More Than Twenty Years Ago Today

I woke up at 8 a.m.  I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor because our home was under construction and everything was topsy turvy.  I had some discomfort.   No real pain.  Felt pretty darn good considering I was nine months pregnant.  And large.    I went to the bathroom and when I walked back out to the living room I looked at the floor where the mattress was and contemplated going back to sleep.  I looked over the top of my enormous belly and thought better of getting back on the floor.  It was Saturday morning, I was exhausted from picking berries the day before and making jam all evening.  I thought I was going to go back to sleep.  I seriously considered just lying back down when I suddenly had a pain.

One pain should not necessarily throw one in to labor assumption.  I did not seriously think labor had started.  It was a pain.  But the doctor told me not to dawdle if labor started.  Get to the hospital immediately.   He did not think I would have a long labor.

The husband had chosen the night before to get angry with me.  Likely for no other reason than the stress of waiting for the baby.  Like his wait was something more uncomfortable than mine.  I could not quietly wake him up.  Nor could I lean over.  So I kicked the mattress.  Not in anger.  In an inability to do anything else.  I suggested he wake up and probably get up.  “What for?”  He was up just as late helping with the jam.  Or eating it.  I forget which.   I told him we should probably get to the hospital.  Then there was another pain.  It was probably 8:20 a.m. by now.   Picture him jumping up and rushing like mad to get ready and whisk us off to the hospital.

Picture it.

But that’s not what he did.  He sat up, made his way to the bathroom.  Got dressed, shaved.  Shaved.

Made coffee.


Meanwhile I have been packed for weeks.  I wake the children up (we were a blended family).  Called the stand by baby sitter to head over.   Husband gets himself something to eat.  I got him out of the house by 9 a.m.   He was not a fast mover.   Hurry was not in his vocabulary.   But the pains, call them contractions if you want, but they are pains and from the one pain at 8 a.m to now-had changed to a near crippling pain.   Contraction.   A never ending contraction.   Pain.

When we got in the car I tried to sit down.  Interesting.  I could not.  I flashed back to almost five years ago when I had my first child and was on the way to the doctor for a regular appointment.  I couldn’t sit then and I wasn’t in labor, I had to “sit” on my knees looking out the back of the car.

And history repeats itself.  I looked like I was trying to get something out of the back seat.  Husband did not think I should sit like that.  I told him to get the car moving.  Now.  And fast.  We were about twenty eight miles from the hospital.  I knew the distance had suddenly become 400 miles.   He obliged me and started to drive.  The speed limit.

I suggested he stop and get gas at the same time that I suggested he not stop and that he should stop following the laws of the road and MOVE.  He decided not to get gas.  And he decided to take the longest route to the hospital from our house.  I am not kidding.  When we approached a little town in our path, the speed limit decreased to 35 mph and we were suddenly behind a car going less than 35 mph.   I made another suggestion.  Pass that car.  And go.  Now.  He actually argued with me.  When I finally convinced him to pass the car, because of the way I was sitting on my knees and looking backwards I could see the driver.   I recognized a friend of mine.  She did not see me and later when I told her about passing her she told me she thought it was a drunk who had not made it home Friday night and was in a hurry to get home before getting in trouble.  Once we got on the other side of the little blurb he did get back up to the speed limit.  I suspected we did not have time to dawdle and I finally convinced him to MOVE IT NOW.  He did. Until he got up behind  a car in a no passing zone.  I understand safety.  I really do.  But when he slowed back down again I nearly jumped out of the car to run to the hospital.

I begged him to pass.  He wouldn’t.  Calmly (I’m sure) I suggested he put on his emergency flashers and honk at the fellow.  He did as I asked and the poor fella in front of us looked in his mirror and SURELY could see this enormous woman in his mirror.  He sped up and hauled ass.  There was absolutely no place for him to pull over for about 2 miles.  When he did and I was still looking out the rear of the car I waved at him.  He waved back.  I don’t think he wanted to deliver a baby either.

We got to town.   Remember, I lived out in the country, so “got to town” means we literally got to town.  He stopped at a stop light.  I could not believe it.  There was also a fire department at this stop light.  I told him to GO.  He, again and unbelievably, argued with me.  Now when I say argue I don’t mean he was being mean or disregarding how I felt.  What I mean is, he was just being stupid.  I told him the damn firemen would totally forgive him for running this light right now!   He did.  There were no police about to escort us the last mile to the hospital.

I instructed him to pull up to the emergency room door DO NOT PARK IN THE PARKING LOT.  I got out of the car, he came around to help.  A nurse came running out with a wheel chair.  Just like in the movies!  Because, she told me, by the way he was helping his hugely pregnant wife made her think I had a broken arm.  Really?  Anyway she took me in the chair and told husband to park the car.  I have no idea how I sat in the chair.  But I told her I should walk.  She told me I should not.  Then move lady!   She calmly walked the length of the hospital to the service doors and took me up to maternity.   Within 30 seconds of hitting that door I had changed in to the required wardrobe of maternity and within the next 20 seconds found out I was dilated to ten.  The nurse told me not to hurry because the doctor wasn’t there yet.  Oh, okay, I shall take my time.   She was very pleasant about it though.   And I don’t know how he did it but husband parked the car and arrived in my room in 2 minutes flat to have the nurse ask him if he wanted to be part of the delivery.  He hesitated for about ten seconds in a total panic.  By which time the nurse said she did not have time to wait so he will just have to wait in the waiting area and I was rushed to the delivery room.

Yes, back in the day, you did not have a birthing suite.  You labored in one room, delivering in another, then went to your room.

I went where they took me.  And waited.

They got me ready.  Okay honestly I was already ready and did not need any assistance.  The nurse pleaded with me to wait, don’t push, the doctor is not here.   Like the dutiful and ridiculously idiotic people pleaser I was at the time I said “okay”.

The doctor walked in the door.

And baby girl came in to the world.

Eight minutes flat after I arrived at the hospital.  One hour and 38 minutes after I woke up.

9:38 a.m.

Her little plump self weighed in at 9 lbs. 9 oz.   She was, and is, beautiful.   They decided not to tell her dad yet.   When they had me ready to roll out of the room they took baby girl the other way.  I was at the other end of the hall when they wheeled the baby and all of her adorableness up to her father who I could see.  He leaned over her, reached out for her and said “hello honey”.  I loved that moment.

When we got settled in the room it wasn’t but a half hour or so later I could hear someone at the nurse’s desk inquiring about me.  Then I clearly heard my sister exclaiming “ALREADY?”    I love that moment too.

Happy Birthday Baby Head.  I love you!