Ok, a little late, but here’s the tale of how my little lady came into the world.
Rewind two months to July 21, two weeks before Colette’s due date.
11 am: I meet my friends for brunch. My friend Ashley gives me a box of raspberry leaf tea, which is supposed to induce labor.
2 pm: I drink one cup of raspberry leaf tea. One!
7 pm: I send my friend Elizabeth, who’s really into astrology, the following text: “Pretty sure this baby is going to be a Leo after all. She has one more day left to declare herself a Cancer.”
9 pm: I’m lying in bed reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’m annoyed at everything. The book is dumb. I’m uncomfortable. I say to Tim, “Ughhhhhh! I’m going to be pregnant forever.” I randomly decide to get on all fours on the bed. I stay there for a couple of minutes.
I get up.
I feel a huge gush.
I say to Tim, “Holy shit! Holy shit!”
And he says, “What? What?”
And I say, “I think my water just broke! Or maybe I peed myself.”
9:05 pm: It becomes obvious that I did not pee myself, as crazy amounts of liquid are still flowing.
Apparently this baby really wants to be a Cancer.
9:15 pm: I call the midwives. The on-call phones me back and tells me to come into the hospital to make sure it really was my water.
9:45 pm: We arrive at the hospital and the water is still gushing. Still! My dress is soaked, my flip flops are soaked. A nurse in the elevator with us is cracking up at me. Once I get to the PETU, they hook me up to the baby monitors and the midwife comes in. She tells me that, yep, it’s definitely my water. And that she has never seen so much amniotic fluid come out of one person.
Blue ribbon for me!
The midwife says I have two options. One, to be induced right then and there. Or two, to go home and see if active labor starts. If that doesn’t happen, I have to come back in 12 hours. Once the water breaks, there’s a greater chance of infection, so I have to be induced in 12 hours no matter what. She acts like going into labor on my own is a slim possibility.
In my head I’m like, yeah right. I know shit is going to go down.
We decide to go home. The midwife instructs me to take a sleeping pill and get some shut eye.
11:30 pm: We get home. We call our parents and tell them the news. I take a Unisom. Right after I take it, contractions start. They’re manageable for, like, 25 minutes.
And then it starts to get really real all at once.
I go from no labor to HOLY CRAP FULL-ON LABOR! The contractions are now one minute long, every two minutes apart. That’s right. One minute of rest every two minutes. As a bonus, I’m groggy from the sleeping pill.
Midnight: We call our doula and tell her to get on over.
12:30 am: Oh My G, the pain!
12:45 am: I call the midwife again and she tells me it sounds like active labor is just beginning. In my head I’m like, yeah right. I’m in it, lady. She tells me to give it a few more hours.
1 am: The doula arrives. She tries massaging, acupressure, etc. At this point, I’m in so much pain I have no idea what anyone is saying or doing around me. I’m on the yoga mat in my bedroom, on all fours.
1:30 am: I say to the air, “I need to go to the hospital and get an epidural. Now.”
1:45 am: We walk from the house to the car, which is across the street, about ten feet away from my front door. On the way, I have a contraction and get down on all fours on the sidewalk. In the middle of South Philly, people!
2 am: We get to the hospital. I don’t remember the ride at all. I stop in the lobby of the hospital and get down on all fours again, this time on a bench. No shame at this point, no shame.
2:05 am: We arrive back at the PETU. The nurse tells me that I need to be on the fetal monitor for one half hour and that if I move and the monitor loses the baby’s heartbeat, I need to start all over again for another half an hour. Basically, she’s telling me I have to keep still for an entire half hour.
2:06-2:36 am: Holy shit.
3 am: The midwife comes in and checks my cervix. I’m 6 centimeters dilated. The room cheers. All except for me, who barely registers what the hell is going on.
3:15 am: They transfer me to labor and delivery.
4 am: Still no epidural. After every few contractions I wimper, “Why isn’t she here yet?” By she, I mean the anesthesiologist. She was administering another epidural somewhere else on the floor. Then that patient’s blood pressure went haywire, so the anesthesiologist had to chill with her for a while. Every few minutes the midwife checks Baby’s heartbeat. The rest of the time the midwife just chills in the room with me while I labor. I was surprised because I did not think doctors or midwives stuck around like that.
4:45 am: The anesthesiologist arrives. Praise be! She gives me the epidural. I’ve heard horror stories about epidural administration, but compared to the pain I’m in, getting the epidural is awesome.
5 am: The edipural kicks in. I breathe. Now, I had in mind to “try” to have a natural childbirth. But I changed my mind pretty quickly once the bad-ass contractions set in. You au-natural ladies, I admire you. But next time? Epidural all the way for me.
5-7 am: I rest. No sleep, but I’m blissfully zoned out.
7 am: The midwife checks me and I’m over 9 centimeters dilated. Sha-bam!
8:00 am: One more check before shift change. I’m declared almost ready to push.
8:15 am: A new midwife arrives and I start pushing. Contrary to childbirth lore, I can still feel when it’s time to push, despite having an epidural.
8:30 am: I start running a fever. Because my water broke before labor they’re worried the fever is a sign of infection. This means that Colette will have to go to the NICU after she’s born and we’ll both have to get antibiotics.
8:45 am: The midwife wants to do an episiotomy. She says Colette’s head is just sort of stuck. My doula tells me to hold out. I listen to the doula.
8:58 am: The midwife says, “Listen, I’m just going to do the episiotomy anyway.”
9:01 am: It works! Colette shoots out faster than a speeding bullet. It’s crazy how fast she comes out after the episiotomy.
Almost exactly 12 hours after my water broke, the world has a new little girl in it.
I say, “Oh my God, my baby, it’s my baby,” and “I love you so much,” over and over again.
Tim doesn’t say a word, but tears roll down his face.
Because she is here. After all of our longing and waiting and wishing, she is finally, finally here.