Julia's Birth Day
I woke up and knew it was time. There were strange things going on in my nether regions, and in my abdomen, a slow burning ache that would come and go in waves. It was seven a.m., a little early to be in labor, but Mother Nature doesn't work on schedules. I turned on the t.v and watched for a bit, knowing contractions could take all day before being really serious. It was rather exciting. Let's see, how many minutes have to be in between these suckers before going to the hospital? About three? Well then I'll just watch the news and. . . CRAP. My contractions were at five minutes already!
I woke up mister grouchy man and told him that things were progressing quickly and perhaps he'd better call in to work. "Ah, we have plenty of time." "No. We don't. Call and tell them your wife is in labor and you won't be able to work today." "We'll see. I think we have plenty of time and I could work a few hours before anything gets serious." "NO. CALL THEM." Do men not understand the wrath of a woman with a tiny human coming out of her vajayjay?! Don't argue with us. Seriously.
We made it to the hospital and after filling out some forms, someone wheel-chaired me up to the fourth floor where I was strapped down to the hospital bed with i.v.'s and monitors. It was cold and the contractions were coming closer, getting stronger. We could see how they looked on the monitor, a black screen with jagged green electric lines. "Hey, look at that!" Hubby kept commenting. "Here comes another one." It didn't want to see. Looking at that machine filled me with panic. The contractions had grown worse, had gotten so one barely separated from the other anymore. I was always trying to catch my breath and started to writhe in bed in pain. It didn't help when my doctor came to check me and ended up breaking my water. "Are you ready for that epidural now?" Yes, yes, I'm ready!
An epidural is an i.v. of pain medication inserted into a major vein in your spine. A little tube is inserted first, then the thin syringe i.v. is placed inside that, and they tape the whole thing to your back to keep it from slipping. It's very dangerous and I was told to sit perfectly still even during contractions. Half an hour later, though, and I am watching the contractions come up on the screen and can't feel a thing. Wheeeeeee! Thank you Jesus!
A few hours later and I'm fully effaced and dilated, meaning, it's time. One nurse's job is to count to ten S-L-O-W-L-Y while I push as hard as I can. I'm told to take a few deep breaths and do it again. Again and again for almost an hour. When the doctor says she can see the top of Julia's head, I'm excited, but tired and worried. Julia's heartbeat had become erratic and a few extra nurses were called in. Finally, after one long push she is out. All the pressure and pain release from my body and I see her: a red, shiny little thing. She's crying; someone snatches her away and takes her to a side table for oxygen, and I'm crying with relief and worry. They take her out of the room for an hour to put her in the oxygen tent, where I am told she is very alert and feisty. Apparently she didn't care for the tent and had reached up a few times to get it out of the way.
Finally they bring her back to me—my little girl with the strawberry hair and beautiful little eyes. Someone's put a tiny pink bow on her scalp and has wrapped her in a flannel blanket. She's so tiny. But she's mine and I love her so much.
I wrote before of how I sang "Just Like a Woman" to Julia in the hospital. I don't know why, but that song kept repeating in my head. Everyone else was singing nursery rhymes to their babies and there I was in the dark of night singing Dylan. It just felt right.