All things being equal, there are two types of people in the world when it comes to pain management. Two people slam a finger in a door. One will take a deep breath and literally shake the pain off by waving their hand around. The other will curse, loudly, while shaking their hand around. I am the latter. Something about letting loose a string of profanity actually helps with whatever I’ve done. Wes, on the other hand, is the former and this disparity has caused some kind of funny moments where he thinks that I might be dying when I’ve actually only stubbed my toe. He’s gotten used to it now, though, so he no longer comes running when he hears a thump followed by, “OW! Fuuuuuuuuccccckkkk!”
So I made it to July, still pregnant, even though I was counting on a June birth. Stella was a week early, so James would be, too, is what I kept telling myself. With every new pain that popped up in that last trimester, I told myself I just needed to make it to June 25th. I could do that. But June 25th came and went and suddenly (except, not suddenly because being that pregnant in the summer in Hawaii makes every day drag by) it was July and I was still pregnant. My sister-in-law sent me a text message telling me that Ruby was a beautiful birth stone and I responded with, “I hate everything about everything.” I had told everyone that if I made it to my due date of July 2nd, I wasn’t getting out of bed. Everyone would have to wait on me until I was no longer pregnant. I was only half joking.
(And yes, I know that babies should stay in as long as they need to. I understand that the longer they’re in the healthier they are. But being pregnant is horrible. Just horrible. And I was over it. My stand-in doctor did offer me a chance to induce at 39 weeks, but I didn’t take it because I wanted him to come on his own when he was ready. It was hard to turn down that promise of no longer being pregnant every time she offered it up, but I did.)
The morning of July 1st Wes had to go into work early after getting a 3:30am wake up call about a problem at work. Wes came home and we put Stella to bed early because she’d spiked a fever after her nap, and then we sat down to watch the USA World Cup Match. At which point I’d started to feel a few irregular contractions. I thought about our neighbor, who predicted I would go into labor that night since Wes was running on little sleep. And then came home to stay up late and watch the game while enjoying a few beers. But the contractions were sporadic so I kept them to myself. Around 9pm they started getting a little more intense and closer together so I decided to start timing them. By the time the game ended they were about 8 minutes apart, but the pain wasn’t bad enough for either my mom or Wes to notice that I was having them so I didn’t think it was time to go to the hospital yet. My water broke with Stella and I got the epidural before contractions got really bad so I felt like a first time mother again and I was worried about getting to the hospital only to be turned away. Just in case I told my mom and Wes that we might be headed to the hospital later that night. By the time I crawled into bed, though, they were getting much more painful and I had to get up and walk around. Wes lifted his head up from the pillow and said, “Do we need to go to the hospital?” I said I thought we did and we quickly grabbed our bags and left just after 10pm.
By the time we got to the freeway entrance (only about 5 minutes from our apartment) I was in a lot of pain, and the potholes that Hawaii is known for were not helping. A portion of the freeway had been getting repaved and even though it should have been opened by July, it wasn’t and we ended up having to take side streets, which were also covered in potholes. I tried to be calm and breathe through the pain because I was still a little worried about it being false labor and looking silly for making such a big deal. Presumably Wes could tell this was the real deal, though, because he was zig-zagging through traffic.
Wes dropped me at the ER at 10:44pm and left to park the car. I had to sign a few intake papers and then was brought up to labor and delivery where they checked me in and then parked me in the waiting room, which was full. At this point I’m still clenching my fists and trying to breathe through each contraction. Wes walked into the waiting room and then went to the nurses station to let them know I was in serious pain and should maybe be moved to triage. Once in triage I changed into the gown and immediately wanted to start puking. One nurse told Wes to squeeze my hips with each contraction to help with the pain, and then immediately left. Left to the secluded room, and realizing that I was definitely having this baby soon, I felt less self-conscious about making whatever sound I needed to get through contractions. I started throwing up and Wes left to, yet again, let the nurses know that I needed to be checked out. They hooked up the heart monitors and when they checked I was dilated between 7-8cm. I had a few more contractions, cried for an epidural. It was a particularly busy night in Labor & Delivery, though, so they told me that the anesthesiologist might not make it to me in time. I threw up again, and my water broke. They checked me and I had progressed to almost 9cm. My doctor (well, my my doctor was out of town, so the doctor who was on-call for her) was paged and I was wheeled to a delivery room, puking the entire time.
In the delivery room the hospital doctor said that if I could sit through the epidural, I could have one. The anesthesiologist was coming to my room next. By that time, though, I felt like I needed to push and there was no way I could see myself sitting still to get the epidural. So I pushed, surrounded by a few nurses and two doctors I had never met before. I screamed and I swore and at one point I apologized for making such a scene, sorry that any first time moms who might be surrounding my room, had to hear me screaming. But then another contraction would come and I would stop caring about anything but getting through the pain. I’m not sure how long I pushed – it felt like forever. Once his head was out the doctor let me pull the rest of him out and we immediately got our skin-to-skin and I mostly forgot about how awful I had felt just moments before. He was born at 11:49pm, just over an hour after I got out of the car in the ER.
James Bishop Renton. 8lbs 3.7oz, 21″ long. He’s a master nurser and sleeper and snuggler. He poops so much we’re emptying diaper pails every day it seems. But we are all so in love with him.