I tell people all the time, I may be happily married with a great kid, but I do NOT recommend doing things the way I did...

I had a whirlwind of a life with some impulsive and not so impulsive decisions for the last year of my Marine Corps career.
  • November- I called off a wedding
  • December- I started dating my now husband, Mark
  • March- We decided we would get married
  • May- We married
  • June- I got pregnant
  • October- I left the Marine Corps
My husband and I both agree that we are an anomaly making it 12 years after we did things the way we did. After I left the Corps, things didn't get easier either. My husband of less than 8 months deployed while I was pregnant. If I continued down that timeline, your mind could be blown with the sheer volume of change, so I am just going to continue with the story of my pregnancy...

I found out I was pregnant in July and it caused feelings of excitement and sheer fear! Instantly, I felt tired. I was blessed to not get any real morning sickness; however, I was exhausted in a way I don't think I have ever again experienced. I did what I had to in order to get through the days and then went home and slept. I have never been a night person, but I was lucky if I could keep my eyes open past 7PM. While I was still a Marine, I gained weight like crazy, but not nearly as badly as when I became a stay at home wife. There was about a 6 week period between getting out of the Marine Corps and moving back to NJ to be with my parents during deployment and the birth of our child. I spent my days eating and sleeping. I will say, the stress from the impending deployment didn't help me with my eating issues-- I stress ate my way through the whole pregnancy. And in the end, I gained 60 lbs, mostly in my butt and my breasts.

I was huge! I was probably right at 40 weeks and 215 pounds when this picture was taken.

Me cleaning off the cars in a major snow storm right before gave birth.

 OK...enough with the Michelin Man photos, time to talk labor and delivery. Being a Marine, I was a bit of a block head and headstrong. I insisted that I delivery my son without the use of drugs. There were a couple of driving forces. (1) I didn't want any drugs that could go into the blood stream and effect my baby immediately or later on down the road. (2) I was TERRIFIED of a needle going into my spine. The idea of that is still insane to me. In fact, it freaks me out so badly that in 2006 when I was in the delivery room with my bestie, I almost passed out when she has her epidural!

So I go into labor around 11:20PM Friday night. The contractions wake me out of my sleep but subsided in about an hour or two so I could get back to sleep. I woke again on Saturday morning at about 6 and decided the contractions or the excitement were enough to keep me awake, so I got up. I went about my day doing all sorts of things with my mom. We ran errands, went on walks, visited my high school best friend (she was in her last few months of life dying of cancer). The contractions would come and go, but I just kept timing them and moving. When I went to visit Jill, my best friend, I was with my mom, her mom and two of her college friends. We are all chatting and having a good time. Jill had told her two friends that I was in labor and they laughed- They believed she had said that because I looked a million months pregnant (see above), not that I was actually in labor. So about half an hour later I say, "Jill, we're going to take off. These contractions are getting strong." The girls' eyes popped out of their heads and said, "Oh! You're actually in labor! You were so calm." I laughed with them, said my good-byes and headed home. Then began the real contractions. I called my doula and had her come to the house, took a hot bath and spent time walking, sitting on the toilet and sitting on a stability ball. I didn't believe the doula or my mom when they said I should go to the hospital. ACtually, had I not been fortunate enough to have a doula, my parents would have been delivering my son on their living room floor because I would have never gone on my mom's recommendation alone. We called the doctor and she told us to head to the hospital. She couldn't decide if she was going to stay home and watch a movie with her kids or come straight to the hospital. Something tugged on her to go to the hospital, but she didn't know why because I "sounded so calm".

We get in the car to drive to the hospital that is less than 10 minutes away with traffic (and there is no traffic). Well that 10 minutes felt like 1,000! If you have ever felt that transition period of labor, you know what I am talking about! Sitting down is the WORST position you could possibly be in aside from laying on your back! We arrive at the hospital around 8:30PM and they ask me to get in a wheel chair. I refuse, so they walk next to me with the chair and head up to the labor and delivery floor. Once there, they have me get changed into a gown and tell me I can walk around again once they monitor the baby and me for about 10 minutes. Well...I get changed, sit on the bed and my water breaks. Now I really know what pain is! I am writhing in the bed as they monitor me. I manage to sit still long enough to have them check how far along I was, and I was 8cm. I thought to myself  Only 8 cm?! It's going to take hours to get to 10! I'm not going to make it!!! As the contractions come, all I can think about is walking around. I yell to my mom, "Whose idea was it to go natural?!" My mom, like any good mother, was trying to hold back tears because she could not help her child in pain. Right after I say this, my doctor walks in. We talked about her decision to come instead of watch the movie and she began to check my progress. PRAISE JESUS! She said I am 10 cm and ready to start pushing!! I started pushing with enthusiasm and felt a whole new kind of pain! I screamed like I had never before and never have again to this day. As I was pushing and the doctor was chatting with my mom waiting on the episiotomy kit to arrive, she looks over and screams, "STOP!" Seriously, lady?! Stop?! I can't stop, I am pushing an enormous head through a tiny hole! Of course I stopped, but I was not happy or quiet. My son was already crowning and she wasn't down there to catch him. (Not that he was going to slip out quickly, but that's always scary). Since it was too late for the episiotomy, she massaged the opening and I thought she was holding a flame to my na-na! It's a pain I can still feel to this day when I think about it. Long story slightly shorter, after about 10 minutes of blinding pain, at 9:27 my son was born. We got a phone call from my deployed husband around midnight and my son and I were the talk of the hospital for about a month. 

Through no planning of my own, March 2003 began my journey as a mother...
And my sweet baby boy turns 11 this week...