Last Monday F told me she hadn’t felt good most of the day and was having irregular contractions again, but neither of us thought anything of it. I think we both wondered if she would make the induction date and thought it was very possible he might arrive on his own the following weekend. We texted each other Monday night for a while, and I went to bed around 11. She baked a cake. Next thing I know, I was awakened by the phone ringing at 4:11 am Tuesday morning. I didn’t get to it in time, but then my cell phone started ringing. My heart was thumping b/c I knew there were very few reasons for phone calls at 4am. I answered my cell phone, and R, F’s husband, told me that they were on the way to the hospital. Like a moron, I responded, “Really?” (hey, it was 4am) and said that we’d see them there ASAP. I calmly told J that F was in labor. We jumped out of bed and got ready.
We didn’t dawdle, but we didn’t exactly set any speed records for getting ready because we both assumed we’d have a few hours of labor before us (F’s previous labor was 6 hours). We were on the road by 5:30 and at the hospital by about 5:45 (J did set a few speed records on the interstate).
I think it’s safe to say that neither of us was prepared for what we were about to see and experience. You see, when we arrived, F was already 7-8 cm dilated. She had been at the hospital for only about 15-20 minutes longer than us. F was in obvious pain, and they couldn’t give her an epidural until her labs returned. We called only our moms and tried to make ourselves as inconspicuous as possible because the situation felt awkward and uncomfortable. I’m not squeamish. I knew that labor is a messy, painful business (I’ve seen The Miracle of Life after all), but it was shocking to walk in and find F in active labor and at the height of contraction pain. All along, the only thing she had said she wanted for labor was an epidural. It is awful watching someone in so much pain, knowing that it’s because of you. It was so stressful that at times, I wanted to flee the room and throw up in the bathroom. But I didn’t. I wanted to touch her and reassure her, hand her ice chips if she wanted them, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing so, as if I would be intruding.
F progressed rapidly to 9cm, and the nurse announced that delivery would be soon. They broke her water and discovered that it contained meconium. The doctor told us that she would cut the baby’s cord and try not to agitate him too much so he wouldn’t cry as much and ingest the meconium before she could have him suctioned. F was able to get her epidural and then the doctor started making worried comments about the baby’s heart rate being lower than she’d like. She even mentioned an emergency c-section if things didn’t improve quickly. At that point, I really was ready to throw up because I felt so helpless at the thought that our baby boy was in distress or having a problem and was so scared and terrified.Finally, F was ready to push, and the doctor told her that a c-section was still a possibility and to push a hard as she could to get him out as quickly as she could. Three pushes later, Daniel made his appearance. It was 6:48 am and F had been in labor for about 3 hours total. He cried a little, the doctor cut the cord, and the nurses suctioned him thoroughly. They then swaddled him and handed him to me. We have a great picture of me holding him at this point with a somewhat awed and befuddled expression on my face LOL.
F was great. Almost immediately after delivery, she was calm and in obvious relief. Labor and delivery had progressed so rapidly that she hadn’t torn or anything. Not 30 minutes later she told me that she hoped we wanted to pursue a sibling project with her in a few years! Amazing! And Daniel’s head hadn’t been compressed and looked beautiful.
I didn’t cry. I almost did though. I felt so relieved and happy, and he was so beautiful. The nurse gave him a bath (which he hated) and told me he scored an 8 & 9 on his Apgar tests, which relieved me greatly.
I still can’t get over how fast the birth happened. I don’t think it went the way the four of us intended or thought it would go. I think we all thought we would ease into labor instead of being close to delivering almost immediately. I also still haven’t gotten over my worry and fear for Daniel when his heart rate was low. They gave F oxygen during delivery and pronounced Daniel to be perfect, but you better believe I spent some time Googling “fetal distress” and future outcomes. Guess I better get used to worrying about him? I did it when he was in utero, and I guess it will only get worse!