Little lady in a hurry: The birth of Elisabeth
On September 11, I finished up my work and logged off around 5 p.m. I was working from home and planned to work right up until I gave birth (unless my OB suggested otherwise), and I remember logging off that day thinking, This is it! I was so sure that this would be “the weekend” that I sent my husband, Greg, an email telling him to wrap things up at work. I was only 38 weeks pregnant, but our first child was born at 27 weeks—so we were on full-fledged baby watch!
That night, Greg told me that I just looked different. I said, “Get some sleep tonight. I just have a feeling.” I passed out on the couch and woke up around midnight with some cramps and … well, let’s just say I thought my water was breaking. I went upstairs to tell Greg what was happening (and to change) and then came back downstairs, so he could get some sleep.
The contractions were about 15 minutes apart, so I grabbed a few popsicles and got as comfortable as I could in such a state! I went upstairs to take a bath around 6 a.m., and the contractions were six to eight minutes apart and getting stronger by 8 a.m.
Greg really wanted to call the doctor, but I was more interested in doing laundry and changing sheets (hah!). Because he is smarter than I am (yes, I said it!), he packed the car, and I finally called my OB. A different doctor was on duty and advised me to come in, so we left my firstborn, Rob, with his grandma after taking one last photo as a family of three!
We arrived at Highland Hospital around 10 a.m., and—of course—they didn’t have the paperwork that I submitted 12 weeks ago … so we had to fill out new forms. (I really enjoyed the woman in front of us taking her sweet time and arguing with the nurse as I was contracting behind her. People amaze me.) I was at 4 centimeters when I was finally examined. The nurse went to get the doctor, so I could be admitted … and I promptly threw up. Awesome.
The doctor came in and said he wanted to wait an hour to re-examine me before admitting me, as he felt I might be in false labor and didn’t think my water had fully broken yet. I wanted to hit him. But Greg wouldn’t lift my hand to do it, and I didn’t have the energy to argue. The doctor also asked me about pain medication (no thank you), an epidural (double no thank you) and my previous C-section. Um, what?? I had a perfectly natural birth two years ago …
I had already started to hate this man, but he took it to another level and asked about postpartum birth control. As another contraction hit me, I very firmly told him, “Abstinence.” Greg laughed, but the doctor saw no humor in it and (mercifully) went away.
Around 11:30 a.m., the contractions got super strong, and I wasn’t joking any more. Poor Greg went from laughing at my bad jokes to having his hand swatted away whenever he tried to touch me. When he reminded me to breathe, I kindly told him to shut up. Oops. The only way I could manage was by walking around during the pain and (pretty much) banging my head against the bathroom wall while Greg made sure I didn’t do any permanent damage (to myself or the wall).
By 11:50 a.m. I’d had enough. I called a nurse in and asked to see the doctor ASAP, but he wouldn’t be in until 12:15 a.m.
I told her, “These are pretty bad … now would be good,” and she set off. At 11:55 a.m., a rough contraction began, and I went into the bathroom to use the grab bar as my water fully broke. Greg ran to get a nurse to clean up.
At that point, I really needed to push. I told Greg and the nurse. They both shouted, “NO!” (Seriously, did they think I was giving them an option?)
The nurse pressed the red-alert button and shouted, “WE NEED A GURNEY!” Four nurses and a midwife came in and got me to the bed in the nick of time, as I screamed and started pushing. With the second push, out came the head! With the third push, at 12:01 p.m., our baby was born!
As I was finally wheeled to Labor and Delivery (a little bit late), Greg told me it was a girl. (We had wanted it to be a surprise.) They placed my beautiful Elisabeth in my arms. She was 7 pounds, 7 ounces of perfection and stared up at me with beautiful blue-gray eyes and the most intense look … nothing else in the world mattered.
That crazy doctor eventually came back to formally apologize for not taking me seriously and told me that in his 20 years, my delivery was the first he had missed. Hah. Well, the joke’s on him—the most amazing midwife delivered my baby girl, and I was so glad for that! (I did eventually relent a bit … I guess when they ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10, you shouldn’t wait until the pushing begins to call it a 10, right?)
Elisabeth passed all her tests with flying colors, and Greg got to hold her. Meanwhile, I requested a shower and to be allowed to walk to recovery—both of which were denied. I don’t think they quite knew what to do with me.
Rob came to meet his little sister (or as he dubbed her, “BIZ A BIZ”), and we had some awesome family members come to see us. Within 24 hours, we were on our way home to test out our new family of four. With two parents, one boy, one girl and two cats, we felt like the Cleavers of this millennium … and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!
By Rae Glaser