Editor’s note: Christopher kept a handwritten journal while we were in the hospital. I asked him to jot down a few notes for this very purpose, but he took it to another level. #journalists That journal, which he has continued sporadically since we came home, is how we both remember this experience so vividly—and will be able to look back on it in such detail.
Some of this might be too much information, so if you are bothered by talk of bodily functions and things of that nature, maybe just skip this post…
Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013
Our friends Chris and Sarah were coming over for lunch. Sarah arrived right on time; in fact, she was ringing our doorbell around noon, and we were pulling in the driveway after grocery shopping that morning. Chris, however, was late; he didn’t walk through the back gate until close to 1:15 p.m.
We brought the dogs (Dexter and Sarah’s pooch, Ranger) inside and planned to simultaneously get lunch on the grill and show everyone around the house.
I was having a Braxton Hicks contraction and went to the bathroom. I had to pee, and I thought I had to poop, but I couldn’t. I lifted my bum off the toilet seat and felt a gush of water. My water broke.
Meanwhile, Christopher was in the kitchen with Chris and Sarah. He said he would throw the hot dogs on the grill, while I showed Chris and Sarah around the house. I prayed he wouldn’t step outside. I needed to tell him what happened. I needed to not have to walk all over the place leaking amniotic fluid.
Christopher must have realized that I had been in the bathroom a bit longer than normal, because he nixed his plans to grill and instead showed Chris and Sarah around the house. I gathered myself in the bathroom, cleaned up as much as possible and pulled on my skirt. I stepped out and down the hall, into the master bedroom, where Christopher and our company were standing. I said something like, “So, my water just broke…” Christopher replied, simply, “Are you serious?”
Chris and Sarah politely and quickly excused themselves. I ventured into the master bathroom to again tend to myself and prepare myself to leave the house. Christopher must have started to tidy up and prepare to leave, too. The house was painfully quiet. I was strangely calm. I think Christopher was, too.
Christopher and I finished packing our hospital bags; we threw in more clothes, knowing we would be there a few more days, our toiletries, our electronics. We were very methodical and deliberate about it. I said something like, “Don’t worry, we’ve got time.” Christopher, on the other hand, was skeptical. It would turn out that he was right.
I wanted to eat so badly. I hadn’t eaten anything since our eggs, bacon and potatoes for breakfast, and Sarah had left behind two brown butter sugar cookies from a new bakery, but I knew I couldn’t because it could interfere with surgery. Christopher, too, wanted to eat. He grabbed a couple of leftover brats out of the fridge, and he threw a couple of Diet Cokes in our bag, along with his procured-earlier-that-morning fantasy football magazine.
As we hopped into the SUV, Christopher sent out a mysterious Facebook message, while I concentrated on remaining calm. We contemplated calling our parents, but we opted to wait until we knew what exactly what was going on. We also wondered which doctor was on call. We prayed that was Dr. LeMay.
We unloaded ourselves and our bags—a rolling suitcase, a canvas tote bag and a pillow—and walked into the main entrance of the hospital, past the reception desk and straight to the elevators. Just as the elevator took off for the Birthing Center on the third floor, I experienced the first of what I can only assume was a real, honest-to-God contraction; it felt like menstrual cramps, rather than just the tightness of the Braxton Hicks contractions. As the door opened, Christopher looked on in sympathy and anticipation.
The moment we walked into the Birthing Center about 2 p.m., Mary directed us to room 343. They knew we were coming; Christopher had called ahead while I was in the bathroom at home.
(Mary, who was with us for delivery and then again one more day, and who has 11 kids of her own, quickly became one of our favorite nurses.)
Mary hooked me up to the monitors and, after a few minutes, declared that nothing much more than a bit of “agitation” was going on. I assured her my water broke. Mary then checked my cervix and revealed I was 3 cm dilated and 100 percent effaced. Whoa! When did that happen?
Another nurse joined the crew and inserted my catheter. I grimaced as she got in and inflated the tiny balloon. Mary put in my IV and started me on lactated ringers, or fluid to keep me hydrated. She also gave me a dose of Bicitra to neutralize my stomach acid in anticipation of surgery.
It wasn’t long before my contractions intensified. I was near tears at some points. They came out of absolute nowhere. And it seemed like they weren’t going to stop.
Mary assured us they were getting the team together.
As it neared 3 p.m., Christopher, who sat in a chair alongside my hospital bed, watched the monitors. My contractions were halfway up the grid. He reassured me that Dr. LeMay, who thankfully was the doctor on call that day (Hallelujah!), was getting an all-star team together. Just as he said that, the good doctor walked in the room.
About 2:55 p.m., just before “go” time, Christopher scrubbed up. Then, about 3 p.m., Mike, the anesthesiologist, arrived to explain the spinal block. Finally, about 3:10 p.m., the nurses wheeled me out of my room.