I was swimming in my parent's pool at 9:30pm on Father's Day, which this year was June 19th, 2011. I had experienced Braxton Hicks contractions all day, so they weren't painful or even particularly noticeable. In fact, the time that I was swimming in the pool I didn't feel any contractions at all. My husband wanted me to enjoy this day as much as possible, and also to get as much exercise as I could so I would dilate more effectively. After all, on Monday I would get a final check up with my OB-GYN and then labor would be induced.
So I happily enjoyed my day and my swim, thinking that the next day I would be pregnant no longer, and my baby Julian would be in my arms.
At 10:30pm we were still all laughing and having a good time. I stood up to get ready to leave and I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. I felt myself go pale, then slowly I uttered: "I think I don't feel very good. I want to go home and rest..."
Everyone stopped talking and fixed their eyes on me. They would later tell me my expression was completely different to my usual smile, and that all the color had left my face. It was weird enough that I had complained that I wasn't feeling well, especially when I'd been so active and happy during my entire pregnancy, but my facial expression gave away exactly how much pain I had experienced.
My cousin Hiram took everything from my arms and walked me to my car, with my husband following close behind. My husband asked me what I was feeling... the only way I can describe it is a sharp pain in my lower back, and an overwhelming desire to go to the bathroom. Colorful, I know, but that is how I felt. He asked me why I hadn't tried to go to the bathroom at my parent's place. I couldn't answer then, because another deep, sharp pain attacked my lower back. I took deep breaths and replied: "because I didn't feel like going to the bathroom THEN, I feel like going to the bathroom NOW!" He smiled and continued driving. Luckily, we live close to my parents place.
Once home, I put everything away in its place and climbed upstairs to take a shower. During the shower, the pains started getting worse, and there was less and less time in between. My husband helped me dry myself and get dressed and I called my doctor. The contractions were less than two minutes apart and incredibly painful, but he still told me it could take hours until I was ready to have my baby and that it was better for me to wait at home. I called my mom (who is also a doctor) and she told me the same thing. So I laid on my left side and braced myself for a long, sleepless night. My husband fell asleep quickly, not before telling me to wake him if I needed him. It was already 11:15pm.
Suddenly, I felt amazingly, indescribably bad. I quickly woke my husband and cried: "I need to get up and go to the bathroom now!" He got up and helped me. I hadn't put on underwear for some reason and it turned out to be a good thing, because once I was on my feet, a bloody thing came out of me and a gush of blood ran down my legs. My husband looked horrified for all of five seconds and then whirred into action. He helped me go to the bathroom and cleaned me up. Then he asked me: "What do you want to do?!" At this point, I was lying on my side in bed once again, a very painful contraction came then and, amazingly, my body PUSHED on its own. I looked at him, frightened, and said: "I want to go to the hospital. I don't care if I have to wait for hours to deliver my baby! I'd rather be there, safe, than here wondering what'll happen!"
So out we went. He called my parents and they said they'd be right behind us. He called my doctor, who said the Hospital would call him (he later said he told my husband to call him later) when we got there.
I'm not sure what happened on the drive there, but I found it mercifully fast. Now the contractions were every minute to 30 seconds, very very painful, and every two contractions my body would push on its own. My husband kept telling me things I can't really recall. I was there, but at the same time I wasn't. It was as if I was asleep in a way... I could barely open my eyes. I was bathed in sweat, even though I was cold, and all I could think about was my baby. Was he safe? Was he ok?
We made it to the Emergency Room and the idiot they have outside told my husband to get a wheelchair and wheel me in. Then he proceeded to walk away. My husband did just that, as I tried my best to climb down from our car and sit down on the wheelchair. Once inside the ER, he immediately drove me in, and one nurse asked: "Is it her turn?" I was completely shocked. Couldn't she see this was a REAL emergency?! I gasped: "I wasn't on the list! I just got here! I'm having my baby!" She gave me a condescending look and asked me: "Are you here because you have some pain?"
I gave her a withering look. "No. I'm here because I am already PUSHING!"
That got them moving. I answered all the questions they asked me the best way I could (gasping sometimes, whispering other times...) and they wheeled me to the OB-GYN room in the ER. My mom got there then and, although I love my husband and was glad to have him there, I was ECSTATIC that my mommy was there with me. The nurse connected me to the monitor (Julian's heartbeat sounded fine) and they could see clearly that the contractions were intense. At one point, mom said: "See? That contraction was softer than the others!" To which I replied: "OR SO YOU SAY!" My husband, my mom and the nurse burst out laughing. I couldn't really see the humor then, but I can kind of see it now... kinda!
The ER doctor checked me out and declared that I was 6cm dilated. The nurse gave him a funny look behind his back. He said I would take hours to give birth and that it would be painful. I asked if they had epidural or something to which they all laughed and he said: "With much pain, you will deliver your baby." My mom told me he said that, I didn't hear him. If I had I probably would have insulted him for being so uncaring. He walked out and the nurse said: "He says it will take her hours, I think it will be a lot sooner. You are going to the Delivery Room right now!"
So they took me there. I was holding on to my mom the whole way, because my husband and my dad had to go deal with the hospital admission. I held on to her until they told me she couldn't go any further. I turned to her and said: "Mom, I love you... SO MUCH..." She smiled, kissed my forehead and assured me she loved me too.
It was 1:00am. Once inside the Delivery Room, they asked me if I could stand up and take off my clothes so they could put that ugly thing you have to wear... I did stand up and I tried to be brave and strong. I didn't scream, I just grunted once in awhile when my body pushed. They kept asking me questions, which I answered but now I can't recall. One of them grabbed my arm to put in the IV, another grabbed my other arm to take a blood sample. They both told me to hold my breath as they prepared to pinch me with their needles. I didn't feel a thing... all I felt was the intense contractions breaking havoc in my body. I pushed again, this time deliberately. My cousin Grechi had told me that, unless the nurses said otherwise, pushing would make me feel better. And it did!
One of the nurses pursed her lips and asked the other: "Have you checked how far along is she? She's pushing already..."
They checked me and looked at one another. It was 1:15am. "She is fully dilated! Which idiot down there said she was only 6cm along?! Did you call the doctor?"
I assumed they meant MY doctor, but they called the OB-GYN that was due to work the ER that night, which was not the same idiot downstairs (thank GOD!)
A long contraction came and I pushed once again. My water broke at 1:20am. A nurse said: "There's meconium in the water..."
My heart sank. I knew exactly what that meant, but I asked anyways. She explained that meconium is the baby's first discharge. I know that if the baby breathes meconium, it could harm his lungs, other organs or even his blood. But I didn't have time to dwell on it: I asked if my husband could come in. At that moment the doctor came in and allowed my husband to come in as well.
The doctor explained to me how I was supposed to push and when. He assured me: "Three pushes and it will all be over!"
I nodded. All of a sudden he got very serious and said: "Nurse, could you please get a gauze?" She did. He said: "Would you scratch my nose for me?"
My husband snorted.
"Isn't it something that once you get ready and all THEN you get the itch? I mean really..." the doctor continued talking.
I knew there was something really funny about the whole situation. I told myself to remember to laugh later.
The first contraction came, and I pushed. The doctor told me I'd done great, and that he was almost there. My husband looked down and then up at me again. He smiled and held my hand and told me how brave I was.
The second contraction came, and I pushed hard. I felt something down there tear and I cried out in pain and shock. The nurse told me not to scream, because I could hurt my throat. The doctor said the baby was almost there and my husband, after having looked down himself, told me not to stop, that the baby really WAS almost there.
The third contraction came and with a final push the monitors went silent. My baby gurgled, then cried.
Just like that, my pregnancy was over.
To be continued...