I woke early Monday morning – partially to get everything ready for the day before heading for the hospital, and partially because I couldn’t sleep. It should have been over excitement about the day finally being the day to get my little one here, but the inability to sleep was actually due more to anxiety. I had woken all through the night hoping labor would start. Being induced still felt unfamiliar and forced and I was still hesitant. However, as I lay there in the quiet darkness a different feeling came over me. My thoughts were turned very much away from myself and I felt like I was on the very edge of seeing or hearing something from somewhere else. I had this small sense of bustling and people gathering and excitement and that was all really. The veil just seemed incredibly thin. I hardly dared move for fear the sensation would shatter – kind of like the disturbance swirling a reflection in water would cause. I just stayed there. Very still and teary eyed until, finally, it was time to get up and, with the bustle of kids waking and school lunches being made, the delicate little window seemed to close tightly again, but it left me with a cool feeling and a more peaceful approach to the day.
At around 8:00 am, Mike and I bid the kids farewell – leaving the older ones to be picked up by a neighbor for school and the little ones in the care of my mom, while we headed off to the hospital for my 8:30 appointment. It did seem very odd to be making that drive with no labor pains, and slightly unreal and silly to be checking in at the labor and delivery desk with not so much as a contraction.
Still, check in we did, and by 9:00 we were all set up in our room. The plan was not to start me immediately. I always test positive for that darn group B strep, and they like to have penicillin floating around in your system for a good four hours before you deliver baby. So, at 9:00 we just started my penicillin IV with plans to induce me around 11:00 (and hopefully not have the baby ‘til 1:00).
However, around 10:00 things got a little silly. I started into labor on my own. I say silly because I thought, “Oh for crying out loud! Is this all it took? My body being tricked? My body thinking, ‘well, I am in the hospital with an IV . . . I must be in labor’” Contractions were still not very intense at 11:00, but I had dilated a bit further and the nurse was nervous that adding Pitocin to the mix would hurry things along too quickly – perhaps bringing baby before the penicillin had done its thing. So, we decided to just wait until 1:00 and then add Pitocin to hurry things along.
By 1:00, my contractions weren’t the end of the world, but they were quite uncomfortable. I had to swat Mike when, talking to his mother on the phone he said, “She’s kind of gone into labor on her own . . . kind of half labor,” as I laughingly protested (I wasn’t having a contraction at the moment or I probably wouldn’t have laughed) he just said, “She’s just agreeing with me.” However my “half labor” had dilated me to a 5 (at which point Mike pointed out that I was half way so I had half labored) and things were looking good to go.
The nurse was going to put the Pitocin on but informed me that the anesthesiologist was currently in the OR and would likely be there for 15 or 20 minutes. I’ve gone from a 5 to having a baby in my arms in less than an hour before, so even though I was very anxious to pick things up, I was hesitant to start adding to the painful contractions I was already having with the anesthesiologist tied up. I hesitated because I really was anxious, but decided to have her wait and give me the Pitocin when I knew I could get my epidural.
That proved to be a very wise choice as the anesthesiologist ended up stuck in the OR for nearly an hour – and when I did get the Pitocin (around 2:00), I had Anders with in the hour. Seeing how easily I could handle dilating to a 5 made me think I probably am a better candidate than most for handling natural childbirth, and I have handled it, but at the end of this labor, even with my epidural, I could feel those last transition contractions rather miserably and I couldn’t help but feel so utterly grateful I wasn’t feeling them sans the epidural mask!
I was worried he’d be hard to get out with his size, but pushing wasn’t bad. His head was out right away, and then, after some small delays due to the chord around his neck and some rather sturdy shoulders with a little hand tucked right up by them, out came the rest of him. All 9 lbs. 7 oz. and 22 inches of him. There is nothing in the world as incredible and unreal, amazing and heart wrenching as that very moment when, this almost theoretical little person, is suddenly there – poor tiny arms flailing -- 100 % real and whole and yours. And so he is, this little miracle of Anders, very real and whole and very much ours.