I have put off writing about my birth story for a little while now (almost seven weeks, to be exact), and this was for several reasons. For one thing, I have been trying to figure out this whole take-care-of-the-baby thing, and that takes up a considerable amount of time – go figure. But mostly I just needed time to process the whole experience.
On November 26 at 2:45 a.m., my water broke while I was sleeping. I of course woke up immediately. While I knew exactly what it was, I tried to remain calm and even tried to talk myself out of the fact that things were beginning. Brian was still asleep, and I didn't wake him. I decided to call the labor and delivery ward for advice, per the instructions of the last doctor I had seen. The nurse or midwife who answered asked me a few questions, and told me to "come in slowly". I asked her what that meant, and she said to take my time, but if contractions started, make sure I come in by the time they were five minutes apart.
I woke Brian up and let him know that it had begun. I took a shower and slowly started to gather my things. Contractions started, and by the time the cab got here to take us to the hospital, they were five minutes apart. I walked into the delivery ward around five in the morning.
The midwives and nurses got me settled in a room. Now I should tell you, I had no real birth plan. No plan, except I knew I wanted drugs. Preferably an epidural and I wanted it before things got too crazy. After examining me, the nurse said I was only 1 cm dilated and it was too early for any pain relief. So Brian and I settled in to watch an episode of Veronica Mars, because I had this idea in my head that there would be a lot of hours waiting before anything really happened.
I was wrong. I remember a few minutes of the episode and from there I have serious gaps in my memory. I know the contractions were getting really close together, and that I was in a lot of pain. When the nurse decided to do a check on me two hours after the first check, I was 8 cm dilated. So, 1 to 8 in two hours? Yes, I was in pain.
I immediately asked for the epidural and was told by a nurse that there wasn't time. I argued that yes there was definitely time dammit, and she said that no there wasn't, and I would be having the baby within the hour.
Again, things get blurry. Nurses and midwives in and out, speaking Maltese to each other and occasionally asking me questions. Brian went to meet a friend in the lobby to give him our apartment keys so he could go walk our dog. The second he left the room, a the doctor came in and said that my baby was in distress, his heart rate was dropping, and that I would have to have an emergency c section. One of the nurses or midwives started arguing with him. She then turned to me and said, "Do you feel like you have to push?"
I said, "I am in pain." To which she replied, "Go ahead and try to push. A flurry of midwives put me on the bed to try and push. I should mention that except for the cervical checks, I was sitting in a chair beside the bed gripping its side bars pretty much since we arrived at the hospital at 6 am. It just hurt too much to lie down.
So I tried to push, or what I thought was pushing. And…nothing. And with that, I was wheeled out of the room and down the hallway, a team of medical staff surrounding me, sticking various IVs in me as I cried in pain. There weren't any contractions anymore, just constant pain.
On the way to the operating theater, I noticed my legs were shaking. Like, visibly shaking. I remember saying, to no one, "I can't stop my legs from shaking." As we came to the theater, the rest of my body followed suit, and I was just shaking all over.
The operating room was filled with nurses and staff, and someone turned on music. A woman put a mask over my face and told me I would be asleep in two minutes. The doctor came in, and yelled at the staff to turn the music off. I had always seen on TV that doctors work with music on, and my last thought before drifting off was, "well, this can't be good."
I woke up several hours later on a gurney. I was on my side, and Brian was sitting in a chair in front of me. It was so hard for me to keep my eyes open, and he kept telling me to rest, but I couldn't. He said other nurses told me to rest, but I don't remember that. I asked him if the baby was ok, and he said yes. And then, the nurse brought me my baby and laid him on the bed in front of me.
Dorian Cooper Glass was born at 9:10 am on November 27th, 2013, ten minutes after I was put under, and I believe it was about two hours later that I woke up. While my birth wasn't at all like I imagined it, the hospital staff acted fast and efficiently, and for that I am really grateful.