My 38 week appointment:
Doctor: Have you been having any contractions?
Doctor: You're having one right now.
Me: Well, that seems like a trick question then.
So, that day I learned what a contraction is (#momoftheyear). In my defense, the contractions weren't painful; my stomach was just getting tight and felt hard to the touch. In my doctor's defense, I was having them about 10 times per day and hadn't really noticed.
The contractions continued like that, not painful, but about one every hour for 2 weeks. I went to work, my students stared at my stomach ("I don't think it's safe that she's always poking the baby like that"..."Miss Grace, you look like a giant blueberry!"), I came home, I fell almost immediately to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. Winter break (and my due date!) was fast approaching.
On the last day of school before winter break, (December 19th), I had all of my work done. Maternity plans complete. Student data organized. IEPs written. Materials ready for the next 2 months. Automatic email reply set up. I (naively), was bored. I hate being bored. I thought, "okay, baby, let's do this." Ha.
I left work at 4:00, and at 4:20, on the drive home, I felt a contraction. Not with my hands, feeling that my stomach was hard, I actually felt it...from the inside. "Yahoo!" I thought, "baby time!"
I got home at about 4:30, laid a towel on the couch (in case my water broke! I also texted my husband that I did that and said "YOU'RE WELCOME" for being so thoughtful), and turned on HGTV. And waited. The contractions kept coming, and I kept feeling them. I started obsessively timing them. They were getting closer together. Luke got home at about 5:30 and made us quesadillas for dinner (this proved to be a terrible choice). The contractions were about 5 minutes apart and getting uncomfortable. I had everything ready to go, we called the doctor, and I waited for Luke to tie up lose ends around the house, growing impatient (Pacing! Let's go, dude! This baby is probably going to just fall out any minute!).
When we got in the car, my contractions were 3 minutes apart and NOT pleasant, but I could still talk through them. Luke searched for calming Christmas music on his iPod, while I, being delightful, said something akin to, "Just pick something! Eyes on the road!"
We arrived at the valet parking at the hospital (genius) at about 8:00, and I could no longer talk through my contractions. I was seriously doubting if I was going to make it up to the third floor, but we did (elevators...another genius idea). We arrived, and they asked what we were doing there. "Umm...having a baby?" The (I'm sure very nice) nurse told us that no rooms were available and sent us to the waiting area (no room at the inn!...or in triage).
I'll spare you the details of the waiting room, but it involved pacing, dirty looks, and losing those quesadillas my husband so lovingly made me a few hours earlier. (As a side note, Luke makes excellent quesadillas and this experience should in no way taint your opinion of him as a chef).
(As another side note, even though I was being terribly unpleasant, Luke was taking excellent care of me.)
When we finally got into triage, they told me I wasn't dilated enough to admit me, and I should try walking around. This, I thought, was a terrible idea. Could she not see me? Could she not see the contraction monitor? It's spiked up to the top! Apparently, the amount of pain you're in is not the measure they use to admit you to delivery, so off on a walk we went with instructions to come back in 45 minutes. The only saving grace at this point was that the hospital had excellent ice and pregnancy had turned me into a champion ice-chewer. The contractions got worse and worse as we walked, and when we returned 45 minutes later, they said I still wasn't dilated enough and to go for another half hour. I thought she was joking. She was not. My parents arrived around this time, very excited, which seemed like a disproportionate reaction to me considering how much they were watching me throw up. Another walk, more pain, back to triage, finally we got admitted.
In the delivery room, still only 3 centimeters dilated, the contractions, unbelievably, got worse.
These are real thoughts I had when having contractions:
"I'm literally going to die here and I never got to see Hogwarts."
"Why do people have so many kids? I mean, the first one I understand, you had no idea what you were getting into...but after this, who are these people that are having 19 kids? Masochists? Mental patients?"
"I quit. I'm all done. The baby can just stay in there indefinitely." (I actually voiced this to Luke, who laughed at me.)
"This is my nightmare."
At this point I had been in labor for about 7 hours, 4 of them extremely painful. The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural. This wasn't in the plan, but another contraction came and suddenly it was definitely in the plan. I was still only 3 cm dilated, and was told labor could go on for another 24 hours. Yeah, I'll take the epidural. The epidural itself was uneventful, but magical. My legs felt tingly, and the contractions, amazingly, felt like nothing. "I want an epidural every day," I thought. Just minutes ago I was in excruciating pain, now, they're telling me to take a nap! So I rested, in various positions, for about 5 hours.
At about 6:00, the doctor came in and I was told we could start pushing! The doctor said he would be right back (famous last words) and went to get changed or something. I started pushing with Luke, my mom, and the nurse. Then...I started puking. The nurse said, "She's going to puke this baby out!" And puke her out I did. 3 pushes and a puke and there she was (the miracle of childbirth, ladies and gentlemen). The doctor came back in the room (still tying his scrubs) just in time to catch her. I looked down and in my haze of pain and exhaustion, thought, "Wow, she's really fat." And then I collapsed. Poor Luke was trying to hold the puke bag and behold our little miracle simultaneously, which proved to be a fairly tough feat of engineering. They put our sweet baby girl on my chest, briefly, and then took her across the room to get cleaned up, weighed, etc and brought her back to lay on my chest.
And that's when I passed out.
Now, whether or not I actually passed out is up for debate. I maintain that I just got dizzy and laid down (quickly). Luke says I passed out. This apparently caused a bit of a frenzy in the delivery room, with doctors and nurses checking for hemorrhaging. I was fine, just very hungry and very tired...and apparently sheet white. This is me right before passing out, LOOKING STUNNING:
After I recovered, life was perfect. She was here. She waited another 4 hours for a name, but she was here, and we were obsessed with her.
|Eleanor meets Grandma Burtch|
|Nora meets Grandpa Burtch (who looks like he's in a Wheaties commercial)|
|My view from the hospital bed|