I should have known life would be different when DD2 made her entrance into the world at almost exactly this time twelve years ago. After all, she’d refused to reveal her sex in the early ultrasounds, leaving us hanging until just about a week before her arrival. And the ultrasound where she finally lost her modesty? It came thanks to the doctor’s concern regarding her growth curve. Concern that made him order some tests and start talking about “delivering immediately.” After a bit of a panic regarding what I would do with DD1, then two, while I went to the hospital days before my mother was to arrive to take care of her–the decision was made that things looked okay. I could continue to walk around at 4 cm dilated and “see what happened.”
Which just opened up another round of worry centered primarily around having a baby on the freeway while stuck in rush hour traffic. Because–go ahead and hate me–I have really fast labors. I managed to talk the doctor into an induction at 39 weeks, thus avoiding both the freeway nightmares and the lack of childcare issue.
But again, DD2 demonstrated a distinct lack of cooperation with “the plan,” though this wasn’t evident at first. August 1, 1996, dawned hot and humid in Houston, Texas, (I know this is a shock to everyone), and I could barely breathe as we made our way into labor and delivery at the entirely uncivilized hour of 6:00 a.m. Where, instead of being ushered into a waiting birthing suite, Adventure Guy and I were summarily told to sit in the waiting room. Even though we’d called ahead as instructed and been told to come on in, things had gotten crowded. They weren’t sure they would be able to induce me after all.
Which is when DD2 demonstrated she had other ideas about that. “Go back there and tell them I’m having contractions,” I instructed Adventure Guy. “Do you really think that’s going to work? They’ll check you know,” he replied in his usual analytical fashion. “Uh, it’s not going to matter if they check. I’m actually having contractions.”
And, much to the surprise of the rather suspicious L & D nurse, I was indeed. No induction necessary. Which meant no IV. A fact that became important very quickly. I’d been induced with DD1, and it would have been hard to have had a smoother first-time delivery. When I decided that an epidural would be a fabulous thing to have, I simply told the nurse, and the anesthesiologist popped right in and fixed me up. So this time, after I’d labored a couple of hours, I mentioned to my nurse that I’d like my epidural now.
And she said, “Well, you’ll have to have a bag of IV fluids first.” To which I answered, “Fine, how long will that take?” My response to her answer of “an hour and a half” was “I’m going to have had the baby by then.”
I could tell she didn’t believe me. I also knew she’d probably be annoyed again when she found out she’d been wrong about me twice in one day. My guess is my lovely attitude had something to do with her failure to offer me any pain reliever in that IV. And I didn’t even think to ask for it. Because I was mad. Which made me tense. Not a good combination with labor.
But that didn’t stop the labor. It just made it more painful, and pretty soon my nurse was running in with the anesthesiologist who took one look at me and told me he’d be doing a “combo” epidural. As we were talking, I saw the nurse push the rest of my IV fluid. “Yeah, I told you, honey!”
That combo epidural involves a direct spinal first, followed by the running of the epidural. The spinal helps immediately, and then the epidural kicks in later. Turns out I only needed it for the repair portion of the delivery. Because as soon as the doctor did the spinal, my leg did something very strange. Which freaked me out. It evidently freaked out DD2 as well because she reacted with a dropping heart rate.
All the sudden people were running into the room, slapping an oxygen mask on me, and pulling out all sorts of scary-looking instruments. My favorite nurse was now saying, “You’ve got to push RIGHT NOW. Otherwise we’re going to have to do an emergency C-section.” And during all of this, Adventure Guy was stuck out in the hall where he’d been banished during the epidural procedure.
Finally, after seeing my doctor, arrive at my room at a dead run, he just came on in. Just in time for things to stabilize a bit. He held my hand; I pushed, and DD2 arrived safe and healthy–exactly 5 minutes before the hour and a half time period was up, leaving me with a sense of self-satisfaction about how well I knew my own body and a conviction that if I ever did that again, I’d be doing things differently and much more on my own terms.
But that smugness I got to enjoy for a bit regarding Nurse Ratchet did not last long as I tried to figure out the newest addition to our family. The little girl I welcomed because I already “knew about having a girl.”
Well, I didn’t know about having this girl. The girl I’ve spent twelve wonderful, and often stimying, years trying to figure out. Happy Birthday, my lovely girl, happy birthday!