I woke up feeling a little embarrassed that my bladder had leaked and I needed to wash my sheets. As I was loading up the washer I felt a small gush of fluid and I knew... I cried, it was too early, I wasn't ready, it wasn't time, this wasn't how I planned it. Steve seemed annoyed at my moment of weakness, and the fact that this was not a great day to go into labor, we both had so much to do. He left for his appointments out of town and I promised to give him a call after I had seen the doctor.
I was in denial but so was the doctor, she wasn't convinced it was my amniotic fluid leaking and sent me home with litmus paper to use if I should have another "gush" She patted me and said, "it isn't uncommon for our bladders to leak at this stage of pregnancy. She said magic words but didn't know she had they gave me permission to go back to work, to not worry and I started to relax or go into overdrive, same thing as far as I am concerned.
I went to Costco, I ordered birthday cake, I filled our freezer, I went to work, I stocked and cleaned and did taxes then I went home and gush...litmus blue.
Steve was still out of town so Noah, Aly and I drove to the hospital where they confirmed I had ruptured and it had been more than 12 hours, and labor did not look like it was going to start on it's own or not as fast as they would have liked it to. They admitted me and began induction.
This labor was like nothing I have ever known.
I usually start off slow; swim, walk, eat, sleep, take long hot baths and wait until it is time to go to the hospital. I get there, I have a baby. I have never had an unbearable contraction, I have never labored for hours and hours getting nowhere. I am designed to have babies, I do it well.
Pitocin is not my friend and an induced labor is very different from a natural labor, it is fast and hard and it got on top of me before I could catch my breath. I labored through the night, everyone took turns sleeping, no one knew what to do, Steve wasn't there for me like he had been in the past, he was making a statement I guess, "I am here but I am not here for you, I didn't agree to this, I won't get caught up in it" It hurt me but I was determined. I was in a lot of pain and at some point I agreed to an epidural.
The epidural did not work, it seems I have an unusual anatomy and the medication provided me with a numb left side, mostly leg and bottom, it provided me with an odd kind of 'pain relief' but something was better than nothing. They could not remedy the situation and after laboring for hours without much progress I suddenly began moving quite quickly.
The sun came up, everyone jumped into action gathering camera's, getting excited, even Steve couldn't help but move into his familiar position at my side, saying the words he always says, coaching me even though he didn't want to.
I panicked when they told me I was complete, I cried, I was afraid, it was all happening too soon, he was too small, it was the 19th, oh my God it was the 19th...The day Stevie was diagnosed, the day she died, how old she was when she left. Stevie was not here, and a baby was coming, and Steve was not happy, and Noah was waiting, and Aly was afraid, and quite possibly we could all be here at this hospital and not take a child home again.
I pushed twice and Elliott arrived easily, he emerged tiny and crying. I heard Steve say, "he is perfect, he is perfect" and I believed him. I heard crying lots of crying, I was crying. Five years before we were all here at this hospital saying good-bye to Stevie, last year I was here letting Claire go and this time there is this little guy, so small, so strong, so real and the 19th became a sign to me that Stevie was close by, so close.
Elliott weighed in at 5 pounds 7 ounces and was 18 inches long, the smallest child of mine. He was healthy and even though he was early the only thing we both had to endure was four hours in the nursery and an extra day in the hospital. We went home on Friday, the day of Noah's birthday party.
Noah had his brother home, his mama home and a great celebration with all his friends at Rock n Jump. The cake I ordered was beautiful, the party I planned was wonderful.
I am sitting her in a patch of sunlight on Stevie's bed, my little mouse close by napping. He is a week old today. He is a little yellow and we are trying to let the sun and lots of nursing get rid of his extra billirubin. He is so beautiful, so very beautiful. I am happy.
It is hard to believe a week has gone by, that I thought I would still be pregnant, in my 37th week, I would be finishing up at the store, I would buy a breast pump, wash the rest of his clothes, swim, walk, wait...instead he is here and he is real and my heart could just burst.
Is he Stevie? Is he Claire? I don't know. I don't care. He is Elliott, in this life that is all he has to be. He has a long nose, the tiniest blond eyelashes, he has soft hair that is barely there brown a tiny bit of blond in the sun. He has the lips all my kids have, full-missy-lips. This boy has the longest feet with fingers for toes, and thin hands with spider fingers that I love to touch and kiss, so delicate, maybe he will be a surgeon.
He is small, so very small with a tiny squeak for a cry that get's stronger each day. I call him mouse but I know it will be a silly name for such a tall boy, I am sure he is going to be very tall. His ears are like tiny shells, his belly-button still an outie and fine hair on his shoulders that will soon disappear, that I would have never seen if he would have been born later.
I can't wait to know what color his eyes will be, I have imagined green or brown but I just can't tell yet they are newborn grey-blue.
I know everyone wants to ask about what it feels like to give birth to a non-genetic child, is it different? and the answer is NO. He is my child, my donors provided the blue print and I handled the rest, well Elliott and I. He is familiar to me, he is my son, I know his smell, his patterns, his movements. When he heard my voice he calmed, he opened his eyes and we knew each other, the only regret was that it took so long to find each other again.
I have said a prayer and I visualized all the donors hearing it in their sleep, I said "Thank you, all of you for this boy, our boy, for the gift of your shared cells so that I could parent again, to know this joy, feel this happiness, be healed by this miracle, thank you for being a part of our journey, helping us find each other, building a bridge so that we could get to the next place. I don't know you but you are in my heart, you are my family, we are all a family."
I am in love. I am so glad I never gave up, it's like I knew this day was coming I just had to find my way to it, and here I am, here we are.
I was afraid, I thought I wasn't ready but I was and it all happened like it should, each piece of this falling into it's perfect place.
Thank you Stevie for being here with me, for chosing the 19th, I understand it now. You are not at that hospital, when I took Elliott home I took every memory of you and I there with me. Happy Birthday sweet girl, I am happy, you don't have to worry about me, we did it baby, thank you for holding my hand, for keeping me strong so I could get to this day. You are always my strength, my heart, my hope, my love.