Courtesy of Elizabeth Broadbent

The Tiny Thing My Mother Did For Me While I Was In Labor That Made All The Difference

When I was pregnant with my youngest son Sunny, my pregnancy was absolutely hellish. At 6 weeks, I developed hyperemesis gravidarum, or extreme morning sickness, which led to me being hospitalized. The only thing that would treat it was phenergan, a drug that made me sleep 16 hours a day. And at 12 weeks, when most women are seeing their babies on an ultrasound for the first time, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, because I was eating next to nothing and rapidly gaining weight.

Needless to say, I wanted this baby out. Because of my diabetes, my doctor scheduled an induction for 39 weeks and 4 days. My beloved OB was on call that day, and she practically assured me she’d be there to deliver. But there was one small issue: my delivery date was scheduled on Halloween. My mother volunteered to come down to help while I was in labor, and God bless her, she did — and I'm incredibly grateful to her for it.

When I gave birth to my first two babies, she'd also offered to help out, but we'd refused both times, knowing we could manage on our own. But now that I had a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old, my husband and I knew we needed help. And Mom came through.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Broadbent

My mom showed up several days before Sunny was born. At that point, I was basically spending most of my time in bed, sleeping or groaning miserably. She read the older boys books. She played games with them. She talked to them about the baby. She asked them if they were excited for the baby to come, and she helped prepare them for the change to come. Perhaps most importantly, she cleaned the kitchen. My husband complained that she rearranged everything in there, but still — it was a clean kitchen.

One night, we went to the zoo for trick-or-treating, a special event the zoo has every night for about two weeks before Halloween. I felt sick, so I couldn’t stay long, much to the kids’ chagrin. “Don’t worry,” my mother said. “Nana will take you back.” And she did.

I went into the hospital to start the induction the night before Halloween. After I left, my mother got both the kids to sleep in their bed, while she slept on an air mattress in our playroom. Then they woke up. She fed them. They played together. She took them to Five Guys for dinner, which is one of their favorite places to eat. I was still laboring while my sons scarfed fries and hotdogs, and my oldest son still likes to tell me about when he saw someone come in dressed as a gorilla that day.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Broadbent

Then my mom took the kids home. She dressed them up in their Star Wars costumes: Jango Fett and Yoda. And because our neighborhood is full of Halloween scrooges who don’t observe the holiday, she took them back to the only trick-or-treating go-to she knew of in town: the zoo. She didn’t have my pass, so she had to pay for two kids and herself, which is not an insignificant sum of money. They wandered around from booth to booth, collecting stickers, notepads, pencils, and animal masks. (My kids can't eat most candy because they have food allergies.)

We were so grateful that she gave our sons a Halloween to remember.

At 8:00, she took the kids home and put them to bed. She wasn’t used to chasing small kids all day, much less chasing them around a zoo jam-packed with trick-or-treaters of all ages, so she was exhausted. But she stuck it out, because she was there to help us.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Broadbent

At 10:00, I called my mom and told her I had finally delivered baby Sunny. The next morning, I was discharged. When we came home, the boys were thrilled to see us. Mom got to hold the baby, and she was so happy: it made all the running, all the tiredness, totally worth it. She couldn’t stay long — she left two days later — but we were so grateful that she gave our sons a Halloween to remember when we couldn't. And it was awesome of her to take them to Five Guys.