. I can’t tell you how much I love walking into Cameron’s room in the morning or at the end of one of his naps and being greeted by his sweet, smiley face.
It’s also nice to work for someone who doesn’t care if my hair is combed or if I’m wearing the same shorts and t-shirt I wore yesterday.
In only six short months I’ve learned to embrace the little things more, to get back in touch with my goofy side, to live in the moment, to care more about relationship than productivity, to be more consistent and faithful, to go with the flow and embrace change, and to give more of myself to those around me.
Thank God I have a lifetime left of being a mom and being transformed. It really is the best thing ever.