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August 3, 2008 approximately 11 p.m.
I was 32 weeks and 1 day pregnant with my son. As a teacher, I was off for the summer and as the worlds most amazing wife, I got up with my husband Nick. He had a grossly early meeting that day, and I had a doctors appointment. As a one car family, I drove Nick to his office and came home and got back into bed. My plan was to read, sleep a bit longer, then get up, shower, and get to the doctor by eleven.
I snuggled back into bed, reading "When You are Engulfed in Flames" by David Sederis. I was almost finished, and I love love love his books, to this day I never finished it and I have not one iota what the book was about. It was 7am. Whoosh! I watch the book fall out of my hand in slow motion and hit the floor. I am soaked! My bed is soaked! Oh my God! I've pissed myself! I leap out of bed (as much as a 32 week pregnant person can leap) and swear all the way to the bathroom.I call my doctors answering service just in case. I hear back within minutes. When I talk to the doctor on call, I am laughing because I wet my pants. In fact, I am laughing so hard that my laughter is contagious. The doctor is laughing when he says, "Yes at 32 weeks you most likely wet yourself" but I should go to the OB triage just to be safe.I call Nick and explain the situation. Here's the conversation:
S: Hey, sorry to bug you, I know it's a busy day. But I am pretty sure I wet my pants and the doctor wants me to go to OB triage to be sure.
N: Oh my God! I'm going to take a cab home right now and I'll drive you.
S: Nick seriously, you don't need to do that. I am sure they are going to send me home in an hour embarrassed for wetting myself. Stay at work, I'll call you if anything is going on.
N: If you are going to the ER I'm going to be there.
S: Ok, but just take a cab straight to the hospital. It'll be faster for both of us if I just drive myself to the hospital.
N: You are POSITIVE you peed yourself?
N: Ok. I'm meeting you at the hospital.
Fast forward four hours.
Despite the fact that my water has broken, the doctors have told me that I and my son can be fine and healthy for two weeks because the baby makes enough liquid itself per day to sustain health for a while. I would have to stay in the hospital, be on total bed rest, and hope that my son would stay put for another 2 weeks.
After hours and hours, I finally convinced Nick to leave my side, go home, pack my hospital bag, then go to Target and buy anything that was on the list that I didn't have yet. Do you love how prepared I was? The poor mans list was something that we downloaded from the Internet in the emergency room. He had to call a female family friend to help him choose the pads and nipple cream I would need when we left the hospital. Additionally, he wanted to stop at his office to pick up a laptop so he could do some work while sitting at my bedside.
After fumbling through my closet, packing himself, then fumbling through the "lady aisles" of Target, Nick called to see if everything was ok before heading downtown to his office to pick up the laptop. I assured him that everything was fine, nothing had changed and he should go do what he needed to do and take his time. It was approximately 5:45 pm. Not five minutes later a doctor and a resident burst into my room out of breath and panting. Apparently, my sons heart rate had dropped dramatically and both ran up several flights of stairs to check me and the baby to see what was going on. I was totally oblivious, my mom and I were chatting and quite relaxed, I felt no change in anything. Because my water had broken, they had not been doing any pelvic exams unless 100% necessary since there is a chance of introducing infection. Since the rapid heart rate decline the doctors deemed it necessary to do an exam and found that I was zero centimeters dilated. The doctors determined that I was just in a bad position, so they moved me, made sure the reads on all the monitors were strong and left. It was 5:55 pm.
Enter the neonatologist. He was there to tell me everything that could be wrong with my son if he were born that day, and that I should wait until at least 34 weeks to deliver (um.....because I have a choice????). The neonatologist was a strange little man, who my mother equates to the Cheshire cat because he kept smiling a weird, weird smile. Cheshire cat or not, he was an amazing, amazing doctor and I am really happy he cared for my son.
In any case, I was told that if Charlie was born that day, he would not be breathing on his own. His lungs would not be developed enough, he will stay in the hospital for at least 8 weeks, and due to his prematurity he would most likely have neurological problems in the future and probably learning disabilities. That is when the first contraction hit. It was 6 pm.
Everything was in my lower back. I screamed, clutched myself and felt like I was peeing the bed (again). Seriously, it felt like a tiny troll with a prison shank was stabbing and stabbing and stabbing directly in my spinal cord. Dr. Cheshire cat smiled widely, folded his hands in his lap, waited for the pain to subside, then started talking about all the problems my baby would have if he were born today. Then another contraction hit, stronger then the first, it was 6:05. Dr. Cheshire took this as his cue to excuse himself and wished me well for the next two weeks.
I told my mom that I thought something was wrong, she assured me that I was zero centimeters dilated just 15 minutes ago, and this is my first baby so I should just relax. I'm in the hospital, so everything will be just fine. Then my moms cell phone rings, it's my sister-in-law who is awesome and amazing and the mother that all other mothers should be compared against (in a good way, you kinda want to hate her because of her awesomeness, but she's also super fun and cool). Knowing that my water broke, she did research on 32 weekers ~ see amazing. Her research was much more positive then Dr. Cheshire, however, my mother handed me the phone mid-f**king contraction. Really, really? Is there something less a person wants to do during a contraction than TALK ON THE PHONE. UM.....it was 6:10.
Immediately after phone call number came call number two, this one on my cell phone. The ring at that time was a hilarious male voice saying "Sandra" over, and over. The ring, completely scared the s**t out of my mother, who actually started screaming. I answered, it was Nick leaving his office, checking in. I tried to reassure him, but instead I had a contraction and screamed like a rabid animal in his ear. It was 6:15.
After we hung up, I am going to paraphrase his conversation with his mom [crying] "Mom! Sandee is in labor, she had a contraction while we were on the phone! I'm going to miss the birth of my son!" [MIL] "Honey, if she was at zero 30 min ago, you will have plenty of time." Then Nick got stuck on Lake Shore drive in Cubs traffic.
During this time, my mom had been keeping track of my contractions, and recognized that they were coming every 5 minutes. She suggested I call the nurse, and talk to her about the contractions. It was 6:20.
A nurse came in and checked my vitals and the babies vitals, and said we were fine. She added, that normally they would do a pelvic exam but they don't want to introduce infection. Then I had a contraction, A. HUGE. ONE. The nurse was there, repositioning me. I asked her, "Will I be in this much pain for two more weeks?" she shrugged and said "Probably" all non-chalant-like. I still hate her for that. It was 6:25. She left.
At 6:30, another hit. Hard. My mom said, "we need to call the nurse because I think you are in labor. These have been coming every 5 min since six o'clock". The nurses came in, thinking I was being a total drama queen. (I have no memory of this, according to my mother, I screamed "I want to push!") So they took me bed and all to labor and delivery. It was 6:35.
I arrived to my room in labor and delivery and they needed to transfer me from bed to bed. My outfit was a poorly fitting ER gown. I was being moved from hospital bed to birth bed, my gown was up around my armpits and there was confusion. The door of my room was 100% open with my gown around my pits, a nurse screamed "Close the door, she's naked!", right then I locked eyes with some poor man scrubbing the floors just outside my room. With the door still ajar, and eyes on the man, I yelled "I don't care, move me! move me!" I still remember that poor mans eyes, I know I scarred that poor man for life (Sir, if you are reading this, I apologize for the nightmares). It was 6:40.
Finally in the stirrups, the doctor takes a look. I am 9cm dilated. My son is about to crown. I ask for drugs (I'm no hero, and props for all of you who are), my doctor says that by the time the anesthesiologist makes it to us, the baby will be born. My mom asks, "Can't she even get a tylenol?" I wish I had gotten a photo of the doctors reaction to this. Now, I am in full panic. Oh. My. God! Where is my husband!
Theres a knock on the door 'shave and a haircut' and my mom says "Oh, there's Nick!" but in pokes the head of Nicks sister. At this point, I am in full on stirrups, and I hiss "Find your brother NOW!" Before her whole face makes it all the way in the room. She slinks away and calls him.
She comes back in, saying he's in the parking garage. There's no time, really no time. Allie is asked to hold a leg. I ask her to call again. He's at the elevator. Please make it! I need you! GET HERE! Holy holy s**t!
The doctor asked me if I had been to a birthing class. I told her that my class was scheduled for August 16th, so no. She said that she was going to give me the fast version of the class and then said "All you need to do, is push like you are pooping." I looked at her and said, "What? Are you kidding!" She smiled and said, "Sweetie, woman have been having babies for thousands of years and most did it without a class, just act like you are pooping and you'll be fine."
Then, in a burst of the door, there he is. The sight is something that I can never imagine ever seeing again. He is carrying, my body pillow, my bed pillow, my suitcase, his suitcase, 722 target bags, a laptop and his camera bag. Cue superman music. Holy s**t! He pounds in the door, a nurse helps him put everything In the room bathroom. Then he comes back to me and begins to bawl "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry!"
An amazing thing about my relationship is that when one is a mess, the other always takes over and fixes everything. So, he comes in like a tornado, finally gets to me and despite my status, I stroke his face and tell him that it's ok. This detail is the most amazing to my mother, she can't believe that while I was giving birth I paused to console my husband.
I pushed once and Charlie's head was out, and the doctor asked if I wanted to take a moment to touch his head. Ok, I know many of you think that childbirth is beautiful and it's not uncommon for woman to have mirrors down there and look forward to touching the head as it's on it's way out. I am not one of those women. To me, blood and goo are horrid. I love babies, but watching one emerge from my body or (gag) touch a half birthed head makes me want to die. So I looked at her and said "What? Ugh! No!" I think I saw her grin, and maybe even chuckle once. Two more pushes.
Charlie was born at 7:01 pm on Aug 4, 2008. Screaming his head off. Did you hear me, SCREAMING! Screaming means BREATHING, without machines! And a bizarre little twist that I didn't realize until about 48 hours after his birth is that immediately when he was born the marching band version of Happy Birthday began to chime through the room. I vaguely remember looking at Nick and my mom confused about where the music was coming from. No one said anything about it, however, days later I mentioned it and everyone there said "Oh yeah, that was weird." Long story short, Charlie is 150% fine, happy healthy, perfect and smart. He's so amazing. As terrifying as it was, my reward was so wonderful that it doesn't matter.
See more like this at www.motherhoodisbeautiful.com!