When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?
The first time I ever felt like a grown up was when my daughter was born. I say “when she was born,” not “when I gave birth” because I really didn’t ever give birth. I had an emergency Cesarean section with her; so she was born, no thanks to anything that I actively did.
It all happened so fast, really. After three weeks past my due date, thinking I would be pregnant forever, I finally went into labor after a night of pizza and beer with my husband. I waited around as long as I could for my husband to get up and finally woke him and begged him to take me to the hospital after I had taken the puppy out for his walk. He reluctantly agreed and off we went to the hospital. I had had my bag packed for three weeks in anticipation of the big event. We arrived at the hospital and he went off to park the car as I went in to register, then up to maternity. We went into a room to begin out wait to go into delivery until I was dilated enough; I knew it would be a long wait. It was about 10 a.m. I had labor pains throughout the afternoon, and near on 3:30 p.m they were beginning to become quite painful. The doctors were starting to become more attentive, for some reason, and by 4:30, another doctor had come in and said that a doctor was on his way (my doctor was on vacation) and that he would see me soon. I asked for some pain medication and they said I would have to wait. Great, I thought. Around 5:00 the doctor arrived and took my husband into the hall. I barely remembered this happening. I was in a lot of pain and not thinking too clearly. Now I was hooked up to monitors and doctors and nurses were hovering. Finally the doctor and my husband returned with a clipboard and a sheet of paper for me to sign. It was for consent to do a Cesarean section. My husband said to sign it. The doctor told me the baby was in trouble. “fetal distress.” he called it. My husband said, “Please sign it.” I signed.
They wheeled me into an operating room and were wheeling another woman out who was scheduled to be in there to have a C-section but could wait a few minutes where I couldn’t, apparently. They gave me a spinal injection and all I could remember was my roommate from college Penny telling me was that if I ever had a spinal not to raise my head or I would have a massive headache. Since I get migraine headaches, I decided I would not raise my head because of the spinal. When I was numb, they made the incision (not straight or pretty–just quick) and pulled my daughter out.
They told me she was a little girl and how much she weighed (5 lbs, 6 ozs) and whisked her off to the premmie unit of the fourth floor of the hospital and I went off to recovery. They had to clean me up, because of course my bowels had moved and I was messy (I was embarrassed) but I actually felt like a grown up, a mother. I had a child. In a little while I would be allowed to actually hold the life I had helped to create and in a week or so I would be taking her home from the hospital and I would be responsible for her for a long, long time.
The real reality of it didn’t hit until about two weeks later when I was feeding my daughter one night in the middle of the night. I realized that she is not going away, that she is always going to be here, that I am always going to be caring for her, that I am really a mother. I struck me all of a sudden and it hit me like a ton of bricks. But it made me realize that I was really a grown up, a mom. That I had someone who was counting on me, someone I was responsible for.
And that’s my story of how I knew I was a gown up, a real adult. A little bit of a horror story, but it turned out all right in the end. And now my baby has two nearly grown babies of her own. In very little time, they will be having babies of their own (not too soon, I hope). But the circle will come around again, and these girls will feel like they are grown-ups, too.