On September 20, 2010, the lives of Maya and John Fitzpatrick changed forever as they welcomed their new son, Kyle Joshua Fitzpatrick into the world. No matter what Maya read or did, nothing could have prepared her for motherhood. Faced with the many unknowns of caring for a new baby, Maya quickly accepted that she just needed to do what she needed to do in order to overcome each challenge and survive each day. Sometimes that meant singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ at the top of her lungs a million times over in public to get Kyle to fall asleep in his stroller or continuing to swaddle him at night when other mothers had stopped months before. Maya’s advice to expectant moms: if it works for you, no matter how crazy it might seem, just do it because “no other mother in her right mind would (or should) judge you. They’ve all been there and they know what it’s like.”
I remember the first time I saw the “+” sign on the home pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe it, and apparently, neither could my husband John. He wouldn’t believe that I was pregnant until I received the green light from the doctor. It was the weekend, and so I would have to go to the walk-in clinic to get the blood test done to verify that in fact, I was pregnant. It was the first time we had tried after all, so I went just to be sure. We received the call January 12th, 2010 from the doctor, confirming that I was in fact pregnant. This also happened to be my husband’s birthday. We went out that night for a double celebration dinner. We couldn’t stop talking about our baby (which at that point in time was the size of a very small poppy seed).
At 7 weeks, pregnancy nausea hit me HARD. I was throwing up almost daily and nauseous almost all of my awake time. I couldn’t stop gagging, and any form of fluid made me really nauseous. I was also constantly soooooooo tired. I probably had 10-minute power naps in the bathroom stalls at work on a daily basis. Finally, at 20 weeks or so, well after my first trimester, I felt “normal” again. During my pregnancy we decided that we would renovate, I mean…demolish our house, so we were “homeless” from about April up until my due date in September. We were fortunate enough to live in a friend’s house for 3 months (thank you Natt!!!!), but had to relocate at the end of July. We spent one month at my parents’ house (they were away on vacation for 3 weeks which made it possible – for my husband – to live there for that long). The last month was spent in a tiny room in our house, while it was under construction, with the rest of our material possessions, including two beds, two couches, dressers, and wardrobe. We had maybe a total of 2 by 4 feet of floor space to stand on. Did I mention that there was a heat wave that summer? And we had no air conditioning? To say the least, it wasn’t ideal for someone who is 9 months pregnant, but nothing could stop me. I was BEYOND excited to be pregnant and have a baby.
I was due Saturday, September 18th, 2010, which also happens to fall on Yom-Kippur; the holiest days for Jews; which I am. I did go to the synagogue on my due date as I was feeling “good”. I even walked there from my parents’ house, a 1.5km walk. And no, I was not trying to self-induce. Saturday night, before bed, I lost my mucus plug (probably just lost any guys still reading). I knew that this meant that something was going to happen – but I didn’t know when. Sunday night (technically, Monday at 2 am), I woke up and felt something in my stomach. Was it cramps? Was it contractions? I had no idea! No one actually explains what contractions feel like…they just say “you will have contractions”. So in case anyone is wondering, contractions feel a whole lot like stomach cramps. Pretty much like the same ones you get before you have your period (definitely just lost any guys still reading).
Anyways, I started counting the time between my contractions, and kept going until 3 am, when I fell back asleep. I woke up again at 5 am, and sat up in bed. I guess John felt my movement because he woke up as well. He asked me if everything is okay, and I said “I may be contracting”. So I counted to myself the time between contractions for an hour, and they were about 5 minutes apart at this point. My husband kept asking me if I was feeling okay, and I said “yes”. And I kept asking him if he thinks that I’m experiencing contractions, because I wasn’t sure. He said “Yes, you’re going into labour”, but I kept insisting that I wasn’t sure if this is what contractions are like, so I just kept counting. At 6 am, John insisted that we call the hospital. I told them that I thought I was in labour (I still wasn’t convinced), and that what I think are my contractions are 5 minutes apart. The nurse from the triage unit told me to take a shower, have something to eat, and come in, but there is no rush. At this point, my contractions weren’t painful at all. I thought to myself – Hey, I can do this! I think I even said it out loud to my husband. THIS DOESN’T HURT AT ALL… Well, the birthing angels were listening, because I quickly went from a level 1 to a level 5, on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the most painful feeling ever! After my shower and quick bite to eat, I started feeling some pain. I had to bend over, hands on my bed, while I was contracting.
At 7 am, we arrived at the hospital. By the time we arrived to the birthing unit, the pain increased. When we checked in, we told them that my contractions were 3 minutes apart, they told us to wait in the “waiting area”. DID THEY HEAR ME? I was 3 minutes apart and in some serious pain. As time passed on, in what seemed like hours, they finally took me in to the triage room (approximately 8 am). While waiting there for a doctor to see me, the pain got worse and worse. At this point, it was close to a 7 on my pain scale (see above). When the resident doctor finally came in to see me, she checked how far I had dilated. She exclaimed that I was 4 cm dilated which was pretty good. I was pretty much incoherent at this point. Anytime anyone asked me if we had any questions, all me and my husband kept on saying was “when can we get the epidural?”. When the contractions came, I was on my hands and knees. The pain was just too much to bear. My poor husband, tried to console me, but anytime he put his hand on my back, I felt like he was pushing. So I finally just blurted out “please don’t touch me”. Okay, okay, what I really said was “DON’T TOUCH ME!”
I was finally told that I would be moving to my birthing room. My mother-in-law was the first to arrive to the hospital, and she helped John lead me to the room. I hardly remember the walk from the triage room to the labour room. I was experiencing so much pain, it was easier to close my eyes. All I kept thinking was “I’m never having another one again”. Yes, going into labour makes you say and do a lot of crazy things! (Btw – I can’t wait to have another child). Once we arrived to my room, I went to the washroom during my contractions. I felt it made the pain a little easier sitting on the toilet. And also, I felt it hid my screams. The thing is, I must have been such a mess because the next thing I know, I’m pushing the “panic” button on the wall. I don’t know what I must have been thinking (I probably wasn’t thinking), but it said “push in case of emergency”. Well – the pain was so unbearable; I felt it was an emergency! And so, I pushed it. Next thing I know, a dozen nurses are rushing into my room and bathroom to help me. But to their surprise, everything was fine. I was just having contraction pains. They were very sweet and explained to me that I shouldn’t push the button unless it was a REAL emergency. OOOPS!
FINALLY – the best thing happened. Around 9 or 10 am, the anesthesiologist walked into my labour and delivery room. He told me that I have to be very still when they inject me. I just cried back “I can’t, I can’t, it hurts too much” as my husband held my body while I was sitting on the bed. Next thing I know, they were all done. I couldn’t stop thanking the anesthesiologist. At this point in the game, he was my hero. Not my nurse, not my doctor, and not my husband – but the anesthesiologist!! From here on out, my labour was a “walk in the park”. I laid in bed; my parents were there with me, my mother-in-law, and my very supportive and understanding husband. We talked, told jokes, took some pictures, just passing time. I remember that I even asked them at one point if they were bored!?!? I finally felt, “okay, I can do this!”
I was so numb from the epidural, that at one point, I asked my husband to move my leg for me. He said that it felt wet. I said that I had wondered if my water broke. We called the nurse in and she checked and confirmed that in fact it had broken. She then said that if I’m feeling it, I can start pushing at any time. After about 15 minutes or so, I decided that I was ready to push. Everyone left the room except for my mom and husband (which was pre-arranged). John stood by me, while my mom was at the “receiving” end. After a few minutes, my mother-in-law ran into the room and asked if she could stay in as well. I didn’t care, and said “sure”. She was on the side and as quiet as can be. Besides, my mom was screaming “PUSH, PUSH, PUSH” so loud, nothing else could have distracted me. I remember I wanted to get the baby out so much just so my mom could stop yelling “push”. At least it worked! And after an hour or so of pushing, Kyle Joshua Fitzpatrick had arrived at 4:12pm, Monday September 20, 2010 weighing in at just less than 7 pounds.
The doctor put him on me immediately, and I just couldn’t believe it. I think I went into shock. The person that was inside of me for 10 months was finally on me, and I got to see him (sort of, since I was still lying down on the bed, it was hard to “really” see him). John became a dad the moment Kyle was out. He couldn’t stop saying “he’s so cute”. It was the sweetest thing in the world. I was still taking it all in. And to be honest, I still am taking it all in. There’s day’s where I have to remind myself that I’m a mother, and that Kyle’s MY son! He’s over 15 months now and when he turned 1, it was bittersweet. We both survived the first year, me knowing less than I ever thought I knew, and him growing and learning daily. It was the most amazing celebration. Watching my baby grow into a toddler is definitely the most humbling experience I’ve ever had!
If you’re interested in finding out what my life-turned-upside-down is like post Kyle’s birth, you can follow me on my blog: http://www.mayahoodblog.wordpress.com