"'Cause I've got my strength, and it don't make sense not to keep on pushin'" ~ The Impressions
Sometimes I procrastinate. Case in point: I have been meaning to write down Q's birth story for, oh, about 21 months now. I think I have dreaded doing so. Not because it was so horrific. But because it was the most important day of my life so far and how can I do it justice? How can I possibly capture this incredible, game-changing experience with mere words? Well, I'd like to try. So, finally, I will take you back to my stream of consciousness 21 months ago . . .
January 7, 2009; 7:48am
I wake up thinking about Milk, the movie I had watched the night before with my dear friend Autumn Skye. Definitely made an impact. And it was pretty cool to see San Francisco and the Castro depicted in the 1970's. I like Josh Brolin ... hmm, that felt like a cramp.
Urgent need to pee. That doesn't look normal.
More cramps. Am I having Braxton Hicks? Little guy isn't due for nine days and these feel pretty mild. Must be Braxton Hicks.
Researching Braxton Hicks online. I feel rather calm, so this can't be the real thing. Why doesn't anyone describe actual labor contractions in detail?! This damned Internet is useless! At least I have my OB appointment at 10:30. I can hold out until then to find out what's going on. I think . . .
On the phone with my mom.
Me: I think I might be having contractions, but it's too early, right?
Mom: It might be happening!
Driving myself to doctor's office. Okay, these contractions are coming every 10 minutes or so now. My mom was right -- this might be happening. What music should I listen to? It should be something profound. I want to remember this moment. Wait, this song on the radio seems appropriate. (Of course I don't remember the song because it was 21 freakin' months ago and my memory sucks. It was probably "Blame It on the Alcohol.")
Dr. Lee: Okay, you're 3 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced. It could probably happen tonight or tomorrow.
Me: What should I do?
Dr. Lee: I suggest you take a nap because you could have a long night ahead of you. Or, if you want to get things moving, you can talk a walk. Call me when your contractions are five minutes apart and a minute long. Then head to the hospital!
Me: Aaaahhhh! (in my head; I didn't scream in the doctor's face)
On the phone with T. "Tob, it's happening! I'll call you when the contractions start getting more regular." And now I have to drive myself home, with my heart pounding out of my chest. What music to listen to? No, turn off the stereo. No, I need music. I can't decide what to listen to!
Contractions are getting a bit stronger. Anxiety. Energy coursing through my veins. A nap? HA! I think I'll throw a load of laundry in. Walking up and down the stairs should get things going. We're going to have to decide on a name soon!
I should eat something. Broccoli! With cheese! On the phone with best friend.
Me: I can't believe this is happening!
S: I can't believe you're able to talk to me right now. And that you're eating broccoli.
Okay, these suckers are getting stronger. Call T. "I think you should come home now."
T is packing his bag for the hospital because sometimes he procrastinates, too. I am trying to find a comfortable position on the couch while folding laundry.
Call my doula Felicia. "Just a heads up. The contractions are all over the place, but I think we'll probably go to the hospital tonight." Why didn't anyone tell me how irregular contractions could be? Using my iPhone to time them and they vary from 8 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart to 7 minutes apart to 4 minutes apart. My favorite position during a contraction is bent over the couch with my hands on the back cushion and one knee up. Toby is laying down on the love seat. We're watching Cash Cab. I've seen this one before. They're going to go for double or nothing and lose. This is just how I imagined my magical day of labor.
These contractions are never going to get regular. We'd better head to the hospital because the pressure is getting intense. Plus, Cash Cab is starting to get on my nerves. And after infinite trips to the bathroom, maybe I shouldn't have eaten that broccoli.
We made it! I'm 5 centimeters and 80% effaced. Ouch. These contractions are no longer exciting. Felicia is on her way. The grandparents are on their way!
Dr. Lee can't make it, so it will be Dr. Grossman. She has a lovely, calming bedside manner. I'm not worried. But OWWW. I sit on the birthing ball and lean against the bed. Felicia applies pressure in the perfect spot by my hips. Toby gets me some ice. We're listening to my favorite J-Rocc mixtape on Toby's iPod. I can handle this. I think.
Things are really moving along apparently. 8 centimeters. This baby is coming tonight! But there are latent heartbeats. Anxiety. I need to have oxygen. I panic a little, but try to stay focused. "Can you turn down the music? More? Turn off the music!" I hate this oxygen mask. I'm never leaving this birthing ball. I will build a little house on this birthing ball.
Felicia: Okay, here we go again. Release the shoulders, release the hips, think down. Good, good.
Toby: You're doing so good, Mich.
Felicia: Do you feel like you need to push? Does it feel like you need to go to the bathroom? It might be time.
Me: [whimpering] Yes! Yes! I can't- I need to- I'm scared . . .
Felicia: I'm gonna go get the doctor. Toby will be here with you.
Me: [intense whimpering]
Toby tries to give me ice. Contractions are on top of each other at this point.
Me: No! Did I say I wanted ice?! Do what Felicia was doing to my hips. [whimper, whimper, whimper] [tremulous MOAN]
To be continued ...