The Girl will be four tomorrow. Four years ago I was a crabby miserable pregnant lady with swollen ankles. I had read all the birthing books, written a detailed birth plan, and compiled the phone list and email for the birth announcement. I had obsessed over pregnancy & the birth for seven months (when I peed on a stick I thought I was just one month along, but at my 4 month ultrasound, they said I was 5 months along, so yippee, I got to skip ahead a month). My most pressing issue was whether or not I had decent jammies to wear after the birth (FYI - comfy jammie pants/shorts and lots of camisoles with built-in bras are a must, Jo). I never really liked being pregnant. Maybe it was the fact that I had a hair-trigger gag reflex. I barfed nearly every day, but didn't feel nauseous, I just would suddenly barf. I had great fun telling The Hubby where I barfed each day - in the Target parking lot! at the corner of Seaward & Thompson! on the neighbor's lawn! in the sink (kitchen & bathroom)!
But on the morning of July 30th, I didn't care about the barfing. I woke up around 6:45 a.m. thinking I was peeing in bed. I ran to the bathroom, sat down and realized my water just broke. The day had arrived. I didn't wake The Hubby because I thought he needed his sleep. As I went back to bed, I realized the contractions my midwife described were just starting, "Picture a thick hemp rope wrapped around your waist and being twisted in the back." It was very mild so I laid in bed and waited till after 7 to wake The Hub and call the midwife. My regular midwife Denise was a scream, but alas, she wasn't on call, so we had the other one - capable and nice but not Denise. At her office (conveniently located across from the hospital) at 9 a.m. she said "Yep, the baby's coming." She also "stirred things up" aka stripped the membrane and said to wait an hour or so to go to the hospital.
We went home and I sat around calling family and friends, staying calm, but waiting for it to get worse. The Hubby's parents weren't answering (dial up! cell phone off!). I woke my sis in Maui (at a time share vacation so she will always be gone for The Girl's birthday) and packed my bag. The hospital is literally five blocks from our house. I could have walked. But we drove instead. The pain was getting more intense and I remember walking into labor and delivery with tears in my eyes saying, "I'm having my baby today." It was 11 a.m. when they put me in the room. I barfed in the sink for good luck. Then my girlfriend Gerri arrived with her camera and a CD player.
After the baby was monitored and I was settled in, we heard from the in-laws that they were on their way. I had invited them into the delivery room, along with my dad, but he had vertigo and couldn't drive. Even though it's only been four years, things are kind of fuzzy after that. There was some checking of the cooch, conversations, stronger contractions, cursing, classical music and hand holding. Then I met the most amazing man...the anesthesiologist. He ushered folks out of the room and went to work quickly giving me an epidural (part of the birth plan). I swear I felt better within one minute even though he said it could take up to 10 minutes. I professed my love to him and told him he deserved a raise. He laughed the laugh of a confident man. I just smiled a lot as The Baby made her way down the birth canal. After that, it was all lollipops and puppies. Until I had to push.
The midwife turned off the epidural drip so I could better feel the pushing. Ouch. As the epidural wears off, the midwife said feeling (read pain) would come back as if someone is opening a window, starting with a crack and eventually spreading across your lower half. My window felt like it was above my right ovary and someone was twisting and pulling it with pliers. I closed my eyes after the first push and didn't open them until I delivered. I was hot. Really sweating. My shins were sweating. There was a nursing student who was in charge of keeping a supply of cold towels in a bucket of ice water and draping them on my chest and wiping my face and head. The chant of, "Push, push, push! You're doing great! Almost there!" went on for over an hour. Her head was crowning but she would slip back after each contraction. I didn't want to cuss at the baby so I loudly said, "I WANT TO SEE MY BABY. GET MY BABY OUT. I WANT HER OUT." Obviously I needed to get motivated for the big finale so The Hubby said, "Touch her head." I gave him my hand and he put it on her furry little noggin. But even that couldn't get the baby out. The midwife said if she gave me an episiotomy, she would come out, so I said FUCK YEAH or something along those lines. With one snip, the baby literally shot out at 5:36 p.m. Then there was a flurry of activity (cord around the neck twice) and the baby went immediately to the warming table. GO WITH HER, I told the hubby. They waved an oxygen tube under her nose, made sure she was perfect (she was) and eventually put her on my chest. She rooted around and was still sort of slimy, but here she was finally. My little girl. We did this. I brought her into the world. She was held and cooed over by all. Pictures were taken. I was in love. Then she went off with The Hubby and a baby nurse to get weighed, measured, poked, and bathed. My girlfriend Vonnie arrived in time to see Nurse Ratchet holding The Baby upside down under running water and scrubbing off the goo. Ahhh, friends, family, and a brand new baby.
Somewhere along the line there was a placenta delivered and stitches given and I finally sat up and moved into a wheelchair to head upstairs to our room (much quieter than the rooms on the floor with labor & delivery and the nursery). As I was wheeled past the 7th floor classroom full of expectant parents learning about the birth process, I shouted, "It's not so bad. But get the epidural."
After The Hubby, The Baby & I settled into our room, we ate dinner from Ferraro's. Food has never tasted so good. I was ravenous. Birthing a baby is hard work. Later The Hubby went home to grab a shower and a change of clothes. It was the first night of the Ventura County Fair, so The Baby & I watched the fireworks. I told her they were to celebrate her arrival. Later that night, The Hubby didn't want to put her back in the bassinet after she woke, so he let her sleep with him in the other hospital bed. The tradition of the family bed began that first night.
And so on July 30th, a baby girl was born. A couple became a family. And life hasn't been the same since.