It was a Saturday and I was 35 weeks pregnant and dragging Corey to Ikea for a rug for Cooper’s room because how could I possibly bring home a baby to a rugless room he wouldn’t even use. To me it made perfect sense and Corey gave up trying to keep me in bed. My feet ached the entire 20 minutes we were there and I had to stop and sit on a pile of boxes halfway though the store. But we made it out of there with the dang rug and I felt like I won.
I woke up in the middle of the night feeling wet but I blamed it on a swift kick to the bladder even thought I really didn’t think I peed myself but what did I know, so I just cleaned up and went back to bed. The next morning I was getting ready for work but promptly needed a bagel. STAT! We were in the car on the way to the Dunkin’ Donuts at the end of our street and I looked over at Corey and very casually asked, “You don’t think my water could’ve broken and me not know it, right?” and without missing a beat he said “No way! We’re going to 40 weeks!” Ok, then! So I ate my bagel and went to work.
I was there not even 15 minutes before I was calling the doctor’s office telling her that it was definitely not pee and it was best if she not ask me how I knew. With instructions to go straight to Labor and Delivery, I slapped a frantically scribbled sign on the front door to the bookstore and rushed home.
When I got there Corey was just casually walking around the house, the bags I packed the week before already by the door, combing his hair like it was any other day. I could hardly breathe the entire way home. I was sweating and just wanted to get to the hospital after the way my doctor sounded on the phone. We pulled up and I was instructed to wait in the car. This time I listened. Corey ran back out with a wheelchair that still had an oxygen container strapped to it, but I didn’t ask any questions. They got me in a bed and told me to wait. I’d been to the hospital 3 or 4 times during the pregnancy for spotting and because I’m just an all around crazy person, so I knew the drill. It could be a while.
The nurse came in and checked the monitors strapped to my belly. “I don’t see any reason why your water would be broken, but I guess we’ll see,” she said looking at my chart. I immediately felt self conscious like I had no idea what I was talking about because this was my first baby, but she grabbed a little test strip and “well whadda ya know. It looks like you are having a baby!”
Well whadda ya know! Hmph!
We broke out our phones and started making calls. “Yes, TODAY! I know!”
They wheeled me up to the room where I was going to give birth to our son and told us to wait. One thing I learned about pregnancy, you’re always waiting for something. Wait, wait, wait. So we did.
We got to the hospital at around 10am on Sunday and Cooper wasn’t born until 4:49am Monday morning and I started pushing at around 2am (?) so that means we had 16ish hours to kill. Truthfully, I really have no idea what we did all day except that I had to use the bathroom every 5 minutes which meant Corey had to wheel my IV behind me and it was such a hassle. By the time I made it back in the bed and managed to get comfortable again without pinching any cords or pulling the monitors off my belly I had to pee again. It was a vicious cycle. We didn’t take any pictures and I wasn’t even nervous which really surprised me. Corey watched football and I putzed around on my phone. I looked back through my Facebook messages and found a few with my friend Stephanie telling her what was going on in the hospital (IV fluids, antibiotics, pitocin), but that’s about it. Corey’s parents stopped by and my mom was on standby (she slept in her clothes just in case!). I ate an apple pie from the McDonald’s down stairs.
So far I hadn’t felt more than just mild cramping. Nothing major until about 10pm. I know it was 10pm because Walking Dead just ended and we must have dozed off for a couple minutes because Talking Dead just started when I woke up to some serious pain. Enough to take my breath away. The real stuff. I gritted my teeth through a few contractions trying to gauge exactly how much pain I was in and if I should wake up Corey and page the nurse. The last thing I wanted was to press the call button and have them tell me I was only 3 or 4 centimeters dilated like I was two hours ago. But the contractions were really strong and my heavy breathing woke up Corey and the nurse was on her way. She came in with a bag of medicine to put in my IV because I was “probably not dilated enough for the epidural”.
I laid back so she could check everything out and I got a tiny bit worried when she scrunched her eyebrows and went in for a second feel. “Honey, you’re 8cm. Do you want that epidural?” I was in so much pain I couldn’t even speak. I just shook my head. Corey phoned the parentals and told them to get a move on and then not even 5 minutes later the lovely, beautiful, anesthesiologist came to make it all go away. Too bad the first thing she made go away was my husband. Hmph.
I thought I would be nervous about the epidural but when the nurse stood between my legs while the anesthesiologist drew on my back, I leaned into her breathing through a fierce contraction like she was family. It’s funny how quick your shame goes out the window when there’s contractions involved. I used to think how embarrassing, you’re just there with your legs open and all those people in the room, but when the time came I was all come on and get a good seat up front.
Anyways, the epidural was like falling into the softest, fresh out of the dryer, quilt and taking the world’s longest nap. I was rejuvenated. My legs weighed 500 pounds each, but I was feeling mighty fine! By this time our parents were there and they were all complaining that it was “the most boring labor ever” because I was not the insane crazy lady they all expected me to be. I just wasn’t in any more pain. I was and then it was gone. No problem!
When it was time to start the action and things weren’t happening and the doctor said “ok, let’s turn off that epidural so you can feel when to push” yeah, that was different. Wowzers! I don’t even know how to put it into words. I pushed for over 2 hours but after it as over it felt like 5 minutes. At one point the doctor asked if I wanted to reach down and feel his head. No, thank you. A few pushes later she grabbed my hand and I felt his head alright. It’s not that I didn’t want to touch my baby, I just definitely did not want to think about what was going on down there, if you know what I mean.
The room was filled with people, my mom, Corey and his mom, my doctor, two nurses, and the NICU team (maybe 3 or 4 people). It was a full house and like I said, no shame. I did make everyone happy and get out 2 F bombs though. And before I knew it my mom was yelling “look down!” and I had to try and sit up and look over my still pregnant looking belly. He didn’t cry out like we were hoping, but instead just made a few grunts and looked around with the biggest eyes I ever saw. He was beautiful. And he had huge feet.
They wrapped him up and put him in my arms for a brief 30 seconds and off he went. I already knew he’d need to go down to the NICU because I was only 35 weeks (cut off for babies going straight to the regular nursery is 35w1d and we were 1 day short). It was definitely not the delivery I expected but in that moment I wasn’t the least bit sad. It was still full of tears and joy and so much love. I knew he was being well taken care of and I breathed a sign of relief that I did it. Another thing I wasn’t expecting was the 3 week stay we had in front of us.
At first, I’ll admit, I felt robbed. I wanted to be like everyone else and be able to sit in the hospital bed with my baby all wrapped up in the outfits I packed for him while our family and friends stopped by to catch a glimpse, and I didn’t get to do that. Instead I was wheeled up to an empty room and got up in the middle of the night, not to feed or change him, but to pump out a measly ounce of colostrum and walk it slowly down to the NICU on the 2nd floor. But looking back on it, we were incredibly lucky because he was perfectly healthy, just small, and we’d be home in no time. When it was happening those 3 weeks dragged on and I was convinced they just wanted to keep him forever, but now I know that 3 weeks is nothing. And just because my experience is different from a few other people doesn’t mean it wasn’t special and great and the absolute best day of my life. It was just that – different. Ask me at the time and I would have done anything to change it, but now I realize the whole situation made me a better mom. I savored every late night wake up call, feeding and diaper change because I felt so privileged to be able to do it and knew what it felt like not to. And to top it off, I got a 3 week intensive crash course in infant care from the best of the best. By the time we made it home I felt like a pro. It’s all about how you look at it.
One thing I’ve quickly learned about Cooper – he does things on his own time. He was conceived within the 1st month of stopping the pill, born at 35 weeks, and still isn’t walking at 15 months. That boy has his own agenda and we are rolling with it.
We love you baby boy. To the moon and back.