Archive for February 23, 2011

The Birth Story – Part 2

(Click here if you missed Part 1.)  

We went to the third floor and checked in. “Are you coming from your OB’s for the prenatal monitoring? Go take a seat in the waiting room, all of our beds are full right now so we’ll have to wait until one opens up.” So Stephen and I went to the waiting room and watched some chef prepare a 5 star meal on the local morning show. I got a bed at about 9:45 and they strapped two monitors to my belly. One to track my contractions and one to track my heartbeat. I thought the monitors were pretty interesting but I constantly felt like they were going to flip off of my giant belly.

I laid in bed with Stephen sitting in a small chair by my side listening to all the beeps around us. There were four beds in this room since it was just for these sorts of tests. All of the beds had curtains around them so you could feel a bit of privacy. The nurse came back about 15 minutes later and asked me if I had any contractions. I hadn’t. She went to read the screen with all the results. I don’t remember the nurses face or the color of her scrubs, but I will never forget the way she looked at the screen and then turned to me and said, “Umm, actually you have been having them every 3-4 minutes.”

Listen. I’ve never had a baby before but I know that every 3-4 minutes is a big deal. That’s grounds for calling your doctor and high-tailing it to the hospital. Well I was already at the hospital so we could go ahead and put a check in that box. The nurse decided to go call my doctor to give her the news and ask her what the next step was. While she was gone, Stephen and I did a whole lot of looking at each other and saying, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.” We really just had one main question: WHO HAS CONTRACTIONS AND DOESN’T KNOW IT?? I mean, I’ve always thought that because I have experienced so many migraines that I have a higher pain tolerance than many people, but not that high!

The nurse came back and said, “Well, I spoke to your doctor. Looks like you’re having a baby today!”

My eyes turned into saucers and my smile went from ear to ear. And if I’m going to be completely honest with you, the smile wasn’t from excitement, it was from nervousness. Nervous terror. I was just supposed to be going to the doctor. You know, a quick check with several it’s-getting-close’s from the nurses and OB. And now I’m in the hospital and you’re telling me that I’m going to have a baby… today? As in, this date? As in, 2.5 weeks early? NOW? 

The nurse checked me and I was now at 4 centimeters. (This was also the point in my life when I learned that there is a skill to checking someone’s cervix. My OB was so good at it that it never phased me. This chick? Not so much.) There was no need to rush me to a delivery room because there was still a lot of labor that needed to happen. It’s a good thing because every single delivery room was full. So our job was just to hang out and watch reruns of Home Improvement.

The nurse came back in to give me my IV and tell me about the strict “no eating or drinking” rule. It was about that time that I was cursing my bagel breakfast and wishing I had eaten 17 pancakes and a pound of bacon. I’d heard plenty of stories about people being in labor for upwards of 24 hours and the thought of no food until the next morning was giving me serious anxiety. (Remember, I was still pregnant at this point. The possibility of no food is a common fear in pregnant women.)

While I sat in my bed texting random people to tell them this new turn of events, Stephen stepped into the hall to call our parents. My parents were instructed to pick up our bag from our house and take care of our dog for the next couple days. We weren’t able to get in contact with his mom for a couple hours. She’d given us direction to call her cell phone when it was time. If she didn’t answer, we were to call the office. She’d told her office that she would be leaving work the instant she got the call. She works at a preschool and apparently the secretary didn’t think it was that important to get her. Or something. Not sure. The details are sketchy because honestly I didn’t care about anything besides the whole “looks like you’re having a baby today” thing.

Of course we told them all not to rush, that babies take their time. Do you think they listened? No. They all decided that they’d set up shop in the waiting room and sit tight until Jansen decided it was time to come. Since we didn’t have much real estate in that room (literally only had a bed and a small chair) they all had to come in one at a time to say hello. Throughout the next few hours, each of them came to keep me company and ask how I was doing. Remember that since I was still pregnant, I still had a pregnant woman’s bladder. So Stephen would have to help me out of bed and wheel my IV to the bathroom. It was all very awkward since I would have to try to hold the back of my gown closed while waddling and trying not to rip my IV out. (I have an irrational fear of IVs ripping out. It got better throughout the day, but at this point it was a pretty serious concern of mine.)  

By this time, I’d learned what a contraction feels like. I suppose they were getting stronger and that’s why I was able to feel them, plus I was laying still with nothing to do but concentrate on my stomach. Stephen would stand in front of the computer and watch the numbers (we didn’t know what they meant, but we knew that a change in numbers was likely a contraction). I would say, “Oh wait! I think this is one. Is it? Is it a contraction?” And he’d watch the numbers change, “Yeah! That’s a contraction! It’s still going, babe! You’re still having it!” It was a fun little game that would last several more hours.

Finally at 3:45 they wheeled me into a delivery room. It was much bigger and I was allowed to have 4 guests in there. That was nice since I enjoyed the company, plus I felt bad that they all had to wait out in the waiting room. (I literally JUST realized that they all had each other in the waiting room, so I was probably the most bored of everyone. I had only had one guest at a time. Hmm.) At this point the nurse checked me and I was still at 4 centimeters. The anesthesiologist came in to explain the process to me. (I knew I was going to get drugs even before I got pregnant. I know me. If I didn’t get drugs I would have been miserable, plus I would have given myself a migraine from the pain.) I didn’t really need to hear the details from him but I think they have to do that, although meeting him made me feel better about the whole sticking-a-needle-in-a-dangerous-place thing.

At this point, just about everyone had arrived. My parents, Stephen’s parents, Stephen’s sister from Fort Worth, and my sister. Stephen’s other sister came after work and my brother and SIL weren’t able to come. I think we were all pretty bored. Every now and then one of them would say something that showed how excited they were. I was nervous. And mostly bored. I watched several episodes of Cash Cab to try to keep my mind off things. Sort of like “a watched pot never boils”… a thought-about cervix never opens. Right?

We continued to play the contraction game. My dad was really into it. I’d tell them when a contraction came (they were much stronger now, but still not painful) and he and Stephen would run over to the machine to watch the numbers. “OH LOOK! This is a good one!” or “Man! What a weenie contraction!” Eventually he started trying to foresee the future. “Well you’ve had several strong ones recently, I think we’re getting somewhere.” It was a good way to pass time.

My OB came to check on me at about 5:40 that evening. There were several patients of hers in delivery rooms so she’d be hanging around for the rest of the night. She checked my cervix and I was “a good 4” so she decided to break my water. I think she was ready to get the show on the road. I started having a panic attack. I had been at the hospital almost 9 hours and it was just hitting me that I was about to have a baby. Once your water is broken, there is no turning back. (Not that there was any turning back before that, you can’t exactly un-conceive a baby.)

For some reason I was terrified of her breaking my water. I think it was because I had read descriptions that said the doctor will take a long stick with a hook on the end and stick it in there to manually break the water. That was the scariest thing I had ever heard. All of my guests stepped out. I started sweating and begging Stephen to come hold my hand. My OB looked at me like I was a nut job, “It’s really no big deal, Chelsea. I promise. You won’t feel anything.” I tried to relax but I really just wanted to scream, “OF COURSE YOU’D SAY THAT. IT’S NO BIG DEAL TO YOU! YOU AREN’T ABOUT TO GET YOUR VAGINA STABBED WITH A GIANT CROCHET HOOK!”

But I kept my mouth shut and I’m certainly glad that I did because, well, she was right. It was no big deal. She broke my water and I’m sure that 17 gallons of liquid came pouring out of me. But I can’t remember that. I think I remember several towels. But mostly I just remember sitting there, wide-eyed, thinking, “This is it. I’m going to be a mom. I’m going to have a baby.”

(Part 3 coming tomorrow.)

February 23, 2011 at 7:14 am 18 comments


February 2011


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