I tend to ask myself this question every day. As mommies, we never feel like we’re doing it right, or less than perfect. So without further ado, here’s what kind of mother I am.
I am a hugger. No. A squeezer. I am a kisser. Like a lot. Right in the mouth. I am a Chick Fil A mom and no I don’t always order grilled nuggets. (So sue me). I am a baby wipe mom-to clean butts, faces, shoes, counter tops, chairs, my car, you name it. I am a “let’s get you to daycare in time for breakfast” mom. I am the mother of a two year old with a tablet newer than mine. I am a “he doesn’t need anything else” mom and then I later go buy way too many unnecessary toys. I am a nose picker mom. Shove my giant finger up that lil baby’s nostrils and fish those boogies out. I am a no shame mom. I am the mother of a two year old who still uses a paci. I am a mother who gets criticized for having a two year old with a paci. I am a mother who doesn’t care about being criticized about having a two year old with a paci.
I am a military mom. I check on my son at least three times before I go to sleep so I can soak in as much of him as I can before my deployment this year. I am an EXTRA squeezer here lately. I am a sad mom sometimes but grateful for technology for when I’m gone. I am a worried mom that he won’t always have matching clothes to daycare when I’m gone; or that dad didn’t scrub his hair enough during bath time. I am a stressed mom because I pay attention to the little things and dad is more a big picture kind of guy. I am a grateful mom. Without my husband, I couldn’t do any of it.
I am an oversharing mom. Everybody gets videos and pics of my son and I have no shame. I am a messy mom. But like, organized chaos. I am a dog mom and now I am a fish mom because my husband has no self control AND NOW WE HAVE 8……. *deep breath*
Finally, I am a proud mom. I made that kid and he is awesome. I am not perfect but I am perfect to him. On Saturdays when I look like a crazy bag lady all day, all my son wants to do is love on me and play.
The end is near! I made a 90 on my fourth test and I have one more test to go before I am completely finished with this!
Cedrik and Noah are flying in next week! The anticipation is unreal… Every single day I wake up more excited than the last. It’s finally here. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I can finally go home soon.
This past week, I got to see Katherine again. We went tubing down the San Marcos River and it was UH-MAY-ZING! We know each other from growing up in Mississippi, so getting to float down the river was very Mississippi of us. I also invited a classmate and his fiancee to join us, and Kat invited one of her friends too. It was an awesome relaxing day. It would have been even better if I made it all the way through without losing my Maui Jim’s. I broke the first rule of river tubing: DON’T TAKE EXPENSIVE SHADES TO THE DAMN RIVER. *a moment of silence for the $200 sunglasses please* At one point I was thrown out of my tube because no one told me my butt was about to play the role of an anchor on an upcoming rock. That’s when I lost the shades. I also got stuck on a rock (sans float) while the river kept rushing against me. Needless to say, I look like I got into a prison fight and the other person had a baseball bat. Still, it was a very fun day.
Notice how I made sure I was tied to the beer tube LOL
These past 5 weeks, I have been amazed at how baby Noah is growing. He started to crawl the day I left home. He is now pulling himself up on everything and standing. All of those things I saw on FaceTime. Today, it happened. Cedrik took him to a baseball game and they FaceTime’d me afterwards. When Noah saw me on the phone he said, “MAMA! MAMA!”
I’ll just wait while you soak that in for a second
MY BABY SAID MAMA! I had to point the phone upwards at the ceiling while I burst into tears. Tears of joy because I finally heard my baby call me mama. Tears of sadness because I haven’t been able to hold my lil peanut in over a month and now he’s calling me mama. Four months of hearing him say da-da and I finally hear clear as day “MAMA” and its through a phone. It was truly a bittersweet moment.
This week has been unusually hard for some reason. Even though I have about 5 days until I see my family, I’ve been extra sad lately. I guess my positivity well is running a little dry and being away is slowly taking it’s toll on me. I just have to keep fighting and keep studying and stay focused for the home stretch. One more test and I am out of here!
After waiting what seemed like an eternity, I was finally in the hospital about to have a baby. And by waiting an eternity, I mean in the waiting room… but I digress…
I was wheeled up to the third floor of the hospital where they posted me up in a room I liked to call the “Preggo Bullpen”. It was literally a big hospital room where me and about 5 other women were waiting to see who was going to pop next. We were all separated by curtains of course. It was pretty quiet except for all the little heartbeats I was hearing on the monitors in there. They told Cedrik to wait outside the maternity ward until they got me in a gown and hooked up to a monitor. WTF? This is my baby daddy and you want him to wait while I put on a gown? A little too late for modesty don’t ya think?
Anyway, my contractions at this point are pretty much the same as they had been for the past 6 hours but it was like Peanut knew I was in the hospital. So he went ahead and kicked up the pain by about 5X. They called Cedrik after about half an hour and they wanted to check me to see how dilated I was. “Gotta be at least like 6 or 7cm,” I thought.
“You’re about 1 cm right now.”- the nurse
What. The. Actual. ^#$%^&#%^&#%^&. All those hours, all this pain, and just 1 measly little centimeter? “Impossible,” I thought. These contractions were so damn painful, I’m surprised I don’t still have the bedrails attached to my hands. I knew we were going to be there for a while and it was just now midnight.
My worst fear of being sent home started to set in at around 2 am when the nurse checked me again and I was still supposedly at 1cm. Not only that, but I could hear the other baby mamas in the bullpen getting dismissed one-by-one. I kept hearing, “We’ll try again on (insert day here). Feel free to come back and see us if you feel (insert symptom here).” After a few hours I was the only one left in there. Just me, my husband, the labor and delivery nurse and my contractions. They couldn’t send me home because my blood pressure was like 1 billion over 1 million. All of a sudden they wheeled in someone who I believe made my contractions worse. We will call her “Gypsy lady” because obviously I caught a glimpse of her and she looked like a gypsy and she was speaking a language that I couldn’t quite figure out. Definitely a gypsy.
Gypsy lady was moaning so freaking loud, I wanted to tear through my curtain and hers like Godzilla through Tokyo and just put a pillow over her face. Not to kill her. I’m not a murderer. I just needed her to shut up. As soon as moaning Myrtle arrived, my contractions intensified. Not only were my contractions unbearable, but mine and Gypsy lady’s contractions were offset. “Leilani, what do you mean by that?” you say. It means the 5 minutes or less of “peace” that I had between my contractions were now interrupted by Gypsy lady’s loud, awkward moans. I get it lady. You’re in pain. I’m in pain too. We’re about to have tiny humans headbutt their way into this world through our pikachus. It’s understood. But right now, I hate you. I hate you, Gypsy lady.
After about an hour of Gypsy’s cries, I heard her doctor come in and tell her it was time and that he was going to break her water and “deliver that baby”. *JEALOUS*
I was hoping my doctor would swoop in and do the same. SPOILER ALERT: Didn’t happen. Regardless, they removed the gypsy from the bullpen and we were again alone in there. The nurse then came back and said she was instructed to give me blood pressure meds and keep me there overnight for observation. WHEW. Having high blood pressure sucked, but it sure as hell beat getting sent home.
Up until this point, what you see in the movies is definitely NOT how labor happens. Our trip to the hospital wasn’t anything like Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore’s in Nine Months. My water didn’t break like Charlotte’s from Sex and the City. And what the hell is lamaze anyway? Want to know how I got through my contractions? I didn’t. I died. And now I’m the reincarnation of my former self, sent to tell the story of how my first born came to be.
“Deep breaths,” is a joke. “Relax,” is an unrealistic command.
My mom arrived around 3am and shortly after they moved me to another room. I could see the little baby warmer station for when he was born and I knew I was getting closer and closer to having him. I was given a different nurse after I was transferred and to protect her identity we will call her “The Trunchbull.”
The Trunchbull looked very unimpressed with my contraction pain and very sternly told me “They keep telling me you ain’t in labor, but I see you. You are in labor.” Madame Trunchbull then took about 7 years in getting me some pain meds.
“On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?”
“10!” I yelled as my baby tried to leave my body through my belly button.
Trunchbull looked at her computer screen like “yeah ok”. And then she verbally gave me an “Ok.” She comes back with what I like to call “a miracle”. Morphine with an on demand button. It kicked in almost instantly and my contraction pain was but a horrible memory of the past. Suddenly the Trunchbull turned in to Mary Poppins and I loved her. I think I may have even told her that.
My husband thought it would be memorable to take photos of me during some of my contractions. Just imagine what those look like because you will never see them. My father in law also brought the baby a little foam Patriots football that I used to squeeze during my contractions. It will forever go down in history as the “contraction football.”
5 am rolls along and I’m still high on morphine and only about 6cm dilated at this point. It’s almost baby time!
6am-noon I was at 8cm with no sign of progressing. My doctor comes in looking energized and well-rested (that bitch). “I see no signs of progressing so I’m going to have to break your water. We are going to have to do a C-section. Is that ok?”
What was I supposed to say?
“Ok.” I said.
Immediately, my body went into a panic without me realizing. I was shaking uncontrollably. Up until this point, I had never had surgery. Not only that, but the doctor also said that only one family member could be in the operating room and I could see my moms face turn from exhausted to really sad. Obviously, my husband was going to be the person in there, and I knew my mom would be ok once she saw the baby.
Shortly after, the anesthesiologist comes in with a whole set up for the epidural. I don’t remember this, but apparently I told the guy he was an angel from Heaven. “I’m here for your epidural.” He was super friendly and walked me through what to expect. He said I would feel a pinch and then the fluid from the epidural would either run to the left or right side of my body. He told me to tell him which side. I felt the pinch and then I felt cold fluid on the right side of my back.
“The right!” I said. It didn’t hurt since I had been hitting that little miracle morphine button every 10 minutes for the past 4 hours, but it did feel cold and weird. Like I had somehow managed to pee on myself… from the inside. Whatever. It was weird.
The nurse comes back in with Cedrik’s “daddy gear” as I like to call it and tells him to put it on.
Before I knew it, I was being wheeled off to the operating room. My mom gave me a kiss and told me I was going to be fine.
I don’t know how long it was but I was lying there on the table and two nurses and the doctor transferred me from the bed to the operating table. If you’re ever going to feel like cattle being prepped by a butcher, this is the time. Not only was I the size of a cow, but now it took 3 (maybe even 4) people to move me from one bed to another, so I was really feeling like one. Since the morphine and the epidural were long since kicked in, I was totally numb. The only thing I could feel was my whole body trembling uncontrollably and tears running down my face! I could also feel my legs taking turns sliding off the table. That was another crazy part. My limbs were like dead weight, so they kept sliding off the table and I had to watch a nurse keep putting them back on.
At this point, another anesthesiologist was there pretty much coaching me through the whole thing. He sat in a round rolling stool beside my head and narrated the operation like a sports announcer or a coach.
“Alright Leilani, what kind of music do you like to listen to?” he says.
“I got you.”
So as Clocks starts up on the surprisingly amazing speakers in the operating room, they call Cedrik in so they can start the C section.
“Leilani, you’re going to feel touch, but you will not be able to feel anything else ok?”
Sure enough, I felt the doctor’s hands on my belly but I didn’t realize that they were slicing and dicing. There was a huge blue curtain that prevented me from seeing my own guts. To the left of me was the “coach” and to the right of me was Cedrik. He looked so calm and just kept telling me I was going to be ok.
During the C section the doctor was telling the nurse about her vacation home out in the country. Seriously.
Behind the “coach” I could see about 4 giant tubes that were filling up with red stuff.
Oh holy shit. That’s my own blood.
More tears. More shaking. I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t scared. I was anxious. There was literally about to be another human in this room and in my life.
Coach says, “Ok dad get ready. When I say go, you’ll have time to peek over the curtain, take a photo and sit back down ok?”
Oh my God.
I see Cedrik fumbling through his doctor-like attire for his phone and prepare the camera. Meanwhile, I’m just waiting. More freaking waiting.
All of a sudden, I heard the most beautiful sound I have ever dreamed of hearing in my entire life and the past 9 months just flashed before my eyes. My baby boy. My Noah Hendrix Aiken. My little Peanut. My life. My love. My world. A little cry that wouldn’t scare a kitten.
“OK DADDY, GO!”
Cedrik stands up, manages to snap two quick photos and sits back down. He shows me the picture and I can barely see it over the Nile river of tears that has overtaken me. The doctor shows me my sweet baby boy and then they called Cedrik over to cut the cord, take more photos and help with cleaning him up.
It was over. He was here. Right in the middle of “Yellow” by Coldplay.