I awoke the morning of August 25th, 2004 with a feeling of excitement… and pain. It was my projected due date, the day I had been waiting for for what seemed like forever… though, in reality, it had only been about 9 months. I knew in my heart that most babies weren’t born on their due dates, but like I said, I awoke in pain, and I had a feeling that this was really it.
So I began to time my contractions. They were not only 6 minutes apart, but they stayed 6 minutes apart for a whole hour before I went in to wake Phil for the day. I told him what was happening, and after asking me a thousand times if I was really, really sure?, we decided to call the hospital to find out what we should do.
They told us to come in. First, I wanted a shower. It felt good on my back, which was throbbing, and it helped ease some of the pain of the contractions.
Soon we were on the road to the hospital… in rush hour traffic. Oh what fun! I tried to relax as the contractions slowly got stronger, though I knew they were nothing compared to what was coming. We finally made it to the hospital, and up to the labor and delivery unit, where I was given a bed in triage and a sexy new gown to wear.
They hooked me up to the monitors, took my vitals, and then I got to answer the same 900 questions I had already answered two times before, which I had stupidly assumed would stay in the computer once they had been put there the first time. shows what I know of hospital equipment, eh?
A resident and a med student came in to assess me, which was interesting. After checking me over and reviewing my read-outs, Dr. Bixby, the resident, assured me that they were probably not going to send me home empty-handed. My contractions were too regular and strong for it to be a false alarm, so it looked like I’d be a new mommy soon!
That was about when they told me I’d be hooked up to an IV for antibiotics, which were meant to treat the Group B Strep that I didn’t know I had. Good old Dr. Trandai forgot to mention it to me at my last three appointments. (now would be a good time to mention that Dr. Trandai and I had a LOT of problems seeing eye-to-eye throughout my entire pregnancy… particularly about my due date, which she believed to be September 7th. I was so glad to prove that one wrong!)
I got to eat a pretty nasty roast beef sandwich, which made me feel a little better despite it’s crustiness, and then they brought in my IV. After I was securely tethered, I was given permission to walk around for a while. In the mean time, they would be getting my Labor/Delivery/Recovery room ready.
So Phil and I took a walk up and down the hall, which was not a very long walk at all, to be honest. And it got really boring, really quickly. So when they told me my room was ready, I headed straight for it and proceeded to pace that room instead, while Phil went down for the bags. I was then given another icky looking meal, which I picked at a bit but didn’t intend to finish. I think it was supposed to be ham.
When the doctor came in to check me again, I was dialated to 4cm and told I could now have my epidural. JOY! Anasthesia was paged, and I waited patiently, knowing my discomfort would soon be a memory. Time frame: about 2 or 3 PM, if I’m remembering correctly.
I’ve never been so eager to be jabbed with a needle in my entire life. Phil watched the whole thing, and turned a little white just before asking me, “Can’t you feel that?!” (to which I replied, “Of course I can, but it’s not as bad as it looks, honest!”) 15 minutes later, I bet you could have set my feet on fire and I wouldn’t have noticed a thing… I was feeing gooooooooood!
Sometime later, another resident came in to check me out. Around this time they had decided to switch me from external monitors to internal ones, which would be attached to the baby’s head and to somewhere in my uterus. The external monitors were not quite reading things properly. The resident did a quick swoop with his finger and broke my water bag, which I didn’t feel a thing of, and announced that I was still only 4cm dilated, but now 100% effaced. While that was slight progress, it looked like I would be needing some help. Pitocin to the rescue! (*insert dry and sarcastic laughter here*)
I hadn’t wanted to be put on Pitocin, but it looked like if I didn’t I would be laboring for the next couple of days, so I gave in. At first, it wasn’t so bad. I did feel a difference in my contractions… well, actually, now I could feel my contractions again… but it was only pressure and not pain. Very lovely.
Not too much later, my mother, father and grandfather arrived on the scene, and it was now after 6 in the evening. I had been in labor for almost 12 full hours, and it hadn’t been too bad at all. Good times.
Then Megan, Phil’s sister-in-law, showed up as well. The party was now in full swing! I was pretty dopey, we watched The Family Guy, and then the Olympics, and if it hadn’t been for the blood pressure cuff they had strapped to me, I might have gotten a little bit of sleep. I could really have used it, let me tell ya.
It took a long time for anything else to happen. In fact, it wasn’t until after 11 PM that someone else came in to check my progress, and by then I was “almost 9.” I couldn’t believe it, to be honest… I had expected to hear 7, maybe 8 if I was optimistic. “Almost 9” was so unexpected that I almost cried! Most of the family had left for that exam, so when the nurses started bustling about the room getting it ready for the now-oh-so-close delivery, they didn’t have to push anyone out of the way. The only family remaining were Phil and my mother.
By now I was really feeling the pressure of the contractions. I had been for hours. I had to breathe through them and actually, I did a pretty good job. I decided to will myself to sleep for just a little bit, which was another big help because by the time I woke up it was almost time to push.
Dr. Ravella would be showing up any minute to bring an end to my crazy day. It was past midnight, so my hopes of an August 25th baby were shot, but it was still close enough to make me happy.
When she finally arrived, she checked my cervix one last time and asked me to give her a “practice push.” I obliged, and she looked me straight in the face and said, “Would you believe me if I told you that if you continue to push like that, you’ll have this baby out in 10 minutes?” Talk about motivation!! I thought that sounded like a pretty sweet deal, so when my next contraction hit and I had my legs up in the stirrups and my chin on my chest, I pushed with everything I had in me. Phil was standing above my right shoulder, talking me through it, telling me to push and that I could do it and that he was so proud of me… that helped a lot. My mother stood on my left, down closer to where the action was, and she was shouting similar things but I was less interested… (no offense, Mom!)
Contraction #2, more pushing… I could feel everything, yet nothing in terms of actual pain. It was like I was taking the biggest poop of my entire life; it was very uncomfortable, but totally necessary if I ever wanted to feel normal again.
Contraction #3, pushing and screaming, as now there was a head sticking out of my body. That’s right, a human head! I couldn’t believe it. I heard the doctor telling me to “just do it and get it over with already!” and Phil telling me he loved me and my mom exclaiming, “She’s got HAIR!” as my back and shoulders screamed in agony and my head got light… I gave another push and suddenly I heard the most beautiful thing in the world… my daughter’s cry. I was now a mother.
Of course, there was the one stupid nurse who declared, “It’s a BOY!” and sent me into cardiac arrest, but Dr. Ravella corrected her and I began to breathe again.
Lydia Gean Lindsey was put on my belly at 12:54 AM and rubbed clean while I gazed in amazement at the most beautiful screaming, wiggling, goo-covered creature I had ever seen. I vaguely remember the doctor going in up to her elbow to dig the placenta out, making me feel momentarily like some strange sort of life-sized puppet, but it didn’t matter. She also stitched up the episiotomy that I had been unaware I had been given. All the while I became completely detached from myself and floated about 9 feet from my body, where I watched myself cry and laugh at the same time…
So there she was. She was only 54 minutes overdue, by my own calculations. She had APGAR scores of 9 and 9, which is close enough to perfect for me, and was a healthy baby in every way. She weighed 8 lbs, 7 oz. And yes, she had hair.
This is the story of the day that changed my life forever. It wasn’t just my place in life that changed, but the way I see myself. I witnessed some amazing things that I had no idea I was capable of, and I was given something that I will never be able to replace with anything else. I experienced the most pure and indescribable love that has ever existed. And to this day, the little girl that I met just before 1 AM on August 26th, 2004 continues to astound me with just the love I feel for her alone. She’s perfect, she’s beautiful, and she’s mine.
And Phil, my wonderful partner, without whom I would not be here today… he has surpassed every hope and expectation I had in him, both as my love and as my daughter’s father. The bond he has formed with her brings me to tears, and I’ve never felt so happy to share something so precious with anyone. He has come a long way in 9 months, and I love him more today than I ever thought possible. I just don’t know where I would be without him.
Overall, I had a very easy and even enjoyable labor and delivery experience. If I had to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat. If only to relive that first moment when I realized that I was a mother, it would all be worth it. I’m confidant that I was made for this.