The events of Henry’s birthday:
I took Madeline on a girl-date for her very first pedicure. She chose silver glitter, I chose hot pink – in shellac because I have a newborn and ain’t nobody got time fo’ maintaining pretty feet these days.
We went to Chick-Fil-A, where I met a blog reader. We stick out, because of the pregnant belly and Madeline’s cane, but even so, this doesn’t happen often. In hindsight, I want to find said blog reader and tell her, “Take your first impression with a grain of salt; when we met, I was an hour from going into labor.”
I dropped Madeline off at home and went to Belks to do a little shopping.
It got real at Belks, y’all.
Apparently, a woman’s water breaks spontaneously in only about 8% of pregnancies. I am the 8%.
I was on the phone with my mom, wandering aimlessly through the layette section, admiring all the pure white baby sleepers and gowns and socks when I felt a little pop, and a little gush.
Don’t get excited and picture an embarrassing rush of fluid on the floor; God is merciful, and it was not so. Instead, imagine me waddling bow-legged to the bathroom – thighs and knees pinned together – trying to act nonchalant while taking frantic little steps like an emperor penguin on speed.
Needless to say, I did not make any purchases at Belks. I penguin-waddled to my car where I immediately called Dan and my doctor.
It got real again when I tried to call my doctor.
It rang…and rang…and rang.
I tried again. Endless ringing into eternity.
ARE PEOPLE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE BABIES ON THE WEEKEND AROUND HERE?
We got creative and called people who knew people, who knew people, who knew people – and got someone who goes to church with us AND works at my OB’s office to call the doctor for me. I had a foot out the door when she told me to go ahead to the hospital.
I marched into Labor & Delivery with my little black suitcase in tow like I was boarding an airplane. I passed an anesthesiologist who raised her eyebrows at me and said, “Look at you with your suitcase – pretty sure you’re staying?”
I smiled and said, “This is my third and my water just broke. So yes, I’m staying.”
Then we waited.
We waited and waited and waited. This was by far my longest labor, if you can even call it that. I was having contractions consistently, and while they were getting stronger, they weren’t anything to write home about.
I requested my epidural around 7:00 pm, while the pain was strong but manageable. In hindsight I think I was just trying to dull the ravenous hunger. It is cruel to be in labor at dinner time; it adds insult to injury. My family kept leaving to go get food while I munched spitefully on ice chips. I wanted fried pickles and chocolate cupcakes like a…well…like a pregnant woman wants fried pickles and chocolate cupcakes.
We ended up having to do the epidural twice; the first time it didn’t take on the right side of my body. My anesthesiologist was the bomb. She said, “My philosophy is, if the whole pro/con, risk/reward of an epidural is for you to be comfortable, then we’re going to make you comfortable! Otherwise, what’s the point? Why even bother if you’re going to be hurting anyway?”
As a patient, I dearly appreciated her philosophy.
I started pitocin. This was a first for me; my other labors were so fast that it was never even a consideration.
In 30 minutes I flew from 4.5 centimeters to 10, and was ready to push. My doctor estimated that I received about 3 drops of the pitocin – less than 4 miliunits.
Henry was a rockstar, and, modesty aside, so was my body. It miraculously rose to the occasion; I pushed once. I don’t mean through one contraction – I mean one time – and there was Henry’s perfect tiny head. 2 more pushes for his shoulders and that was that.
Henry was born at 10:03 pm, weighing 7.16 lbs and measuring 21 inches long. A string bean, just like his big sister was 5 years ago.
He breathed his first breath of oxygen, he cried his first cry, and he nursed right away, right there in the delivery room – childbirth is a miracle of miracles.
And then we were five.