The morning of July 25, 2009, a day passed my estimated due date, I awoke very early to what I thought was just more back pain. The previous night, we had celebrated my brother’s birthday at the Hofbrauhaus and I was blaming Germans and their hard wooden benches for my discomfort. (Pregos are allowed to be irrational, don’t judge me). When Zach woke around 6 am, I told him that I didn’t think he would be playing in his golf tournament that day. He immediately started doing stuff to keep himself busy: he SCRUBBED the kitchen floors, he finished packing his hospital bag, and before he left to take the dogs for a run, he made me a contractions chart, insisting that I was tracked every twinge. I’m not joking:
After a few hours, we called the doctor and I was really bummed to learn the ONLY doctor I had not met was on call the entire weekend, but I tried telling myself it was no big deal. I labored at home, mostly in water, from about 4 am – noon. Finally, as I was sitting backward in a chair, trying to focus on my breathing while Zach put counter pressure on my lower back, the pain and anticipation got the best of me. In retrospect, I think it was more the excitement and wanting to meet my surprise baby (we never found out if we were having a boy or girl!), and I wish I had stayed home longer. But because we are an hour from the hospital and we knew we were driving right into construction, we opted to leave around 12:30.
My brother came with us because my parents were already en route to a graduation party that they would soon leave to join us at the hospital. I parked my pregnant self in the back seat and positioned a softball between my tailbone and the seat, hoping it would give me some relief. It didn’t. Ouch.
I was 5 centimeters when I was admitted, and although I had dreams of a natural child birth, my back felt like it was splitting in two. I never had “normal” contractions; all of the pain was in my lower back and butt. At one point I remember thinking, “I’m going to vomit all over this nurse.” I accepted the invitation of the epidural shortly thereafter.
Hindsight is 20/20: I wish someone would have slapped some courage into me and suggested I wait a little longer before getting the pain meds. I couldn’t feel a THING. My nurse, who was very lovely and helpful at the time, kept telling me to hit the button. So I did. Huge mistake. My labor slowed, and I didn’t know if/when I was ready to push. At this point, it was nearing 9pm. I thought I felt pressure, so I asked if I should push. I was told to wait until the doctor checked me. I waited for an hour. The doctor finally came in, checked me (I was 9 centimeters), and then informed me that she had to perform a c-section on another patient. I was told to wait for her before pushing.
After another hour, around 11pm, I begged to begin pushing. My less-than-stellar doc came back, announced that she hadn’t even started the other patient’s c-section, and I told her I could not wait. She checked me again (“Just about 10 centimeters, but not quite”) and, to appease me, said I could “practice pushing.” This made me angry: practice?! What if the baby was ready and the doctor wasn’t? My nurse assured me it was perfectly safe, so we practiced pushing. FOR THREE HOURS. Turns out premature pushing is not a good idea; in fact, it can swell the cervix and after 180 minutes of it, necessitate an emergency c-section…
When Doctor of the Year returned, it was 2 in the morning and she was YAWNING. The nurse told her I had been pushing and without another thought, doc emphatically stated, “We’re going to have to perform a cesarean.” My first instinct was to punch her; I felt like she had let me down and completely betrayed my birthing wishes which, of course, she knew nothing about because she didn’t know me from Eve. Instead, I cried. Our families came in to wish me luck, and I remember feeling like they were bidding me their final goodbyes instead. Totally freaked me out. My brother looked terrified, my dad had tears in his eyes, and then this walked into the room:
I was pumped so full of meds that I barely knew my own name. I was shaking so badly on the operating table that Zach later confessed he thought I was going to die. Apparently I was pretty pale and the nurses kept calling for help and asking for more medicine in my IVs. Poor guy. Fortunately, I did not die and this, our first family photo at 3:30 on July 26, 2009, was the end result:
I had a son! This was mind-blowing because the entire 9 months I carried that child, I called HER Mia Rose because, obviously, I was having a beautiful girl with beautiful dark hair and beautiful olive skin and that was going to be her beautiful name. I had all the classic “girl” symptoms: I was ginormous, my face broke out, the ever-reliable Chinese gender predictors all pointed to GIRL. Those old wives tales got nothin’ on me. When the doctor announced it was a boy, I yelled (loudly and inappropriately), “LIARRRR!” I never did do well on meds…And here HE was: Brady blond hair, blue eyes, and porcelain white skin. Shut. Up. He was perfect. And he was mine.
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