We ate our cookies.
I sat uncomfortably on my kitchen barstool and knew that things down under were…different. Gushier. The Gorilla and I giggled about it and for hours kept asking, “Was that…?”
I felt no pain, no contractions, and concluded that we were being hypersensitive. There are so many strange bodily functions to pregnancy that you just don’t know what’s what your first time. At least we didn’t. We went to bed.
I woke up around 1am with a searing cramp across my whole middle section. All my fear that I wouldn’t know a contraction when I felt it? Out the door. This was a contraction. Holy Hell. I felt one more – about half an hour later – before I woke my husband.
“These are contractions,” I said with authority. But I knew they were far apart. I knew this kind of thing could potentially go on for days. I tried to sleep, but each one woke me up. We decided that if they got to be ten minutes apart, we would make a move for the hospital, since we didn’t know how long it would take us to get there or how fast this train was moving.
At 4:30am, I woke The sleeping Gorilla and told him we needed to start timing again. He reached for his iPhone. Six minutes apart. It was time to get up and face facts. Pigtail had chosen her own birthday, after all.
I already had a bag packed, but I stood in the bathroom motionless. I really needed to wash my hair. Really, really needed to wash my hair. I should have done it the night before, but was exhausted and decided it could wait until the next day. This decision would haunt me (and all the photographs) later.
I walked out the door to deliver my baby in a gray OU sweatshirt and the same maternity cargo pants I had been sporting for weeks.
The NFL channel was playing on the satellite radio in the car. The Gorilla is very specific about music, he has to have something playing that fits the mood every time we go anywhere. Sitting at the stoplight listening to some football replay analysis, I noted how distracted he must be not to change the channel.
We got to the hospital at 5:30am. I signed the appropriate papers and was taken to a delivery room. I was disappointed that of all the rooms at the famous hospital with a beautiful view, we had snagged the cave-like one. It’s funny what sticks out to you during the hours before your life changes.
We were told that each patient was only allowed two guests because of the swine flu. It didn’t matter. Each other was the only family we had within a 1500 mile radius.
The first doctor – God bless her – just could not determine if my water had broken or not. She examined me, looked under a microscope, ran a test, and though all signs pointed to positive, she just couldn’t call it. A midwife arrived, looked at all the same evidence and pronounced me officially in labor. We were there to stay.
The calls to family began. Tears, joy, surprise from all sides. From my mother’s mouth, “I have color on my hair!!” when she realized that she was going to be exactly one day late on the arrival of her seventh grandchild. I assured her that there was no need to catch the next flight out, and heaven forbid she mess up her home hair care system.
We were told it would probably be a long day. I would be lucky to deliver by midnight. One tends to dilate 1 centimeter an hour. I had 9 to go. I got an epidural needle stuck in my back and we settled in.
We listened to the Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack and watched football on mute. I dozed. It was a pleasant morning, all things considered.
By noon I was at five centimeters and right on track. No sooner had the midwife left the room that my pain level turned up twelve notches. I kept pushing the “more-epidural-please” button, but it wasn’t helping much. I did my most lady-like moan, but The Gorilla could tell my pain threshold – even with the epidural – was maxing out.
I couldn’t figure out what had changed, wasn’t sure if this was normal. I struggled for about two hours. When the midwife checked me again, her eyes were wide and she looked up. “You’re a ten,” she said in surprise. In those two hours my body had moved quickly (my sweat glands could attest).
My doctor was on her way. They told me it might be thirty minutes before she would arrive, so they cranked up my epidural and I applied a little base and some lip gloss...
Next week we'll continue with Pigtail's Delivery Story, Part 3: I loved you on Bill O'Reilly.