I Don’t Want To Catch Your Baby in the Elevator!
Well, it only took a year, but I’m finally writing Cal’s birth story. I guess that’s the difference between the first and the second kid….now here’s hoping I remember all the details!
It was a warm May Sunday, late afternoon, and Josie and I went for a walk to our neighborhood park. I could feel lots of extra pressure down there, and thought that perhaps something was different today than in days previous. Embarrassment was still looming from my two false labors that cost us thousands of dollars and cost families late night trips in the car and cancelled flights, all because I couldn’t tell if my water had broken or I had peed my pants.
Baby Cal felt heavy today, but we finished our walk and prepped for dinner. Oven fries chopped and burger patties formed. Grill and oven getting hot. Our friends Ryan and Lauren (who live in our neighborhood and parent Josie’s BFF Olivia) were headed to a fancy dinner, so I text Lauren a “have fun!” before I headed up to take a quick shower.
As soon as I got to the bedroom, my water actually did break. Fluid gushing everywhere. I sprint to the toilet and sit there for what seems like an eternity, but it just keeps coming. I yell for Ryan to turn off the oven and shut down the grill. It’s go time.
Keep in mind, as soon as my water broke, the words of my doctor echoed in my head, “He’s so low down there that I can’t believe he hasn’t fallen out yet. When your water breaks, you won’t have hardly any time at all. Get here fast, I don’t want to catch your baby in the elevator!” (And I had researched emergency home births and prayed that I’d at least make it to the hospital in time to get my epidural!)
I shoot off a quick text to the families that this is definitely it, while I’m trying to change my underwear and pants. I literally cannot tell you how bizarre it is – how much I absolutely could not wrap my mind around the fact that I’m trying to change out of soaking wet bottoms and put on dry ones, but I’m still leaking everywhere! My brain could not comprehend, but the deed was done, and I tried to arrange a bath towel as my over-sized diaper.
I called neighbor Ryan and burst into tears telling him that the baby’s coming now, and I’m so sorry for your fancy dinner plans, but can you come get Josie? And he did. Josie left with him like a champ (which I didn’t expect but was so so grateful for).
At this point, I’m in the driveway, towel between my legs, trying to figure out how to one-handedly hoist myself up into our SUV, when the neighbors walk by and take a good long stare. I say, “Yep! This is exactly what it looks like!” And we all laugh, until I’m in the car and I cry again. It continues like this until the end of the story (or has the fine line between laughter and tears ever been decided for me??!).
Contractions are getting painful now, but I’m certain we will make it in time. After all, Ryan has had two practice drives to the hospital where we made it in record time! After another should-have-been-awkward-but-wasn’t-because-you-have-no-dignity-left-after-9-months-of-pregnancy run-in with some strangers pointing out my wet towel near the elevators, we arrived and were checked in to labor and delivery. (We got to go straight past triage, and embarrassingly enough, the check-in girl recognized us and pulled our information without asking my name because of our two previous trips).
At this point, contractions had subsided, but I still couldn’t get out of my head that he was going to fall out of me so I begged for my epidural. The anesthesiologist had a real problem finding space in my spine for the needle and kept poking my bone with the needle! Let me say this again. POKING MY BONE WITH THE NEEDLE! This was, hands down, one of the most painful parts of labor! Dude! Get it together! He ended up bending (thus, ruining) the needle and had to start all the way over. (And they charged us for two!) Holy moly, I was about to lose it.
But then I go numb and I wait and wait and wait. Cal doesn’t fall out of me. Quite the opposite. He was so cozy in there that he just quit trying. My contractions stopped and I thought I was headed for a C-section. Every 20 minutes, all night long, the nurse upped the Pitocin drip.
Our families, who had flown up and down the highways at probably-too-high of speeds to make it in time for his grand entry into the world, because they also knew that he was supposed to fall right out of me, waited and waited and waited in the hall. Eventually they all left to get some rest, because it was obvious that this boy was taking his dear sweet time.
We learned a couple of things that night. One was that when the nurse empties your bladder, it helps the baby drop a little bit more. The other, is that it is possible for bags of fluid (your water) to twist and pinch themselves off and not break or drain when the rest does. This is apparently what happened to me, as the nurse essentially squeezed a few “water balloons” up in there (can I get another AMEN for epidurals please?!) to release the rest of the water (upwards of 3 lbs she said) and clear the birth canal.
Finally, I called back the family and readied to push. Cal was so long that I can still feel the pressure of his little foot underneath my rib cage as I bore down to push him out. It’s such a quieter experience having a baby in the wee hours of the morning. I got one doctor and one nurse instead of the parade of personnel I had with Josie. I preferred that.
Cal was thrown onto my chest and I cuddled my sweet boy for just a minute before I happily handed him over to the nurse to get bathed. As you can imagine, newborns stink. They are cheese and blood-covered. I always thought going in to child birth that I’d want to hold the new babe forever and ever when he first came out, but that just isn’t reality. There’s plenty of time for snuggles and skin to skin after he is clean.
13 hours of labor. Longer labor than I had with Josie by about 3 hours. My contractions never did regulate and were never closer than 3 or 4 minutes apart.
My biggest regret of the whole experience? Not jumping in the shower while I had the chance (either at home or when we got to the hospital).
Cal turns one today. He’s a face-toucher. As soon as he sees you – whether it is the first time meeting you or you are picking him up from daycare – he touches your cheek and peers into your soul. I can’t wait to see how that shows up in his personality later. Also, his eating. Guys. He’s a shoveler (he is half-Denault after all). He eats head down, continuously alternating one fist-full of food in after the other. Plus, when it’s time for his bedtime bottle, he sits on my lap and spits out his paci in anticipation. I can’t even help but love him more for that.
He, somehow, smiles with his whole body. He’s too fat and lazy to give you a proper giggle, so it ends up coming out like an old-man snort. He’s scared of the grass, which I’m using to my advantage because he’ll cuddle hard if he thinks you’re about to abandon him on it. Or, he’ll settle down enough to at least sit there, which is the only time and place he actually sits still.
He’s obsessed with our Roomba, which we have to leave on top of the dining room table (totally defeating its purpose). He’ll try to jump out of your arms when he sees it because he just wants it so bad. But don’t turn it on. When it’s sweeping, he chases it until it chases him back and then he’s in your arms so fast.
I’ve got a feeling life is going to be more full of joy and chaos because of this little dude. Let the adventures begin, little buddy.