It was three o' clock in the morning when I jumped out of bed to the sensation of a large water balloon popping between my legs.
I yelled at my husband to get up, even though we had just gone to bed a couple hours before. I took a shower and changed, then knocked on my guest room door to let my visiting sister and brother-in-law know to come see us at the hospital later. My husband grabbed our bags and we took off, driving the half-hour trip to the Air Force hospital (the much closer Army hospital unfortunately did not have a labor & delivery ward). On the way, I called our immediate family, but couldn't seem to get anyone to pick up. I was one day past my due date, so I figured everyone would be keeping their phones nearby! Apparently this was not the case.
When we arrived, I was checked and admitted since I was already dilated five centimeters. The contractions were swift and painful, but I managed to labor without drugs for about three hours before begging for an epidural. The anesthesiologist needed me to sign a form before giving the epidural, and I somehow managed to sign my name in between contractions. My husband held me as I leaned as far forward as possible in order to get the epidural inserted, and when I leaned back I looked at his face and saw a very green-faced man! He said he was going to get something to eat, and I laid back and slept while the epidural did it's fantastic job of helping me cope with the pain. Around 11 a.m. I was told I could start pushing, so my husband and a nurse stood on either side of me while the doctor got in position to catch our baby. I pushed, and I pushed, and I pushed … and no baby. I was getting exhausted and was told they would only let me push for 2 hours before resorting to another method to get the baby out. I was worried because I'd heard someone say both my heartrate and the baby's had spiked, so they had called for a pediatrician to be in the room to tend to the baby immediately after birth.
When the pediatrician arrived he asked my husband about the shirt he was wearing. It turned out that he and my husband had gone to the same college and actually had a class together! However, the irony was lost on me since all I cared about at that moment was getting the baby out of my body. It was close to one p.m. when the doctor used the word “forceps” … and in the next second I swear it was like I blinked and 20 people showed up in the room! The hospital was an Air Force training hospital and it seemed like every resident on the floor that day needed to see forceps in use. Of course, before the doctor could use the tool he had to get permission from someone higher than him, and when I heard him say he was waiting for that signature I screamed at him to just get the baby out already! Luckily the persmission came quickly, and at 12:57 p.m. my son finally arrived.
He went straight to the pediatrician and we found out that he'd had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and one arm—hence the unproductive pushing. He went to the NICU and I told my husband to go with him. Once I was stitched up and changed into a new gown I was brought a tray of delicious fried chicken. I did not get to see my son for three hours after his birth, and when I finally got to hold him he was swaddled up tight with lots of wires coming off of him—but he was still the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.