7:00 a.m. I looked at the clock. Huh.
I laid there for a second wondering what had woken me up when I felt it. A contraction. A real live oh-right-this-is-what-labor-feels-like contraction.
Dang. I better call Officer Hottie. I'll wait for another just to make sure.
I got up to use the bathroom. Another hit. Time to call the hubby and tell him to come home from work.
"Honey, I'm in labor."
"Yup. I've only had two contractions, but this is it." I heard him begin to run.
"I've got to get back to the shop then I'll be on my way."
7:08 a.m. Traffic is not going to be fun.
"Mom? I think I'm having this baby. Can you come over and watch L?"
"Be right over."
L woke up. I got him out of his crib and sat down on the exercise ball as I snuggled him during my next contraction.
Wow. Where is my mom?
As I popped a waffle in the toaster, got a sippy cup full of milk, and put L in the high chair I began to think about what the day would bring. Soon I would be holding another baby. I sat back down on the ball when another contraction began.
This is different than last time. Where is everyone?
When Mom arrived I was mid-contraction. I couldn't talk to her.
"Honey, how long have you been having contractions?"
"What time is it?"
Where is Hottie??
"Um ... for 18 minutes."
She gave me a look - I can't describe it but I think it was a mixture of excitement and total terror. 18 minutes is a fairly short time to be laboring - and to be sure the labor is going somewhere.
Another contraction hit and I rocked back and forth on the ball. I tried having conversation with my mom, telling her where all of L's things were, who he was supposed to stay with, when to bring him to see us. I was pausing every few minutes to rock my hips back and forth on the exercise ball. A wave of relief washed over me as I heard OH pull into the driveway. The moment he walked in I stood up to go. My mom and he got the car loaded up with our overnight bag. I kissed L good-bye.
"We're going to have the baby!" I said. I wondered if he even knew what I was talking about, or how much his little life was going to change.
Why is Hottie talking to my mom so long? SHUT UP!
I started to walk to the car. I had to lean against the house since I couldn't walk through my next contraction. Thoughts of getting to the hospital and only being 3 centimeters dilated were running through my mind.
Like last time. But it feels so different this time.
"I think you should get in the car," I heard my mom say to my husband.
Officer Hottie lifted me into our car and hopped into the driver's seat.
"Did you call the doctor yet?"
He dialed the phone. I was having another contraction and only heard him say, "Yeah, this is it. We'll see you at the hospital." Followed by, "Honey, traffic is bad."
Of course it is.
"Can you also call Summer? I want to make sure she meets us there." I was determined to have a natural childbirth with my second baby and my friend had offered to be our doula. I knew I was going to need her encouragment if I was going to make it.
But this hurts. More than I remember. I wonder if Summer will be mad if I get drugs. Maybe she won't care.
Contraction after contraction. OH decided SR-9 would be faster than I-5 and I hoped he was right. He was making phone calls while I labored. Melissa first. My cousin and best friend. I wanted her there. He told her he'd call back once we'd checked in. Then his sister-in-law who heard me moaning and started to cry. And finally my sister. He put her off until the end knowing she had made me promise to not go into labor on Wednesday. Any day but Wednesday. She answered the phone with, "You have to be kidding me. If you are in labor I'm going to cry." She started to cry. So did I. She missed L's birth because of work ... and now this one too. I really wanted her there. I cried until the next contraction hit and I had to concentrate.
"We don't have a name if it's a boy," I said when the contraction was over.
Maybe we should have found out what we were having. Maybe we'd have settled on a name by now.
"I know. I still like J."
"Me too. What if it doesn't fit?"
"We'll see when he gets here I guess." Good enough for now.
I turned sideways to see if that would be more comfortable. I gripped the seat and the center console. I leaned forward and lay my head on the dashboard. I considered turning around and hugging the back of my seat. The only thing that seemed to help was making noise.
Why does this hurt so bad?
I glared at the cars around us.
They really should get out of our way. Don't they know what I'm going through? Why did we choose to deliver so far from home? Seriously.
8:05 ... 8:25 ... 8:37 ... 8: 50 ...
"Honey, close your eyes."
My eyes had been shut tight until he said that.
"Why?" I looked around and realized traffic was at a stand still but we were racing along in the carpool lane at 40 miles per hour, passing car after car. Our exit was less than 1/2 mile away.
We're going to miss the exit. WE'RE GOING TO MISS THE EXIT!
"OH MY GOD WE'RE GOING TO MISS THE EXIT!" I screamed as another contraction hit.
"I told you to close your eyes!"
I watched him yank the steering wheel off to the right and somehow, miraculously, we missed every car while crossing four lanes of traffic to make our exit.
I could hear him muttering under his breath, "Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord."
The light at the exit was red. 8:54.
The next two lights were red. The people in the car next to us were laughing.
Stupid idiots. Stupid stupid idiots. They are so stupid. Stup--- it's too hard to hate and have contractions at the same time.
"Honey, just think, you're probably at 5 centimeters by now! Halfway there!"
I hope you're right.
We arrived. They saw OH helping me out of the car and brought a wheelchair.
"Your doctor called and your room is ready."
"Good, because I think this baby might fall out."
"Honey, that's a good sign!"
Stupid nurse. Nothing is good.
They handed me a robe to change into as soon as I was wheeled into my room. I had four contractions while changing. They put a blood pressure cuff on me. I was hot. Really really hot. I took the blood pressure cuff off. And then my robe. I didn't care. I was hot.
"You're at 7."
Further along than I had hoped! That's good! No one is here yet ... where is my mom? Where is Summer? Where is Melissa? Where is our camera?
They put the cuff back on me. I took it off. It went back on. I ripped it off. They demanded I keep it on. I refused.
Officer Hottie was trying to talk me through contractions. I just made noise.
A nurse said, "Stop pushing." When I told her I wasn't she said, "Every time you scream you push. You need to stop screaming." She blew on my face to help me calm down. I think she had just had her coffee and cigarette break. I screamed in her face then told Hottie to go brush his teeth.
"Your dad is here." I was so glad to hear it but I couldn't open my eyes. "Can you at least put a sheet on me?" I managed to squeek out. The nurse took advantage of the moment and put the blood pressure cuff back on.
That nurse should be happy I don't have enough energy to kick her.
I felt someone grab my toe.
"Hi honey." Daddy. I could only moan. "I'm in the hallway," he said. I moaned some more and ripped the sheet and cuff off as soon as my dad cleared the room.
I can't do this. I want an epidural.
"I want an epidural."
"You can do this! You're at a seven, probaby an 8 by now." I said a few things. I screamed a little bit more. Poor OH. "She wants an epidural."
They paged the anesthesiolgist. The nursed checked me again. I saw my savior, the anesthiologist, walk into the room as the nurse said, "You're at a 9." My hope faded as the doctor shrugged his shoulders, turned and walked back out the door. I realized I was getting what I wanted. And it sucked. Yet somehow, amidst the pain I felt excitement and a new determination. I was really going to do this - even if only because I didn't have a choice. I was so exhausted between contractions I almost fell asleep. More and more contractions with hardly a rest in between. Until all of a sudden I felt like I had to use the bathroom. I knew what that meant.
"I think I need to push."
"You can try."
The urge completely took over. Officer Hottie stroked my arm, counting quietly to ten as I pushed. A nurse came over to check. "Where is your doctor?" she asked no one in particular, sounding a little worried. She walked over to the intercom and I heard over the speakers, "We need any OB to room 203. ANY available OB."
"Can you hold your legs while you're pushing?"
Lady, I can't even open my eyes. If you want my legs somewhere ... "Move them yourself."
Officer Hottie grabbed a leg, kissed me, and glared at the nurse. He's always been on my side. I love that man.
At that moment my doctor walked into the room. He greeted Officer Hottie, he smiled at me, he walked over and said, "How are we do - oh boy! We're having a baby!"
"I told you to hurry," retorted the nurse. She canceled the call for any OB and quickly helped the doctor put his scrubs on. I kept pushing. "Can you stop?" the doctor asked. I responded with another push.
"I'm going to break your water," he said. "The baby is crowning and I don't want it to break while you're pushing."
I don't really care if the water breaks on the you. Just get my baby out.
I felt the warm fluid pooling around my waist and then a feeling like I was going to explode; like I was going to be torn arpart right down the middle, but I couldn't stop pushing.
Then relief as the baby's head came out. And a cry. My baby. Another push and I heard my husband say, "It's a boy!" A boy. I knew it. Even though I didn't know, I knew. I was too exhausted to cry and so relieved he was there.
What just happened? Did that just happen?
"Look at this umbilical cord!" the doctor exclaimed. I opened my eyes to see him holding up the cord and giving me a thumbs up. It's funny the moments of clarity one can have when there is such choas and craziness going on.
I so wish I had a camera. You have got to be kidding me; that is one of the funniest most dorky things I have ever seen. Is he really giving my son's umbilical cord a thumb's up?
It is forever engraved in my mind.
"HE'S ALREADY HERE?" I heard from the hall. Summer. The doula. "I missed it? I had to stop for coffee! I left as soon as you called!"
I heard my dad talking on the phone with my mom. I could tell he was trying to calm her down. She wasn't happy to have missed the birth.
"Why didn't you call me? I was sitting in the parking garage waiting for you to call!" Melissa. She had been there! And still she missed it.
"That was fast!" Over and over I kept hearing how fast everything was; how fast they had driven, how fast they had gotten dressed, how fast, fast, fast. It wasn't registering.
I just wanted to hold my baby. The cigarette nurse refused to let me hold him until she swaddled and weighed him. 8 pounds 12 ounces. She finally gave him to me and I unswaddled him quickly to check his entire body. He was perfect. His cheeks were chubby. He looked just like his brother. And Daddy. He had red hair. The nurses told me I had to try using the bathroom. I reluctanly handed the baby to my husband so I could use the restroom. It had only been twenty minutes since I'd delivered but it felt so good to get up and move. Then I emptied my bladder; fully and completely for the first time in months. The only thing that felt better was not having nearly nine pounds of baby kicking my ribs.
I hobbled back to the bed where my son was once again placed in my arms. Everyone wanted to come in and see the him. My mom and dad, my mother and father-in-law, my brothers, my cousin, my friends. Our oldest son. That felt weird to say. We had an oldest.
"What time was he born?" I heard someone ask. I realized I was dying to know the answer.
"9:22" was the response. Officer Hottie and I looked at each other and began to laugh. Our little rocket. Two hours and twenty-two minutes of labor. Not too shabby. Officer Hottie still says the baby used my ribs as his launching pad.
No wonder it felt so different this time around.
Summer kept calling me a rock star. I didn't feel like one; I tried to get drugs and it was too late. She encouraged me, "No matter! You didn't get the drugs - regardless of the reason you did it! In less than two and a half hours! Rock star!" I still embarrassed me, but if I was being honest I had to admit I felt like a badass. Summer was my only friend who had delivered drug-free at that point in my life.
I want to nurse my baby.
Almost as if on cue our loved ones started to filter out of the room. My mom, mother in law and L stayed behind. L didn't want OH to put him down. He clung to his dad for dear life.
I bet he's starting to get that his life is changing. Does he know how much I still love him? I didn't know I could love two children with such intensity. Does he know that hasn't changed?
I unwrapped my newborn son and put him to my breast. He looked at me with gorgeous dark eyes and began to suckle immediately.
Baby, I love you. I waited for you. I prayed for you. I begged God to give you to me. He made us wait seven months to conceive you and another nine months to hold you. Here you are. Completely worth the wait. Praise the Lord.
My very pregnant cousin, Melissa, asked, "Would you do it again? Should I go for natural?"
Hell no. "It sucks ... but it feels good too. Don't really know how to explain it."
"Do you have a name yet?" our mothers asked.
"No. We're thinking J but aren't totally sure yet."
We decided Officer Hottie should call his cousin to look up the meaning of the name J.
"Let God Be Praised."
J was the perfect name for our new addition. Looking into his face I could feel praises welling up inside of me. Looking at a perfect miracle, touching his tiny fingers, hearing his quiet breathing, watching him nurse, I was overwhelmed with thanks and gratitude to God for giving me such a blessing.
My praises haven't stopped even though he is five now. I love him. I praise God for him. He has changed my life and brought our family so much joy. He was worth every month of heartache trying to conceive and every month of anticipation while he was growing in my womb. He was, and still is, the perfect son for us.
Let God be praised.
April 20, 2005
8 lb 12 oz; 21.5 in
April 20, 2010