The Moment It All Changed

 

Through pregnancy, my body changed. Through birth, my mind changed. And through her, my heart changed.

I’ve always rolled my eyes at movies and television that depict a woman going into labor as, “Oh! My water just broke!” I mean, who does that happen to? No, you go a couple weeks feeling Braxton Hicks and then a couple of days feeling real contractions and when they get closer and more intense you go to the hospital. The water breaking may or may not be of note. But that was not my experience. I was the first example: “Oh! My water just broke!” That was me. And to increase the “Hollywood Factor” it was on Mother’s Day.

My mom and I were wandering around my grandparent’s yard taking photos and then it happened. I was so… so many things, but mostly denial. I was so denial. I mean come on, I hadn’t felt any contractions ever, at all. And yet, my water broke. But did it? I’ve never done this, maybe it didn’t. Then I was telling my family and my dad’s face went white. I called my husband, he was working at the time, the sound of his voice was on the edge of frantic.

“Okay, I’m leaving work now.”

“Well, Baby, I’m still at Grandma’s.”

“Why are you still at Grandma’s?!”

The thirty-minute drive to the hospital was wrought with me convincing myself I wasn’t in labor. But I was. I knew the whole time I was pregnant that it would happen in the thirty-seventh week, but still, I couldn’t believe I was right. But I was. From 5:10 when the process began to 6:45 when my husband arrived at Triage the ultrasound showed everything was good to go, the baby was in position but I still hadn’t felt any contractions.

They lead me, my husband and my mom to the Labor and Delivery room and I felt the first twist of my uterus. One of my best friends arrived bearing the hospital bag I had failed to pack for thirty-seven weeks, but if you know me then you know that is only to be expected. My sister-in-law arrived and then my dad came shortly after that. We were a party of five waiting for the baby to arrive. They were there for hours but I have no memory of what we talked about. My brain was still reeling from a few hours before: “Oh! My water just broke!”

The nurse suggested that we walk around the floor. Here I am in my hospital gown and hospital-issued socks, wandering around with my husband. I hate being gooey and gross, so even though the walking was a relief it was short lived because in case you didn’t already know, I was still leaking fluids down my legs and it was soaking into the socks. My contractions were getting harder to ignore, as well. We went back to the room and, bless our family members, they took note of my condition and offered to leave.

That’s when I got really uncomfortable. Everything was progressing so quickly that by 9:30 I was halfway dilated without any medical intervention. The contractions were right on top of each other and intense. I didn’t have a lull in between contractions, just varying levels of pain. I am not a yeller so instead I laid on my side clutching the bed railing repeating, “Okay… Okay,” in a sad whimpery voice. My husband was rolling a tennis ball on my back. I really feel for him, I cannot imagine watching him hurt like that for hours with only a tennis ball in his arsenal. About an hour later I was signing the consent for the epidural. A half hour after that I was dozing off unable to feel my legs and experiencing strange dreams.

Then a couple more hours passed and they were checking to see how dilated I was. And there’s something strange. In the words of nurse Becca, “It’s squishy.” I can tell you, this is not what you want to hear. Then our doctor checked and the baby was breached. “Okay,” said the doctor, “we’re doing a cesarean.” I felt a lot of things at that moment but mostly I was relieved. I still couldn’t feel my legs and I didn’t know how I was going to push. I also have never had a huge desire to push.

But then there was also fear. I am the product of an emergency c-section. I know they are fairly standard, but I also know they were going to cut me open, remove some of my organs and pull our baby out of my uterus and put those organs back before closing me back up. This never seemed like a small medical procedure.

I was in the OR so quickly. My husband came in shortly after. I couldn’t stop shaking. My teeth were chattering. I was scared I’d bite my tongue. I kept humming Ben Folds “The Luckiest” to try and calm down. My husband’s face was right there. There was one Anestatision explaining what was happening step by step. His face was right there. I wanted to remember every detail of him. “The Luckiest.”

“There’s going to be some pressure as they pull the baby out.”

And then her cry.

I was somewhere between a laugh and a sob.

Her cry.

My sound.

Our first conversation.

Nurse Becca, “Here she is.”

My husband laughing, “She’s disgusting!”

She was, all blue and skinny legs and arms, wailing.

Then she was on my chest. This little creature that was us and ours and all her own. I tried to connect her to the bump that had formed in stomach. She was too real and tangible. Her little head bobbing, rooting. She looked like my husband: his chin, his brow, his feet in baby form inked onto the paper.

To him, “Do you want to holder her?”

He looked at me. I nodded. Standing he held his hands out awkwardly and admitted, “I’ve never held a baby.”

“Okay, sit down.”

She’s in his hands, three seconds of not knowing and then there he was: her dad. And she was the extension of us we had been waiting for. This piece of us that fit perfectly in his arms. She’s ours and she’s all her own. One second we’re us, the next we’re parents and she is… too much and too precious; the lightest pressure and the heaviest gravitational pull.

I loved our life. I loved being my husband’s wife, but now we are something more. We are very much the same but different. Throught pregnancy, my body changed. Through birth, my mind changed. And through her, my heart changed.

Badge of Honor 

Tomorrow I turn 29. I’m huge into birthdays, they’re great. But this year I’ve been having people making jokes that I’ll be turning 29 every year for the rest of my life. Let me clear somethings up, everyone is working in the same direction so why be intimidated by the human condition? We are all getting older and that’s okay. So I really don’t feel  uncomfortable about aging. 

But even more so, every year I get to be on this earth, living and loving is a good year. Every year I gain perspective and knowledge and I will not take any of that for granted. I think about who I was ten years ago and if I could find that 19 year old girl and tell her, “Dude, someday you’re going to really like yourself. You’re  going to like the way you think and the way you see the world, you’re even going to like the way you look but the reality of that will be mostly insignificant to you. Someday you are going to be surrounded by the best people. You’re going to be married to someone who keeps you on your toes and makes you laugh. You’re going to have friends that love you and always have your back.” At 19 I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I didn’t know I had a confidence issue, but I know now. 

If the rate of progression from 19 to 29 continues from 29 to 39, then I am going to be a fierce woman ideed. And I will continue to wear age with grace and honor. I will turn 30 next year and the year after that I will turn 31 and I will learn what I don’t know now. I will be a better person with that knowledge because growth is a beautiful thing and I will not take it for granted. 

My Hiatus 

To the WordPress world, 

I feel that after months of silence I should admit, I’ve fallen into a deep hole. In this hole my brain has been devoured by something called “pregnancy brain,” which is by the way a real thing (I read the word “comedy” as “come-dee” the other day,) and a thing called “nesting.” What this means is I have NO idea what’s happening around me and I’m obsessed with planning for the inevitable upheaval of my life. And to my little blog, I have to accept that this will be a time of infrequent posts that I’m sure will remain infrequent for some time after the new addition to the family gets here.

Now after I’ve instilled in you the upmost confidence in my brain’s functioning capacities and my ability to time manage, I would like to extend an offer to any of my fiction writing pals. I want to work on my developmental editing skills. If you have a short story or novel you would like critiques on, please leave me a comment or email me at MartyVeeAuthor@gmail.com. I read and enjoy every genre. 

So friends good luck! 

Marty Vee

Excerpt of My Novel

In the last month, I have started and failed to finish 3-4 blog posts. I’ve been deep in editing mode. After the 19th, I’m hoping to get back to posting regularly. But I also plan on starting another book and preparing for the baby’s arrival (We had our first ultrasound, that was super cool.) So, I might not be able to be as active as I’d like to be.

But because I really do hate not participating, I thought I’d share an excerpt of what I’m working on. Milla’s father has just helped move her into her freshman dorm room. They are alone after her roommate leaves. I hope you guys enjoy it.

 

The Patel’s herded out the door, leaving Milla and her father alone.

The dorm room seemed to shrink, the cinder block walls encroaching. There was the smell of Naomi’s fabric softener mingled with the scent of stale air. It made the space more foreign, more frightening. Milla and her father were alone before the other three arrived, but she felt the weight of their solitude now. He was all the family she had. They only had one another. Worry knotted in her stomach. She would be here and her father would be there. She wondered if he would be okay, the house was so quiet. Then she wondered if she would be okay, the dorm was so loud.

“It doesn’t feel right to leave you,” her father said. His growling voice grating the words into her.

“I know.”

He took a deep breath, his large chest and belly broadening. “I’m reminded of your first day of school.”

She looked at him. He was not one to share his thoughts or emotions; her strong and capable father, breaking open his chest and giving her a glimpse of what was inside.

“I bought you a dress, I thought you would want to look pretty, but you would not wear it.” A smile pulled at his bearded face, a twinkle in his brown eyes. “You did let me put your hair in pigtails, but I’ve never been good at that.”

She struggled to imagine her father parting her hair and putting the elastics in. Her brain couldn’t wrap itself around the image.

“Then I took you to your school and I left you there.” He shook his head. “I felt like I had left my heart behind. I sat in my car wondering how I could survive.” He cupped her face in his worn hands, his smile turned sad. “But I did survive and I will again.”

“Don’t worry about me, Pops,” she whispered, her voice struggling past the tightness in her throat.

He nodded. “I will. Pay attention in your classes.” Pressing his lips to her forehead, he kissed her. “I am only an hour away and I will answer my phone at any time.”

“Thanks,” the word was hardly a word. It was more of a breath.

They hugged and he left.

Milla understood what he meant. Her heart was walking down the hallway, to an elevator and then to his truck. She was grateful to be alone. She climbed onto the strange bed that was her own. The sounds of car loads of people coming and going pushed through the closed door. She buried her face in her pillow. She cried into the smell of home.

Books for the Writer in Me

I want to give you folks a heads up on what is going on with me. There’s a writing conference I’m attending in the end of January. At this conference, I have an appointment with an agent. This is good news and I’m excited for it, but what it means is that I have tasks to accomplish. I’m deep in editing mode and doing research on etiquette for this kind of meeting. If anyone has experience or advice, please pass it on. I’m also working on tags and quick captivating synopsis. But I don’t want to continue neglecting all of you lovely people. So, I thought I would write an entry about books that make me want to write.

I’ve only read two books by Alice Hoffman: The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, but her prose are so lovely it makes me want to write. She has a way of telling a story with heartbreaking honesty that makes me want to improve my own skills. She writes period pieces, her settings come alive. I feel that there isn’t a lot of dialogue in her books and the pacing purposeful. Her characters are complete. They have lives before and after the story. They have faults and abilities. Alice Hoffman intimidates me and pushes me and I love her.

I just finished reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It was a sweet book. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, but I found myself crying from time to time and smiling at old friends’ antics. Joe in all her ambitious Tomboyish glory made me want to write.She has these great little writing rituals that send a signal to her family if she can be disturbed or not, it’s just all together adorable. The story of her development as a writer felt true. She went from writing what she thought people wanted to read, to writing the stories she needed to share. It’s a lesson I feel I’m still learning; a lesson only experience can teach me.

The way writing is described in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is a comforting inspiration. The way she explains those wonderful times when the words come faster than your fingers can get them on paper or the times when they fight against you. She shows how you need to reach out of your comfort zone in order to grow. She shows that success isn’t your readership or writing what you know you can do, it’s allowing yourself to fall on your face if it means progress.

What books or authors make you want to write? And any tips on my meeting coming up?

Thanks for stopping by!

Beta Readers!

Hey Guys!

So I’m going to a conference at the end of January. There will be agents there to pitch to by appointment. This obviously means I need to finish my manuscript. 

I’m curious if anyone would be willing to Beta read for me. I’d be looking for four basic observations: moments when it is awesome, moments when it is boring, whenever it is confusing and whenever it is unbelievable. 

Let me know if you’re interested. Also if you have any inside scoop on proper etiquette in these appointments please comment. 

Thank you!