Freak of Nature

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It was fun! Seriously, it was fun. I thought it would be long, hard work (it is called labor!) and it wasn’t. I had seen the videos. I had even watched my sister-in-law go through labor. I was expecting hours and hours of torture, but it flew by with laughter and a lot of clapping.

Not counting the time I went simply to get out of a speeding ticket, it was the third time I had gone to the hospital in a week. Each time it felt different and this time it wasn’t any different; it did feel different. I had a feeling this was it. I had that feeling before, but this time I really felt it. Just like the other three times. My husband stayed home. He didn’t feel it.

Up to the third floor and hooked up to a monitor, I explained what had been going on for the past 27 hours as she examined me. I showed the nurse the careful notes I had taken over the past day. It listed every contraction I had and how far apart they were. Seven minutes, three minutes, five minutes, one minute, six minutes…the list went on and one, 27 hours broken down to minute increments and none of them over seven minutes. She smiled and said that wasn’t necessary; the monitor would tell us all we needed to know. She disappeared down the hall, calling over her shoulder, “I’ll be back in thirty minutes.”

The nurse reappeared after I pushed the little button. “May I help you?”

“You need to check me again.” I was excited. This was it!

She looked at the strip of paper the monitor had been spewing our for the past 10 minutes. She smiled that condescending smile again. “The contractions aren’t even showing up. You aren’t in labor.”

“I think I am. Please check me again.”

She didn’t say a word to me, but she did examine me. Once she was finished, she left the room. She was silent.

She returned moments later, “You doctor wants to know if you would you like your epidural now. You are at seven.”

“Yes, please,” I told her.

I called my mother, and my brother. I didn’t call my husband. I was not too happy with him for not coming with me. I just hoped they would get to the hospital in time.

The epidural man came in. Bless his heart. I had to make him nervous because I kept repeating, “Please, Jesus, don’t let him miss,” over and over again. Moments later, I was numb from the waist down, not that I was ever in any pain. Now I was just all tingly, inside and out.

My family arrived. My brother had picked up my husband.

My doctor arrived, thrilled with my progress. “You’ll be ready to push soon. Get some rest while you can. You won’t sleep again until after she is out of college, if then.”

I was ready to push then, but I didn’t fuss with her.

My husband took his shoes off and curled up in the blue recliner next to my bed. He went to sleep, snoring so loudly I was sure people would complain.

“Time to push,” my doctor said after a quick exam.

My husband jumped up, mid snore. My mother started crying. And me? I started laughing.

The nurses kept calling me “such a good little pusher.” I thought they were only encouraging me, so I pushed even harder. Other nurses came in and complimented me on my pushing. I pushed harder. I thought it was a code that I wasn’t doing well.

“That hurts,” I complained.

“Do you think the epidural is wearing off?” my doctor asked.

“No, my hand. This I.V. hurts.”

She laughed. “That is a pain we can all live with.”

It was the only pain I had.

We laughed and joked. My mother and doctor clapped for me as I pushed. The nurses smiled and clapped, too. Everyone cheered as I pushed and pushed.

“Can I push more?” I asked when I was told to rest. “I want to see her now.”

It was over in just a few minutes. At least that is what it felt like. It was 32 minutes from when I first started to push until I was holding my daughter. Twenty-seven minutes later, after a thorough examination by me, she was nursing. Three hours later, she was off to the nursery for her first bath and to be weighed and measured.

“It was like going to a football game,” my doctor explained later that evening. “Except no one blew a whistle.”

“A whistle?” I echoed.

“You probably didn’t notice, but her monitor didn’t go off once. If it hadn’t been for that silly I.V., you would have been completely pain free.”

I had noticed my daughter’s monitor hadn’t gone off. That silly I.V. – it didn’t hurt that much. My family got there in time. I had a beautiful baby girl with long dark hair.

It was a perfect day.

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