Twas a cold and breezy afternoon when Mommy felt a twinge in her belly. And then another. And another.
Her doctor had been unimpressed with a half-centimeter of dilation after weeks of bouncing on a birthing ball and strolling the aisles of Target to try and move things along, so he took a gander and gave her a goose to get the gears in motion. Mommy had low expectations for his efforts since she’d been doing her damnedest to keep her baby in her belly for months. How could one goose make her waddle?
After having contractions off and on for months, Mommy didn’t want to sound the alarm too soon. No one wants to be the large lady who cries “labor!” So she waited. And counted. And waited some more.
Mommy and Daddy had been expecting their baby girl to arrive every day since Christmas, but Daddy came home that night and said with a chuckle, “if you could keep her in for twenty-four hours, that’d be great. I have a big meeting tomorrow morning.” As Mommy’s belly started to twist and burn, she waited. If she was wrong and this was only false labor, Daddy might miss his meeting for nothing.
At about ten that night, Mommy was tired of counting. She was tired of waiting. She was tired of “blowing away the pain.” So she decided to go to bed. If it hurt too much to sleep, she reasoned, then it was the real deal. She laid down and closed her eyes, telling her husband it was probably nothing. Her belly only burned every eighteen minutes.
A couple hours later, Mommy’s own huffing and puffing woke her up and she looked at the clock. “Okay, wait. Every three minutes? This is it. I’m in labor. Good Lord, when do they stop giving epidurals? Is it when contractions are every five minutes?” Mommy heaved herself out of bed and started pulling on her enormous maternity pants. Daddy looked up sleepily from his pillow.
“What’s going on? Are you okay?”
“Hospital. Right now.”
Mommy huffed and puffed her way to the car and drove herself to the labor and delivery unit near their house. She huffed at stoplights and puffed through (mercifully) empty intersections. Once the nurses confirmed she was in labor she requested an epidural and alerted her husband, in that order. Then she texted the wonderful teachers at her children’s school, who immediately jumped out of bed to come watch the kids so Daddy could head to the hospital.
While waiting for her husband, Mommy was informed by the staff that another woman had arrived slightly farther along and would need to jump ahead of her in the queue for an epidural. Mommy said some disparaging things about the other woman and various nurses, but had to wait anyway. A nurse pumped her IV full of pain medication to keep her quiet. Apparently, the nurse wanted Mommy really quiet, so there are scores of hospital forms signed by a hallucinating woman who offered her autograph with a sweaty finger rather than a pen.
Daddy arrived and was immediately sent away so the epidural could be placed. For some reason the hospital thinks watching a giant needle being stabbed in Mommy’s back is more traumatizing for her husband than the horror show of birth itself.
Thus the most thorough epidural Mommy had experienced took effect, and she slowly waded out of her narcotic haze. She was still sleepy and a bit out of breath when it was time to push, which complicated matters a bit. Having absolutely no feeling below her bosom, she was unsure if she was pushing at all, let alone correctly. And she had trouble holding her breath for more than a few seconds without feeling as though she’d pass out. Finally, the doctor told her to push her hardest, because otherwise he’d have to get his scalpel; baby girl’s shoulders were stuck. On his signal Mommy pushed, Daddy pulled her forward, and two nurses jumped on her belly to push that baby out. It turns out that if Mommy is low on oxygen, Baby is also low on oxygen, so her eviction was a priority.
And that is the story of Mary Elizabeth’s glorious entrance into the world. She was early, but later than her brothers, and not enormous like the ultrasound techs predicted. Mary is delicate and sweet, and so far very low maintenance. Her brothers adore her, but need to be reminded how fragile and sleepy “Baby Sister” is when they get overexcited.
The Davises are glad she’s here, and elated she’s healthy and strong.
The adventure continues!