NorrinRadd,Because you were taught wrong.
In the New Testament, people didn't wait a year or years to get baptized, because it was taught as part of being saved. The fact that people nowadays wait, and delay, and skip is because baptism was not taught as it was the New Testament. It's a counterfeit teaching on baptism. If people had been taught baptism in the NT like is taught today, then you would likely see this issue of people waiting so long to get baptized as you described, and the apostles having to deal with it, because it's just human nature to act that way when baptism is not taught as part of being saved. The fact that it was never an issue shows that baptism in water was indeed taught in the NT as part of being saved.
"Sacrament" is a Catholic thing.
Yes, you only got wet, because your baptism wasn't Biblical, because you were taught wrong.
Yes, I understand that according to your interpretation of Scripture, I am wrong, and by extension, an unsaved infidel, since my baptism was improper and ineffectual. Fortunately, my conscience and salvation are not subject to your interpretation of Scripture.
"Sacrament" is not (just) a "Catholic thing." Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans/Episcopalians, Methodists, and at least some Reformed use the term to refer to "means of grace." If you are of the view that God "does something" via baptism, particularly if it is an indispensible part of changing one from "unsaved" to "saved," then you are viewing baptism as a "means of grace" and a "sacrament," whether or not you use those terms.