Copyright © While They Sleep

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy birthday son

One year ago, after 72 hours of grueling labor which included two hours of delivery, my son Elijah came into this world.

They say that mothers tend to forget their birthing experience as a natural way for us to be able to want to conceive again. I mean, how many people want to go through that kind of excruciating pain again? You have to be crazy right? Pretty much. So they say moms forget the pain and only remember the joy they felt first seeing their child. Umm… that’s bullshit. At least for me. I remember a good 90% of my experience and I plan on letting Elijah know one day. Ha!

I was taken into the hospital on a Friday afternoon after eating sushi for lunch (don’t worry, it wasn’t the raw stuff). I was craving sushi so we ate at a local fav spot. Not too long after, it appeared that my water broke, in the restaurant. Embarrassing to say the least. Thankfully, no one noticed (it was mid-day and not very many people were there) and my husband cleaned up the mess before anyone could. I didn’t feel anything though. I didn’t feel the things you see in the movies. To be honest, I thought I just pee’d. We called labor and delivery and were told to come in right away. We took our time. We went home, I showered, called my mom and doula/friend, Avin finished putting together my rocking chair, we ate again, grabbed our bags and headed out, two-four hours later. I still didn't feel anything and figured I'd be sent back home.

Once taken to the hospital, I was told my water did NOT break and it was just “fluid” – it wasn’t pee, but it also wasn’t my amniotic sac. Weird, I know. Doctors and nurses checked me out to make sure everything was okay (fearing something may have ruptured and of course they didn’t want me to get any sort of infection). They drew my blood and checked my cervix. Elijah was NOT ready to come out. I was 37 ½ weeks along and wasn't dilated at all. Technically my due date was still a couple weeks away. Unfortunately, that didn’t matter. During all the checks, it was determined I had developed preeclampsia. Dun dun daaaaah! Preeclampsia is a condition that typically starts after the 20th week of pregnancy and is related to increased blood pressure and protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia affects the placenta, and it can affect the mother's kidney, liver, and brain. When preeclampsia causes seizures, the condition is known as eclampsia, the second leading cause of maternal death in the U.S. Preeclampsia is also a leading cause of fetal complications, which include low birth weight, premature birth, and stillbirth. There is no proven way to prevent preeclampsia. Most women who develop signs of preeclampsia, however, are closely monitored to lessen or avoid related problems. I had no signs previously. The ONLY way to "cure" preeclampsia is to deliver the baby.

Sigh. I was devastated. I had a routine doctor’s appointment only two days earlier and did NOT have preeclampsia. I was told it can develop overnight and there wasn’t anything I could do to prevent it. I was eating well, I did gain a lot of weight, but at the same time, it seriously came on overnight. Because of all the risks to me (stroke being number one) and subsequently to my baby, the only thing for them to do was induce me and get baby out. So there began a long and grueling process. Induction sucks. You’re literally forcing the process of labor and delivery when you are not ready and your baby is definitely not ready to come out. It’s slow, aggravating and tiresome. I was admitted a few hours later and the induction process began. Thankfully, I had a doula – Sarah. Sarah is a god send and I cannot imagine what it would have been like without her. As soon as I was admitted, Sarah showed up and stayed with me the entire time, for three whole days. Mind you, Sarah was in her first trimester with her second child. She still stayed with me. I was terrified and thankfully, Sarah was right by my side, so was my husband and mom. Initially I had planned on trying to have a natural birthing process so you can imagine how heartbroken I was. I not only was induced, I was basically forced into having an epidural. Apparently, I didn’t know this before, but an epidural doesn’t only alleviate some pain, but it helps dilate you. Which I desperately needed – because as luck would have it, Elijah really didn’t want to come out and after 48+ hours of laboring, I had barely dilated to 3 cms. Saturday passed, so did Sunday. Early afternoon on Monday, May 23, 2011, I was given an epidural, and within a couple of hours I was fully dilated to 10 cms. I will never forget that feeling that you seriously cannot stop – I needed to push. I had to push. I was ready to go. And I remember telling everyone around me, “He’s coming, I can’t stop this, I have to push, right now!” And so I did… for 2 hours. The first few pushes felt fine. I wasn’t in any pain. I remember thinking “this is actually kind of easy?” – Boy did I have it coming. Because even with an epidural, those last few pushes were anything BUT easy. I remember the distress call over the loud speaker as Elijah’s breathing became weak. He was doing this turtle action of popping his head out a little and then going back in, over and over again. So the doctor tried a vacuum aspiration which didn’t work. And then I was told “you need to push, very, very, very hard.” After cursing really loudly, I did just that. And the doctor reached inside of me and yanked him out, literally. I remember feeling my body rip open as I pushed out his shoulders and head, with the assistance of my doctor. The amount of pressure and relief was overwhelming. But I was incredibly weak. I lost over 2 pints of blood. I almost passed out and I didn’t hear my baby cry. The doctor fulfilled my wish and I was granted the first touch. After pulling Elijah out, he was plopped onto my chest. And I began to cry. Five seconds later, they took him to a table nearby. My heart sank. I didn’t hear him cry. He was blue. He wasn’t breathing well and I began to panic. I remember saying over and over again, “give me my baby, what’s wrong with my baby, tell me what’s going on.” Finally, the doctor got very close to my face and said “your son isn’t breathing well, but he will be okay.” And she went back to him, with about 20 other medical professionals in the room. CPR was initiated and his airway was cleared. I heard a loud cry. And I also began to loudly cry. So did everyone else, Avin, my mom and probably Sarah too. Sarah took his first picture because my mom and Avin were in shock and didn’t leave my side. Avin never let go of my hand. I told Sarah, while crying, “Please tell me the truth, don’t lie to me, is he okay?” She looked at me dead in the eyes and said “I promise I’m not lying to you, Elijah is beautiful and he is okay.” She was right. He was okay. He was healthy and beautiful.

Elijah Ali Prasad was born at 6:06pm on May 23, 2011 weighing in at 8 lbs., 6 oz.’s and 21 inches long. He was born on our second wedding anniversary. He was the best present I could have ever been given. Thank you God.

After cleaning him up, he was returned to my arms, where he stayed for over an hour. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I remember Avin crying tears of joy and telling me how proud he was of me. We had our son. And he was perfect.

So much has happened since Elijah was born. He has brought an enormous amount of joy in our lives. As much as I love my husband, the love a mother has for their child supersedes everything else. I gave this little person life. I felt him kicking inside of me. I used to put speakers up to my belly so he could dance and kick inside me. Ironically, one year later, he still LOVES to dance. I like to think my playing music for him daily while he was in my belly had something to do with that. ;)

Life has dramatically changed. Nothing is more important than our son. No one is more important than our son. And it’s the strangest feeling to forget what life was like without him, because life would be nothing without him. He is so much of who I am and everything I do is for him, in some way, shape or form.

Motherhood has changed my life. This past year has been one of the best. From the first time he grabbed my hand, to his first roll-over, his first time crawling, that iconic first step, the way he babbles “da-da” and ”ama" (mom). Everything. It has been simply amazing.

To commemorate his first year of life, we celebrate Eju all week long. On his actual birthday we had family over for cake. Elijah freely smashed his cake and enjoyed every minute of it. We threw two parties for Elijah. Avin and I are not very formal people, so having a typical function in a hall or restaurant, as nice as it may be, isn’t our style. We wanted to do something more casual and fitting to our lifestyle. And so we did. The first party we threw was a kid’s party with a Sesame Street theme. We had tons of great food and treats, the d├ęcor was adorable (everything matched the Sesame Street theme), we had a bounce house, a snow cone and cotton candy machine and a guest appearance from Elmo. Our great family and friends came and everyone had a blast! On day two, we had a traditional Fijian “lovo” (luau) and were able to host it in our newly made over tropically landscaped backyard. Close family and friends came and we shared another great day to celebrate Elijah’s birthday AND our three year wedding anniversary.

I can't wait for everything that comes with parenthood. It's sad to see this year gone so fast, but I'm so happy my son is healthy and happy. And I can't wait to grow old with my family.

Happy birthday son. Ama loves you more than life itself!

Here are a few pictures from the festivities (definitely more to come)…

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