They didn’t want me to go late, so on Friday the doctor gave us a choice on what day to be induced. Monday was Martin Luther King Day and a holiday for Roger, so we chose Sunday thinking we’d save as much of Roger’s two-week paternity leave as we could.
Sunday. We were ready. We’d watched Pregnancy for Dummies. We’d been to the birthing class where I’d managed to watch a video of a baby being born, after nearly passing out through the first two videos (no really, I had to leave the room and sit down before I fell down – just call me Super Mom). We’d been to the baby essentials class. We were sure we could keep any baby alive for at least a month. We’d survived Snowpocalypse 2011 (that is, being snowed in for a week with the constant fear that I’d go into labor). We were ready to be parents. We were ready to finally meet William.
Off to Northside Hospital. The plan was to give me Cervadil that night and Pitocin Monday morning, thinking contractions would start Monday morning and we’d have a baby some time Monday evening. My parents had decided to drive in from Alabama Sunday night instead of their previous plan to come Monday morning. There was no need to come Sunday night, we thought, since the fun wouldn’t start till Monday morning any way. Little did we know…
While Roger and I settled in at the hospital, his folks headed to Scalini’s to pick up eggplant parmesan for me. Scalini’s eggplant parmesan is well known for making most pregnant women go into labor. Women from all around go there to eat when they’ve had enough and are ready to have their baby. Of course, I didn’t really need Scalini’s, but I figured every little bit would help. I didn’t want to be in labor any longer than necessary!
I was nervous – that’s a given – but I was completely excited too. I was high on the thought that we’d become parents in the next 24 hours. In the moments we had to ourselves, before our parents arrived, before the nurses started their routines, in the quiet hospital room we prayed. And looking back now, we know God was with us through the night. We felt his hand on us as we waited for William to arrive. We felt a calm that can only come from him. And we were grateful.
The nurse came in to introduce herself and proceeded to try killing me, I mean put in an IV, before she finally called her colleague to handle the IV for her. Yikes. She was a great nurse though, IV terror aside. Next up was the Cervadil. It went right in as expected. Done for the night. Bring on the eggplant parmesan!
Instead, a few minutes later I lay in bed looking up at 5 nurses looking down at me anxiously and talking in hurried voices. One nurse told me to get on all fours so the baby could drop as low as possible while another nurse called the doctor. I think she forgot I was in a hospital gown that was 10 sizes too big for me. I slowly rolled over onto my hands and knees, trying to ignore the sides of my gown drooping to the bed, while nurses fluttered all around me. Drama anyone? Seriously, who ordered the side of drama? And do I feel a breeze on my naked butt?!? Which is currently in the air for all to see? MY PREGNANT NAKED BUTT?
I was scared. So was Roger. William’s heart rate plummeted when the Cervadil was put in, which (they told me later) sometimes happens with babies. Eventually I lay back down and they took the Cervadil out. No worries, they said. We’ll just let you do your thing tonight and we’ll start Pitocin in the morning.
But William had other ideas. According to the monitors, I started having contractions. They were still too small for me to feel, but every time I had one, William’s heart rate dropped severely. The nurses had me roll over on my side for a while, lay on my back a while, and on and on. Nothing seemed to appease William. It was time to call the doctor.
Meanwhile, both of our parents had arrived, but I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink. Eggplant parmesan aromas wafted my direction, taunting my empty stomach. And did I mention the garlic rolls? So unfair.
At 11:30 pm, the nurse told me instead of having a baby Monday evening, we were going to have a baby in about 30 minutes. I asked if I was having a C-section, as though there was a chance I’d be pushing the baby out myself in the next half hour. Hey, I was freaked out. I wasn’t thinking straight.
Next, the doctor came by to see what I thought about having a C-section. I don’t really remember this part, but Dad says I laughed and told him he was the doctor and he gets paid to make those decisions, so I was on board with whatever it was going to take to get William here safely.
But I was scared. Really scared. The only surgery I’d had up to that point was wisdom teeth removal. The funny thing is, they put you to sleep to pull out a few teeth, but you’re wide awake while they pull a baby out of your belly.
My biggest fear? That I’d hurl during the surgery, causing the doctor to screw up. I’d already hurled once before thanks to the epidural. The nurses assured me that it happens all the time, and it’s no big deal. I don’t think hurling during surgery was covered in the baby books I read. Oh wait, I didn’t read anything about C-sections. I could barely stomach the chapters on labor!
I didn’t hurl.
And I never ate my eggplant parmesan.