First off, welcome to all the new followers of The Waiting! I really can’t believe I was Freshly Pressed only FOUR DAYS after giving birth. Not going to lie; I have fantasized about getting that WordPress distinction ever since I started blogging but I never really thought it would happen, much less during the most hectic/stressful/glorious/sleep-deprived week of my entire life.
But when it rains, it pours. And the WordPress gods don’t care if you’re operating on two hours of sleep.
And of course, thanks to my awesome, supportive, loving, thoughtful blogging family who sent all kinds of sweet comments on the arrival of Miss C. I’m not capable of expressing the gratitude I have for you all and how blessed I am to have found kindred spirits from all over the world through this wonderful blogging platform. I love you all like mad.
And that’s not the hormones talking.
I’m going to break from my general pattern of trying not to gross you out too much with body fluids, body matter, and the gory side of pregnancy simply because it’s impossible not to when you’re describing a person coming out of another person. I mean, she CAME OUT of me. They tell you babies come from storks, but they don’t. And quite frankly I’m glad because it’s really creepy to think about giant seabirds flying around with babies. Don’t even get me started on how utterly disturbing the phrase “stork bite” is.
This first chapter will cover the part before I went to the hospital. I confess that sometimes this part of birth stories can be a little boring because it’s before the fireworks begin at the hospital. So feel free to skip on through to Part Deux if you so choose. Or not.
So, without further ado, the story of how I popped Miss C out.
I woke around 3 AM Saturday morning covered in sweat and was initially confused because I thought that my water had broken. From what I’d read and from what I’d learned from childbirth class, your water doesn’t have to break in a torrent like in the movies, and there are only a few cases when it actually does, so I figured the moisture accumulated on my body could indicate seepage. I went and checked myself in the bathroom and concluded that no, my water had not broken and that I just needed to turn the heat down and drink some water. I got back in bed and went back to sleep.
Fast forward to 6:30. I stirred and turned over on my side. That movie gush that Hollywood has made such a thing of but in reality doesn’t always have to happen?
Well, it happened to me. Full-on tidal wave. No joke. I leapt out of bed (well, I was hugely preggo so maybe “leapt” is a bit extreme but I moved as quickly as I could). There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that things had started.
“B, my water just broke.”
“YES. Get the book*.”
*”The book” being What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
I hobbled to the toilet, leaving a trail of amniotic fluid in my wake. Sitting on the toilet and leaking, I reread the section in the book about having your water break, and it said that when your water breaks you can expect to deliver in 12-24 hours. I called my OB and the nurse at their answering service asked me a couple of questions about the situation. I told her that I was positive that my water had just broken, that this hadn’t been a high-risk pregnancy, and that contractions hadn’t started yet. She asked me if I considered it to be an emergency situation and I said no, considering that the doctors at the practice had told me numerous times that staying at home during the first hours of labor would be best unless the water was tinged in brown and yellow or I was gushing blood. So she took my info and told me to sit tight, which I did.
Light contractions started about an hour later. I felt so alive as they pulsed through my body at timely intervals. Things were happening – squee! For the first couple of hours, they were coming about 10-20 minutes apart and mainly only when I shifted my position or walked around. But then they tapered off and would be absent for 45 minutes to an hour, which was disheartening because I really wanted to get this going. It wasn’t that I was in any serious pain or anything; I just wanted to have the baby THAT DAY and didn’t want to go through false labor.
The day passed by for B and me quietly and peacefully. It was Saturday – Pancake Day at our house – and around ten when the contractions had made a retreat, it occurred to me that there was no reason why we couldn’t enjoy our weekend ritual. When I suggested to B that I whip up a batch for him, he was really excited. So pumpkin pancakes he had, and all was happy. It was the least I could do for him since he was going to have a long day just like I was.
Mid-afternoon I got a lot of rest. When I was lying down, the contractions abated and I told B that I had a feeling I had gone into false labor and that we wouldn’t be delivering that day. It was massively disappointing to feel as though a sure thing had passed us by and that we’d have to wait until the next day to have her. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that since my water had most definitely broken, I needed to call the answering service back and get a more personalized list of instructions on what we should do. I began to doubt the authority of the woman who I had spoken with earlier; even though I had given her a very accurate description of what was going on, it seemed as though she hadn’t notified the doctor on call to the situation or taken the necessary steps to ensure that we were kosher. The longer I went without delivering Miss C increased the risk of infection to her, so we decided that even if the contractions were still really far apart by 5 PM, we would call back.
5 PM rolled around and I called the answering service back. Again I described the situation and the lady at the other end asked me if I considered it to be an emergency situation. I said that I didn’t, but I’m not a doctor and this was my first baby and there was only so much credence I wanted to give to my opinion of the situation. I’m not the healthcare professional. So she said she would notify the doctor – Dr. Davis – and have him call me.
Let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Davis. There are four practitioners at my OB office. One I got along really well with and had a fantastic rapport with; I hoped and prayed that he’d be on call the day we gave birth. Another was pleasant, extremely capable, and patient with our questions. The third was the head of the practice; brisk and professional. I wouldn’t say I’d like to go to a party hosted by him, but he’d do.
Then there was Dr. Davis. He poisoned me against him the first time I had a prenatal checkup with him during the second trimester when he essentially made fun of me for asking about alternative birthing strategies, such as water births, etc. In subsequent visits to the office, I would ask him other questions pertaining to the pregnancy and his attitude towards my questions always made me feel as if what I was asking was stupid or that I should already know the answer, and that his time was too valuable to be fielding my silly little questions. At the time I shrugged it off and figured that I only had a 25% chance of delivering with him and that I shouldn’t worry my pretty little head over his social ineptitude, arrogance, and poor bedside manor too much. Dude, I had a BLOG to write about fun and entertaining pregnancy things, not him :)
So about five minutes later, Dr. Davis returns my call. I tell him the situation (why the nurse didn’t relay all I had already said to her to him, I do not know.) My water broke around 6:30 AM, contractions have been irregular all day, I’m concerned about infection, what should I do, etc? His response:
“Why are you just now calling if your water broke early this morning?”
“I’m not ‘just now’ calling. I called this morning and never received any indication from your office that I should take a next step.”
“Well I never got your call. I didn’t hear from you. Your baby could get infected. If your water breaks you must take action. I can’t help you if YOU don’t take action.”
“OK WELL I DID CALL AND THERE’S NO POINT IN ARGUING NOW ABOUT THAT. I am WELL AWARE that my baby could get infected, as I just indicated to you. So rather than argue about whether I called or not, could you please give me instructions? Do I need to go to the hospital now?”*
*I know I get snarky and sarcastic on this blog sometimes, but what you have to understand is that I am a really amicable person in real life and I heartily dislike chewing anyone out. I rarely EVER do it. But yes, this exactly what I said to him and I felt completely entitled to.
“Uh, YEAH you do.”
“Fine. See you there.”
I then hung up the phone, threw it across the room, screamed at the top of my lungs a string of expletives that I only take out for special occasions, and started weeping.
B was alarmed. So was I. But we were in the car two minutes later, heading to the hospital.