When Tornado A came to town

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.

I wish.

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?

Me: Yes.

The Doctor:  Hmmm.  Let me numb the area.  You’ll feel a pinch.

Me: Ok.

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.

Long ago, in a galaxy far away

They were young, and they decided to have one more date night before the baby was born.  Since poor goes with young, they got some pizza and went to the movies to see The Empire Strikes Back.  The husband was amused with Yoda, learning his mannerisms and speech to entertain his nephews at a later time.

The next morning the wife woke up feeling queasy and a bit in pain.  She assumed it was indigestion from the pizza and went on her way.  Until a few hours later, she was sure she was in labor, three days early.  The husband luckily had the day off from work.  They went to the hospital where they took the wife’s vitals and measured her.  It wasn’t time.  She wasn’t dilated enough.  They sent her home.

The wife fretted as her parents would arrive home from vacation the next day, believing they wouldn’t miss the event.  The husband called his father in an immediate panic. 

Husband: Hi, is Dad there?  Wife is in labor.

Stepmom: He’s unavailable right now.

Husband: Oh.

Stepmom: Wait!  You haven’t picked out a boy’s name yet!!

Husband: Wife thinks it’ll be a girl.

Stepmom: There has never been an oldest girl in your family.  Your family has boys.  It’ll be a boy.  And HE needs a name.

Husband: Fine.  Ebenezer.

He hung up.

Hours passed slowly.  The pain increased.  In the evening, the couple went back to the hospital.  But not before the husband decided they were NOT going to have a baby. 

Husband: Suck it up.  We don’t need a baby.  We can have one done the road. 

Wife: Husband, I think it’s a little late for that kind of talk.  Perhaps nine months too late.

The husband admitted defeat and drove the wife to the hospital.  They admitted the wife but believed the baby would deliver in the wee hours of the morning, on the husband’s brother’s birthday.

As the evening darkened into night, the doctor agreed to give the wife an epidural.  At the same time, he felt they should break the water to move things along faster.  The fluid was green.  A fetal monitor was brought out.  The baby’s heart rate was dropping.  The baby was in distress. 

There would be no pushing, no panting, no vaginal birth.  Everything became chaotic.  They rushed the woman into surgery, giving the husband another chance to call his father.

Stepmom: He’s not available.

Husband: What?!  Where is he?!

Stepmom: He went to the family cabin to think about this new turn in his life.

The husband slammed down the phone and ran to get suited up to see his child born.

The doctor increased the epidural up the spine, since the wife was already numbed.  She was not put under as was usual back then.  They lifted a sheet, so that she could not witness them removing the organs to get to the child.  The husband held her hand.  He glanced at his watch.  9:00pm.

He glanced at his watch again when he heard the angry cry of the child who was now cold.  9:20pm.

The doctor: It’s a girl!

Wife: I told them so.

They whisked the baby away to test her, but the tests were positive.  She showed no signs of distressed.  They handed the baby to the wife, now mother.  She smiled at the wrinkly, skinny thing.

Husband: She looks like Yoda with her big head and big ears.

Wife: So she does.

Later the husband, now father, decided to impress his young wife by changing the first diaper.  He was the eldest of six, so this should be child’s play.  Instead he got every diaper, every wipe, every blanket covered in the tar-like first bowel movement.  Dirty and cold, the baby screamed.  The wife laughed, helpless from the stitches and the laughter.  She could barely tell the nurse on the intercom why they needed her.  The nurse came in, took in the mess, picked up the baby.  As she left, she turned and tsked in disgust at the young father.

The next morning the paternal grandpa called from a pay phone to hear the good news, deciding that maybe being a grandfather wasn’t so bad.  Upon hearing, it was indeed a girl, the first eldest girl born on his side in living memory, he smiled.  Before he left to see his new granddaughter, he planted a cherry tree at the cabin, so that she could have pink blossoms and sweet cherries.

When the maternal grandparents arrived home, they called around for news as soon as they walked in the door.  On hearing that they missed the event, they drove straight to the hospital without unpacking the car.  The grandma was beside herself over the thought of having a little girl to dress.  She hugged the new mother and took the baby.

The quiet, tall grandpa walked in the room.  A man of his generation, he said nothing.  He confiscated the baby from his wife, sat down in a chair, staring into the little face.  Beneath the silent, strong exterior beat the soft heart of a man who loved his family dearly.

He whispered to the baby, “No matter what.  You’ll always be my Netty.”

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Four Years and Counting

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.”

“Sure, sweetheart.”

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.

“Fine.”

“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.”

“Oh.”

Mmm.  Burger.

“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.”

“Ok.”

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.”

“Oh.”

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?”

“Not yet.”

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!”

“Thanks, J!”

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.

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Was it really two years ago?

(Ok, this took a lot longer to tell than I expected, so Evenshine, I completely understand if you don’t read it.  I just remember all the details so well.  And it has humor.)

Come here, and I’ll tell you a story.  It’s been two years, but I can remember every detail like it was a week ago.  You better believe that you’ll have this story memorize one day.

It started at 2:30 in the morning as your brother hollered and hollered to get out of his crib, and I believed I had to check on him every 15 minutes in case he believed I would abandoned him.  Finally I sat in the rocking chair in the corner of the room as he called for me to take him out of the crib.  I must have dozed off for a little while because I woke up to a pain.  Not to worry, it was a Braxton Hicks.  It had to be.  You were due in 11 days.  I had been having these cramps on and off for the last few days.

I must have dozed off because your brother was quiet, and I went back to my bed.  I looked at the clock, and it read 3:30.  Your father was snoring, and I rolled into bed, snuggling up to my giant body pillow shaped like a dolphin, left over from my wacky college days.  Another cramp.  I wrapped myself around the pillow, willing myself to sleep before-

Too late.  Where did the 15 minutes go?  I heaved myself out of bed to waddle down to the nursery.  “Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!” Evan cried as I gripped the door allowing another cramp to go through my body.  Stupid Braxton Hicks!  I laid a crying Evan down, stuffed the binkie into his mouth, and made soothing noises.  What idiot gets pregnant when her oldest can’t even sleep through the night?  I wanted to cry as another pain shot through my body.

Wait.  Was that more intense?  Was that closer together?  Oh no!  Oh no!  I can’t!  You can’t!

“Not today!  Not tonight!  I haven’t had any sleep!” I whispered harshly to the giant bulge.  You kicked in response.  “Don’t you take that tone with me.  I’ll grab that foot.”  I waddled back to the bedroom as Evan called and called.

I moaned as another cramp shot through me. 

The husband: What? Huh?  Evan!  I’ll get him.

He stumbled out of the room.  I bit my pillow.  You’re a little too late, I thought at your dad.  The crying stopped.  But I heard giggling outside the bedroom.

Evan: Mommy!

So this was why he doesn’t sleep through the night.

Your father was pleased as he tried to snuggle back into bed, back to sleep, like he usually did, even with a toddler jumping on the bed.

The husband: What’s wrong?

Me: I’m having cramps.

Evan jumped around the bed.

The husband: What?!  How far apart are they?!

Me: How the hell should I know?  Sorry, Evan.  I can’t tell.  Evan, calm down.  Owww.

The husband: You’re in labor.

Me: No.  I’m. Not.  They’re fake.

Your father did not believe me.  Which he shouldn’t.  I did the same thing at your brother’s birth day.

But you.  You were eleven days early.  The bunk beds were coming on Tuesday, five more days away.  Your grandma was coming on Monday, four days away.  Your father and I had finally found some time to go on a date night with a sitter lined up for the night, that night.  I was supposed to go buy your coming home outfit today, make a real effort because I hadn’t found anything.  Evan’s laundry was in the dryer.  Who would we call to watch Evan?

It should be stated that three women were on stand by waiting for the call.  I just didn’t know what good friends I had.

The husband: Fine.  We’ll wait and see.  What do we do with Evan?

Me: I. Don’t. Know.  (I breathed through my teeth.)

The husband: You just had another one.  How long has this been going on?

Me: Since 2:30.

The husband: That was two hours ago.

Me: I need sleep.  I can’t do this without sleep.  Evan, lay down.

The husband: Let’s just turn on the cartoons.

Me: It’s 4:30!

The husband: We aren’t going back to sleep.

For the next half hour, Evan jumped around the bed, and I curled up in fetus position. 

Me: I’m calling my mom.

Mom!  I need you!  All of the sudden I remembered the pain from the last delivery!  I can’t do this again!

I dialed.  I knew Papi was finally up, getting ready for work, when he was a detective, a police man.

Papi: Hello?

Me: Dad.

Papi: What’s wrong, sweetie?

Me: I think I’m in labor.

Papi: Oh.  Here’s your mother.  (murmering) It’s Fae.  She thinks she’s in labor.

Grandma: (murmuring) Tell her to call back in an hour when she’s sure.

Me: Dad!

Papi: Just breathe.  You’ll be ok.  Here’s your mom.

Grandma: (groggy) Hello?

Me: IthinkI’minlaborbutit’stooearlyandEvan’sbeenupsince2:30andIhaven’tslept.Ican’tbeinlabor.TellHimI’mnotinlabor.

Grandma:  Calm down.  Take a deep breath.  Ok.  Call me in an hour when you’re sure.

Me: Ok.

Did I ever mention your Grandma does not handle crises well if she’s awoken from her sleep?  If she’s awake, she’s awesome.  Not so much if she’s awoken, your grandfather on the other hand.  He casually mentioned that if I was in labor, maybe she might want to catch the early flight to LA, which sunk in ten minutes later.

I don’t remember what that hour was like.  I just know that by six, you and your dad had convinced me that I was indeed in labor.  The increasing pain and number of cramps really made things more clear.  I called your grandma back.

Grandma: Hello?

Me: Mom.  I’m in labor.

Grandma: If I had gotten up when you called I would have made the 6:20 flight.  I’ll have to wait for the 8:30 flight.  I’ve already booked it.  Can The Husband get me picked up by someone?

Me: (To The husband) Can you get my mom picked up from LAX at 9:30?

The husband: No problem.

Me: Yes.

Grandma: Don’t worry.  I’ll be there before you even deliver.  You were in labor with even for what?  12 hours?

Me: 15 and a half.

Grandma: Plenty of time.  Are you going to the hospital now?

Me: No.

The husband: Yes!  (Because apparently he was freaked out enough to call our friend, the nurse, who worked for my OB-GYN.  She was telling him that she was on her way.)

Me:  Owww!

Grandma:  Breathe.  Breathe.

Me: Owww!

Grandma: Get to the hospital, Faemom Middle Name LAST NAME!

Me: Hurry!  (I hung up. I growled.)

The husband: Ok, D. Is on her way?  What do we need?

Me: My bag is already packed.

The husband: Ok, let me find my lucky shirt.  Where’s my lucky shirt.

Me: WHAT (suck in breath)!  Lucky. Shirt?

The husband: The Star Wars one.  The one I wore for Evan’s birth.  It’s my lucky shirt.

Evan: Mommy?  You ok?

Me: Mommy hurts a little bit.  You’re going to have a baby brother today.

Evan: Oh.

The husband: Where’s my lucky shirt?

Me: I. Don’t. Know.  I. Don’t. Care!

He found it in a pile of dirty clothes.  He actually smelled it before putting it on.  I reminded him that the truck was parked behind the car.  I took Evan down stairs with the bags.  I toasted a frozen waffle for him.  I wondered if I had enough time to take out the laun-

It ripped through me, bringing me down on my knees, forcing me to curl over the stairs out of the -sunken living room.  The f-word burst out of my lips, screaming into the air, sending Evan crying.  As the cramp shook off me, I went to Evan, comforting him.  Another one sent me back into fetus position, and that was where our friend found me.

D: Go!  THE HUSBAND!  Get your wife to the hospital NOW!

Your father ran back into the house.

D: Grab the bags!  Go!  Don’t stop for anything!

I waddled out to the car, feeling the cool cement under my feet.

Me: I love you, Evan.  I’ll be back.  Be good.  He’s lunch is at-

D: I know.  I know.  Just go.  Evan, wave to Mommy. 

Your dad pulled out and sped as I cowered in pain.  We got to the hospital, pulling up to the emergency side.  I heard your father ask the attendant if we can leave the car there.  The attendant’s eyes bulged as he saw me get out.  He told him yes as he helped me up the curb as my husband grabbed my bags as another attendant brought out a wheel chair.  I hate wheel chairs.

Your father pushed the wheel chair as fast as he could, squeezing us into an elevator with another in labor couple and two nurses.  I moaned.  They let us out first, and I had enough composure to demand a single room, the last single room. The woman told us rates had increased.  I said I didn’t f-ing care, pay the woman.  They wheeled me into a room, and I walked into the bathroom, tried one last time and got my gown on.  Then I remembered.

Me: (bursting out of the bathroom.  To the nurse) I want to donate my cord blood.  I meant to call today.  He wasn’t suppose to be due for another week and a half.  I want to-

The nurse:  Shh.  I’ll call.  Calm down.  They’re just across the street. They have time.  Let’s get you up and see how far along you are.  So this is your second?  How long have you been-  Seven centimeters!  Darling, you should have been here sooner.  I don’t know if we can get you that epidural.

Me: WHAT!!!!!????  I need it.  (I start to cry.)  I don’t know if I can do this without it.  I can’t do this.  I can’t do this.  I can’t-

The nurse:  Shhh.  You’ll be fine.  Just breathe.  I’ll see what we can do.

Your father was ready to tear someone’s head off.  But luckily the anesthesiologist was in the building and ran to my aid.  Ah, drugs.

Then time slipped from me again.  The husband was calling his partner, asking him to make sure your grandma was picked up at LAX.  The nurse went on her break, and another nurse checked on me.  And then I KNEW YOU WERE READY.  I couldn’t look anywhere but up or I would have started pushing.

Me: He’s here!  He’s here!  Oh, God, he’s ready!

The new nurse: No, no.  That’s impossible.  Your water isn’t even broken.  You haven’t been here more than a couple hours.

Me: HE. IS. REA-DE-Y!  (In that moment, I hurled thousands of curses at this nurse as she left the room, all in my head.)

My nurse popped in a minute later.  She checked me.

The nurse: Oh my!  He’s already there.  And your water isn’t broken yet.  Let me call the doctor.

She was on the phone as I labored with my breathing, always looking up.  The feeling to push was intense as I gripped your father’s hand.  Apparently the anesthesiologist for the C-Section my doctor was attending could hear me breathe and told my doctor that he better run and that he’ll be back before that woman was ready.

The nurse got off the phone and smiled.  The cord blood people ran in and set up.

The nurse: He’s coming.  Don’t push.  Let’s get you already, so that when the doctor comes, we’ll be all set.

Me: (to the husband) Don’t forget to call the babysitter to cancel.  Tell D that Evan’s clothes are in the dryer.

Legs in stirrups, hands gripping, my breathing labored, I looked up and prayed to the Holy Mother.  She would understand.  My doctor slid into the room with the energy of a twenty year-old, which kind of surprised me because he had been delivering babies longer than I had been on this planet.

The doctor: What do we got here, Fae?  Wasn’t I suppose to see you on Monday?  The Husband, how are you?  Ready for a baby?

He said all this as he put on gloves and sat down ready to play catcher.  He broke my water, murmuring something about how it had kept you in.

I looked down at him between my legs, which is really weird to write or say or think about it.  We all waited for the next contraction to crash over me like the tidal wave force that it was.  Then it came, and it was a tiny breaker.  We all looked at each other.  The next one came, and it licked at my toes.  So did the next two.  It was a WTF moment.  I released my grip of your father and the rail, pursing my lips in concentration.

The doctor: Well, that’s a little odd. (just as another tiny contraction hit me, smaller than the ones in the nursery.)

Me: You’re telling me.

The doctor: Ok.  We have two options.  We can wait to see if the contractions pick up again and do this later.  I promise I’ll be back for that.  Or we can try to do it without contractions.

I believed that if he left, I would have you without him.  I knew the moment he walked out that door you would come.  I knew he could not leave that room.

Me: Let’s give it the old college try.  If it doesn’t work, we can try again later.

The doctor: Thata girl!  Ok.  We’ll wait for the next contraction.  Ok.  Here it comes.  Push!  Push!  You can do it!  Push!  Good!  Good!  Ok.  Take a breathe.  Good job.  You’re doing great.  Here comes another one.  Ok.  Push!

It was like swimming against the tide.  But I did it.  You were ready.  You wanted to come.  With your Grandma somewhere between Tucson and LAX, you came out, pushed by your Mama’s determination and your will.  You gave a lusty cry, and I began to cry when the doctor placed you warm and slimy on my belly.  I pushed one more time as we stared into each other’s eyes.  When the nurse took you to clean you up, you cried like you were saying, “Mama.  That’s my Mama.  I want my Mama.  I’m hungry!”  When she handed you back, you went straight for the breast, starving.  And it was 9:20.

Wait.  Where are my sandals?

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Birthing Rules

The Violinist, you’re getting close, so I thought I’d give you some interesting tips on the labor, the delivery, the hospital.

 

Rule #1 Make sure the car is gassed up from here on out.  This seems logical to you and I, but it doesn’t make any sense to many husbands.  My grandfather’s truck was on empty the night that his eldest child was born.  He hustled his wife into the truck, turned it on to see the gas gauge was on E.   He sped to the nearest gas station, where the attendant took his time.  My grandfather asked if they guy could hurry it up because his wife was in labor.  The attendant’s jaw dropped, pulled the nozzle out, and told my grandfather to go, go, go! 

 

Rule #2 Have everything you want to take in a bag next to the door.  Don’t forget shoes or a toothbrush.  It was only after Sean was born, bathed, fed, sleeping that I needed to go to the bathroom.  It was then that I realized I had run out of the house without shoes.  It was at this point I realized I didn’t brush my teeth or brought a toothbrush.  

 

Rule #3 It’s ok not to feel brave.  In my first labor, I stoically kept my verbal complaints to a moan.  The second, I screamed F*** so loud Evan started crying.  Due to my verbal complaints, I scared the first timers in the elevator, who allowed me out first.  Suckers.  I got the last single room.

 

Rule #4 Get the single room.  I know I have gone over this point a lot, but it’s so important.  Recovering from birth is hard, so it’s nice to have the peace of a single room.  Your husband can stay the night.  You can bring in a whole troop of family with pizza.  You won’t feel self conscious as you try to breastfeed because you’ll have to whip out the whole boob at first.

 

Rule #5 Use the nurses.  First timers are shy; they don’t want to impose.  I remember meekly asking the nurses office if I can have my son back from testing; while I was there, I watched a mom roll her baby in, tell the nurses she was taking a shower, and come back a half an hour all put together.  I learned my lesson with Sean.

 

Rule #6 It will be hard.  Labor is hard.  Birthing is hard.  Breastfeeding is hard.  But you can do it.

 

Rule #7 Enjoy it.  Your baby will sleep, and you can relax.  If you need help with the baby, the nurses will be happy to help.  If you need more diapers or pads, the nurses will go get them for you.  If you need help breastfeeding and latching, they’ll show you over and over and over.  (Or were Evan and I just slow learners?)  You won’t have to clean or cook.  In the end, you’ll get free stuff.

 

Suggestion #1 Try to remember to bring something for your nurses.  They are totally awesome, and you will fall in love with them. 

 

Suggestion #2 Remember within 24 hours you’ll forget all the pain and discomfort of labor.

 

So anyone else have anything to add?

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