At the last OB appointment my wife, Terry, was dilated 1 centimeter and was having no regular contractions. Frustrated at the lack of progress, we resigned to another week before meeting Rose. (This was my first baby, but it would be her third.)
Three days later, the contractions came and stuck around all day, but it was nothing close together or intense. Knowing we would likely be turned away from the hospital with the contractions being so far apart—and with no dilation, we waited.
At midnight she woke me, so we could drop the boys off at her parents’ house. The only soul who knew we were going was her younger brother, who still lived at home.
We arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 1 a.m. At that late an hour, we needed to go through the ER department to get to the Labor & Delivery ward. When we arrived at the L&D registration desk, we found out our information was a little out of date, and it took an extra 10 minutes to get checked in. While signing paperwork, Terry leaned over to sign the consent form and remarked, “Either my water broke, or I just peed myself.”
At 1:11 a.m., we walked down the hallway to delivery triage. The nurse checked her cervix to find she was dilated 5 centimeters. Great! They wouldn’t send us home! Questions were asked about our birth plan, which included an epidural. Possibly foreboding was a single rough contraction with a, “Why is it doing that?!” exclamation.
Walking was more comfortable for Terry, so she opted out of the gurney escort, as we were only heading 45 feet or so down the hallway. Then a larger contraction overtook her. She leaned against the wall to support herself and couldn’t move any farther for another 60 seconds.
After a short intermission, the nurse and I ushered her through the door and onto the bed in the delivery room.
She contributed no active effort to the next contraction, nor did it stop. Another quick pelvic exam by a second nurse revealed that Rose was crowning! Not 25 minutes at the hospital, and our baby was working through the canal! Behind me, the second nurse pressed the staff emergency button.
Five more nurses appeared within 30 seconds, each wheeling in a different apparatus. In a flash the birthing pack was open on a table—but still no OB. Rose wasn’t going to wait for proper medical attention for her debut! Terry was feeling the pain but still quite surprised at the progression.
Without any announcement or small talk, the obstetrician made his appearance. He is my aunt’s favorite (she has four kids herself) and a man I had biked with before. With an incredible calmness he gowned in, sat down and helped my wife push Rose’s head out at 1:29 a.m. Three pushes later, he wiped the meconium from my screaming daughter and laid her still wet body onto mom’s chest. An hour of glorious skin-to-skin contact welcomed her, along with my tears.
My wife missed her epidural, IV catheter and maternal blood work. There wasn’t even time to hook the fetal monitors up in the delivery room. At this point, only her younger brother knew we were at the hospital. On the plus side, we didn’t need to inform anyone. There were no phone calls to be made, no social media updates to post and no one else in the waiting room. We had three glorious hours of time alone with our brand-new daughter.
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