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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy birthday, Alex!

I can't believe he's 6 years old. It seems so surreal.

He's a unique kid - who came into the world in an extremely unique way. So sit back and enjoy the story.

Alex's father and I dated for a short period of time - it was 3, maybe 4 months. About the time that we discovered that I was pregnant, we broke up. Things were a mess, and he found out soon after we split that he was going to be a father - again. Oops. Anyway....

I went through my pregnancy with Alex pretty much alone, save for my friends. Jeff and I had met and our relationship was starting, but he was still living in Massachusetts and I was here. Alex was due on February 6, 2006 (keep that in mind).

In the fall of 2005, Jared went through a phase where he would get sick every couple of months - like, really sick - and have to get IV fluids to get back on his little feet. On January 17, 2006 he got sick again. It was a Tuesday (remember that, too). I was on the phone with the pediatrician all day, and we finally made the decision to get him admitted to the hospital that evening. I called my friend Dawn, and she offered to come and stay with me and Jared in the hospital to keep me company. He was admitted around 9pm that Tuesday, and Dawn got there shortly after that.

Since I knew that I was going to be there overnight with him, I put on comfy clothes and grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste and my deoderant - nothing else (remember that, too). I hadn't eaten supper, so I got a Diet Pepsi and a Snickers out of the vending machine since I was hungry. Jared was in the crib hooked up to IVs, I was hanging out in the hospital bed, and Dawn was hanging out in the recliner, and we were watching TV. I'd say around midnight Tuesday I started having contractions. No big deal - they didn't hurt or anything, so I didn't think much about it.

After a couple of hours, I realized that the contractions were coming every 5 minutes, almost on the dot. I hadn't said anything to Dawn yet but I finally looked at her and said "I wonder if I should start worrying yet." She started to laugh and said "I was wondering when you were going to say something!" Apparently, I was more uncomfortable than I realized, and she had picked up on it. So we called a nurse in and let her know that I was possibly going into labor. She started to panic, and I told her "Look, this is my 4th kid, I know what real labor feels like, and I'm not going to worry yet. Just let me hang out here with Jared until something happens."

Dawn and I stayed up all night long, timing contractions and keeping an eye on Jared. Around 7am I had to call Ex1 to let him know that he needed to take the day off work and come and stay with Jared, because well, I had to go down the hall and be admitted myself (I had planned to stay with Jared since I wasn't working at the time). He took the girls to school and got to the hospital around 9am, and then I waddled down to maternity with Dawn.

Sure enough, I was in labor. I was too far along for them to give me anything to stop the labor, but I wasn't far enough along for them to give me anything to speed it up. So they admitted me for 24 hours and told me that if I didn't have him by then, I'd be sent home.

Keep in mind - it is now Wednesday morning. I've been up since Tuesday morning. The last thing I had to eat was that Snickers bar Tuesday night.

At the time, there were horrible viruses and bugs going around, so once I walked into the maternity wing, I couldn't leave. It's a small hospital, so the maternity wing is small. And when you only have one short hallway to pace up and down, it gets really old really fast. But Dawn and I walked up and down that hallway for hours on Wednesday. Then I would sit on the birthing ball. And then we'd walk. And then I'd sit on the ball. This kept up all day Wednesday. And all afternoon. And all evening. And all night.

I was getting tired. And hungry. And cranky. And shaky. Around midnight Wednesday night - after I had been up for about 40+ hours straight and hadn't eaten for well over 30 - I got bitchy. I called a nurse in and basically told her that if I didn't get some food, someone was going to die and it wasn't going to be me. They called my OB/GYN (who I *love*) and he allowed me to have some broth, some jello, and some 7UP. It was the best.food.ever.

Finally, around 3am on Thursday, I couldn't take it anymore. I was exhausted. I decided to lay down and let nature take its course. I crawled into the bed, pulled the covers up, and felt sleep just overtaking me. I was so comfortable and so at peace with the world.

And then, about 2.5 seconds later, my water EXPLODED. Seriously, there was a *pop* and a *gush* that rivaled the flow over Niagara Falls. Dawn had curled up in the recliner and when she heard me gasp she went from horizontal to vertical in about a nanosecond without even touching the chair. She ran for the nurses' station to let them know, and then all hell broke loose! Nurses came flying into the room, lights came on, lab people were there - and all I wanted to do was sleep, dammit!

The epidural guy came in shortly after that and got me hooked up, and I finally took a mini-nap for an hour or so - by this time, I was going on 43 or 44 hours with no sleep. Finally, at 7:44am on Thursday, Alexander Lewis made his debut - and Dawn got to cut the umbilical cord. It was amazing to share the experience with her.

As soon as the chaos died down, I looked at a nurse and said 3 words: "Get me food." I didn't care what was going on at that point - I had that Snickers on Tuesday night, and the broth and jello in the wee hours of Thursday morning - I needed food. They brought me a tray with everything on it - eggs, bacon, fruit, yogurt, cereal, bagel - you name it, I had it. My OB/GYN walked in while I was eating, took one look at me shoveling the food into my face and just said "I'll come back in a few minutes" and turned around and walked out.

Of course, there I was, in the hospital - with nothing more than the clothes that I was wearing, my toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant. No clothes for Alex, no carseat, no clothes for me to change into - nothing. Dawn had to leave to go home and get her kids, so I got a hold of another friend of mine who came to the hospital, got my house key, and went to my house armed with a list of everything that I needed.

Of course, Jared was still in the hospital at this point - if I remember correctly, he and I got released on the same day (Saturday, I think).

So, here are some pictures from 6 years ago today - January 19, 2006.

The morning of January 18 (Wednesday) - up for over 24 hours at this point.

Beached whale??

First picture

7lbs, 15.2oz - and 19 days early.

Alex and Dawn

Heading home

Jared, Emily, and Sarah with Alex - they were all so tiny!

Alex's father did call me the night that he was born, supposedly just to check up on me (we didn't talk much throughout the pregnancy) but he had actually been tipped off that I was at least at the hospital by a family member who saw me in the hallway. He came up that evening to see Alex, along with his very pregnant girlfriend (now wife). I have to say that even though he wasn't there for me then, and even though we've had our issues, all in all he's been a decent father. When he's around, I get along better with him than I do with Ex1 and better than I did with Jeff after we split. It's not the ideal situation, but it could definitely be much much worse.

So now here we are, 6 years later - Alex is no longer that tiny little baby - he's a big boy, and he's smart and funny and active and hyper and exhausting at times - but I wouldn't trade him for the world!

I love you, Alex! I hope that you have a wonderful birthday, little man!


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