Monday, September 30, 2013

August Wells: A Birth Story, Part IV

Read Part I, II, & III.

Ding!  As the elevator doors opened to the ground floor lobby of our building, there sat my friend Danielle.  I watched her eyes widen as the sight of our bags registered where we were headed.  I remember her enveloping me in a huge hug and saying, "Oh my goodness, I'm gonna cry!"  By the time Neal pulled the car up, my friend Kim who also lives in the building had appeared, and I distinctly remember my southern belle friend praising me for having curled hair, as well as agreeing to run some errands for me and later show up at the hospital.
Any significant trip of ours usually starts with a stop at this Starbucks.  This morning we weren't going far, but of significance it was obviously tops.  While Neal ran in for coffee, I called my Mom.  The morning sunlight filtered down through the L tracks as I gave her the news.  My sister Tiff was my next call as we merged from 90/94 onto 290.  She was screaming into the phone something along the lines of, "I can't believe it!  I'm so happy!" and this scream-talking that she was doing went on for awhile until she hung up with the plan to get on the road to come help me deliver the little mister.

These surprise phone calls have to be one of the best parts of going into labor a week early, but I kinda missed out on it on what could have been more.  Down with my tempered, measured, controlled approach to life sometimes!  Looking back, I'm disappointed that I didn't call Ty, Kirra, and my mother-in-law right then.  They all got texts from Neal soon after we arrived at the hospital.  At the time, I was trying to internally process if this was really happening and was still feeling a level of uncertainty about it all since I had no contractions;  I wanted confirmation that this was officially labor and I wouldn't be sent home.
Upon arrival at Rush, I was taken back to triage for assessment while Neal was required to wait in the waiting room.  I think I was back there about an hour and it was a special time to be alone for some quiet moments, although that exam as they tried to decide if my water had really broken or not was hard.

The triage was like an ER, with three beds in the room all surrounded by their own little curtain.  I still remember how good it felt to eventually hear Neal's voice outside the curtain, and then his hand slip into mine as they brought him back to join me.
It was determined that my water had indeed broken and that since my contractions hadn't started I would be admitted to a room and started on a Pitocin drip to induce contractions.  I learned that once your water breaks, the risk of infection increases and therefore the delivery team wants the baby delivered within the next 24 hours.  This didn't bother me much because I didn't really have a birth plan to speak of, other than knowing from day one that I am all about the epidural.  For sure.

Neal and I chatted and texted in our little curtained cocoon until they moved us to a labor and delivery room.  Settled amongst the monitors and wires and beeps, we were left alone to sit and look at each other like, "I guess we're having our baby.  What now?"  I'll admit, part of me was trying to deal with my disappointment that I wouldn't have my week off of work for some rest and relaxation that I had planned before my due date.  I had worked hard all the way through my pregnancy and was really looking forward to that week.  Time for Lesson Number One in parenthood: Your time is not your own?

My brother Ty showed up shortly after we got into our room.  He brought flowers and a bag full of Trader Joe's groceries that to this day everyone laughs about.  I of course couldn't eat, but it was kind of him not to tempt me with anything good.  He brought snap peas and rice crackers and san pellegrino water.  Seriously?!
The three of us hung out while the anesthesiologist and my nurse kept taking turns poking their heads in and out of my room.  "I can put in the epidural at any time," said the anesthesiologist.  "No need to wait until you feel any pain."  "It's really early," said the nurse.  "You may want to wait awhile."  This rotation of conflicting messages circled in and out of my room while my contractions slowly came on.  My contractions were completely mild at this point, but I was beginning to feel flustered by the conflicting guidance I was getting from those attending me.  Ty turned to his phone and made the "Where are you?!" phone call to Tiff and Mom.

With any labor story there has to be at least some drama.  The drama here was out on I-55 where my parents and sister sat in tightly congested road construction traffic near the Joliet bridge.  It's not like they were about to miss the birth or anything, but I felt the need for their support as my labor started to kick in.  With some alternate route instructions from Ty, they veered off the highway and arrived at the hospital not too long after, complete with Ty waving them down from a median in the road.  All drama, that one.
They are the most precious souls, and seeing their excited faces come through the door made everything feel real.  From the moment they arrived, they were all business and were 100% devoted to me.  Tiff brought lemon cube gum to refresh me and sent Ty out to buy 100% fruit popsicles, her way of cheating the system into getting me some sort of actual sustenance.  Mom brought a vase of "baby boy blue" hydrangeas from her garden and wore her navy blue dress in honor of baby boy's arrival.

By 4:30 or 5:00 that night, I was ready to get the epidural.  Everyone, Neal included, was cleared into the side room that was connected to my room as the anesthesiology team surrounded my bed.  Getting the epidural was actually no big deal.  The hardest part was staying hunched over and motionless when a contraction would hit me while they were working.  Tiff came out of the side room with indentations on her palms where she had dug her nails into her hand while waiting, so I think she had it worse off than me.

Afterwards, I felt boosted by how easy and painless the epidural had been and by how much more comfortable I was.  Everyone in the room ate popsicles and discussed how we all thought July 20th was a better birthday than July 19th, so if he was born after midnight that would be the hope.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Kirra said...

Omg. I love the random snacks Ty brought. I mean. Hilar. And that pic of you & him with the flowers makes my eyes all watery.