Friday, November 18, 2011

How I Became a Mother - November 18, 2002

Sunday, November 17th, one month and one day before my due date, Andy, my BIL, and I were watching the Patriots play the Raiders on Sunday Night Football while I consumed my weight in guacamole and chips, feeling HRH doing aerobics in my abdomen. I went to bed somewhere around the 3rd quarter and the Braxton-Hicks continued.

Around 1:00 am, I went to the bathroom and upon returning to our room, commented to my unconscious husband that something was up (where "up" = mucus plug) and climbed back into bed. Maybe another half hour passed and the contractions continued and got stronger. I leaned over to Andy and, touching him lightly on the shoulder, whispered, "Honey, I think I'm in labor."

In no less than three seconds, Andy is out of the bed, lights on, and has gone from boxers and a t-shirt to jeans and a sweatshirt. And he's accusing me questioning me about what's going on while I am thumbing through the 'false labor' section of What to Expect When You're Expecting and learning nothing. I call my OB's office and get a call back from the on-call physician, who asks me in his German accent what my previous labors had been like (Dude? Previous labors? Didn't you read the first sentence? This is how I became a mother.)

When the contractions were around 3 minutes apart, we decide that we'd rather go to the hospital and have professionals laugh at us for crying wolf. But not before Andy packs a bag for me - containing six face cloths(?) and two pairs of his socks (I did end up using the socks). Thanks, babe.

On the surreal, 20-minute ride to the hospital, it occurs to us that we may indeed become parents that night and perhaps we needed to decide on a name (we knew it was a boy). Between contractions, we arrived at HRH.

We arrived at the hospital around 3:00 am and parked in the fire lane (I still have the parking ticket as a souvenir). We arrive in the ER and find a nurse to check us in. She explains we need to go to Labor and Delivery and of course, we know where that is. Uh, no. The tour part of our prenatal class was scheduled for the following Tuesday. Did I mention I was a month early? So we get directions and head down to a locked door and press the intercom. A woman answers and I (feeling like Dorothy at the door to the Emerald City) say "Um, my name is Christine Manic and I think I'm having a baby?"

Thank God, we were now in the hands of more competent and knowledgeable people. I was ushered into a very nice room, given the once over and it was determined that I was indeed in labor. Cause these things were really starting to hurt.

0.25 seconds later, I asked for drugs.

Remember the guac from earlier? Yeah, so did I. Proud, bonding moments passed between myself and my husband (who had heretofore never even seen me pee) and the toilet as I adjusted to labor. Eventually, I was in bed and given a Nubain IV, which allowed me to sleep between contractions (mmm....sleep....contraction! owwwwww!....sleep...) and then my boyfriend the anesthesiologist arrived to place a red hot poker needle into my spine with that great, "move-and-you're-paralyzed" warning. I was. not. impressed. with the Epidural.

More time (weeks, maybe months) elapsed and I opened my eyes to find my team and my husband watching The Today Show. I spun my head 360 degrees and demanded to know why Katie Couric was on TV. They switched off the television and got down to business; it was TIME TO PUSH.

Of course being a month early, my doctor was away so the on-call OB, Dr. Mengele arrived. I suck at pushing. I told him the epidural wasn't working. He did not care. And told me more meds would slow progress. I think he studied medicine straight out of the bad parts of the Bible where women must endure the pain of childbirth to atone for Eve's sins. To this day, I hate him.

After about two hours of "he's just around the bend" (Bend? What freakin' bend? What do you mean my body is shaped like a J?), my nurse finally turned on the tough love and demanded that I get at least two to three good pushes out of each contraction. Andy hears this and decides to try this approach with me as well - once.

He then wisely returned to holding my hand and shoveling ice chips into my waiting mouth. Finally, the baby was crowning. Using that same drill sergeant voice that had worked so well on me, the nurse instructed Andy to take a look. He left my side and peered down, returning seconds later, white as a sheet. He later told me his only thought was "that's one big vagina." He stayed up by my head throughout the rest.

At 10:26 am, after nearly four hours of pushing, I finally PUSHED just the right way and was rewarded with my beautiful 5 pound (head) and 9 ounce (body) baby boy.

It wasn't until they went to push the pitocin through my IV that they realized that the IV had come out and I wasn't getting the drugs. Andy fessed up that he'd been inadvertently stepping on the IV tubing throughout the night. My own OB also later told me that I'd reacted poorly to the epidural and he'd watch for that next time.

What I remember most of the next hours and days was the first time I was alone with HRH. I looked at him and knew him; he looked familiar - not in a 'he looks like his dad' kind of way but more of an 'I know you.'

And I was a mom.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

So cute!

I had an epidural that didn't take. Good times. I also pushed for 3 hours and then they used suction to get the baby out--thank goodness I didn't know that prolonged time in the birth canal is the leading cause of cerebral palsy until much later.

Happy Birthday to both of you!

Stimey said...

Oh, I love this. What a great story, full of funny, and drama and an adorable baby at the end! I don't understand why doctors don't listen to their patients more. Childbirth is kind of a horrorshow. I know there are a lot of people who are all, "beauty of life" and whatnot, but I remain steadfast: Horrorshow.

Also? "That's one big vagina." DYING. Hilarious.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I love honest birth stories. Hilarious! And Chris can relate to Andy. Six weeks after giving birth I came home from a doctor's appointment and grudgingly admitted that it was safe for us to have sex again. His response: "I'm not ready." Thank god!

Mrs. Tuna said...

Me? Epidural and C-section. My teeth were numb, it was perfect.

anymommy said...

Lovely. I adore how birth stories always end with that perfect love. xo.


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