An equation no pregnant woman wants to take part in, particularly at the end of August. During one of Chicago’s hottest summers...
I was 40 +1 when this story starts. That is, 40 weeks (full gestation), plus one day past my due date with baby Stack.
Here’s a <truncated> version of how the next 25.25 hours went:
8:00 AM: Get out of bed. I've already been awake for hours, willing this to be the day the baby comes. I'm one day past my due date, and it's been weeks since I slept through the night, months since I've seen my ankle bones (water retention is a bitch,) and most of all, my husband and I have been waiting for this baby for years. Literally. Our journey with infertility is another entire story. Suffice to say, we have prayed for this day for a VERY long time.
10:00 AM: First contractions hit
OK. So THIS is a contraction. All the times I had braxton hicks (false contractions,) and wasn't sure if it was real or not. The doctors told me I'd know. Yep. Now I know. OK. OK. OK. I'm OK. I mean, I'll be OK. You know how I said 40 + X is the worst thing ever? Well, maybe 40 +2 would be better than 40+1. Contractions are scary. Brith is scary. Am I ready for this? Are we ready for this? Maybe it's not real. They're not that close together. Maybe the baby isn't coming today.
11:00 AM: Conference call with client (because the Advertising world will stop if I go on maternity leave before this call.)
<contractions, contractions, contractions>
OK. Calm down. They're getting closer together and more intense. Maybe this is the day. YAY this is the day. Oh, God, I can't do this.
12:30 PM: Conference call with my team
<contractions, contractions, contractions>
<contractions getting closer together>
3:30 PM: I demand (nicely) that my husband drive me to TJ MAXX, because in the aforementioned shower, I noticed that <gasp!> it’s time for a new liner. Husband denies request, says we need to start heading to the hospital before rush hour starts. I grab keys and say I’m going myself; after all, my mom will be here the next time I’m in this house and she is NOT seeing that liner! Husband concedes and takes me to TJ MAXX.
<<What was I thinking!?>>
4:30 PM: Arrive home. My husband reports the traffic situation: accident on Lakeshore Drive, accident on highway. I look at Google Maps on my phone and confirm he's correct. Damn. He was right. He's always right.
Contractions getting stronger. I decide I’d rather go through contractions at home vs in traffic. Wait it out.
5:30 PM: Can’t wait any longer. Hop in car <<sit in traffic>>
5:43 PM: “Let’s Hear it for the boys” comes on the radio – we ponder whether or not this is a sign.
6:30 PM: Admitted to Prentice, taken to room in emergency area. They check me. I’m 3 CM.
How could I only be 3CM dilated!? There must be an error. I’ve been in labor 8.5 hours. I must be more than 3CM!
Still 3 CM.
8:40 PM: Admitted to birthing room.
9:00 PM: Epidural
10:00 PM-3:00 AM: Husband sleeps, I toss and turn, and give myself too much epidural. They should warn you about those patient-controlled drips. To be fair, they did warn me. But the drip takes a bit of time to feel relief, and I suppose I'm impatient.
3:15 AM: Nurse comes to check on me – too drugged up to roll myself over (see above.)
No more epidural drip allowed.
5:00 AM: ALMOST TIME TO PUSH!
5:30 AM: Time to push! The Dr. on call waltzes in wearing stilettos. I think this is a good sign. She instructs me to push. I give my best, and she says I’m a pro – we’ll be out of here before her shift ends in 45 minutes.
6:15 AM: I HATE that lying Dr.! Her shift ends, and she leaves in disgust of my puny efforts. A new Dr. has come on the scene. This Dr. is clearly the real deal. She’ll get us there. Quickly?
8:30 AM: Still no baby. Still active pushing. Baby's heart rate starts to crash. Then comes back. HOLY SHIT. My baby's heart rate crashed. I'm more scared than I've ever been in my entire life.
Also my husband's back hurts. All of that standing and leg-holding is grueling.
10:30 AM: We’ve been in active labor for over 5 hours. Every time the baby’s heart rate dips, a team rushes in to take us to surgery for a C-Section. Every time they enter, baby regains heart rate, and I assure the Dr. I can keep going as long as it’s safe for the baby. They let me keep going, confident baby is OK each time. Talk about a roller-coaster. OH, and my husband's back still hurts.
11:17 AM: Baby (???) is born!!!! A team of 10-15 people rush in and take the baby aside. After the longest two minutes of my life, I hear a cry. Then I cry. The most joyful cry of my life.
Our baby BOY is here!
My husband really wanted to name the baby John Michael, after our fathers, if it was a boy. I really wanted to name the baby William Axel (after several family members). Once I got to hold our baby, I said, “He sure showed a lot of Will, didn’t he!?”