Thursday, October 2nd, 11:00am: I head to my weekly doctor's appointment in a mood that is beyond dismal. I am 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant and although I was only dialated to a fingertip at my previous appointment I had committed to the fact that I would not make it to the next one. But after a week of inhaling spicy food, excercise, walking around the mall for hours (literally), and spending a horribly unfortunate evening with a bottle of castor oil (trust me you don't want to know) I am once again lying on the doctor's office table, once again staring up at the painting on the ceiling of women walking with parasols in the park, almost excited because I know that when she checks me this time that I have to be at least three centimeters dialated.
"You're maybe a fingertip." She says. I swear the women in the painting laugh at me.
Because I am almost 40 weeks they decide to schedule me for an induction on October 8th, a full five days after my due date the next day. In normal, non-pregnant time five days might not seem like a lifetime, but the idea of having to spend five more nights trying to sleep when even tossing and turning has become too uncomfortable has me in near hysterics by the time I get to my car. I decide that I will go home and hibernate for the next five days. I turn off my phone because I'm tired of the phone calls asking "if anything is happening" when it obviously is not.
11pm: I feel the first contraction and think nothing of it. I resign myself to the fact that I will likely be pregnant for the rest of my life. I imagine myself at age 80 in an old folks home, putting my teeth in so that I can go to the cafeteria for prune juice and applesauce, and having one of the nurses ask me"Girl, you haven't popped that baby out yet?"
1 am: I decide to lie down and try to sleep but the pains are getting worse and coming a little closer together. I start timing them- every ten minutes, nothing to rush to the hospital about. Still, I wake up my husband and let him know, but tell him that it is probably nothing.
3 am: Contractions are about seven minutes apart. I still think its nothing..but just in case I tell my husband that he should prepare not to go to work that day. Since Kya is asleep in her room I call my mother and let her know we may need to bring her over at some point, its probably nothing but just in case we have to go to the hospital to check.
6:00 am: I have managed to get some sleep between the contractions. Steve is returning home because he realized after arranging for someone to run his route for the day that he had his truck keys with him and had to take them to the office. Contractions are about five minutes apart and more intense. He holds my hands through each, and we breathe like we practiced in childbirth classes. I'm uncomfortable, but I feel like I have it under control. I tell him that we can drop Kya off at school, then head to the hospital. Steve's phone rings. The guy running his route tells him that his truck broke down after leaving the first stop.
7:30 am: We head across town to drop Kya off, stopping at the gas station first to buy sodas. Contractions are every 3 to 5 minutes apart and sitting in the car I become a little less comfortable. Steve is on the phone with the insurance company, or the truck rental place, or the guy running his route- somebody. When my contractions start he tells the person on the other end to hold on as we breathe, then goes back to his conversation. As we pull into the carpool line Kya is yelling from the back seat "Breathe Mommy!" The carpool line never seemed so long.
8:10 am: We arrive at the hospital. Judy, the volunteer doula that will help us with the birth meets us there. Once back in the triage room, a nurse hooks me up to a monitor that prints my contractions out in hills and valleys. When the doctor comes in to check me, I feel sad. This is when they tell me I'm not in labor and send me home, I think to myself.
"You're three centimeters and there's lots of fluid. Your membrane has ruptured (translation= water broke)
Its then that it hits me that the nothing I feel really is something. Steve steps out to call family members to let them know that I am in labor, but it will be a while before I deliver. The nurse asks me if I have a birth plan written out, which I do. I have a well researched, neatly typed birth plan that Judy suggested I write weeks earlier the first time we met, sitting at home on my desk.
"Its ok I have it in my head." Judy says.
Birth Plan: Other than the doctors, only Steve, Judy and I will be present in the room for labor and delivery.
Once I am admitted it seems like much of the day is a waiting game. We wait in the triage room for what seems like hours while they prepare my labor and delivery room. I specifically request the room with the jacuzzi tub which takes a little longer to prep. As we wait my discomfort turns into pain. My pain is manageable, and Steve and Judy are helping to make me as comfortable as possible, but by the afternoon I know I need my mommy.
Birth Plan: I will use the tub to help manage my pain.
During our initial visit, Judy let me know about the jacuzzi room and told me that I would need to request it because they wouldn't put you in there automatically. Around five centimeters my contractions start to feel like more than I can comfortably breathe through and I decide its time for the tub. The nurse comes in and starts to fill the tub, but because its so large it will take about 20 minutes. Just as I'm standing to head into the bathroom the nurses come in and quickly make me turn onto my side. The baby's heart is having some "decels" and they want me lying on my side to better monitor his heart rate. The tub right now is out of the question.
Birth Plan: I do not wish to receive any pain medication
By around 1pm I am dialated to 5 centimeters. Around 3pm I am checked and I am dialated to 5 centimeters. Around 5 pm after trying to breathe through the pain for what seems like hours on my side and having what remains of my water broken I am dialated to 5 cm. This is where the scene gets blurry. I am standing, holding on to Steve crying like a baby, angry that my room is full of people watching me holding on to Steve crying like a baby but knowing full well that I don't have the energy to do anything about it. The nurse comes in to fill up the jacuzzi tub once again but before I can make it into the tub I am howling with pain. I am screaming to Steve that I need the epidural and he is saying "no remember you don't want it". I don't know what happens next. Steve says I slapped him, my mother-in-law says I grabbed him by the collar and yelled at him. All I remember is lying back in the hospital bed while the epidural numbs everything below my belly button, wondering why I didn't get it 2 centimeters ago.
After a few minutes I tell them that I can still feel all of the contractions on my left side, so they stregnthen the epidural. By the time the doctor comes in to check and tells me to push I can't feel anything below my rib cage. The nurse is watching the hills and valleys on the contraction monitor, telling me to push with each hill. I am staring at Steve, doing what I think is pushing. At one point I remember yelling "I NEED A SODA!" and having someone fill my mouth with ice chips. After 45 minutes of pushing I feel like I'm never going to be able to push this baby out.
"Can't you just pull him out the rest of the way." I whisper.And then the doctor tells me to give one more good push and I feel my tummy deflate. At 9:49, on his due date, October 3rd and not a moment sooner, my little boy Logan enters the world. He is 7 pounds, 5 ounces and 21 inches long. He doesn't come when I want him, but he is right on time.
Birth Plan: Steven, Logan and I will spend time alone together after the birth before welcoming any visitors.
Once Logan is born and they place him, eyes staring and blurry on my chest, the whole hospital staff including the security guards, parking attendants, and cafeteria crew could have been present in the room and I wouldn't have felt like there was anyone on the planet other than him and me. As family members come to welcome our new addition, I hold him and look at his long skinny fingers and legs and think that he looks just like his daddy. Judy comes over to say goodbye, and I thank her for her help and support.
"It didn't go as planned," I say, "But he's here now."
"Well you know what they say: Man plans, God laughs." Judy says
"Man plans, God laughs, I'll have to remember that." says Steve.
"It rhymes a lot better in Yiddish," Judy says "But it means the same thing.
As I sit here on New Years Eve, typing a post that I planned to type three months ago, I think about the plans that I made for 2008, and where I thought that I would be right now. A year ago I planned to lose ten pounds, buy a house, and find a new job, and nowhere in those plans was I a mother of a three month old baby going into the New Year. This year as everyone I know makes their plans and resolutions for 2009, And along with so many others I am once again planning to lose that weight, buy that house, and get that new job, and I may just get around to doing all of those things, unless God has a lot more laughing to do.