This post is about giving birth so if you are not quite interested, look at the end for the "you might like" and read a different post by me .
I had, in a week's time, done my exit interview, final exam, and thesis for my Master's degree; I had completed my entire Christmas shopping one rainy night, finished working (as in, last day before maternity leave); and baked, frosted, and delivered something like ten dozen cookies. I was stressed about the holidays and my always disappointing birthday coming in the next few days, and I just wanted to give birth, get through the holidays, and be done.
I told my mom to fly down by Dec 21, no later, to be there for the birth. She complained that she'd just be waiting around "forever" because "first babies come late so you will certainly deliver in early January". I kept telling her, I know I am not due till after Christmas and my birthday but be here no later than the 21st.
She didn't listen but after much nagging on my part, in a "okay, fine have it your way" moment, booked her flight for the evening of the 22nd. I told her, mom, make it the 21st, but mothers never listen.
The morning of the 21st came and I was bored stiff. I did the dishes and decide to take a bath (in a crappy but humorous attempt to shave the hairy legs I could not see or reach) and then go to the library, since the county was under a state of emergency (rain, flooding, mud slides) and I needed a book before we lost power/got flooded/Armageddon or whatever.
My mom rang and told me, "one more day till I see you! Now don't have your baby till I get there. And promise that to your father; last night he dreamed you had your baby. You know he never dreams. Do you feel any contractions?" I told her I felt fine, bored, no baby in sight. I hung up, filled the bath, and gave up on shaving without even trying. I yearned for a hot bah on this cold day, but pregnant ladies can't have scalding hot baths. I basked in the lukewarm water, trying to waste time until the library opened at ten. I casually stepped out once I looked like a pink prune, toweled off, and began to put on panties when I realized, crap, my pants were in the laundry room. And then it happened.
Everyone I knew well enough kept warning me about incontinence your third trimester, so I was like, eww I just peed in my panties, but yes! Finally I know what they are talking about! So I waddled over and got new panties and called for my hubby to get my pants. Except it went, "honey? I need my pants. (Dramatic pause). And umm I might have peed myself or umm my water broke? I don't know. Quick. Help."
He dashed in, tripping over the dog who disgustingly was nosing my wet panties. I stood there now naked again, second pair of panties wet, looking confused. I was confused, not the panties but if they were sentient they'd look confused too. That would be creepy.
"I think my water broke?" I queried, as I mean peeing myself or my water breaking were both new experiences. I expected, if it were my water, to have felt contractions. So I put on my pants and my mouth went agape. Again I was wet. I ran around, digging for period pads that were long forgotten, and ended up with a hand towel between my legs. I giggled to myself, remembering how the pads in the nurse's office at school were that thick. And how now I waddled even more.
I called my Bradley Birthing Coach, even though I had dropped out two weeks prior(cause I drop out of everything) because I figured she was the most experienced, being that my mother and mother in law hadn't given birth in decades, and my sis in law had done scheduled c-section. We chatted for a moment, where she asked about contractions (none) and said to delay the hospital as long as possible -a Bradley trademark, and besides, I wasn't eager for the hospital either. Then I called my BFF and left her a message. Then I had one small contraction. Then I noticed my towel-pad was sopping wet and kind of tea-colored. Meconium, meaning baby poop, meaning doctors freak out and induce you or do a c-section or whatever. Crap. Literally. In just a bit over half an hour I had gone from "is it pee?" To "dammit, let's go to the hospital". My contractions came again, and I called my mom as I headed to the car. "Told you, be here today. My water broke. Hospital. Bye."
The contractions worsened on the 15 minute drive to the hospital, quickening, feeling like food poisoning cramps. Hubby dropped me off by the door while he went to find parking. I had a bad contraction right there in the parking lot, in pouring rain, and had no option but to head inside in hope I could find a seat to wait out the pain.
I walked into some not-labor room and for a moment, forgot what I learned on the hospital tour. Then I remembered, and headed towards the elevator.
Another, worst-yet contraction hit in the elevator, and I recalled a seating area right outside the elevator on the second floor. I can do it, I can make it to a seat where I can sit down, the pain so bad I could barely stand.
After an eternity going up just one floor, I dashed to the chair just in time for the contraction to stop. I figured, might as well check myself in, and headed towards the labor area.
There were those hospital double doors, locked so you cannot get in and steal babies or anything, and I remembered there was some admittance button to open the doors. Somewhere. In a panic, I looked everywhere, to no avail. I definitely did not want to give birth outside the elevator and I also didn't want to be the stupid wife who couldn't find the damned button. I was in tears. Where the f**k was the button? Why can't they have some button, big as a steering wheel, bright red and blinking, all Vegas-style, "baby, ouch, open"? Where the f**k was the giant red (or, soon to find out, doorbell sized wall colored button) when I needed it?
Hubby found me pacing the hall, crying, and he asked why I didn't push the button. "I....can't....find....it" I whimpered in defeat. He found it like that and in we went.
I signed an X for my name on the admittance papers. I was in too much pain to even remember how to sign my own name of 30 years. We got ushered into a steel room with a bathroom where I was handed a paper gown and a cup.
Luckily, I was able to pee. I exited and just stood there, in a cold paper gown, with an open cup of urine, biting my lip in pain. Ten painful minutes later, I was directed to a steel table. The same table at the veterinarians. Bark. They hooked me up to crap and left. I watched the contraction monitor make cool Himalayan style graphs and I saw some blood pool on the table, and I chucked my steel water bottle across the room, some weird pain-dealing issue. The contractions were 3 minutes apart and so bad I nearly vomited from the pain. Deer-eyed, I asked hubby to find a damned nurse.
She walked in all casually, slowly gloved up as I writhed in pain, as went to feel my cervix. " hmm, don't feel it" she said', making me expect her to say next, "so you are not in labor, go home" at which point I'd go postal and knock her down. But she felt again and was all, " Oh my! 6 or 7 cm, you are in labor (told you, b1tch, I may have thought out loud) "lets hurry and get you into a labor room" (no sh1t Sherlock). Bloody towels and pants swept away, put in a bag, you know, in case I wanted my bloody panties towel back. Ha.
New less metallic table, and a new set of monitors. It was about 11:30, I had waited in that stupid steel room for an hour. The pain increased and was nearly constant. The nurses kept asking for me to rate my pain, which confused me. Was a 1 no pain or hangnail level pain? Was ten labor, or I was just skinned alive while passing a kidney stone level pain? They were not happy I could not answer, and were unable to provide me with a pain rubric. I may have even told them it was bad data/statistics to not have a pain rubric to accompany their stupid scale. They kept suggesting an epidural which I was vehemently against.
Hubby went at about noon to get my iPod, his laptop, you know, entertainment stuff. The few I had known to give birth naturally had their first labors from 14-55 hours and here it was a bit past hour two, I was here for the long haul.
Hubby told me I was in transition, ready to actually give birth, this was the short lived but most painful part. Apparently he paid attention before we dropped out of birthing class, and apparently I didn't hear him. All I heard was "epidural now? How about now? Stop squirming!" While I thought, animals in pain squirm and scream so f**k you that is what I will do.
Hubby gone, pain constant, I weakly mumbled "yes" to the epidural. I had figured I had what, 12-53 more hours of this pain. Sure it was the worst pain EVER but if it was an hour more, I would live, but ten, twenty, or more? F**k no. Epidural please. As the epidural guy was paged, the nurse tried to get me to do the huh hug Lamaze breathing. I refused and may have said something to the effect of, how the hell is breathing like a freaking idiot going to help? I was unable to breathe like an idiot because I was laughing. Okay no, I was in too much pain to laugh but I was laughing in my head, that a nurse thought breathing like a dragon who chain smoked would magically ease the pain. Let me tell you, it's bullsh1t.
I forgot to remind them to check my dilation before the epidural. Well, really I was in too much pain to properly communicate, and besides it is their job, protocol, to do that. Which they didn't.
The needle went in and ahhhhh the pain diminished. Then the nurse checked my dilation as my hubby came back in. "Umm you're at ten inches and I see the head. There are two ER c-sections, waiting for the doctor to get here, with all these road closures. Don't push. Just wait." My body wanted to push and I did a bit until the epidural made me so damn numb I couldn't even feel my boobs.
At two o'clock, I could actually reach down there and feel the head, but not see it. The doctor rushed in, gloving up while running, and I was relieved. Not only was a doctor here ( I could finally push!) but he was my obgyn. Of all the probably 50 or so L&D doctors, I had. my doctor. He was supposed to start vacation that day but was called in, other doctors were flooded in or whatever. I was so relieved.
No one told me the stupid epidural had an on, off, high, low button so I had been in taking the high dose for two hours. I'm surprised I could feel my face. So by now, I had no clue if I was pushing, pulling, resting, or anything. So the actual birth took a bit, because by now if you looked at me from the view of the doctor, you could see the head. But one has to push to get the bulky shoulders out. So I tried.
At 2:44pm, just 5 hours after my water broke, I gave birth.
I saw a blue-red-yellow slimy baby figure in the nurses arms, and the doctor said with shock, "meconium. Not breathing". The longest three seconds of my life, until the other nurse aspirated him and you heard a sweet cry. Tears began to run down my face as they moved my child over for weight, length, and apgar score which they argued over, "8, no, 9, no, 8...." Then they asked, "what name shall we wrote down?" I let them know,, I need to know the gender first (see, everyone knows nowadays, with modern technology but I went old school, something no one understood but I wanted a surprise!). "It's a boy" they said, handing this wrinkly pink thing of perfection to me. I cried. I snuggled. They stood there waiting to write his name, but I didn't have one yet. Sure, I had a few picked out but. I had to see him first. So on his hospital bracelet and crib it just says "baby boy".
It took the 24 crappy hours of stay in the hospital ( seriously, people like staying here? Wtf? I wanted out at like... 3:00!) to name him, and I did.
But his name here is Baby Boy. Can't give away too much information. But he is the cutest guy in the world.