Let me preface this by saying that it is my true wish that any woman who has to TTC for more than a year gets to one day write a story like this one.
Around nine in the morning on my due date, I decide to turkey meatloaf to freeze for post-baby time. I get the meat out of the fridge and see that it has spoiled. I’m wearing a big purple maternity shirt that makes me look like a concord grape and black shorts. My mom calls. I let her talk to the baby on my belly by putting the phone up to where his head is. I have no idea what she’s saying to him. I imagine his head way down in my pelvis and decide to do a yoga squat while chatting with my mom. It is 9:35.
My water breaks. Not a huge gush, a little one. So I rush to the toilet and let it gush. My mom is totally excited. I hang up with her and call my honey. She tells me to call the midwife. I put on a maxipad to get the “When to Call” sheet from my suitcase. The pad immediately soaks through. I remember ohchicken’s advice about the cloth diaper in your panties post-partum and stick one in there. It holds. I get the sheet and read it three times. My honey calls again. “Did you call?” “No, I’m reading the When to Call sheet. It says to call.” “Then call!” “Listen, I’m leaking amniotic fluid all over the house. Give a girl a break.” So I call the midwife. She says to call her back when I have a contraction. I must have posted to my blog at that point. I think I maybe put the Ipod with my five hours of music in the suitcase.
My friend nethermede calls because she read my post. We’re chatting, when I feel my first contraction. It feels like a menstrual cramp combined with a drum roll in my belly. It has a definite end. I start to get even more excited. My honey comes home from work just after I had my second contraction at 10:30. I call the midwife and tell her that I had the contraction. She says to call back when they have a pattern. I bounce on the birthing ball, while my honey gathers the suitcase and the car seat and the little bag of food and pillows. When I get off the birthing ball, amniotic fluid gushes all over the place. I don’t bounce on the birthing ball again. We don’t exactly slow dance in the living room. But we do stand and hold each other for a moment during a contraction when I was trying to walk to the bathroom to get a new towel or something to put in my panties. They start getting stronger and closer together REALLY FAST. I don’t get to jump in the bathtub and have a glass of wine. By 11:30 (that’s one hour later, folks… they are 6 or 7 minutes apart. It hurts, but I can handle it. I actually can. It doesn’t hurt for me the way people describe a stabbing or guts in a blender feeling. It feels like menstrual cramps that resonate through my body like a musical instrument of pain. I figure out that if I make a really low and loud moan, I can drown out most of the pain music.
By noon they go from being 6 to 3 to 2 minutes apart. She calls the midwife. She asks how far apart they are. A tells her. She says, “Is that her moaning in the background? You need to be on your way. How far are you from the hospital? You need to get here.” We forget everyone on our list of driving friends and call one of A’s co-workers who had offered a ride in a text message that morning. (The poor dear.) I ask A to call Nelly, my birthing superhero and luckily, a professional photographer. A exquisitely times me getting downstairs between contractions. I leak amniotic fluid all over the halls of my apartment building (don’t worry, we got out the mop when we got back home!) I also had a contraction in the lobby in front of this older lady from the fourth floor who dresses a lot like a lesbian. She looked like she wanted to help, but didn’t know what to do so she got on the elevator.
We finally get outside as the co-worker pulls up and Nelly, miraculously, pulls up in a car service right behind her. I’m on all fours in the back seat over a towel. My honey is behind me putting pressure on my back. Nelly is in the front seat turned all the way around telling me to breathe. We DO NOT have an uneventful ride to the hospital! Traffic. Stress. I don’t notice birds over the river between contractions. I don’t notice the colors of the lights on the Empire State building. I notice only the blue towel under me… and how slow the car seems to be going and I try not to notice where we are because I don’t want to calculate in my head how much longer it will take to get there. All I really notice is how much stronger the contractions are getting. My super low moans and actually-helpful ohms falter into curses and “Why the Fuck IS THIS CONTRACTION LAASSTING SOOOO LOOONG?” To overhearing my circle of women discussing finding a police escort. To feeling like I have to poop. Which feels to me like maybe I have to push. I say, “I think he’s coming out! I think he’s coming out!” They’re like, nooooo, he’s not coming out.” But they can’t feel what I feel in my pelvis. We’re about five blocks from the hospital when the pushing happens. (Yes, I pushed twice in the car.)
We finally FINALLY pull up to the curb where my midwife is standing in scrubs with a wheelchair. I am grateful I had no contractions during this part because it was HILARIOUS. My midwife wheels me, running, to the elevators and yells as a door opens, “Unless you people want to witness a birth on the elevator, GET OUT!” They get out. The elevator proceeds to stop on what seems like every floor. Is it Friday (yes?) Is this a shabbos elevator? No. We finally get to where a clean room awaits us. I say to the midwife, “What do I do now?” She says, “What ever you want! Have the baby! Push!” So I push. Guess what she says? “There’s his head.” I push a few more times. His head goes in and out and in again. I decide I want gravity on my side and ask for the birthing stool. My midwife looks at the nurse and says, “Don’t bother.” So I just kneel resting my arms and top of my body on my honey. I push really really hard. I feel the ring of fire. They should call it this ring of sting. And I feel him coming out. I feel myself tearing a little, but I don’t give a shit. I push. Hard. And they shout, “He’s here! He’s here!” And there he was.
He’s fine, we’re fine, we all fall asleep in the bed together. Nelly offers to run out and pick up some stuff. I ask her to get me that roast beef sandwich.
Let me run that down for you again:*
9:35 — water breaks
10:17 — first contraction
noon-12:45 — all hell breaks loose. Contractions go from 7 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart.
1:20 –we get on the road.
2:05 — we arrive in the birthing center.
2:29 — Trucker is born
* results not typical!
I’m not going to post his name (sorry). But it means “merciful,” and I think we really picked the right one because he came out right when I begged him to.
Here’s the kicker: Quite some time after the chunky little guy with two-inch-long black hair was born, they put him on the scale. My midwife actually yelled “Holy Shit!” The boy weighs 9lbs, 3 oz!
So, I guess I’m grateful she swept those membranes.
I’ll try to post a picture soon. Right now I need to go make my b00bs hurt some more. Thanks for your patience. We’re totally pooped over here at oneofhismoms’s house. XOXO