My primary concern when we decided to have our second child was that I not have a repeat of the first labor and delivery experience. Sitting in the exam room, a week after my due date, listening to the doctor schedule my induction around cocktail parties, and a promised date night with his wife turned out to be just the beginning of things that didn’t go according to my plan.
Giving birth to a 9-pound baby after 52 plus hours of labor, a week after my due date, I was looking for something a little more like what I had seen in the movies, or at least what I’d heard from my girlfriends.
After securing a promise from my new OB/GYN that he would not allow me to go past my due date, and would definitely not let the baby reach 9 pounds again, we moved ahead!
Fast forward 39 weeks, (wouldn’t that be one helluva trick?) and it’s a week before my due date and I’m at what is supposed to be my final appointment before delivery. Only, once again, nothing is happening. Apparently, my womb is a great place to hang out and relax because neither one of my kids was in any big hurry to come out and meet the real world. Absolutely no dilation, no effacing. Nothing at all is happening. Baby boy is happily hanging out in there.
When I asked my doctor what the plan was, he assured me that since I had delivered a 9-pound baby once there was no reason I couldn’t do it again. He said there was no reason to induce, and he would prefer to let nature take its course. You know, naturally. And the father is not from a catalog. He’s real as can be.
Cue pregnant woman meltdown in 3, 2, 1…
“But, you promised me!” I may, or may not, have shrieked at him.
When I left the office that day I had an appointment for the day following my due date to have labor induced at the hospital.
The next week was a blur of activity, suddenly the fact that we were about to have our second child became extremely real to us, I think. We had begun a home remodeling project a few months earlier converting our garage into a master bedroom suite, taking our house from two bedrooms to three though our income was somewhat threatened. Suddenly there was a due date for not only the baby to arrive, but for the construction project to be completed as well.
The day before the scheduled induction, still no activity on the baby front, and we spent the entire day putting the finishing touches on the new bedroom. Touching up paint, adding trim, and moving furniture. It was a long, exhausting day. Several times during the day someone would tell me that I should go and sit down, to which I would reply, “What could happen? I’ll go into labor! That’s the idea!”
After the day was done, and everyone left, my husband and I sat down to enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet. That’s when the pregnancy craving struck. I wanted, no strike that, I needed a chocolate milkshake. Only, this was the days before debit cards and neither of us had any cash on us. So, I settled for chocolate milk (not at all the same) and called it a night.
Sometime around 4 am I woke up needing to use the bathroom, (oh the joys of pregnancy!), and quickly discovered that not everything that was happening was pee! My water had broken! At 4 am, the day before I was scheduled to be induced!
Oh the irony!
I woke my husband up and told him that things were happening, that he needed to get up so we could go to the hospital!
I turned around to grab my bag and throw the last few remaining necessities in the bag. Made sure the camera was packed, that I had the hand lotion I liked, and all those really important details. Suddenly, I heard my husband’s car start, when I looked out the window he was driving away!
For a moment I thought he had actually forgotten me and was going to the hospital without me! I quickly dialed his cell phone to have him tell me he had gone to the convenience store to get a Dr. Pepper. Great, I thought!
He’s back in five minutes, no harm done. Next thing I know I hear the shower running. I go in the bathroom and ask him, as nicely as I can, what in the name of cleanliness does he think he is doing?
Okay, so he’s thinking ahead, he knows we’ll be at the hospital for a couple of days so he wants to grab a quick shower at home so he’s not feeling gross hours from now when the baby is born. Fine, whatever! Can we just GO, please?!
Finally, we get in the car and we’re heading to the hospital. My hospital isn’t the hometown hospital I used for that first oh-so-delightful labor and delivery experience. Nope. This time we’re going to a hospital that’s a forty-five-minute drive from home. And that’s if there isn’t any traffic. Which luckily at 6 am, there isn’t!
When we arrive at the hospital and figure out where the labor and delivery department’s parking is my husband kindly suggests that I just leave everything in the car, and he’ll come back and get it after I’m admitted.
Oh, so sweet! He doesn’t want me to carry anything! Major brownie points from the pregnant and slightly crazy wife! I get out of the car, leaving everything exactly where it is. My purse, my pillow, my hospital bag, the camera, everything is in the back of our SUV.
This is where things start to rapidly go downhill, and I do mean rapidly!
“Where are the keys?” Hubby asks me as we’re standing behind the vehicle.
“What do you mean where are the keys, you drove!” pregnant lady hysteria is beginning to bubble here, or maybe that’s just a contraction, it’s really hard to say at this stage.
“Oh crap, they’re in the car!” Hubby doesn’t realize how close he is to death at this point. Justifiable homicide, that’s what they would call it.
“My purse, the camera, my insurance card, everything is in there!” Yep, definitely pregnant woman hysteria! Like the selfishness of prayer!
“It’s fine, let’s get you admitted and I’ll get hospital security to come help me unlock the car.” Hubby is sure this isn’t a problem. Or maybe he is slightly aware that I’m contemplating the numerous ways I could dispose of his body at the moment.
The nurses all thought it was hilarious, they weren’t in labor after all. The next two and a half hours were spent with my husband dashing in and out of the hospital room where they put me to keep me updated on his progress.
Hospital security has a policy against unlocking locked cars for patients. They suggest that he contact the county police department, they’ll open the door for him no problem.
County police have a policy against helping people get into locked cars because there’s a liability risk to them if they accidentally damage your vehicle. Oh, my dear vanity.
Finally, we had to call my sister, get her to go by our house, and drive forty-five minutes to the hospital to bring us the spare key from our house. Thus ensuring that the entire family arrived hours before there was a baby to be seen!
By the time all of that was accomplished I had been admitted, had an IV and an epidural! When my husband finally arrived in the room with the necessary belongings out of the car, I was resting comfortably and contemplating a nap.
He took this to mean that nothing was really happening (this was based on the experience he had been a part of the first time we had a child where there was a lot more…agony?) so he announced he was going to go grab some breakfast.
The moment he left the room, the television began showing Steak ‘n Shake commercials featuring, you guessed it, a large, mouth-wateringly delicious looking chocolate milkshake. For the rest of the day, every channel we had on the television showed that same stupid commercial!
Cue the return of the pregnant lady craving, only now I’m not allowed to eat anything!
My husband was completely shocked when he returned after grabbing his breakfast sandwich to hear the nurse say that I was 100% effaced, dilated to a 10 and as soon as the doctor arrived I could start pushing.
He looked at me, shock clearly showing on his face, and said, “But…nothing is even happening yet!”
After I assured him that “stuff” actually was happening, just because I wasn’t screaming and yelling for drugs didn’t mean there wasn’t a birth happening right now! Ah yes, going into labor naturally is a much different experience than being induced was, that’s for sure!
I successfully managed to have a birth experience that was absolutely nothing like giving birth the first time around, however, it still wasn’t typical by any means! Also, I never did get that stupid milkshake!