Happy Birthday Rebecca!

Friday, July 24, 2009

I can't believe it has been six years since my little Becky-Boo came into this world. I remember her birth like it was yesterday. It was still three weeks before my due date, and I was lying in bed late on a Wednesday night after a long day of work. Suddenly I felt a small stream coming from a place where liquid usually does not flow without my permission. It woke me up, but I wasn't sure what it meant. It wasn't the big gush that would signal my water had broken, and I wasn't experiencing any labor pains. Having skipped Lamaze classes, I felt rather under-informed at this point, and actually got up and Googled "small amount of liquid with no pain". The web was rather ambiguous on the subject - possibly it was labor, but it could mean nothing. Fortunately while I was sitting at the computer, the answer came to me - in the form of pain. Not too bad yet, but regularly spaced and getting stronger.

Under informed I may have been, but I did know that a first birth usually takes many hours, and most women are more comfortable if they spend the first few hours at home. I sat and did a crossword puzzle for a few hours. It wasn't so bad, I could handle this. I didn't wake up Greg, figuring he was going to have a long night, and I might as well let him sleep while he could. The contractions finally got strong enough, and close enough together that I figured it would be reasonable to start the forty-five minute drive to the hospital, so I woke him up.

Me: "Greg ... I think my water broke a little while ago".
Greg: "If your water broke, you would know it" - he rolls over and goes back to sleep.
Me: "No - I'm in labor. I'm having contractions".
Greg: "Really?" - starting to wake up - "Do I have time to shower? I'll be quick".
Me: "Um, I guess".
Ten minutes later, I've called the doctor, and she agreed I should come in, and would meet me at the hospital. I've called my parents, my sister in Maine. They are all getting ready to come to the hospital. The contractions are getting worse.
Me: "Hon? This is really starting to hurt. Are you ready?"
Greg: "I'm almost done shaving."
He's shaving?
It's 3:45 AM and we're in the car, backing out of the driveway.
Greg: "Do you mind if I swing by Dunkin' Donuts for a coffee?"
Me (figuring it will help him wake up for the drive): "OK." It hurts, but I can handle it.
The Dunkin' Donuts in the gas station two minutes from our house is closed, so we drive through the center of town to the other Dunkin' Donuts in Holden. It's a cold wet morning for July, and we see a fox jump into the bushes as we make our lonely way up Main Street. The other Dunkin' donuts is also closed. It's four AM - who gets coffee in our town at four in the morning? Disappointed, Greg continues to the highway and we start the drive to Emerson Hospital. My contractions are increasing and I'm starting to think this isn't so easy anymore. As we pass through Acton, Greg asks the question.
Greg: "Can I please swing into the Acton Dunkin' Donuts? It should be open by now."
Me: "This is really hurting. I think I need to get to the hospital."
Greg: "I'll be quick", we're a few mere miles from the hospital when we take this detour. This Dunkin' Donuts is also closed.
Greg: "I know the one in the gas station is open this early." It's getting close to 5 AM.
Me: "Let's just go."
Greg: "OK, can I swing by it? It's on the way to the highway."
Me: "The highway is right there."
Greg: "But if I take 2A, there's a Dunkin' Donuts right before you get back on Route 2."
We approach the Mobil station/Dunkin' Donuts on 2A. If you live in New England, you know there's roughly six Dunkin' Donuts in every town (I made up that number, but you get the point). The Concord rotary is ahead and it's only a five minute drive to the hospital.
Greg: "We're in luck - it's open!"
Me (mid agonizing contraction): "Don't even think about it".
Greg: "But ... it's open".
Me: "Get me to the hospital, now."
Greg: "Really? But, it's open."
Me: "I don't care if you drop me at the door of the maternity ward, and come back, it's two miles away. Get me to the hospital NOW!"
We pass by the brightly lit Dunkin' Donuts with all the happy coffee drinkers inside. Greg drops me at the maternity ward door, and goes to park the car. To his credit, he did not go back for his coffee - yet. He joins me inside several minutes later, and the doctor establishes that yes, I am in labor. I'm actually only four centimeters dilated, but my contractions are severe and right on top of each other. As we start to fill in the paperwork for the epidural, in strolls my Mom, with the largest Dunkin' Donuts coffee we've ever seen.
Greg: "Ohh, she got a coffee".
We briefly tell her the story of our drive in.
Mom: "I got a big coffee, we can share".
Greg: "No, I want an iced coffee".
Soon he hands the precious paperwork to my Mom and makes a mad dash for Dunkin' Donuts. I'm hit by another contraction so the nurse grabs one of my arms and tells me to breathe. My Mom throws down the paperwork and grabs my other arm, and repeats the Nurse's instructions.
Did I mention I blew off Lamaze?
Contraction passes and Mom starts filling out the longest form ever created.
Mom: "Do you have Diabetes?"
Me: "No".
Mom: "Heart disease?"
Me: "No".
Another massive contraction starts. Mom puts down the paperwork and there's a repeat of the 'relax and breathe' session.
Contraction over. Mom picks up the paperwork.
Mom: "Have you ever had major surgery?"
Me: "No".
Mom: "Kidney problems?"
Me: "No".
Another contraction.
After agonizing third relax and breathe session, the paperwork continues. I watch the monitor, the next is already building.
Mom: "Have you ever had an organ transplant?"
Me: "You're my freaking mother!! If I ever had an organ transplant, a heart attack, a stroke, or even a hangnail, I think you would freaking know it!!!"
OK, I said that in my head. Here's what really happened.
Nurse: "I think it's important to get the paperwork finished as fast as possible so we can call the anesthesiologist".
They haven't called him yet?
Me: "Just check 'no' for everything".
Mom: "Really?"
Anesthesia guy arrives. I never knew having a huge needle jabbed into my spine could feel so good.
Anesthesia guy: "That should be the last one you feel" ("that" meaning the enormous contraction I was currently experiencing).

Happily, it was the last. From there on I felt no pain. I chatted with my parents. Greg came back with an enormous freaking Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee. My sister arrived. It was like a party in the delivery room. Then it was time to push. That was hard, but I didn't mind. As long as I wasn't feeling the contractions anymore I didn't mind anything. After about thirty minutes of pushing, there was the crown of her head. They put a mirror at my feet so I could see - not pretty! Was my Dad really watching this?

A few more pushes and that was it. The doctor asked my husband if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord. He deferred to Auntie, and my sister did the honors, and then they handed me my beautiful baby girl. At 7 pounds 1 ounce, I was kind of grateful she was slightly early.

I can't believe six years have slipped by since that morning. I can't believe what a bright, funny, wonderful little girl she is. I can't believe I agreed to have eighteen 5 and 6 year-olds to the town pool for her birthday party tomorrow night. I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to it. Happy Birthday Baby!

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natesmama04 said...

Hi Noelle....I loved reading your blog about the "joys" of being in labor! Too funny! You have a beautiful family.
Melissa (Greg's sister)

Noelle said...

Hi Melissa.
Thanks for reading - glad you enjoyed it. Are you starting your own blog? I saw the picture you posted of you and your little boy - beautiful!

sk8clark said...

That was a beautiful story and a wonderful note to your little girl on her 6th birthday, I wish we were there. Thanks for sharing:)