I was only 18 years old when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby. I wasn’t married yet, I didn’t have a job and my parents and I were not getting a long at the time. I remember sitting in the bathroom alone, waiting for the results to show up. Sure enough, it was positive. My cycle had always been irregular so I didn’t think anything of a missed period. But two months had gone by, and I was cramping, I was tired, moody and craving Tostitos queso dip like crazy. I still wasn’t convinced that I was REALLY pregnant until my first appointment when I was already 12 weeks along and the midwife asked me if I wanted to hear the heartbeat. It was the scene right out of the movie, “Knocked Up.” Watch clip below. NUFF SAID. So it was confirmed, I was 12 weeks pregnant and due September 4th. It was all becoming real. But nothing could’ve prepared me for what was to come.
I carried that baby for 42 weeks. Did you read that right? FORTY-TWO WEEKS!! That is TEN months pregnant. My little bambino was so comfy in there and had absolutely no desire to vacate my uterus. My poor uterus, my midwife didn’t believe in inducing. She maybe helped things along by stripping the membranes but that was about it. My due date came and went. Two weeks later, on September 20th, I had my very last OB appointment. I believe I lost my mucous plug that morning. Didn’t really think anything of it. Went to my appointment, she checked me and I was at 2cm but still no signs of labor. BUT, shortly after we left my appointment, I started having cramps. Those cramps turned into full on contractions, coming often enough to start timing them. I was still living at home so my dad was helping me time my contractions while everyone else just kinda waited around. Contractions really started at 3pm on the 20th. I finally went into the birthing center at midnight with my mom, sister and Nathan. I sat there and waited alllllll night. I sat in the tub hoping it would relieve some of the pain… It didn’t. I was so uncomfortable. By the time my midwife came back in to check me, I was SO hoping I would be at least a 4, but I was still at a TWO. My cervix wasn’t dilating like it was supposed to and she thought I would do better in the hospital. I was pretty disappointed because Nathan and I prepared ourselves that whole ten months to have a natural water birth. BUT little did I know that the hospital was going to be a lifesaver. Literally.
So we made our way from Simi Valley to Northridge hospital, early in the morning on the 21st. They admitted me and administered that good ol’ epidural… Instant relief! That was around 7am. (Now remember, I FIRST started feeling these contractions at 3pm on the 20th.) We waited, and waited and waited and waited some more. FINALLY, I remember feeling like I had to take a big poop. Yup! That’s how it feels folks. My hind parts have never felt so much pressure. From the time the nurse told me it was time to push to the time they placed my son on my chest, all seemed to go in fast forward. It was so crazy to me that I was about to deliver a human being. My mom was a childbirth instructor when I was younger so I had always been around that kind of stuff and watched birthing videos and had pregnant women show up at my house. Now I was the one having the baby and it was so weird! I pushed my little linebacker out for 45 minutes. At 5:07pm on September 21st, Landon Matthew was born. I will never forget that fresh baked baby smell. The warm feeling of feeling my new baby on my chest. I felt like crying but no tears were coming out. I was overwhelmed by my emotions. The most amazing thing had just happened to me and I didn’t know how to handle it. I guess you could call it a dry sob if that makes any sense. I was in love. It hit me hard and it hit me in seconds. I couldn’t believe how quickly my motherly instincts kicked in. I was willing to die for him the moment I saw him. He was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. Dark curly hair, and lots of it. Round chubby cheeks, gorgeous pink lips and the chubbiest, cutest little body I had ever seen. It makes me laugh now when everyone was guessing his weight. No one thought he was going to weigh as much as he did. A whopping 9lbs 9oz! He was pure goodness. I was a mom. There was no denying it. It was all real.
Now remember how I said being at the hospital was literally going to be a life saver? Well, it was. This was something that I was not prepared for. The day we were supposed to go home from the hospital, I was on the phone with my mom, telling her what time to pick us up, when I looked over in the bassinet to check on Landon and his little face was a dark blue and he was as still as could be. His eyes were still open which made it really creepy. I slammed the phone shut, grabbed him and ran to the door screaming at the top of my lungs, “my baby isn’t breathing!” Heads turned, nurses came running and my son was grabbed from my arms and quickly ushered to the nursery. He had started coughing and breathing at that point, but they put him on the monitors anyway. Scared the shit out of me. I was in hysterics. My mom had been calling over and over during that time, in a panic, wanting to know what had happened. She got to the hospital and we explained to her what had happened and that we would have to wait for the pediatrician to come and check on him. We had to wait 4 hours in order to go home, just to make sure he didn’t do it again. We were told that sometimes it’s common for new babies to stop breathing for a few seconds. I was trying to calm down and trying ever so hard not to worry. Nathan and I sat in the nursery the whole time while my mom was waiting in the waiting room right next door. When it was time to feed him, I picked him up and started nursing him. Within seconds, I looked down because he had stopped sucking, and it started happening again. This time I watched the whole thing happen. He immediately froze, eyes rolled back and this time, he was turning a much darker blue than before. At that point he was purple. The nurse tried to get him to breath again and when her attempts failed she called code blue over the loud speaker and nurses from the NICU came running in. I had left the room because I couldn’t bare to watch it. I was banging on the windows in the waiting room, beckoning for my mom to come out. I felt like I was going crazy and I believed at that point that my baby was dead. We looked in the window of the nursery and watched as the nurses put an oxygen mask over Landon’s face and got him to start breathing again. I was so upset. I was shaking, I couldn’t even breath myself. To this day, 7 years later, I can still see those nurses holding my 3 day old baby up to the oxygen mask, his face slowly returning from purple to normal flesh color. The pediatrician came back in and that’s when we were informed that we weren’t going home with our baby that day and that he would be in the NICU for a week if not more. Depending on whether or not they could figure out the problem. I was devastated. I didn’t want to leave my baby. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I cried all the way home and for the first time, in a long time, I prayed. It had hit me. I learned a lot that day. I was not in control. I had been acting like I was for so long and that day made me realize how selfish I had been. That day stilly plays out crystal clear in my memory. I will never forget how much I was had changed my way of thinking within just a short period of time. You never experience true selflessness until you’ve had a child. It makes me think of those “Johnson & Johnson” commercials, “having a baby changes everything.” That’s truth right there. It totally does. In ways you can’t even imagine.
Well, thank the Lord they never found out was wrong with him. He only stopped breathing 4 times and it was only for that one day. They ran all sorts of tests and found nothing. It was just a fluke thing. But I am so incredibly grateful for being at that hospital. Had we delivered him at the birthing center like we originally planned, his breathing incident would have happened at home and we might not have caught it in time. We were in the right place at the right time and I think God for that to this day. I think God that He was watching out for our little family and I thank Him for opening my eyes and showing me what selflessness is all about….