the moment that my life changed forever.
Alternately titled: “Honey, would you mind terribly if we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts to get coffee?”
My water broke on a Sunday night. Tom and I spent Saturday night watching the Bourne Identity. I spent Sunday shopping with my mom. I had woken up that morning in a panic that I had absolutely no newborn clothes, only 0 to 3 month clothes. So off to TJ Maxx we went after church! While we were there, my mom kept telling me that I looked like I was in labor. My belly was tightening and “getting pointy” according to my mom. She kept telling me that I was in labor but it didn’t hurt.
After shopping, I went to the gym and walked a 5K on the treadmill. Hard core, I know. Just don’t ask me when I last set foot in the gym m’kay?
Tom and I settled down to watch the Bourne Supremacy. With 5 minutes left in the movie, Aubryn got a really bad case of the hiccups. They were so bad and she was so low that I had to get up off the couch. I walked around for a bit and just as I sat back down on the couch. Pop! My water broke. It was 10:55 p.m.
Being the first time mom that I was, I wasn’t sure whether my water had really broken or, ahem, something else had happened. After I had to change my yoga pants twice, I had pretty well confirmed that my water had indeed broken.
Now, in our childbirth classes, the nurse told us over and over and over again that first babies take 12 to 15 hours. My secretary, my cleaning lady, everyone told me to labor at home as long as possible. Many said these things in front of Tom – that was the first mistake.
When my water broke, Tom announced that he was going to bed to get some sleep since it was going to be a long night for him. Long night for him? He advised me that I should do the same. I lasted about 5 minutes in bed.
My contractions did not start until after my water broke but they started almost immediately after. As soon as they started, they were coming fast and strong. Let’s just say that with every contraction, my body was clearing itself out – from both ends. I spent the first two hours that I was in labor on the floor in my bathroom.
Around 1:00 a.m., we decided that it was time to call the doctor. I was physically unable to make the call so Tom did it. He gave the relevant information to the answering service and we waited. And we waited. And we waited. The doctor never called back.
At 2:00 a.m., we called again. The answering service had taken our number down wrong. Some unsuspecting person got a call from my O.B. at 1:00 a.m. Oops. The doctor told us to come on in but that it would probably be a little while since this was a first baby and all.
I hadn’t finished packing my bag yet so while Tom finished packing my bag, I tried to get myself dressed. Not easy. Not. Easy. I think that getting sneakers on my feet at that moment was just about the hardest thing that I have ever done.
We finally got into the car and on our way around 2:45 or so. By the time that we got into the car, my contractions were one on top of another. I remember telling Tom that I thought that I was going to die. And, I really did believe that I was going to die.
As we came down the hill from our house into town, Tom turned to me and said “Honey, would you mind terribly if we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee?” I cannot exactly remember how I responded but I am sure that it was not nice.
By the time we were on the highway going towards the hospital, I had my feet up on the dashboard and I was pushing. I couldn’t stop. I just had this overwhelming, uncontrollable urge to push. So I did.
We pulled into the parking lot of the Emergency Room (when you come in after hours, you have to come in through the ER) and before I was even out of the car, a very nervous looking security guard was putting me into a wheelchair and taking me upstairs to Labor and Delivery. I mean, honestly, people come in with head wounds and severed limbs and they FREAK OUT in the ER when a woman comes through who is in labor! We walked across the threshold of the ER at 3:20 a.m.
When I got upstairs, my nurse, Denise, asked me if I wanted an epidural. I believe that my answer was “I can’t do this without one and I think that I am going to die.” She sent me into the bathroom to get changed and told me to come back out so that she could check me.
I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet to get changed. BIG MISTAKE. I had the uncontrollable urge to push again. I remember telling Tom that if he did not get me up off of there that I was afraid that I was going to give birth on the toilet.
Tom and the nurse got me into the bed and the nurse checked me. She looked at me with a look of panic and said “no epidural for you, your baby’s head is crowning but DON’T PUSH.” At that point I began to panic. NO. EPIDURAL? That was NOT my plan. I begged, I pleaded but to no avail. There was no epidural in my future.
Another nurse came in and they were trying frantically to keep me from pushing. They were trying to distract me, trying to have me pant, trying to give my doctor time to get there.
My doctor walked in and pulled on a gown just in time to catch Aubryn. I can distinctly remember, with the last push, thinking to myself “This is it! I am about to become a MOM!” My doctor put Aubryn onto my stomach turned to me and said “You need to have another. You were born to have babies.” Really? I can remember thinking that this was just about the most ridiculous thing that one could say to a woman who had literally just birthed a baby.
Aubryn Elizabeth entered this world at 3:39 a.m. on January 28, 2008 at 6 pounds, 10 ounces and 20 inches long. She was (and still is) the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen.
We had 19 minutes to spare from the time that I entered the ER until she was born. Yes, I am glad that Tom chose not to stop at Dunkin’ Donuts!