John Paul’s Birth Story, Installment 3
Okay, let’s just get this thing done, shall we? It’s like the perfect ending to a 41-week pregnancy…and perhaps the lengthiest non-celebrity birth story currently gracing the internets.
So acupressure. It works.
I waddled from my relaxation/mental anguish sesh freshly contracting, but still wary of these relatively ‘painless’ Braxton Hicks which had been taunting me for weeks on end. I didn’t remember having them with Joey’s pregnancy, but they were frequent visitors this time around, and they never failed to raise and then dash my hopes in a vicious cycle that always began with me on the elliptical machine for an inappropriate amount of time and ended with a nightly wallowing session at Mickey D’s, my head buried in a vanilla soft serve cone, weeping softly.
I was not going to be deterred so easily this time though. Upon arriving home, I insisted on marching briskly around the backyard while Dave grilled dinner, afraid that if I did sit down/stop moving for any amount of time, the magic muscle spasms would dissipate and I would be pregnant forever. Like an elephant or a manatee.
I did laps around my mother in law on the back patio, asking her about her flight and apologizing profusely for the absence of a second grandchild upon whom to dote. Since she is the epitome of good-natured midwestern charm, she simply smiled and told me that this baby was coming in God’s time, and not a moment sooner.
I must hide my feelings towards her at that moment in the darkness of my heart. (Especially in light of the 30 meals she cooked (mostly from scratch) and stocked into my freezer before the end of her stay. Mom: holy. Jenny: not so much)
We eventually sat down to dinner, I on my birth ball and everyone else civilized-like, in chairs. Obviously my contractions subsided the moment I lowered my heft, and I wept bitter tears into my grilled pineapple.
We finished dinner, slammed Joey in bed and imposed on mom’s good and exhausted nature to babysit while we made an ice cream run. Once in the car, I confided to Dave that the contractions had stopped and that I would be needing to ‘eat my feelings,’ hence the urgent need for frozen dairy.
We ate our fatty mcfatterson custard sundaes on a bench near the river by our gym. And then we walked. Up and down the river, through the gym parking lot, and right smack into our fav kid’s club nanny and the most frequent commentator on the state of my cervix.
As Jody fired questions as to interior baby’s whereabouts, I hung my head in shame. No, still no baby…and no I hadn’t been to the gym that day. I just couldn’t face another round of dilation jeopardy. Lucky me, we still got to exchange gynecological pleasantries, and this time with both our husbands present. At 9 pm. With ice cream on my maternity tank.
At this point the contractions had returned, but I was cynically hardening my heart against them. We got home, jumped in bed, and I promptly began to time the little devils on my phone.
10 minutes apart. 7 minutes apart. 14 minutes apart. 8 minutes apart.
around 11:30 or so I decided that ‘laboring’ in the bathroom with my birth ball would probably be more effective than lying in bed cursing at my cell phone, so I grabbed a favorite novel and holed up for the next hour or so while Dave packed our bag (which had already been packed for a month.)
By 1 am it was clear that we were dealing with real live labor, though I still felt so ‘fine’ in between contractions that I was highly skeptical. Joey’s labor started with a bang (well, a gush. Ew.) and went 90 miles an hour the whole time. This was just too … manageable.
After a relatively pleasant 25 minute car trip with only 2 (dammit) real contractions throughout, (and two different airings of my favorite overplayed song of the moment on 2 different radio stations)
we arrived at the hospital and informed the intake nurse that we were in labor. She eyed my calm and collected appearance and raised an eyebrow as she pushed the intake form across the desk, no doubt looking forward to sending another rookie back into the night.
I obligingly donned my mid-calf length (is this some hot new trend in medical couture?) gown and promptly had a painful-ish contraction that required somewhat more attention than I’d been giving them so far, causing nurse doubtful to double take. But again, no sooner had it passed then I felt ‘fine’ again…at least as fine as 200 lbs in an assless paisley gown at 2 in the a.m. can feel.
I let her check me and steeled myself for the worst. But she surprised us both, proclaiming me fully effaced and a solid 5 cm.
Calling over her shoulder that she’d get our room ready, she left stunned us in the triage area gaping like idiots and repeating her numerical data in astonishment. How could I be a 5? That was the point at which I’d screamed our drug-seeking code word during Joey’s birth, and a good 12 hours into hard labor at that.
Second born children. That’s all I can say.
And that’s all I can say for tonight as well, as I am quite literally lying on my side nursing a ravenous wolverine cub while typing.
Martyred for your reading pleasure,
We are fated to be best friends forever, if for no other reasons than this birth story and the fact that we share the same favorite overplayed song. I’m sorry if this creeps you out, but it’s just how it’s going to be.
Your New BFF