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My littlest one will be 10 in 2 weeks. Ten years old. The big 1-0. Double Digits.

I feel like this past decade flew by in slow motion.

How can it be ten years already? Did I blink? What did I miss? How did this happen?

I remember his birth like yesterday. Don’t all moms remember the birth of each of their children?

His due date was March 26th. I was at the perinatologist for my weekly check-up on March 14th.

There I was watching this little life in my belly, squirm and move and push back on the ultra sound techs movements. She measured his tummy, and said “OK, I’ll go get the doctor and be right back!” I thought nothing of it. I had dozens of 3-D ultrasound pictures of this little guy. I saw his face before he was born. I memorized his nose. I marveled at how he got my mom’s cute little button nose and how long his eyelashes were.

The doctor came in cheerful and took over the ultrasound. She measured and measured and clicked and maneuvered that device all over my tummy. Then she said “He’s not growing.”

“What did you say?” I asked.

“I measured his abdomen and it’s the exact same measurements for the past two weeks. I have to induce you” said the wise and calm perinatologist. 

“But, I have clients to see tomorrow and my toddler is in day care. I can’t have this baby early,” I said starting to freak out at the reality of the situation.

“You’re a high-risk pregnancy, your blood pressure and Grave’s disease mean you need to be admitted. NOW.” Said the doctor. She wasn’t even looking at me. She was on the phone with the hospital asking to prep a room for me so I can deliver this baby. Today.

After 20 minutes of waiting to find out what’s really happening. I was directed to the hospital and told to go to the labor and delivery floor and check in at the nurse’s station.

When I got to the hospital, I walked in the doors and waddled over to the information desk. I was met by a nurse from the labor and delivery floor who was sent to wait for me.

I called my husband and let him know I was being admitted to have the baby. He was working an hour away. He made it to the hospital in 45 minutes. He called his mom, who picked up our toddler and kept him overnight.

I was admitted to the hospital, dressed in the unfortunate hospital gown, and waited to meet my little baby boy.

Except. There were a few problems.

First, my husband offered to bring me dinner. He left the hospital and went to get me a salad and a soup since the cafeteria was closed. He delivered my salad to my room. I shoveled that fork in the salad to get the biggest bite and chomped down on a shrimp.

“You put shrimp in my salad?” I asked. “Are you trying to kill me before our son is born?”

“WHAT? I didn’t put shrimp in your salad!” he grabbed the container from my hands and with his own fork shuffled thru the lettuce and found 6 shrimp.

“Call the nurse, I’m starting to feel itchy and I can’t breathe well,” I said.

I got a shot of Benadryl, and a lot of overnight monitoring, which delayed the first attempt at being induced.

Second. The nurses had to watch me during most of the next day to make sure I was not having any additional allergic reaction or blood pressure problems. They drew some blood too, to check my thyroid levels. That afternoon, they kicked my husband out of the room, dosed me up with Pitocin and handed me the nurse call button.

And then.

The contractions started.

Bad. Fast.

So bad and so fast I dropped the nurse call button.

And I was alone in my room.

Contracting. In pain. Crying. And laughing at how absurd it was to be in a hospital room and not have anyone to help you. And somehow, angels of mercy walked in at just the right time. I was surrounded by a whole team of nurses and midwives and techs and poles hooked to machines. I was hooked up to monitors and cuffs and things were stuck on me and in me.

I was moved from the chair to the bed, prepped for childbirth.

I begged for drugs. The pain was so much, so great, and a lot of it.

The kind nurse said “Oh honey, there’s not time for pain medicine, your baby is ready to come!”

She said, “One more push and then we’ll meet this little guy that’s giving you so much pain!

I pushed. And then there was this tiny, dark haired baby in her arms. She laid him on my tummy. I looked at his hair and remembered an older friend had stated that babies with a lot of hair cause the mom heartburn. I knew then that old wives tales are truth.

And now.

Ten years later, my baby is not a baby. He’s a big kid.

And I still get heartburn.

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Deb Burke

I grew up in the picturesque town of Madison, Wisconsin. That's the only normal thing about me. I also grew up in a family shoe repair business and soon learned that child labor laws don't apply to family businesses. I left Madison to finish college in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here I became a spelunker, a cyclist, a mountain trail runner, an avid hot air balloon watcher (much to the dismay of the drivers behind me) and quite the connoisseur of green chili cheese burgers. Eventually, I fell in love, had 2 children, bought a house, and then got married (in that order). Life is certainly crazy keeping up with my two boys!

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