It was a nudge, a squeeze, a queasy feeling. I watched The Husband get ready for work. It must have been an important day as I watched him put on his tie. He usually took full advantage of being the owner, rolling in around nine-ish, not wearing a tie. There was that feeling again.
“This is going to sound weird. But I think I’m in labor.”
He stopped and eyed me through the mirror. He turned around, horror written on his face. “Are you sure? I mean, you’re not due until Friday, and you keep saying you think you’ll be late.”
“Of course, I said that. If it’s your child, she’s bound to be late, just like you. But I think I might be in labor.”
“Are you in pain?”
I thought about the feeling. “No.”
“Well, I have to be to work early. You know how four-day weeks are.”
“Every one is recovering.”
“Right.” He gave me a peck. “Let me know if anything changes.” He walked out of the room. “I’ll try to be home for lunch.”
Right. I wobbled my way downstairs to get breakfast (Mmmm, Rice Krispies in cold milk. Or maybe the Mud Buddies I made yesterday) to find my brother M was already awake.
“What are you doing up?” There was that feeling again. Weird. My baby brother must have noticed because he looked at me funny.
“Are you ok?”
“I’m fine. I think. I think I’m in labor.”
“Crap! I’ll go wake up Mom!”
“Wait!” I grabbed his arm. “I can’t be in labor. We’re going to the Angels game tonight. Tomorrow we’re going to LA to see the King Tut exhibit. Not to mention the blinds need to be cut for the nursery, the bookcase we got isn’t built yet, and then there’s the stroller we got yesterday. It’s still in the box from yesterday!”
“Fae. I don’t think any of those things matter when you have a baby.”
“I can’t have the baby yet. It’s TOO SOON!”
“Ok, ok. Let’s get breakfast. And then I’ll help you put together the bookcase.”
“Thank you. So why are you up? Where’s Mom and Dad?”
“There’s not a lot to do at night at your house.”
We finished breakfast and went upstairs to build the bookcase. All the while I felt these weird pangs. We were putting it together when the parents found us.
“Fae thinks she’s in labor.”
Tattle tale. “I can’t be. Do you want to come with me to Home Depot after lunch to cut the blinds?”
For the next few hours the family watched me. The weird feeling became a pain. A terrible pain. The only way I could get any relief was to kneel, holding onto a chair.
“Mom, can you braid my hair? I don’t want it to be in my way during the labor.”
Twice during the braiding, we had to stop so that I could kneel over the chair. Mr. Burns, the pug, was freaked out as he just stared at me, never leaving my side. I guess I should have felt honored. I wanted to kick him.
As I “breathed out my pain,” which is a crock of s*@t, my baby brother stood over me.
“Hey, Fae? How many kids did you want? Was it four? Do you still want four? Do you?”
Come here, you little piece of crap. I don’t care if you’re six foot five and out weigh me and have all that damn testosterone coursing through your body. I’m going to take you down. You’re so f*@$ing dead. I’m going kick you @ss.
“Not. A. Good. TIME!”
“The Husband, you’re wife is in labor. You might want to come home now.”
“How does burgers sound?”
“Sounds good.” Burgers. Mmmm. Owwww!
“Hey, Fae. How are you doing?” The Husband rubbed my back. I think I might bite that hand.
“Let me change, and I’ll grill the burgers. We still haven’t picked out a boy’s name yet. We have too. Which one do you want Evan or Quentin?”
“I don’t care!”
“Evan, then. I’ll be right back.”
I shot him a nasty look. Stupid male.
As I drank water, I watched my mom and The Husband talk as he flipped burgers.
“So you think, we’ll have a baby in a couple of days?”
“No. I think you’ll have a baby tonight.”
“Ok, I’m going to jump in the spa. I always wanted a water birth. This will calm me and the baby down.”
“I don’t know, Fae. You’re contractions are coming every three minutes.”
“Please, Mom. Let me try.”
BIG mistake. It slowed down the contractions to five minutes apart, then seven, but they hurt like hell. I couldn’t lean over without trying to drown myself. The Husband talked on his cell phone, pacing as my mom talked me through the pain. The Husband finished his call and leaned down.
“How are we doing?”
“The Husband. May I please have your phone?” I reached out my hand, dripping with chlorinated water. I batted my eyes, dazzled my smile.
“Sure.” He handed it down. I reached up to get it.
A hand swooped in to grab it. B*^%#!
“The Husband, you owe me. I just saved your phone.” The Husband gave a blank look at my mom. “Fae. Were you going to put his phone in the water?”
“I was going to throw it in the deep end.” Sugar dripped from my tongue.
“The Husband. You better call D at the doctor’s office. Her pain isn’t easing.” My mom handed the phone back to The Husband. He dialed the phone number. Stupid male.
“Hey, is D there? . . . Hi D! It’s The Husband. Fae is in a lot of pain. Her contractions were?”
“Three minutes apart,” said my mom.
“Three minutes apart-“
“Now, they’re seven because she went into the warm spa.”
“Now, they’re seven because she’s in the spa. But her pain hasn’t diminished.”
D over the phone said, “Has she cussed at you? Has she yelled at you?”
“No. She’s been just fine.”
“Crap. Bring her here now. We’ll squeeze you in. She’s already passed that point.” Click.
We hustled. I got dressed. I kissed my dad and brother goodbye. I waddled into the big truck. Thank God, he decided against the Beamer. I hated how he shifted. I would kill him now if he shifted while we were on the way to the hospital. My mom climbed in back, camera ready as it had been all day. B*#$%!
The Husband drove the speed limit. He even stopped at a yellow light. Grrrr.
As we pulled off the freeway, my mom asked, “The Husband, why did we take the truck?”
“BECAUSE HE WANTS TO DRIVE ME CRAZY!” I tried to dig my nails in the dash.
“Because the car seat’s already in it. We’re bringing home a baby tonight.”
“It’ll be a few days, The Husband.”
I had a cramp in the waiting room, but I was surrounded by non-showing women. I was brave. My mom took my picture as D took my vitals. I must get my hands on that camera.
“She’s dehydrated. That’s why she’s in so much pain. Take her across the street and get her admitted. They’ll get an IV in her, and I’ll let the doctor know.”
“Can they give her something for the pain?”
I had a labor pain before we crossed the bridge, suspended two stories high. A nurse told us to walk along the side of the hospital to get to the front door. I had a labor pain on a fire hydrant. There was construction blocking the way, so we had to turn around and go into the emergency area. I had another labor pain on the fire hydrant. As we walked towards the glass doors, a man was walking out. Seeing my mom and my husband huddling around me, the man’s eyes grew big. “Doyouneedachair?!” He turned around without an answer and sprinted back into the doors. He came back running a wheel chair to me. The husband thanked him, and the man wished us good luck.
As we entered the hospital, they were waiting for us. The man must have yelled it at the top of his lungs. I was rushed to the delivery area, not my room. I wasn’t far enough dilated yet. Then came the drip, the monitoring, the hours waiting to dilate. I couldn’t get into my favorite position. I was forced to lie there, squeezing a dent into the bars or so I thought.
I didn’t like my nurse. She was gruff.
She talked quietly over the phone. “Doctor, please, let’s get her the epidural. I know. If we give her Pitocin, she should be fine. She’s in a lot of pain; I don’t know how long she can hold on. Thank you, doctor.”
She patted my hand, never acting like I heard. “Ok, my dear. They’re going to wheel you into a delivery room. They’re going to give you the epidural. The anesthiologist is on his way. Then they’re going to give you Pitocin to speed things up a little. This is the end of my shift, but I’m going to leave you in good hands.”
Did I ever say how much I loved that nurse?
The next nurse was sweet in the way that didn’t get on my nerves.
The anesthiologist came sliding into the room. “Hey, my name is (Totally forgot). Feel free to name your kid after me. Many women promise that.” He smiled. “OK, folks. I suggest you leave the room while I administer the epidural.”
The gruff nurse hadn’t clocked out yet, and she said, “If you move, he won’t do it. I’ll hold you and help you breathe through the pain.”
I hate that damn phrase.
“What do you mean she won-“
“The Husband. T’s here with some dinner. Come on. We’ll be back, sweetheart.”
“But she said-“
“They’ll give it to her. I promise.”
“Ok. We’ll be back in a little bit, Fae.”
Ok. CRAP! That hurt like a b@*^$!
The doctor came in. “How are you doing, Fae? We’re administering the Poticin through your IV drip. Would you like to pray?” I nodded. The doctor held my hands. “Dear Heavenly Father, . . . .” Wait. What did I agree to?! Where’s my Marian Medal? No male god would understand this. “Fae, we’re also going to break your water to help move things along. We’ll probably deliver in the early hours of the morning. But I won’t leave.”
The curtain was drawn. My numb legs were put in stirrups. The nurse handed the doctor something. The door was opened.
“FAE! Are you in there?”
“Yeah. I’m a little indisposed at the moment, J!”
“Oh, hey, J. Did D call you?” the doctor said.
“Hey, Doc! She did! I wanted to see how Fae was doing!”
“Well, I’m about to break her water.”
“Oh. OH! All right! Fae, GOOD LUCK! I’ll see you tomorrow!”
The door closed. My water was broken. I was left alone. And then I threw up my hamburger. Dang.
The doctor walked in. “You threw up?” I nodded as the nurse took the full vomit tray away. “I figured when I saw the beeping in the nurses’ station. You’ll be fine.” He left the room. The nurse busied herself. My husband and mom walked in the room.
“Where have you been? They gave me my shot, the Potocin, and broke my water. J was here. And then I threw up.”
“I see the epidural is working.” My mom’s dry sense of humor, ladies and gentlemen.
“Yes. And it’s wonderful.”
“Your dad and M were in a different part of the hospital. They’re going to stick around for a while. Maybe they can come in later.”
Time passed. Not too much because all of a sudden I was completely dilated and ready to push.
The doctor walked in. “Well, Fae. That was fast. I was expecting to be here until two. Let’s see what’s going on.” He slid into position like a catcher. “Looks like the little guy-. We don’t know what the baby is, do we?”
“No. But my mom is sure it’s a girl.”
“She carried high. The heartbeat was fast. It has to be a girl.”
“She hid the envelope, doctor.”
“Ok, let’s get this baby out.”
My mom had one leg; the nurse the other. The husband held my hand. It took three pushes.
“Here, she comes. Here, she comes. Here, she comes. Here, he is!”
“A boy! A boy! A boy! My boy!” I whispered over and over as they cut the cord and laid Evan down on my lap.
At 9:20pm, July 5th, three days before his due date, with images of ancient Rome dancing in my head, Evan came into the world. My world was forever changed.