Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day 2006

Five years ago today...

I awoke at 5:10am with a twinge.  Just a twinge, mind you, and an hour later, just another twinge.  It was Memorial Day, and like any good retail store manager worth her salt, I was on the schedule to work, although with the forethought to have doubled up with additional management, fairly certain that I would not be there through the week.  I got up from my most current comfortable sleeping arrangement on the stiff-cushioned couch in the baby's room (comfort is a relative term - as most of you know, there's no such thing as comfortable sleep when you're pregnant), took a shower, began to get dressed, stopped, picked up the phone, and called out of work, something I had never done. 

My assistant, Carlos, was only too happy to not see me that day.  His growing fear over the previous few weeks was that he'd end up witnessing the one thing that he hoped never in this lifetime to witness.  "I ain't birthin' no babies!" he'd said repeatedly in his best Prissy imitation (c'mon, you remember Gone With the Wind, don't you?).

Couldn't blame him, really.

Steve was home that day.  The twinges that had started out at every-hour-on-the-hour shifted little by little...every half an hour...every 25 minutes...every 20 minutes...  I ate very little, just in case (I'd heard the horror stories and vowed not to become one of those statistics...)  We walked.  If that's what you want to call it.  Maybe waddled is a better choice.  Steve, with his watch, notebook and pen, keeping tabs on the timing and spacing (I think I still have that notebook somewhere!).  Me, happy just to be drinking my main source of sustenance that day, a mango smoothie from the cafe down the road.  Not so happy to have to stop completely in my tracks every 10 minutes, robbed of the ability to even speak. 

I was pretty well prepared already.  Bag packed?  Check.  Cats fed with extra food and water?  Check.  Baby's room ready?  Check.  Toenails painted?  Check (this was a particularly important one after my OB shamed me for my chipped polish on one too many visit).  

Later that afternoon, my mother came over to see how I was doing.  And the three of us walked some more.  By about 5:30, it was definitely time to go.  While the hospital was only 10 minutes away, that had to be the longest car ride of my life.  After being checked out, the hospital staff was ready to send me back home until I was really ready.  Oh, I was ready, all right - I was ready to jump over that nurse's station counter and knock someone on their backside if they were actually daring to imply that I should get. back. in. that. car. and. drive. home. again.

Oh, I don't think so...  I knew that even if I made it home, I would never, ever, in a million, zillion years, have made the ride back.   

So, presumably fearing for their lives, or at least some unbruised bottoms, they let me stay, making me walk the halls until they could actually give me a room.  Not like there was anyone else there.  I was the first pregnant momma to arrive for the evening.

Oh, holy crap.  More walking?  To be asked to walk the 50 feet from the nurse's station to the baby gallery was like asking me to climb Mount Everest.  I think I may have only succeeded in scaring the bejeezus out of some young children, faces pressed to the glass, trying to get a glimpse of their new brothers or sisters in the rows of plastic bassinets.  Parents threw their arms around them, hustling them away from the scary pregnant lady that looked like she was about to die on the spot.  The kids looked suitably alarmed. 

The babies slept.

And I'd obviously succeeded at something else - they said I was ready and gave me a room.

And then I got drugs.

Perfect!  Oh, except for the ill-timed contraction just as the needle was going into my back.  Hold still the calm, patient anesthesiologist said, obviously not in excruciating pain and obviously not about to pass a child.  As a matter of fact, being a man, I'm sure he was feeling pretty darn smug about the fact that he would never be in that position.

And there I stayed, Steve and my mother helping me to pass the time through the wee hours of the night and early morning.  Hours I can't really remember, other than to worry about why one leg was more numb than the other.  And why the baby's heartbeat slowed frighteningly down every time I shifted position...


Stephanie said...

I love reading all the pre-birth stories. They seem so much more interesting than my emergency c-section.

doozee said...

you just LOVE writing cliff-hangers, don't you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MAN, now I'm on edge! But at least I know for sure there is a happy ending to this story. Can't wait for the rest

Becca said...

Unfortunately, the cliffhanger ending is fairly anti-climactic...LOL. :-)

Alicia said...

lvoe how you express yourself!! hehe i feel like in a movie... no no... like the final season of my fav tv show, that leaves me wanting to travel in time to see the begining of a new season.

well.. i hope i dont have to wait months for the next part of your birth story :)

Zoey's mom said...

Wishing you all a beautiful day as you watch your Memorial Day miracle girl, laugh,play and fill your home with all the joy that you had been waiting for!

Melissa said...

Love this post! This is the one thing I am sad about with Claire's birth. I never got to experience labor. And yes, I'm sure you and other moms who have been there might think I'm crazy, but I just felt like I missed out. (I was induced for IUGR, and her heart didn't tolerate that, so csection it was....)