It has been over a year, but I am finally getting around to writing the Lion’s birthstory (I call him Boots now because he’s my cowboy). I should have done this the day he was born, because now the memories are foggy and the details are not as fresh in my mind, but its important to capture how my second son entered this world.
On June 18, 2008 my mother arrived in New York to be present at the birth of her second grandchild (as seeing that she missed Gadget’s birth because he likes being early). We spent the day grocery shopping, and that afternoon I cooked a mean pot roast. As the dish was cooling, and I got on my computer to finish my new product concepts for work (yes, I was working from home, as an intern – how wonderful was that? But it was only because I was 3 cm dilated and my boss refused to let me come into work that day), I felt crampy and decided to call the doctor.
The doctor recommended I head on over to the hospital to be checked out because my due date was twelve days away. I finished packing my hospital bag, and asked my mom to get ready. Now, in a normal story, the wife calls the husband to tell him his next child in on the way, and he gleefully drops everything and heads straight over. My life is not normal, so instead of calling my Hubby, I EMAILED him to tell him I thought I was in labor, because HE LEFT HIS CELL PHONE AT HOME. Hubby’s summer internship was on the trading floor. This meant he didn’t really have a desk like most jobs. This also meant he did not have a work phone, or frequent access to his email. I did not really worry, because it was not as if I was having contractions two minutes apart, so I waited while my mother fixed herself a tupperware container of pot roast so that she could eat dinner at the hospital.
Our wonderful childcare provider, known on this blog as Marina Poppins, stayed at home with Gadget, and my mom and I took a taxi to the hospital. Everyone checking into the maternity ward that day was hugely pregnant, yet calm. So much NOT like the movies. I was given a nice sized room, and after my first examination the doctor told me I was already 5 cm (the goal is to get to 10), and that the baby would be here in within an hour! Woohoo! An hour?! Really?!! I was glad to hear that and began calling friends (what was I thinking?) to share the good news.
By now, I thought, it would be great if my husband were here. So I called the only other person I knew that worked at his job, his HR manager. My voicemail was something to the sort that I was nine months pregnant, possibly in labor and if she could just maybe let him know, perhaps, as soon as possible, that would be great! She later told me sent went flying out onto the trading floor searching for Hubby, but thankfully, he had already left to head home. Marina Poppins told him we were at the hospital, so apparently, he too, fixed himself a container of pot roast to bring along.
After the doctor and nurses had me all setup with an IV, baby heart monitor and contraction monitor, the waiting began. The doctor reiterated that since this was my second, and because I was already 5cm, the baby would be here in an hour! That was great news, I was stoked. Hubby had arrived by then, and he and my mom helped themselves to their tupperware containers filled with delicious pot roast, which I never even got to taste. Hubby whipped out his laptop, and I thought, I know this man did not just bring his computer to work on. He insisted it was for browsing baby names because we had not yet selected one. I okayed use of the computer ONLY for baby name searches. Me “David,” Hubby, “no.” Me “Isaiah,” Hubby, “no.” Me “Israel,” Hubby, “no.” And so on went the night.
Remember how I said I was stoked at the idea of having the baby in an hour? Well, at 6 PM, 7 PM, 8 PM, 9 PM and 10 PM when the doctor kept coming back to check on me, AND THE BABY STILL WAS NOT HERE, I started to think he was telling a tale.
I was very adamant that I was not going to have an epidural, so those five hours were spent very uncomfortably. The IV made me have to pee every ten minutes, which is such a chore when you have several monitors that have to be removed, and then reapplied everytime you shift. Eventually, the doctor broke my water, which was awesome! The contractions transitioned from manageable to OUT OF CONTROL. I think the sound of moaning is just too weird, so I would say “Ow, ow, ow, OOOOWWW!”
My mom was so uncomfortable seeing me in such pain. Hubby stood by my side and didn’t pressure me to get pain relief, but the doctor wasn’t so kind. He poked his head in the door and told me to call him when I was ready for the epidural. I WAS NOT HAVING AN EPIDURAL. I didn’t have one with Gadget, and therefore I didn’t need one now. Period.
But… I did remember there was a lil som’ som’ they could slip into my IV to take the edge off. After requesting it several times, the nurses kept telling me that it would make the baby groggy if he or she was born within the next hour. I reminded them that the doctor said that over five hours ago, and I was willing to take that risk. I can honestly say that my threshold for pain is very high (as evidenced by the fact that lived with acute and chronic gallbladder disease for over a year before I went to the ER to have my gallbladder removed), but I also require more drugs than the average person to feel relief. When I go to the dentist I get “extra” novacaine. Smiley face.
For the next few hours, I waddled back and forth from the bathroom after trying to time my bathroom breaks inbetween the contractions. I think I was a little out of it, because Hubby and mom were so sleepy that I started calling my bridesmaids. I just wanted someone to stay up and chat with me. What was I thinking?? Sometime in the early morning the doctor came in and said that he wanted to give me pitocin to make my contractions more regular, and stronger. STRONGER. Oh my Lord, I didn’t think I could take it.
My body was starting to feel like it needed to push but I was not fully effaced, so if I did push, I could tear something that was NEVER supposed to tear. So, after a private conversation with Hubby, I decided to get an epidural. Now, for some reason, I thought I would die if I got an epidural and it was not medically necessary. I’d seen some horrible documentary about this family who went to the hospital to have a baby and the mom never came back home after bacteria got into her epidural.
This was bad news for the anesthesiologist because he coughed while inserting the epidural. Please keep in mind my hormones were raging and I did not want this drug in my body. I was supposed to be as still as possible, without talking, but I had to stop and ask him if he had a cold and if he should even be at work that day. I think I even had the nerve to say, “Shouldn’t you go home?” I was not trying to leave my children motherless because of bacterial meningitis.
He assured me he was fine. Apparently, he was in-training because he did not put it in correctly, or this was just another time when I needed more drugs than the average person. My doctor paged him to come back, and this time his supervisor re-inserted my epidural. I was not liking this at all.
Well, obviously, God knows what’s best for us, even the things we cannot perceive. The epidural relaxed me and I quickly dilated the remaining centimeters. They warned me I may start to itch. I asked them if they meant itch like-a-crack-head itch, and they wouldn’t give me a direct answer to that particular question, but let’s just say I felt like Tyrone Biggums. They gave me a catheter since I couldn’t tell that my bladder was overflowing and immediately after that I was fully effaced and dilated.
As the doctor got prepped for me to push, baby’s heart rate dropped dangerously low and he yelled, “WE’RE GONNA DO A PULL!!” A pull?! a pull?! What in the world is a pull?! I hadn’t even given one push yet, wait, wait, please WAIT! Well, at this point I had no say in what was happening because the health of my baby was at risk. In the back of my head I knew what he meant by pull. He was so experienced at it that he rejected the forceps the nurse handed him, and sprinted out and back in with HIS OWN forceps. He had a special pair that personally belonged to him. He told me to push, and he guided baby through the birth canal. I pushed with all I had, because I was just thinking, how can anyone breath stuck halfway between the womb and the outside world?
The doctor told me to gently push again. The doctor realized baby was “sunny-side up,” or face up, and that was why baby took so long to drop. The orientation of the body, face up, makes things a bit more difficult. After the second push, baby came out. I was so happy baby was fine and breathing, we forgot to ask the sex. “It’s a boy!” My mother was convinced the Lion was a girl when she saw all the hair on his head, but my children are just blessed like that.
I couldn’t see what was happening, but Hubby informed me he performed an episiotomy in order to make enough room for the forceps. When I heard that after the fact, boy was I glad for the second epidural. Hubby and I had not settled on a name, so right there, as they were calling out the time of his birth (5:38 AM), Hubby said “so, how about the Lion. And I know you like the name Elijah.” And so, he was named.
When my mother stepped outside of the delivery room she witnessed the doctor curse out the lead anesthesiologist for her team making a mistake the first time, and for not coming quickly enough the second time. I guess he had paged her and her response time was too leisurely for him. Thank you, Dr. Doctor.
After all the Lion’s vitals were checked out (he weighed in at 7 lbs 6 oz), all the nurses and staff left the room and my Lion ate his first meal. I was so joyous that he was here safely, and that I was alive. Two more miracles to thank God for.