My baby ASS
The year is 1996. I’m 20 years old and recently married to a handsome man I’d met on the bus. One night after making love I’m laying on my back and suddenly I FEEL differently than I ever had before. A small voice in my mind tells me I’m pregnant. I scoff – yea right. Like I would know this soon. I drift off to sleep. A few weeks later I’m late for my period. I take a pregnancy test and sure enough its positive! I’m pregnant! This is not my first pregnancy, but I had miscarried the last time, so needless to say I’m thrilled at the prospect of starting a family so soon with my new husband.
Less than a month into the pregnancy and I’m miserable. I have constant migraines and nausea. One morning my husband attempts to be nice and make breakfast for me. The egg whites are uncooked and I spend the next hour praying to the porcelain god. I never let him cook for me again. My every sense is heightened, smells, sounds, sights – oh wait, not sights, I was still blind as a bat at this point.
Month two and I can feel a hard ball forming in the bottom of my belly. No one believes me but I can feel this child growing inside of me. I can feel her personality as strongly as I feel my own (yes I know innately that the child will be a girl). I’m still suffering from migraines and nausea and on top of all that, my husband has turned from a teddy bear to a beast. He beat my dog for peeing on the carpet. I rationalize, we are both under a lot of stress, things will get better.
Month three and the nausea is finally abating a bit, but not the migraines. My midwives have put me on a migraine medication specifically designed for pregnant women. It works! At last I can move about and not be in misery all the time. I’m still not showing yet, but I can feel that little ball of a human growing more and more each day. I’m already bonded to my little baby girl. I imagine what she will look and be like. I’m so looking forward to next month’s ultra sound where I will know for certain that she’s a girl.
Month four. At last my ultrasound! And wouldn’t you know it – I was right all along a healthy baby girl! She’s growing well but they say that she will be small. No surprise there – after all I’m only 2 inches away from officially being a midget. My husband tracked down his mom and younger brother. We are flying out to see them in a couple of weeks so we get a video of the ultrasound to share with them.
Month five. Flying when five months pregnant is no fun – let alone a red-eye flight. By the time we land in Vegas and my mother-in-law picks us up, I’m exhausted. I curl up on the lap of my husband and doze off while we drive the hour and a half to mom’s house. The weekend is filled with fun, sun, water and getting to know my new family. I fall in love with my new brother-in-law. A sweet 16-year-old full of life and laughter. I also learn a lot about my husband that I didn’t know before. Some of the things I learn are fun, some not so much.
Month six. I’m certain my husband is cheating on me. He’s befriended a girl from work and they are spending far too much time together. My neurotic mind has done some digging to find out who this girl is, where she lives etc. I’m growing larger by the day, my self-esteem is in the toilet. My husband and I fight over the girl and when I try to leave the argument he slams the door on my face – giving me a fat lip and a bloody nose. My world is falling apart around me – and yet I content myself with the knowledge that soon I will hold my beautiful baby girl in my arms. I know what she will look like. I’ve seen her in my dreams. Dark hair, dark eyes, light skin – a beautiful porcelain doll.
Month seven. My husband came home with hickeys on his neck – not put there by me, and smelling of another woman’s perfume. I’m done. I will not allow my partner to cheat on me. I tell him that he needs to leave immediately with or without his belongings. He does. My midwives are concerned about mine and my child’s health. I’ve stopped gaining weight and she has stopped growing. I’m now required to go to the hospital twice a week for testing to ensure our safety. This is more and more difficult as winter progresses in the mountains of Utah, the busses are not running regularly and I struggle to get to and from my appointments.
Month eight. I’ve joined a support group of single pregnant women. We learn all the basics of caring for our new additions and each of us makes a quilt for our babies. My husband has made no effort to reconcile. I get a phone call from a “friend” of his telling me that she just gave birth to his son. I’m devastated. This means he’d been cheating on me the entire time we were married. I immediately begin divorce proceedings. I don’t want to remain married to such a man.
Month nine. She’s almost here! I already know what I will name her! Anastasia – one of my all time favorite names. It brings to mind one of grace and poise. A princess – exactly what she will be for me. I’m surrounded by those who love me, but I’m at risk of giving birth alone. My mom is planning a trip to Europe in the first part of February. I don’t want to be alone when I have this baby. The thought terrifies me. After discussing this with my midwives we decide on a date to initiate labor. I show up to the hospital on the appointed day and they begin the 36 hour-long process of bringing my little girl into the world.
36 hours. The longest 36 hours of my life. I’m hooked to machinery, wearing hospital gowns which show my bum whenever I get up to pee. They start out with some type of hormone they insert into my cervix to soften it. This causes me to finally have my bloody show. They start the pitocin drip and over the next day and a half my contractions get steadily stronger. I’ve called my husband to let him know that his daughter’s birth is imminent and he’s too busy watching the super bowl to bother coming to the hospital. He shows up an hour before she’s born and takes over the filming of the birth – this he ruins miserably due to his inability to operate a camcorder.
In one finally push my daughter is free of my womb. They rush her to the nursery because she pooped inside of me and they are concerned she may have swallowed some. My mom goes with them – to ensure that my girl doesn’t go missing (the raving mind of a hormonal mommy). They bring my girl back to me and she looks exactly like I knew she would. A head full of beautiful black hair which goes half way down her little back. She’s so small that even the premie diapers drown her. And she’s screaming at the top of her lungs! Of course she is. The nurse gives me my child and I hold her up to my breast to nurse. The beautiful Stasia latches on and begins nursing but falls asleep quickly. This has been a long ordeal for both of us and we are exhausted.
Two days later I’m released from the hospital. I go home and am excited to show my beautiful daughter her bedroom which I’ve worked so hard to make nice for her. (fyi I’m crying right now remembering this – it’s been a long time since I thought about all of these things). We get home and settle into my bed. Miss Stasia sleeps with me of course. It’s easier to nurse her this way, and I want her close to me at all times. She’s my lifeline to sanity. The next day friends are visiting and I start shaking uncontrollably. My mom runs a bath for me but that just makes the shaking worse. I’ve stopped bleeding which shouldn’t have happened, and I’m burning up. My mom calls the paramedics. When they arrive I hear them tell my mom my blood pressure is at stroke level and I have a fever of 104. I’m rushed in the ambulance to the emergency room. My mom follows with my little girl.
At the hospital – we affectionately refer to it as Death Valley – they diagnose me with…get this…post partum depression. I don’t know about you but I’ve never heard of a case of post partum depression causing a fever of 104 and stroke level blood pressure. My mom insists that they release me to her care so that she can take me back to the hospital where I gave birth. The do. When we arrive at the other hospital its determined that I have an intrauterine infection due to the long induced labor exposing my uterus to the bacteria in the air. Lovely. I’m in the hospital for another – I don’t know, it’s a blur. I’m pumped full of antibiotics. I’m unable to nurse because of all the drugs in my system, so my milk never fully comes in.
When I’m finally better and able to go home I’m just grateful that my daughter and I have made it through this trial. As the days go by my daughter starves because I’m un aware that my milk isn’t producing correctly. My mom has left for Europe and I’m all alone. After a week of caring for a screaming starving baby – unable to eat, unable to shower, unable to do anything but try to feed and rock my baby I finally call a friend for help. She rushes over with formula and bottles. She feeds my little Stasia while I take a long hot shower.
A month after my beautiful little girl is born one of my friends comes by to visit me and see the baby. When I open the door the first thing he says to me is: “Do you realize that your daughter’s initials are ASS”. I blink, realize he’s correct and slam the door on him.
I guess after all she put me through – and still does – my little Baby ASS was aptly named!