Thursday, July 19, 2012
A Birth Story
The doctor who was supposed to deliver her had forgotten that it was her OWN daughter's birthday and asked if we could come back, say, in a week or so. After some discussion with her partner, we all decided to let the partner deliver the baby as long as we could go ahead and do it that day. In my vast birthing experience with Jack, I had come to realize that it's the nurses who do most of the work anyway.
So, they did a little something something in my nether regions that hurt like c-razy to get started, and sent us on our way for a few hours. The hospital was located near a town center with restaurants, movie theaters, and upscale shops centred around an outdoor fountain. We decided to kill some time there while waiting for things to get moving.
When we got to the hospital parking lot, I walked (lumbered) toward the car. Tim looked at me and said, "What? Shouldn't we be walking? Doesn't walking help labor?"
It troubled me a tad to think that my husband, the pony to whom I had hitched my proverbial cart for the rest of my days, was suggesting that a pregnant woman, in labor, should walk to and from the town center on a 97 degree day in the Virginia humidity.
What, pray tell, did he plan on doing with me when things really got moving? Ask a Gap employee to put me on a clothes rack and wheel me to the hospital? I wanted to go back to the doctors and see if they could un-do whatever gross thing they had just done to me to start my labor because there was certainly no way I was going to procreate, yet again, with this man. Alas, it was too late.
Tempted to be passive aggressive and walk to the town center just so I could complain about it later, I decided not to risk it. I put my swollen foot down and firmly said I needed a ride. Period. I also realized I could get mileage out of this story whether we walked or not.
So off we headed. Tim had also seen somewhere that laboring women should not eat anything. Awesome. Since the docs hadn't said that to me and I knew the heat, my girth, and active labor could all make me cranky, I snagged a bagel as we walked outside from shop to shop. Tim purchased a shirt and vest that he still wears. We call it "Margaret' Outfit."
After a while, we went back to the doctor's office which was connected to the hospital complex. They put us in an exam room and told us to wait. This is before smart phones, people. No blogs. No Words with Friends, Facebook, or Draw Something. Instead, we chatted and took turns reading a lone travel magazine over and over.
Time passed. Lots and lots of time. I've told you that Tim and I don't speak up much, right? That there is no one in this relationship who can send back food or return a pair of pants?
Well, turns out everyone forgot we were there. While we were waiting in the exam room, people were looking all over the hospital for the couple in labor who never showed up in the maternity ward.
By the time Tim stuck his head out the door several hours later, the office was in a tizzy and we were rushed to Labor and Delivery.
Bottom line? We were having our little girl two weeks early and we still didn't get the entire 4 hour course of antibiotics in my arm. I found that I was much more anxious about Margaret's birth than Jack's. It was as if the more I knew, the more nervous I was. About her safety. About everything that could go wrong. With Jack, they inserted my epidural wrong four times, but I didn't know it wasn't supposed to hurt that badly. With him, the cord was wrapped around his neck, but I didn't know that until after they had unwrapped it and he was, Thank God, fine. So a lot of friends were on prayer-alert for us because I just felt a lot more vulnerable this time.
Tim and I tried to stay relaxed and around 6pm it was time to get down to business. My sister couldn't be there this time, so we had her on the phone from Florida. I asked for a mirror so I could see what was going on "down there," a fact that disgusts Margaret to no end, even though she is determined to have at least 4 kids. I was hoping to see my beautiful baby be born and NOT see anything else.
My nurse left the room to check on something. The stand-in doc came in and started chatting up the other nurses. As he joked about his glove size, I interrupted and said, "Hey, guys, GUYS, I think it's time to get started." And it was.
One or two pushes later, out came Margaret with a full head of black hair. She was 6 lbs 8 oz of adorableness. I wished I had kept her in the oven longer so she could have grown some more, but we were so grateful she was absolutely, positively healthy.
The doc was gone within 10 minutes total, not to be seen until my 6 week postpartum appointment when he told me to go home and "Do your wifely duty." Nice.
Margaret was cuddly and delightful. Tim had to leave to be with Jack, so I kept her in bed with me the whole sleepless night. We had some very emotional times when I found out something was very wrong with my hospital roommate's baby. I never got details, but my heart broke for her and I knew I had done nothing special to deserve the gift of the beautiful, healthy baby at my side.
Two days later we took her home, by that time scrawny and yellow. I remember our friends bringing us a rotisserie chicken. In my hormonal glory, I took one look at it on the counter and burst into tears. With those tiny arms and legs, the chicken looked like my baby, minus a head.
It took Margaret a full 3 weeks to finally regain her birth weight, and she's been a little peanut with a huge personality ever since. Many of you have told me Margaret needs her own blog to record her zany insights about life. She's a great writer, so I'll let you know if she ever does!
Our daughter was a gift that hot day 11 years ago, and we admire her for her humor, intelligence, people skills, creativity, compassion, bravery in the face of adversity, athleticism, and her love of God. Her future is brimming with potential, and we are blessed to be along for the ride.
She is an amazing daughter, granddaughter, cousin, sister and friend.
Happy Birthday, Moops!