It was five days past my due date, and my husband and I had spent the majority of the afternoon focused on some mild cramping I was experiencing, hoping that it would get more intense and frequent so that we could justify leaving for the hospital.
We walked around the block, we packed final things in bags, we went over instructions for our three year old with my mom, I ate spicy food, etc. Finally at 12:30 that night we decided to go ahead to the hospital and just be there.Better safe than sorry, we thought. (Our son was born about an hour and a half after we arrived, horns blaring through red lights, to the emergency room.) My husband’s primary mission throughout this whole pregnancy, I believe, was to avoid shaving five more years off his life with another harrowing Mario Andretti-like entrance to the ER with a wailing woman reclined in the passenger seat. So we went, excited, to the hospital.
They hooked me up to a monitor and asked about my contractions, at which point I told them I was about a two on the pain scale. The midwife suggested I walk around to try to get things going, so we walked. And we walked. And we walked. And walked. And my contractions … stopped.
The midwife checked me again and reported that I had not made any progress, and then she said the dreaded words that no woman five days past her due date ever wants to hear: “I don’t think you’re in labor. You may want to go back home.” I imagine that hell is probably a lot like driving from the hospital back to your house at 4:45 a.m. five days past your due date with mildly uncomfortable contractions, no sleep and no baby.
At home I went straight to bed, mentally and physically exhausted, knowing I would have to wake up at least one more day still pregnant and miserable. My physical pain may have been a two, but my mental anguish was sitting solidly on ten plus.
I woke up around 6:45 a.m. and thought, “Hmmm. I feel rather uncomfortable.” Since this had been my constant state of being for the last three or four weeks I didn’t think the feeling was anything out of the ordinary. Fifteen minutes later I knew I was wrong. I sat up with a start at 7:00 and made an immediate beeline for the bathroom.When I got there I gripped the wall and realized that I was having a real, bonafide six-or-seven-on-the-pain-scale contraction.I hobbled back to the bedroom after it subsided and woke my husband.I’m not sure what I said, but it was probably something like “NEED TO – OW – HOSPITAL – QUICK – GAH!” or some other equally coherent sentence.
From past experience, my husband knew that we had to get in the car right away. He threw on pants and shoes, tossed our bags in the car (getting me a barf bag to boot, which at the time seemed quite necessary), and was escorting me down the steps of our house in a matter of minutes. He then drove mostly one-handed (I had a death grip on his right hand from my reclined, howling position in the passenger seat) through morning work traffic while simultaneously supplying me with a steady stream of encouragement.Phrases like, “You’re doing a great job. You’re doing just what you should be doing,” and, “No, you are NOT going to die.” (Note: this is surprisingly helpful to hear.)He even kept his cool when I told him, mid-contraction, “FOR THE LOVE OF PETE DO NOT WRECK GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL IN ONE PIECE” and simply said, “You concentrate on what you’re doing, and I’ll drive.”He even said it in a nice voice. I think that pretty much guaranteed him a spot on the Husband of the Year ballot.
We whipped into the ER parking lot and then he helped the (poor, poor) security guard put me into a wheelchair and they rolled me—still wailing—through the ER to the elevator and up to Labor and Delivery.(My belated, profuse apologies to the poor, innocent bystanders who happened to take that elevator ride with me.)
Before they could even get the wheelchair all the way into the delivery room, I disembarked from the chair and immediately stripped off all my clothes. I knew delivery was imminent, and I wasn’t about to have a baby in my pants. I climbed onto the table, was checked, and was told not to push. At that point, this felt about as possible as stopping a speeding train with a bendy straw.My husband, amazingly, had read up on what to do when you’re told not to push, and he lifted my chin, looked straight into my face and said “RACHEL. Take short breaths. Chin up. Short breaths.”He was all I heard, and miraculously, I was able to refrain from pushing.Husband of the Year = CLINCHED.
My bag of waters had not yet broken even with all that crazy action, so the midwife broke it for me. This was the green light my body had been waiting for and I was finally allowed to push.I pushed once. The nurses and midwife said “Good! She’s almost here!” and I thought, “If they are giving me that ‘Almost there but really it’s going to be 45 more sweat-filled minutes’ lip service then we are about to have some serious problems.” But then I was hit immediately by the next contraction, during which I pushed for what seemed to be an entire minute while also levitating somewhere near the ceiling and screaming a scream that probably made about five laboring women walk right out the front doors of the hospital.
And out she came.
I cannot tell you how completely and utterly awesome it feels to have a baby leave your body.Instant relief to the nth degree.And thenyou’re handed a tiny person!Your tiny person. Crying and slippery and covered in cheese and the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.
Check in time: 8:00 am
Time of birth: 8:17 am
After making us wait for nearly a week, Rosalie Mae arrived in a blink. She was here—my girl! And she was completely worth any number on the pain scale.