I headed to work with a positive attitude last Tuesday morning. I had felt terrible all day Monday and had been nervous about the possibility of an induction. However, after finding out that everything looked absolutely fine at the doctor's, I was mentally preparing myself for three more weeks of pregnancy. I decided to put on my game face for the remaining time instead of whining about being fat and miserable. That's why on Tuesday I actually put on a cute outfit instead of just throwing on the first thing I saw that would fit me. I spent time blow drying my hair, I put on some makeup, and headed to work.
As it turns out, Madeline had plans of her own, and they didn't involve waiting three more weeks. You can imagine my shock and utter embarrassment, when I walked into Dunkin Donuts only to have my water break in front of God and everybody. That's right. I'm one of those women. I had one of those embarrassing water-breaking moments that all the baby books tell you only happen in Hollywood. How appropriate for a fat pregnant lady like me to have it happen in Dunkin Donuts of all places...
After I started to realize what was happening, I made a mad dash for the bathroom, but a regular customer called to me that I needed a key. I made a mad dash for the key, but in my desperation, it took me a few seconds to get the key to work. By the time I actually made it into the bathroom, it was too late, and I left a giant puddle on the floor.
I considered asking a woman in scrubs sipping her coffee for help, but I guess my fight or flight response took over because I decided to flee out of there faster than any pregnant lady has fled before. I don't know what the other customers thought, and I hope someone behind the counter decided to clean that mess up. Needless to say, I will not be going to that Dunkin Donuts ever again.
At this point, I wasn't having any cramps or contractions so I called Eric and calmly drove myself home.
It was around 7 am when I walked into our apartment, and the doctor's office doesn't open until 8. Much to Eric's chagrin, I told him we were waiting until the office opened to call. I wrapped myself in a towel and sat on the bathroom floor. That was not okay with Eric. He was ready to get to the hospital NOW. To make him feel better, I called the doctor. Eric was right. The doctor told me to get into the car and get to the hospital because traffic is heavy at that time in the morning.
The contractions started in the car. They came on quickly and intensely. I had been against the idea of creating a birth plan on the grounds that I wouldn't know what I wanted to do until I was actually in the moment. Well, on the way to the hospital I knew what I wanted. I wanted drugs, and planned on letting the nurses know that as soon as we walked in the door.
Due to traffic, it took us about 40 minutes to get to the hospital. I timed my contractions, listened to my Birthin Baby playlist, and tried to focus on the beautiful, sunny fall day we were having.
Our nurse was waiting for us at the door when we got there. (P.S. I'm pretty sure I went to high school with said nurse, but I thought it would be really awkward to say anything to her about it. I'm assuming she either didn't recognize me, or had the same attitude as I did. She was great either way.)
|Moments Before Madeline's Arrival. |
I think the expression in my
eyes is best described as, "Yikes!"
Still, Eric was great. After all the fear and worries he had in the months leading up to labor, he was a brick during the actual process. He held my hand, rubbed my neck, and offered words of encouragement.
I'd also like to proudly state that I did not once moo like a cow. I may have whimpered here and there, but I got through each contraction by breathing deep and focusing on the fact that they wouldn't last forever. All the positive visualization stuff we had learned about in the birthing class? It all went out the window. I didn't even occur to me to try visualizing myself on a beach. I knew damn well where I was.
Once I got the epidural, things were pretty uneventful. I felt better after a few minutes, and it amused Eric that now I was interested in the monitor since I no longer knew when I was having a contraction. Eric went to get some food while I took a nap. My parents arrived. Eric's parents arrived from New York in record speed. And before I knew it, the nurse was telling me that I was just about ready to have the baby.
The actual pushing part was very quick...only about forty minutes. The nurse and Eric got me started, and when it was time, the doctor came in to finish the job. I couldn't feel anything except for a lot of pressure. I was worried my eyeballs were going to come out of my sockets. A week later my tailbone is still making it impossible for me to sit on hard surfaces.
|One of our first glimpses of Madeline|
Madeline was crying when they placed her in my arms, but as soon as she heard my voice she stopped, opened her eyes very wide and looked straight at me. Then she looked at Eric. After months of hearing us, she was seeing us for the first time. And after months of feeling her bopping around in there, we were really seeing her for the first time. There are no words....it's surreal.
The nurses cleaned her up and oooed and ahhhed over how pretty she is. One of the nurses commented on her red hair. "Her hair is red?!" I asked. When I had been holding her, I thought it was brown. "Oh yes, it sure is red," the nurse replied.
Because she was three weeks early and her cry was a little weak, the nurses let us know that they would be taking her to the nursery to get her lungs checked out. They cleaned her up, and handed her to me for a quick cuddle before taking her away.
Eric went with her while I finally got to eat some peanut butter toast. (After all, I never did get my breakfast that morning.) Luckily, Madeline was fine, and she was returned to me about an hour later where she was greeted by many kisses and cuddles by her mommy, daddy, and grandparents.
|Our new little family|
Madeline was born in the course of a work day. My labor started at 7 am when I'm usually arriving at work. She was born at 1:58 pm. We get out of school at 2. She also chose a day when my favorite doctor was working so he was able to deliver her. We also were in room 6, which is my lucky number. All good signs that Madeline is going to be a very easy, punctual, obedient child...with a slight flair for the dramatic. Sure, Dunkin Donuts wasn't great...but if she had waited another hour, it could have happened at work in front of many teenagers, which would have been waaay worse.
Now it's been a whole week since she was born already. I still feel like I'm living in a surreal fog. Wow, we're really parents now. Wow, we're responsible for this little being. Wow, she's absolutely everything I ever dreamed about. And I know that we'll tell the story of Dunkin Donuts and Madeline's birth for years and years to come.