Daddy Brown and I were married for 7 years before we even really thought about having children. Every couple of years or so, we would have a brief conversation...my memory recalls it being in the shower most of the time, as that is where I was able to think about these type of life altering decisions. The conversation would go something like this..."So, are you ready to have babies yet?" His response, "I'm ready whenever you are." My response..."I don't think I'm ready yet." His response..."Ok". And that literally was how the conversation would begin and end. I remember thinking as I turned 29 years old, "Geez, I better get to popping out babies soon or I'm gonna be too set in my ways and to old to have them."
In April of 2006, left an extremely stressful job. Daddy Brown and I enjoyed a 2nd honeymoon in Hawaii thanks in part to my Mom. I was at a crossroads in my career and wasn't sure where the Lord was going to drop me next. We decided that it wouldn't hurt to stop trying NOT to have a baby. I did some side work here and there. Called on some old clients and employers and did some freelance work to fill my time. I helped a friend in need that had a complicated situation and needed some help for several months. I was staying at her house 5 days a week to help her in her physical recovery.
One night I remember waking up with terrible abdominal pain. None that I had ever felt before. It was about "my time of the month" and this is what I attributed this pain. The next night was much the same. I came home late that night, and as Daddy Brown and I were walking the dogs, I began to tell him of this pain that I had been experiencing. His reply, "Have you pee'd on a stick?" My thought was, "Why on earth would I do that, it's just my time of the month." However, it planted just enough of a seed in my head to wonder. It was now 10:30p and I came inside, ran upstairs and found a pregnancy test. I pee'd on the stick and literally within a few seconds, 2 pink lines appeared. I yelled from the upstairs bathroom, "COME HERE NOW!!!" Daddy Brown sprinted upstairs with worry and concern on his face. As he entered the bathroom, there I stood holding the message of our future.
The 2nd pink lines were very faint, and my reaction was that we needed another test to make certain this was what we thought it was...a baby. Daddy Brown called it a foul and inconclusive. I on the other hand...filled up with anxiousness. Daddy Brown talked me into waiting for the morning to get a test. I didn't sleep much that night. I didn't want to get too excited, because what if it were just a fluke. What if this was the one malfunctioned test in the whole world. As soon as dawn approached, I sprung from my bed and jumped into the car. I went to our local CVS and Walgreens. I bought 2 tests of different brands at both stores. If I had a faulty test, I didn't want to get another one. I came home pee'd on ALL the tests and left the room. I waited for 3 minutes with baited breath. As I entered the bathroom, 4 tests glared back at me with proof that indeed I was pregnant with a baby.
I stood there for about 5 minutes and cried. I couldn't believe it. For 5 minutes of my life, I was the only one in the world that knew for sure that our life was going to be enhanced with a child. I slowly walked to the phone to call Daddy Brown. He had left the house at the same time I had headed out to get the tests. He was waiting for my call and when I dial his number, it barely rang once before he picked up. I said, "Well, you are going to be a Daddy!" Silence, as we both tried to process what was happening. We both giggled for a few minutes without saying any actual words. Then, he said, "You're going to be a Mama". There are several one liners that I remember clearly that Daddy Brown has spoken. "You're going to be a Mama", is by far one of my favorites.
I called the doctors office and to my surprise, I was only about 4 weeks pregnant. They would not see me until I was at least 7 weeks along. Daddy Brown and I made a pack. We would keep this a secret until we received confirmation from our doctor. That was the LONGEST 3 weeks we had ever experienced. We planned to tell our families the same day of our appointment. I arranged a lunchtime with both sides of our families for that afternoon. On October 1, 2006, we visited my obstestrican for our first sonogram. There he was, our little bean. We decided that we would call him, "Gus" as he was our fetus. We left the doctors office and with our first sonogram and Daddy Brown returned to work. I went to Kinko's and I made 2 copies of our sonogram. I went to walmart and bought 2 picture frames and placed the sonogram copies in the frames. I wrapped the frames and headed to meet our families for lunch.
We started with Gran Gran and Pops. We met at Daddy Brown's office where everyone was waiting for me to arrive. As we are talking and deciding on where to eat, I asked Daddy Brown to retrieve one of the bags from my car. He walked in with it and handed it to his mom. We stood back and waited with for their response. As Gran Gran pulled the frame from the bag, they both looked at it puzzled. Pops said, "Is that a frog?" Gran Gran said, "Is that a volcano?" Then all of a sudden like one of those pictures you stare at for long enough the real object appears and Gran Gran bursts out..."Is that a baby?" Grinning from ear to ear, we nodded. Tears, kisses, hugs and disbelief filled the room. They responded, "We just assumed you guys were not going to have kids." This was the response of most people we knew. We went to lunch, but Gran Gran and Pops barely touched their food. Utter disbelief and excitement swirled around us. It was so much fun.
With one side of the family in the know...off to yet another surprise luncheon. By chance, both of my sisters were available to come to lunch on an impromptu invitation with my parents. I brought the bag in with me this time and we all met at a local restaurant. As everyone was seated, I placed the little bag in the middle of the table. Both of my sisters looked at me immediately. I think I could tell, they knew what was about to come. My mom opened the bag and screeched. My dad didn't have a clue what was going on and was scared something had just happened. My mom yelled, "She is having a baby as she handed him the picture frame." Not knowing exactly what he was looking at or what he just heard, he exclaimed, "Are you alright?" Then my sisters jumped up from the chairs to hug me and said, "She is pregnant!" We all hugged and kissed each other. The waiter came to the table to take our order and my mom said with tears streaming down her face, "I'm sorry, you'll have to come back in a few minutes...my baby girl is pregnant!"
And so our journey began. I had an awesome pregnancy. I was sickly in my first trimester. I powered through and started a new job through my second trimester. We went to birthing classes and nursing classes. We shopped for the nursery, although it was not complete when the baby came home, because I knew he was going to stay in our room for several months. By the end of my third trimester, I was ready for my baby "Gus" to be born. He on the other hand, was nice and cozy inside his warm, dark and cushy home. I went past my due date and we finally agreed to schedule an induction. It was Friday, June 8, 2007 and we were scheduled to be there at 6a for the delivery of our son.
True to form, we both woke up late. As we drove to the hospital, I started to cry. I realized this was the last time we would drive in our car as a family of 2. From here on out, we were a family of 3. We arrived at the hospital at 6:30a and I remember walking in with another mom who was being induced that day. The difference was this was her SEVENTH baby. That's right...I said 7th. By the 7th child, I would think she could pretty much do it on her own, wouldn't you? Anyway, we registered and the nice elderly volunteer guided us to our room. I put on my gown and we waited. The nurse came in and gave me all the paperwork I'd need to complete. I explained I was going to try and do this naturally. She placed an IV line in my arm so the medicines to induce labor would be on board.
I began contracting pretty slowly and the pain threshold was tolerable. My doctor came in and broke my water. She had a full day of patients scheduled that day, but assured me if I needed her she would be there in a flash. As the morning went on I remember Tutu Nani, Papa and Aunt Apple coming to visit. Gran Gran and Pops stopped by too. All the while, I'm in control, labor is going well and things are moving along. About 4 1/2 hours into labor, things had kicked up quite nicely. I was laboring well but in a considerable amount of pain. Daddy Brown was the BEST DOULA around. He coached me, helped me breath, walked with me, rubbed on me and assured me I could continue on with our natural plan. As strange as it may sound, we labored just the two of us for most of the morning. The nurse would periodically come in to check on me, but in reality, the hospital was overrun with deliveries and they were stretched to the max.
Beginning with the 5 1/2 hour mark, I was in some serious pain. I remember Daddy Brown looking at the monitor that prints out the contraction. He would tell me when the contraction was beginning and when it was ending. At one point, there was not ending. It was a flat line at the top of that little paper which meant I was feeling no relief between contractions. I swayed, I knelt, I bent over, I breathed. I did everything I could remember to do. All of a sudden I felt the urge to go to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet, I began really laboring hard. I remember thinking, "I don't know what is about to come out of me, but I sure hope it comes now!" The nurses aid came in to check on me and Daddy Brown had some concern. He said, "I'm not sure if this is right, I think we need somebody to come check on her." The aid ran out to get the charge nurse. The charge nurse ran in and said, "What's happening?" I said, "I'm trying to go to the bathroom!" She said, "Stop pushing, I need to check you, I think you are having the baby!"
For a split second, I had a relieving thought..."It's almost over, our baby is almost here." She checked me and said, "Help me get her to the bed so I can check her dilation." Now, if you have seen those baby shows on TLC and the nurse or doctors says they are going to check you, those women are OBVIOUSLY on drugs. When the nurse checked me, I could have crawled up the side of the wall in pain. As she checked me and as I'm in such pain this is what she says..."Well, I have some news for you. I know you want to do this naturally, however, you are only dilated to 5. Progressing the way you are, it will be at least another 3 hours until you are ready to have this baby." While I'm contracting and entering into my 6th hour of labor, she left the room for Daddy Brown and I to make a decision. I looked at Daddy Brown and said, "Will you think less of me if I get the drugs?" Tears filled his eyes as he looked at me and said, "Absolutely not. If you want to continue on, we will do it. If you want the drugs, we will do it. It is up to you...I'm here for you."
As the nurse came in, I cried and said, "I think I need the epidural." She called down for anesthesia and they entered the room within minutes. She held my upper body as the line was put into my spine and within minutes, I felt relief. I cried. This was not my birthing plan. God made our bodies to be able to hand childbirth. I knew there was supposed to be pain. I knew there should be distress, but I truly felt I had failed. As the nurse was getting ready to leave and saw that I was distraught, she asked, "Do you feel like you are a failure for getting the epidural? You can't, you lasted longer than anyone around here has in a long time. Now get some rest, you are going to have a baby soon." I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Now that I was properly sedated, the nurse began to speed up my induction. Knowing what I know now, I probably would have rolled the dice and not had the induction. Once she began speeding up my medication, it actually put the baby in distress. She told me if he continued to distress, I would have to have a C-section. This was yet another blow to me. Why? Because this was not what I wanted. Yes, I wanted a healthy baby, but not like this. Not with all of this medical intervention. She backed the medication down a few milligrams and everything went back to normal progression.
By 6:30p, I was fully dilated, fully descended and ready to have a baby. I remember my doctor came in and said, "Yep, you are ready to start pushing. I'll be back in 2 hours and we will have this baby." WHAT...2 hours? The Gary Coleman statement, "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?" came to mind. The nurse came in to help me push and stretch. She instructed Daddy Brown to hold 1 leg in the air and she would hold the other. She instructed me on the proper way to push. She sat down and we start talking in between pushing. I asked, "Why is the doctor coming back in 2 hours? Why am I not having the baby now?" She said, "Oh, well you see...when you have an epidural, you don't really know how hard you are pushing. Therefore, it takes you longer to have a baby." So, the next 2o minutes of me pushing was me pushing as HARD as I could possible imagine. And guess what...I was ready to have that baby. I think all nurses and doctors should tell mom's this. That might speed things up a bit.
Of course, now that I'm ready to have the baby, the doctor has stepped out to have dinner. About 8:30p, the doctor enters the room and the epidural is starting to wear off. I'm starting to feel the contractions and I start pushing all on my own. She walks and says, "Yep, she is going to have this baby. Scrubs are flying, parts of my bed are being removed, birthing equipment is zooming in position. As I started to push one of the nurse ran by and put her hand up. She said, "Stop pushing, the doctor is coming and you are going to push him out before she gets here to catch!" The doctor zoomed in on her wheelie chair and in position everyone stood. At 8:50p and two big pushes later, out came Big Brownie. As she lifted him up for me to see, the first words my son heard me say was..."Does he have a triple nipple?" (Um, Daddy Brown has a small triple nipple...but shhhh...don't tell him I told you.)
She slapped the surgical scissors in Daddy Brown's hand and said, "Cut the cord, but be careful, it can be a bit chewy!" Now...Daddy Brown had not decided yet if he was going to cut the cord or not. It had not be discussed or even asked prior to placing the surgical scissors in his hand. He remembers vividly not knowing exactly what to do for 2 seconds. Then, brave and without a hesitation, cut the cord of our son. As she placed Big Brownie in my arms, we cried. He was the most beautiful thing we had ever laid eyes on. He had 2 big dimples, a head full of jet black hair and the darkest brown eyes I had ever seen. He weighed in at 7lbs 12 oz. and 22 inches long. He was perfect.
Daddy Brown left the room to tell the others he was here. I tried my hand at nursing for the very first time and then everyone got to meet our first son. I remember the nurses encouraging us to use the nursery while we were there. That is until Big Brownie started to cry and was going to wake up the other 17 babies in the nursery. The lights were off and we were asleep. As the door opened, our screaming baby rolled into our room and the door closed quickly behind. I assume they only meant for us to get 1 hour of sleep. He was a challenging little fellow. He nursed every 45 minutes to an hour until he was at least 3 months old. After that, it was every 1-2 hours. He didn't like to eat food beginning when we introduced it. He only wanted his "Mommy milk" as we called it. I was nursing and pumping at least 20 ounces of mile a day.
Even though he was my high maintenance baby and every day felt like it was Groundhog Day, he is the absolute joy in my heart. He is the most loving and gentle child I've ever known. I know this is a very long post. Our first experience of becoming parents would warrant nothing less. I look at Big Brownie now and he looks so much like me, but has so many of his Dads mannerisms. He is such a good blend of the best parts of us both. I am blessed to be his mom. I can only thank the Lord every day that he picked me to be his mom and Daddy Brown to be his dad. With all my heart and all my breathe, I love you Big Brownie.