There are certain days of your life where there are unforgettable moments. You can remember how you felt, the way something smelled, how that perfect meal tasted… at Alize at the top of The Palms. The leafy greens on your plate drizzled with a balsamic glaze that is better than any balsamic that’s ever landed on your plate in your life and shavings of prosciutto that just make it all that much more… there are no words. It was the best steak my husband ever had in his life as we looked from our window seat to the lighted strip about one thousand feet below. (As you can see with that last thought, those details are front and center for whatever reason this morning.) But unfortunately, I can’t tell you about that whole day. Just about that salad, a bite of steak, and a little piece of heaven and no worries in the world.
My memory can be a little lacking at times but today I’m supposed to write about a day I’ll never forget.
I think the day that I remember the most detail is the day my firstborn was born. We were eating a Sunday lunch at Penn Station, my favorite Artichoke & Mushroom grilled sub. I had these light pains I was feeling, but I didn’t really think that was what labor was supposed to feel like. By the time we made it down a long country road on the other side of Hilliard, back to our house, I knew that’s exactly what it was. I jumped on the phone and called the answering service for my doctor’s office and they told me to ride it out a little longer. We got in the car in the late afternoon, my taupe Camry leather seats comfortable and both Marcus and I excited and talking non-stop while I ate some 100 calorie version of Oreos because I knew once I got in and hooked up that there wouldn’t be any food. For a long time.
I rode up the elevator with another couple I had met in a birthing class, little did I know they would become good friends of ours. Her water had broken, I just had consistent contractions. We were both admitted at that moment, but we didn’t understand the importance of our boys ultimately sharing a birthday. She ended up becoming one of my good friends, and we’ve been there for each other through my job loss and her divorce.
I was excited when I got admitted, in a way that someone who is feeling good and about to give birth can be… sometimes. When everything is going well, I guess. When they brought me into Admitting and decided I was staying, I have a distinct memory of walking around the halls of Riverside Methodist with my brand new red slippers from Target with colorful pom-poms on them while my husband went down to the car to get the bag we so carefully packed for the hospital. I’m still wearing those slippers tonight. It’s hard to find a really cute pair. The more I walked, the more I would move things along and finally get into my own room to take things to the next level.
The room was spacious, or at least it seemed so, and I was ready to make it my home away from home. I didn’t truly realize that I wouldn’t be staying there after I had the baby, so at that point it was like I was at a nice hotel. I had brought these plug-ins in the wall to create a peaceful scent and I remember some kind of fake orchid sitting near the headboard behind me. There was a bag of sugar-free candy that I’d packed to have if my mouth got dry, Baskin Robbins Mint Chocolate disks. Somewhere in that bag was a sock filled with rice that I was supposed to heat up when my back started to hurt. I never pulled it out to use it.
There was a basket of Cheryl’s cookies sitting at the door for any nurse or doctor to take as they came in to check on me, an offering so they would at least consider my birth plan that was really more just a list of comforts that a Do This-Not that edict.
I did get an epidural and the anesthesiologist ended up being one of my book club friend’s husbands who was wearing a Steelers surgery-type cap and I made small talk with him too. He probably thought I was off my rocker, but again I think the talking took away from the nerves I was having about a needle going into my back. I slept through the night, pretty comfortably honestly despite a needle in my back My husband had the worst of it as he attempted to sleep in a recliner that was supposed to double as a bed, technically, but didn’t. He was a trooper.
They woke me up around 5 a.m. and told me I was ready to do this thing. I remember talking incessantly to the doctor and my husband during delivery, probably because talking helped me stop the nerves I was feeling as my life was about to change completely. They were laughing at me because I was talking so much.
He didn’t cry at first, Logan that is, they had to clear is airways from being locked up for so long. I remember the moment he let out his first bleating cry though and the moment after that they put him in my arms. I had been crying because of the pain at the end of delivery, my epidural having slightly worn off, but that turned into tears at this beautiful little boy with his eyes barely open who was all of a sudden… mine.
I stashed a beer inside my hospital room drawer at Riverside, to relax and get that natural feeding process going. Somewhere in some book I read that a beer helped, so I brought it in—but I never drank it! 24 hours after this had all started, I remember the blonde beautiful nurse that gave Logan his first bath while at the same time teaching me how to do it in his “crib” next to my bed. I remember all the wonderful nurses and assistants that came in and wrote their name on the dry erase board in my recovery room at the beginning of the next twelve-hour shift—including one whose daughter had been kidnapped and she wrote a book about it.
That’s more than 500 words. But it’s what I remember. And I cherish the fact, with this lagging memory that’s had to memorize facts and live shots and more, that I remember all of this. And that this Challenge made me type it all out.