Eleven years ago today I became a mother for the first time. After more than a decade spent parenting, the best way to describe being a mother is this: it’s a bit like driving from New York to Los Angeles at one hundred and fifty mph on the freeway while trying to read the map at the same time. You have no idea how to get where you’re supposed to go, but you’re getting there fast.
My son was born eleven years ago at 5:08 a.m. mountain time. This is the official moment I became a parent. But I don’t believe it’s when I became a real mother.
I became a real mother later.
Several hours into my delivery I had received an epidural in hopes that it would calm me down and lower my blood pressure which was dangerously high. The nurses told me that with the medication I should feel pressure but no pain. I immediately cried, “What if I’m feeling really painful pressure?!? I don’t think this thing is working!”
It soon became apparent that my epidural was NOT working after my blood pressure rose higher and I threatened to sue several people. Including my husband for getting me pregnant. And God who created childbirth in the first place.
After upping my dosage a few times with no results the doctors moved my epidural a few inches lower, which did the trick. The world became a much nicer place despite my incessant shivering due to the high quantity of drugs coursing through my body. I apologized to everyone I tried to sue earlier and the relief was evident in my husband’s voice when he said shakily, “This is my wife again. I know her.”
I will always maintain that childbirth is a little bit like an exorcism.
My body finally relaxed and I went from being 5 centimeters dilated to a 1o in twenty minutes flat. My son was born a short while later.
I remember the shock and awe when my son was laid on my chest. I remember crying with my husband as we became parents together. But what I remember best happened a little while later when the hospital staff declared there was something wrong with my son and they rushed him to the NICU.
My husband sprinted off after Will while I tried to get my legs to work and pull myself out of bed.
One of the nurses told me, “Ma’am, you’re not in any condition to walk to the NICU.”
“Then you should get me a wheelchair, ” I answered.
“They don’t really approve of wheelchairs in the NICU,” was their counter argument. ”And we need to get you settled in your post delivery room.”
I didn’t say a word, but something in my expression must have told them I would army crawl my way to the other side of the hospital to be with my baby.
“Go get this mom a wheelchair,” the head nurse sighed.
And that is when I became a mother.
Mothering really has nothing to do with birthing plans, vaginas, c-sections, or adoptions. These are merely a few of the vehicles through which one may become a mother. Mothering is when you are convinced that you can accomplish the unlikely and the impossible because of the burning love you feel in your heart for a child.
It is this holy and all encompassing love that makes you a mother. And it changes your life forever.
Happy eleventh birthday to my first amazing miracle. Thank you so very, very much for making me a mother.