Oct 19, 2009

Babies grow up

Zachary turns eight years old today. I'm not usually one to bemoan the passage of time; usually I welcome it with open arms. But this week I've been a little nostalgic and have seen with fresh eyes how quickly my children are growing up.

So, thanks to a friend who spent the final week of her fifth pregnancy recounting the details of her first four children's births on her blog, I decided to share a bit about the day Zachary was born.

On Thursday, October 18, I cleaned out my desk at Wavetronix, a little engineering firm where I had been an office manager for a year. My co-workers had planned a baby shower in my honor for the next day--my last day--along with a fun lunch out. I was thrilled to walk away from an office job and devote my life to being a mother. Zachary was due on the 24th, so I expected a few days of down time before his arrival.

That night I walked a mile or so from our Wymount apartment to the Richards Building on BYU campus. Garry (a full-time BYU grad student) and some friends were playing in the championship intramural volleyball game that night. I sat on the sidelines (on the floor, actually!) and cheered with two of my hugely pregnant friends. Our husbands won in the final moments of a thrilling match. Garry drove the two of us home, where we celebrated with ice cream and retired around 11 p.m.

At 1:00 a.m., I woke up thinking I'd peed my pants. I was horrified and hoped not to wake Garry while I changed my clothes (somehow the bedding wasn't affected). However, I had only been in fresh clothing a few minutes when I realized I had a different problem -- my water had broken! This time I had no trouble waking Garry. As soon as I blurted out the news he sat upright in bed, a deer-caught-in-the-headlights sort of look on his face.

I had an irrational fear of being turned away at the hospital, so I called before heading over. The nurse was skeptical, but said I should probably come in to be checked. I figured that since labor hadn't started, I could take my time and look presentable. So I got in the shower. I shaved my legs. I applied makeup. It was when I was fixing my hair that my first contraction came -- and it took my breath away. Apparently my body skipped all the preliminary stuff and got down to business! That was at 2:00 a.m. It took an hour to finish getting dressed, gather my things, and drive five miles to the hospital. I had hardcore contractions every three minutes. I had three between our doorstep and the car. Just thinking about that hour makes me break into a sweat.

We arrived at the hospital. I was still afraid that the nurses would tell me to go home, but I had dilated five centimeters so I got to stay! However, the hospital had lost all of my pre-admission paperwork (back then it was still on paper) and refused to administer a desperately desired epidural until the paperwork was complete.

So while I labored, Garry (the self-described slowest writer on the planet) painstakingly filled out the necessary forms. I squeezed his free hand so hard it was purple. At long last (around 4:00) I got the epidural. A nurse checked me once I was numb and I was ready to push!

So I pushed. For an hour I pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. Zachary would not budge. In hindsight, I realize I was far too numb and didn't know what I was doing. But at the time it was just frustrating. So I took a long nap.

I woke up around 7:15 a.m. Pushing was much more productive when we tried, but Zach's head was turned and he seemed stuck. No one told me that, though. I had two nurses -- a veteran and a greenie. The veteran left and called the doctor with the report that he'd have to use a vacuum or forceps to extract this child. Meanwhile, I chatted with the greenie in my room. She made me laugh. Suddenly Zach's head turned and he was ready to come. The greenie panicked and tried to hold him in. The veteran nurse could see that birth was imminent, doctor or no doctor. She broke down the bed.

So while my doctor kissed his wife goodbye and put his kids on the school bus, my nurses delivered my baby. It was over in a flash. Zachary Todd entered the world at 7:52 a.m. He was pink and perfect. I cried and cried.

With these memories so fresh in my mind, I cannot believe that the tiny baby born that day is eight years old. Zach is a tall, lean boy with a tender heart. He's smart and capable in so many ways. Last night he was interviewed by our bishop and found worthy and ready to be baptized a member of our church. It's a big milestone to be baptized, and perhaps that is why I am so nostalgic. I'm struggling to comprehend where the years have gone. I feel like I'll blink and he'll be twelve, ready to receive the priesthood. Then I'll turn around and he'll be leaving on a mission.

So happy birthday, Zachary! And many more...
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