It started Tuesday evening. If they weren’t so strong, I would have said they were Braxton Hicks. They were painless, but they felt like a giant fist was squeezing my uterus. So we waited, sure that we would have to go soon. At 1:30, I fell asleep on the couch; while, The Husband snored on the floor. At 3:00, I woke to nothing. I sat there waiting, but nothing happened. After an hour of waiting, I joined The Husband in bed. I felt so cheated by my body that I slept on my side, the position denied to me by my body, unless I wanted to be sore and stiff the next morning. I gave my body the finger.
The next morning, it gave me the finger right back in soreness.
About 9:30, they were back. Only they weren’t painless. They were uncomfortable. In between contractions, like the night before Tornado A would kick and hit, trying to stop whatever was squeezing him. Everyone was on high alert. After all, Tornado S came in six hours. While the time in between contractions became shorter, the intensity barely got stronger.
Though I was starving through the day, I only nibbled here and there. I didn’t eat anything but crackers and cream cheeses for lunch. It was the last I would eat until Tornado A was in the world.
My mom kept calling. The Husband kept asking to go to the hospital. At 4pm, The Husband was beside himself and started asking if he could call the doctor. It sounded more like a plea. If anyone remembers, we got to the hospital to deliver Tornado S, and I was already 7 cm and nearly missed the window for the epidural. The Husband was NOT about to let me deliver without massive amounts of pain killers. That’s love, people.
So I gave in and let him call the doctor, who said I could come down whenever I was ready. She happened to be on call that night, which was nice since I hadn’t met anyone else in the practice. Of course, if I didn’t have her, I would be fine as long as someone was there to catch the baby. I called my mom to ask her to take the boys. The Husband went and got her, and I started to get things ready.
I dinked around for another hour or more so we wouldn’t drive in rush hour. Sure, the hospital was only a couple of miles away, but that’s EIGHT lights, people. And yes, when we drove there, we hit all of them red. Thank God I wasn’t in real pain or I would have been demanding for some law breaking.
When we finally got to the hospital, we went into the main entrance because we didn’t know where else to go. Because we’re not a tour-taking kind of people.
Me: Hi. We’re looking for labor and delivery.
The two kids at the desk stared at me and blinked. They looked at each other. Then they looked back at me.
The Dude: Uh. Um.
Me: Yeah, I’m in labor, and I need to get to labor and delivery. Can you tell me where it is?
The Chick: Um. Uh.
The Husband seethed behind me.
The Dude: Ok. (pulled out a paper) Just follow the map. Go down this hall to almost the end and turn left.
He handed me “the map.” I looked at it. All it had on it were arrows in the shape of an upside down L. Right.
I rolled my eyes and started down the hall. When we were out of ear shot, The Husband started on his comedy rant, which is only reserved for the most incredibly stupid. I wish I could remember it because I was laughing so hard, but I was in labor.
We find labor and delivery by following the large signs, not by the map. The reception desk sent us on another hunt down more halls. We found our special doors to find them locked, even after they tried to buzz us in. Luckily my doctor was coming down the hall and was happy to let us in. See ya, in a couple hours.
So we were admitted in triage. And apparently when I get nervous, I start cracking jokes. The nurse was happy to joke with me. I got into my gown and was hooked up to machines. I was 4 cm. Woohoo. I went to the bathroom Again. (When I was in labor with Tornado E, I was dehydrated which means it was more painful.) I wiped myself to find blood. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. Calm Down. Calm down. We’re already at the hospital. Just tell the nurse.
Me: Um, I’m uh bleeding?
The triage nurse: Oh. No worries. That’s just your bloody show.
I started to laugh hysterically. Three pregnancies and this was my first bloody show. I had no idea.
The nurse decided to get ahead and get my blood drawn and get my IV going. I hate needles. I hate shots. The Husband hates them even more and sat in a place where he could miss it. Baby. On the third vial, the needle slipped, I felt blood run down and pool into my palm. Fun stuff. The nurse was so embarrassed and kept apologizing. My labor and delivery nurse showed up to collect me. And also helped to wipe up my blood.
I was allowed to stay. The doctor’s orders were to let me labor for two hours, and if there was no change, I would get Pitocin. Fine.
It wasn’t long until my contractions stopped. Stopped. One more time with feeling. Stopped. And I became what I dreaded all day. A watched pot.
One thing proved that not all was normal in Fae’s body. Heartburn. Horrible, terrible, wild fire heartburn. I kept tapping my chest in a vain attempt to settle the fire. When my mom arrived, fresh from her line dancing class with dinner for The Husband, she began asking if I could have water or ice chips to cool down the blaze. But the nurse and I both told her it would only make things worse.
The Nurse: The only thing that’ll make it better is having the baby.
My cousin came down from her station at the NICU to say hi and see how I was doing. I assured her labor wasn’t that bad and that they had drugs to deal with the pain. Hell, it isn’t so bad when your contractions stopped.
Two hours hit, and the call was made to the doctor. If I was going to get Pitocin, I sure the hell was going to get my epidural. The call was made to the anesthesiologist. The Husband went out to get some coffee, and the nurse explained to my mom only one person could be in the room with me when I got my epidural. I assured my mom that The Husband would not be in the room when I received my epidural. At that moment, The Husband entered the room and was explained the situation. He reassured my mom that he would prefer to be out of the room and proceeded to run out of the room.
The anesthesiologist came and gave me my shot. But without contractions it was hard to let him know if it was working. My feet were numb.
The Husband came back into the room just in time for the volcano in my stomach to spew. My heartburn burned up my chest as I threw up the junk in my stomach. Which was weird because it wasn’t what I ate for lunch. Looking on the bright side, the nurse told me that I shouldn’t have heartburn any more.
Then came the horribleness of the damn catheter. We should have known then something was wrong with my epidural. I don’t know how any one does it without drugs. It was the most uncomfortable experience I ever had. I started to weep. I begged the nurse to take it out. The Husband, my mom, and the nurse tried to soothe me and comfort me. I got The Button to give myself another shot of painkillers. I took both shots. (I can still see the tape residue of the catheter and I still shudder.)
Then came the contractions. We were now nearing midnight. I couldn’t believe it was taking so long. It was like starting again. But then the intensity and the pressure began to increase. I started to moan. The nurse called for the anesthesiologist again, waking him from his nap. I held on to the hope that he would be back and in fifteen minutes I would be fine.
And fifteen minutes came and passed. He arrived at last. The pain was worse than ever. He asked me if it was a pressure or a sharp pain. It was both. He increased the dosage up because the medicine wasn’t up my spine far enough. He left.
Ten minutes until relief.
Instead I vomited again. The nurse got the go ahead to give me something for the heartburn. But she insisted that I wear an oxygen mask. God, I Hate oxygen masks. I took it off the first moment I could. Stupid oxygen mask.
And hell began. I can’t put it lightly. I’m a wimp with pain. It’s why I take painkillers. It’s why I will never pierce a sensitive body part. It’s why I’ve never given blood. I have never been in as much pain as I was that night.
I pressed my button. I moaned. I cried. I squeezed that rails to the bed. I refused to hold The Husband’s hand or my mom’s in fear that I would break them.
In the middle of one contraction, as my back arched, I felt and heard my water pop. It burst out of me like a broken water balloon, landing all the way down to my ankle. In my last labors, my water never broke. Another first for me. I wished someone had seen it because I was curious to know how it came out. The Husband said he heard it but missed seeing it, since he was busy trying to calm me down.
The nurse checked me, and we were ready. The doctor was called. Nurses came in. The room seemed so much more crowded, but I was just aware that I. Needed. To. Push. NOW.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
No. No. No. He’s ready. He’s here. Oh, God. I have to push.
Calm. You’ll be fine. The doctor is almost here. Breathe. Breathe. Fae, look at me. Look at me. You’re doing fine.
I can’t look down or I’ll push. Oh. God. He’s here. Please. I have to push.
Breathe. You’re doing great. Hold on. Breathe. The doctor is almost here. You’re doing fine. The doctor’s here. Let’s get the bed ready.
With my feet in stirrups, my hands gripping the bed rails above me, I arched like a possessed victim, crying.
Ok, Fae. Next contraction I want you to push. Bear down.
Push. Push. Push.
One push. And Tornado A came spiraling out. I felt his head come out and then the slowing at the shoulders, but I kept bearing down, feeling that if we stopped now I wouldn’t be able to take it. I don’t know if I had it in me to push again. But Tornado A kept coming out. The Husband barely had time to cut the cord and get out of the way before I forced out the afterbirth.
They placed Tornado A on my stomach so I could see and hold him. They whisked him away to test him and clean him up.
The doctor began to sew me up, and I moaned with pain.
The doctor: Fae? You can feel that?
The Doctor: Hmmm. Let me numb the area. You’ll feel a pinch.
The doctor waited a minute for the pain killer to take affect and started again. I moaned, trying to be quiet. Then I felt someone take my hand, and I opened my eyes. My mom looked down at me and squeezed my hand. The doctor had to numb me two more times, but at least, I could hold someone’s hand.
Once the doctor was done, I was able to take in my surroundings. My cousin was in my room as the assistant to the natal nurse. The Husband was holding Tornado A. My labor and delivery nurse asked me if I wanted something to eat. I shook my head, and she told me to tell her when I was ready to eat. My doctor finished filling out paperwork and congratulated me. My mom took pictures. She held Tornado A for a little bit, but rushed off around 2 because she would have the boys the next morning. The room cleared, leaving the nurse, The Husband, Tornado A, and I.
The Husband fell asleep on the couch, snoring. I fed Tornado A, and the nurse brought me a turkey sandwich with apple juice, graham crackers, chips, and jell-o. After Tornado A had fed (painfully because he didn’t latch properly), the nurse washed him again and insisted I eat. Oh, glorious sandwich, which now I’m sure would suck under normal circumstances.
At four, we were admitted to our room. A single room, so The Husband’s snoring wouldn’t wake anyone else and I could take care of the bathroom rituals, which accompany all post-delivery mothers (pee, wash, dab, spray, change pad, add witch hazel pads), with the door open to view Tornado A. I finally slept.