I was never one of those pregnant women who “glowed.” Actually, if I had to make an apt comparison, I’d say I looked mostly like one of the monsters from Where the Wild Things Are.
Other descriptions include a hippo in a wig and/or a nattily accessorized walrus. My ankles resembled sapling redwood trees. I had given up shoes sometime over the summer and once it was too cold to wear flip flops, I switched to my husband’s snazzy size 11 Crocs. Pregnancy and I were not BFFs.
My daughter was due on November 23rd—a date that seemed so far away that I reckoned I would have to be about 68 weeks pregnant by that point. At my 66th week appointment (or 38th, if you want to get technical about it), I waddled slowly into my OB’s office looking as pitiful as possible. I wanted to have a baby more than anything and was excited to be a first-time mommy, but I was pretty fed up with the actual pregnancy part. My OB was a friend before she was my doctor so she knew me pretty well. I’m rarely one to complain about how I feel or grumble about being uncomfortable. She checked my cervix which indicated that my baby had no intention of entering this world in the very near future. Then she picked up on the “abject misery” cues and asked if I’d like to be induced. Those were magic words! Yes! Yes, I would like to be induced! While I appreciate where my friends who opt for birth without medication or intervention, I am 100 percent in favor of taking advantage of the advances modern medicine has to offer. So we arranged for me to report to the hospital the following Tuesday night in preparation for the administering of Cervadil and Pitocin Wednesday morning.
Unbeknownst to me, at that same time my attorney husband was receiving the date and time for the final hearing for a case he’d been working on forever. It absolutely could not be rescheduled for another day. So this meant that he would not be able to stay at the hospital overnight with me, nor could he be there before noon the next day. I promised not to have the baby before lunch.
Tuesday arrived and my hubby was supposed to drive us to the hospital to get me checked in, but in his mild panic state due to impending fatherhood combined with a high stress case, he, um, forgot. To add insult to injury, he’d turned off his cell phone since he was in court so I wasn't able to reach him. When he arrived at home (an hour past my appointment time) he found an extremely angry extremely pregnant woman in the driveway, suitcase and pillow in hand. He was not allowed to change clothes before taking me to the hospital, and I made him call the hospital and explain why I was late.
We checked in and made it into the room around dinnertime. I got an IV and my OB came in and applied the Cervadil. Then I got hooked up to the monitor and began the official wait. My daughter seemed to sense her impending eviction from her comfortable aquarium setting. She pushed against the monitor discs all night long, which was strange to feel and watch. I was so keyed up that even two sleeping pills did not provide a wink of sleep.
The next morning I was started on a Pitocin drip about 6:30 a.m. My OB broke my water around 8 a.m., and we were off to the races. As the contractions really got going and I found myself depending more and more on the pictures of nature set to the classical music channel on TV, I decided that I was wholeheartedly not in favor of unmedicated childbirth and requested an epidural. An extremely skinny anesthesiologist arrived to place the epidural and only escaped being slapped for telling me I was almost too fat to have the epidural by virtue of the fact that I knew she had the drugs.
Just as the epidural got going, my husband arrived. The rest of the day was pretty much a waiting game. Our baby girl got hip to the plan around 6 p.m. when she decided to completely dislodge herself from my pelvis and roll over on my left side in an attempt to stay in the womb. As a result, around 6:30 p.m. my OB said she’d like to do a C-section. This was about the time that my epidural wore off. So basically at this point I would have agreed to having my head removed and my baby pulled out through my neck if that was needed to happen.
I was wheeled into the operating room and prepped for the surgery. A very few minutes and a lot of weird sensations later, I was a mom. It was completely surreal, though, because where I should have been feeling absolute elation, I mostly felt like I was going to throw up. And then I did.
But once that was over, I met my delicious daughter, the entire world stopped spinning for a moment, and nothing was ever the same again.