Join me on a journey, my friends.
Allow me to set the stage.
It is 2am.
You are standing in a drafty hospital room, naked except for a paper-thin robe.
A nurse just finished sticking you with a needle and popping one of a vein in one of your hands. (Surprisingly painful.)
You haven’t slept in 20 hours.
Every two minutes you are visited with a pain so severe that you struggle to remain standing.
And there is a bowling ball sitting on your vagina.
Okay. That last part isn’t entirely true. It just feels like that, because the whole story here is that you are in active labor (specifically, 9 cm dilated), currently unmedicated, and awaiting your epidural.
In other words, you are dangerously close to murder.
And sadly, the potential victim is none other than your dear husband.
Why, you may ask, besides the obvious fact that his part in the creation of another human is decidedly less painful and bloody than yours?
Well, to be specific, it’s because he is sitting in front of you, bent forward on a chair in the hospital room with skin the shade of skim milk, ready to pass out, with no fewer than three nurses hovering around his pale, handsome face, administering smelling salts, ginger ale, and cool compresses to his neck, in that order.
Yes, these are the nurses that are supposed to be tending to you.
And when you ask–nay, scream–with no small amount of anger and pain, “I need someone to help me!” as yet another contraction takes you in its grips, you are offered an I.V. pole to hold for balance.
An I.V. pole.
Yes, you still love your husband more than anything in the world.
But now? As in, right-in-this-moment now?
Thankfully, though, redemption is on the horizon. All it takes is one brief and steely Glare of Death to shake him out of his momentary condition and snap back into his integral role as Human Stress Ball. You watch as the nurses wheel him from your bedside (wheeled! HA!) to the couch in the room, and he slowly regains his color and composure.
And then he grabs a leg and you do the damn thing.
And–okay, back to first person now–we actually had an incredibly easy and beautiful birth.
Okay, so all kidding aside, here’s the back story. I woke up the morning of May 15 with a calmness and a visceral knowledge that the baby was coming soon. I had had sporadic contractions overnight, and they ended up continuing through the next day at irregular intervals.
I called Andrew home from work a couple hours early and spent the day lounging around the house and in bed. That night, my contractions started coming in at a regular pattern, so we left for the hospital around 11:15pm.
When we finally arrived, the labor and delivery lobby was as crowded as I had ever seen. You would have thought it was a full moon, there were so many people checking in. We had to wait about 15 minutes before we even got to check in, and the whole time I was literally moaning in pain. Only slightly embarrassing, except, you know, for the whole being-in-active-labor thing.
We were walking down the hallway to get to our room, and I actually had to stop and lean against the wall, the contractions were so intense. As it turns out, I was already nearly 6 cm dilated, and labored until 9 cm before I got the epidural.
I wasn’t trying to be a hero or anything and wait it out, but I had forgotten that you need to give a blood draw first so they can clear you for the anesthesia. When it was taking longer than expected, I may or may not have (Read: I definitely did) called the nurses’ station and said the exact words: “This baby is going to FALL OUT OF ME!! I NEED THE EPIDURAL NOW!!!” while simultaneously breathing fire as my eyes flashed demonically red.
Let’s just say I never thought I would have a birthing moment straight out of a movie scene, but that’s pretty much how it ended up looking in that moment. Thankfully, the anesthesiologist arrived right then and the last final bit of labor was incredibly comfortable, as evidenced by my live tweeting and blog posting during that phase.
(No, I’m not crazy, but when it’s 3:30 in the morning and you are so blissfully relieved to be out of racking pain, you do these sorts of weird things.)
So everything progressed quite nicely after that, and the baby was out after just three pushes! She came out with a full head of dark brown hair, and is the most beautiful little thing that I have ever seen. Little Sicilia, our new tribe member. 🙂
Recovery was pretty easy, and we realized pretty quickly that we didn’t want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary in the hospital. We checked out after just one night, and ever since then have been adjusting to our new Party of 5 life at home.
The older kids, as I posted before, are thankfully wild about their baby sister. Witnessing their curiosity about her and tenderness with her is s gift in and of itself. You hear a lot about jealousy with older siblings, but we haven’t seen any of that so far, although I do notice the Big Kids like to have us close during these weeks following Sicilia’s birth. It’s like they know life is a little different now, so it’s important to always have at least one parent around for security reasons. I’m okay with that. ?
So that brings us to today. I’ve been venturing out with all the kids alone as much as I can, which may seem incredibly stupid. But sometimes getting out of the house does better to entertain them than just sitting inside all day.
Sicilia is a great sleeper so far, too, (hello, Jinx! Welcome to the party! Feel free to come on in the wide door I just opened and completely prove me wrong), so that’s great. Most of the days we are home I just let her sleep on my chest while the big kids literally tear the house to shreds. Scruples about tidiness are scant these days around these parts.
So here we are! I’m shocking myself by remaining relatively calm, and also glad to report that my mental state has also been good so far too. You never know how those postpartum hormones are going to mix things up, so I am incredibly grateful that it’s a case of “so far, so good” right now.
Did you guys have any funny or crazy birth stories? Please please share them in Comments below! I love hearing from you all, and I have a feeling that there are some good ones out there.
See you guys soon! Big hugs and baby snuggles from us!!