In August 2006, my husband and I moved to an Alaskan fishing village to teach school. We figured we should go on and get the crazy out of our systems before we had kids.
Naturally, we found out in October that I was 2 months pregnant. We were 500 miles from medical care by six-seater Cessna, a trip I made once a month for checkups. At the 36 week mark, my midwife insisted I move to Anchorage. my husband stayed in the village, as one of us needed to be working, and my mom hauled herself all the way from Georgia to keep me company and cook dinner. There was a whole preterm labor issue involving kidney stones and contractions, but going into the beginning of this story, I was already 80% effaced, at least 4 centimeters dilated, and had been having Braxton-Hicks for weeks. My midwife finally gave up on checking me constantly and told me to only call her if something significantly different happened. I got my hair cut, my teeth cleaned, my nails done, and according to my mother, was now allowed go into labor whenever I was ready.
Monday, mom tells me that she has decided that I will have the baby May 2, as it's the next full moon. The next time I talk to my husband, I say, “It’s going to be the next two days.” When he asked why, all I could say was that I felt weird. Five minutes later, I was sitting in the living room checking my email, and this odd pain traveled down into my lower abdomen and my lower back, and I thought, OW. Four minutes later, there it was again. And no matter how I shifted, it didn’t help. I showered, because it seemed like something to do and because I thought if I called the OB triage nurse and said, “I’ve had three whole contractions! And they hurt!” she would just tell me to go away and come back in an hour if they don’t stop. I did call the nurse on call after my shower to say, “I have pain, I'm 4-5 cm, 80%, and have had previous preterm labor,” and she said, “I’m calling your doc, go in now.” My contractions were 2 minutes apart at this point, and it had only been about an hour.
I called my husband and left a rather breathless message involving YOU AREN’T HERE AND I DON’T WANT TO BE IN LABOR AND I’M GOING TO HAVE A BABY. He picked up on the first ring of the next attempt and was already panicking, even though he was 500 miles away and couldn’t do anything about it. I checked in with the OB Triage, where they check to make sure you aren’t overreacting, and OH LOOK I’M 7 CM DILATED WHAT A SURPRISE. Up to this point, I had wanted to see what I could handle with the IV drugs, but after the 36-week preterm labor, where they gave me one of the pain meds to help me sleep and I was so out of it I was hallucinating Muppets, I decide on an epidural. My water broke, and my midwife said there was meconium also, which brought up some concerns about the baby. The anesthesiologist walked in as I was pushing the first time, and she told him, “No time! Contact the NICU and have them come in here!” The doctor APOLOGIZES to me. For some reason, I think I said, “No worries, not your fault,” when what I SHOULD have said was GET OVER HERE AND GIVE ME MY EPIDURAL.
My otherwise fabulous midwife started sternly ordering me to push. The next bit just involved a lot of them telling me to PUSH, JUST LIKE THAT, HARDER, AGAIN, KEEP GOING I SEE HIM, YOU’RE ALMOST THERE, and then there was a weird sudden POP and everyone got very busy and I couldn’t hear anything, and I asked, “Do I keep pushing? What do I do?” They finally brought him over and put him on my chest while I was being stitched up in tender places, and we just kinda stared at each other in confusion. He was probably thinking, “What the heck is going on?” and I was thinking, “Holy crap, I made a person.”