One year ago today I woke in my hospital bed to a very strong contraction. It was 6 a.m. It was Mother's Day. I had been in there for a full week trying to prevent Ham from coming too early. I paged the nurse and she told me to time a couple contractions. They were 8 minutes apart. At 6:40 a.m. I called Danny and said, "You better come to the hospital. We're having a baby today." This was news to Danny since just the day before things looked good and they were going to send me back home to be on bedrest for a couple more weeks. At 6:48 a.m. I paged the nurse again. "They are exactly 8 minutes apart," I told her. She replied, "Well, that's not so bad, we'll watch them." Eight minutes later, I paged again and asked for some painkiller. Then she decided she should check my cervix if I thought I needed painkiller. I was 5 centimeters dilated. She told me she'd let the doctor know when he came out of a C-section and he would decide what to do.
I was livid. No painkiller came my way. Danny wasn't there yet. I called my mom, but she was asleep and so my dad talked to me. Then I called back to Danny again. He was just getting out of the shower and his mom who was there taking care of the kids and house talked to me for about three more contractions. Not having the nerve to tell her I was in excruciating pain, I listened to her horror birth stories of friends and some of her own painful birth experiences. That actually helped a lot.
Danny finally arrived. I paged the nurse now with every contraction-- which were like four minutes apart at this point. They stopped coming in to check on me. So, I may have let out the occasional HEY! I'm in pain! Can SOMEBODY help me?? maybe. And I might have said to Danny, "If you don't stop talking I'm going to crack you like an emesis basin!"
I was so upset because they wouldn't allow me to walk around. I was still hooked up to the magnesium that was supposed to stop contractions. The nurses and others that they sent in to me with messages said that I could only get up to use the bathroom. So I did. I felt like if I could just walk a little, I'd feel better. I thought if I could have a bowel movement (sorry folks) then the contractions would stop and I could go back to sleep. But it just wasn't happening. I'd tinkle and teeny-tiny bit. Then hobble back to the bed, only to crawl back up it with every contraction.
Then SUPER-NURSE came in. Sadly, I don't remember her name. It's probably in Ham's baby book though. She was awesome. She was exactly the kind of nurse I needed.
First thing she said was, "Hi I'm (insert nurse's name). I'm your nurse for the next shift. Anything I can get you?" I said, "Yes. DRUGS. now. please." Then Danny chimed in with a helpful comment like, "She seems to be having contractions that are getting closer." Then SN (Super-Nurse) said, "Hmm... well let's check your cervix. It says here that last night it was a 3 and there hasn't been much activity. Then this morning maybe a 5." Then she checked my cervix. And she checked it through a contraction. And I was so insanely annoyed that I secretly prayed my water would break on her. But it didn't. When she was done with checking, she started rushing about the room opening things, rearranging lights and mirrors, and bassinet things and snot-sucker stuff. Then we had a fun conversation:
Me: Umm... SN? What's going on? What am I dilated to?
SN: Doctor On-call will be in here shortly. He will scrub and then break your water. You will then push probably one or two times. The baby's head will come out. Then you stop pushing while he clears the mouth and nose. Then push probably once or twice more for the shoulders and the rest of the body will follow.
Me: WHAT?!! NO! I need my epidural! I want an epidural! I signed the sheet! Don't break my water! The baby will come too fast and there won't be time.
SN: Honey, there isn't time. You're going to have to suck it up. (word for word I tell ya) You can do this. When I tell you to breathe, you look at my face and breathe like this.
Me: No. I don't know how to have a baby without drugs. NO. I'll die.
SN: You'll be fine. You can do this. Women have been giving birth without drugs for thousands of years.
Me: And women die all the time in childbirth!!!
SN: Not from the pain honey.
The doctor came in and he did exactly as SN had described-- despite my efforts to beg him for drugs of ANY SORT, REALLY! Then, unbelievably in a push and a half-- with no stopping-- because my body simply would not allow it, Ham came flying out with a somersault. Doctor said, "Whoa!" Danny had a look of relief that the doc caught the flying baby. And....drumroll please .... I didn't die. That was 8:49 a.m. There he was 6 lbs. 12 oz. 19 1/2 inches long and 5 1/2 weeks early.
So, it can be done. I think we'll try that again the end of this year with baby #5. But hopefully there will be no bedrest and unnecessary hospitalizations before she comes. Yeah, we're thinking a girl. But who knows. It's only like the size of a lima bean right now.
Happy Birthday Ham!
Some things I want to remember:
You have wavy blonde hair that curls up in the back and on the sides. Right now I think you look like your cousin Isley-- but with blonde hair instead of red- and she has more teeth.
You love to laugh and giggle.
You say, "Momma, Dada, & giggle" and other random squeals and screams. Today it sounded like you said the word, "Birtday."
You love to nurse-- despite my efforts to wean you.
You love to cuddle. Your favorite thing to cuddle (other than me) is your soft fleece- tied blanket. I had to hide it away today and wash it because it smelled so bad. You were okay with that though until it was nap time. Then we used a substitution blanky.
You are a climber. You want to walk, but don't quite fully crawl. You have a very fast, very low-to-the-ground crawl.
You think it's really funny when I sniff you around your ears and neck. And your giggles are therapeutic. All my troubles fade away when my children laugh.
Today you had cake! You tried to pick up the sprinkles with your cute little pincer-grasp. When that didn't work and you had frosting on your fingers, you looked at me for approval and then stuck them in your mouth. The look of surprise and glee was so sweet. Then you started pulling off bigger pieces from your cake piece and stuffing them in your mouth. Good thing you were stripped down to your diaper. When Danny took the other kids out to play, I decided to give you a bath. The carrot cake had hardened into a cement-like consistency. So I let you play for a while until it softened up and started floating around the bath water.
You enjoyed opening your presents-- as did your helpful siblings. They had as much fun as you, keeping it a surprise and helping to blow up balloons. They sang all the birthday songs they knew today, and all day long as well.
Happy Birthday baby Ham. I love you!