A couple of snapshots…
A birth story:
So my water broke at the mall. Then we went to a book store and had some Starbucks.
Let me rewind to a few hours before that.
The day before, my ob-gyn told me that labour was imminent and I should be ready to deliver that night or the day after. Considering that the hospital was about 40 minutes away (or an hour in traffic), the fact that I had quick labours with my last 3 children, and that we had 4 children that we had to make arrangements for, I thought it best to just go hang out near the hospital even though I was not having contractions consistently. We calmly packed up everything and had the kids picked up and taken care of.
Fast forward to the book store.
After hanging out and browsing through some books I have on my must-read list, we decide to go to my in-laws house (which is close by) to nap. We’re still moving at a snail’s pace at this point and I am still not feeling strong contractions. At the house, I call the hospital so they can assess my situation. They tell me to come to the hospital even though I’m not in active labour because they see on file how quick my labours have been previously. Ever-Patient had just started to drift off to sleep when I had to tell him it was time to go. He is now running on fumes.
When we get to the hospital, they tell me to walk around the hospital for 2 hours to help get the contractions going. At this point, my feet hurt from the mall walking, I’m sleepy, and I feel NO contractions whatsoever. After walking outside, inside, up and down stairs, I hear my name being called. It’s my doctor looking for me. She is a sight for sore eyes.
(A little background info: My doctor has been my obstetrician for all 5 pregnancies yet she had never delivered any of the last 4. I have had a different doctor deliver each one but each time had hoped that my doctor would be the one on-call as I went into labour.)
My doctor was on-call that night and was looking for me because she didn’t want me walking around the halls of a hospital (which is quite creepy at night) when she could “help” things along for me. She ended up breaking the rest of my water (it had only been trickling) and after that, labour progressed pretty fast.
I decided before then that I would not have the epidural this time – not because I wanted to be a martyr but because with #4, I experienced severe migraines for a couple weeks after delivery which may have been a side effect of the epidural. I did not want to take the chance. With #4 being born in the summer, the kids stayed with grandparents for a week after she was born. This time around, because all the kids are in school, they would be home and there was no way I would have been able to recover from labour, care for a newborn plus 4 others, and deal with migraines.
As the contractions got stronger, Ever-Patient and I took to the empty halls of the hospital again although this time, we stopped every 2-3 minutes for me to just lean on him, curse, and repeat my labour mantra, “This is the last one. This is the last one.” This intense part of labour lasted from about 11pm to 1:45am and then I was ready to push the baby out.
After another intense contraction, the nurse says, “Let’s try to push on this next contraction.” I look at her and say, “Maybe you should call the doctor.” She says, “No, not yet. With this push, I just want to see where you’re at.” I give her a look as if to say “I warned you” and began to push. She realizes what an expert I am at pushing and quickly buzzes for the doctor and tells me to just wait a second. Yeah right. 6 minutes of pushing and the baby is out and my doctor just makes it in time for her to catch him. (At this point, I realize that the whole labour and delivery was done in dimmed lighting with everyone fairly quiet except for some grunting on my part.)
Ever-Patient giddily cuts the cord and he follows the nurses and his brand new son to the warming station on the other side of the room. I, on the other hand, endure the real pain – the after birth. As she works her “magic,” she tells me that I am now a “Grandmultip” and because of that, after pains will be more intense than ever. Yay. But at least I get a cool new title.
The nurses place a bare #5 on my chest. This immediate skin-to-skin contact sealed the deal for me: I was in love. I was done. Life was good. Never again.