I remember the year of my second pregnancy as the waddle and wail. Showing at two and a half days into conception, I walked like a duck for a full forty weeks. Near the end, I had to arch my upper half so far backwards that I feared I would never again remember how to walk fully upright.
I was an anomaly – the hunchback in reverse.
Crying on the table in the examining room, I repeatedly begged my doctor to induce me. My baby had to be unhappy since she was folded into an envelope sealed with amniotic fluid; however, my doctor was hardened by the hormones of many women filled to their chin with baby fat.
This is why I believe there are many advantages to having an OBGYN who still has wet ink on her diploma. The possibility remains that she can be manipulated by oversized hysterics.
My doctor remained determined to see me go into labor naturally, but if natural were so wonderful, there would be no need for the epidural.
The goal of my second pregnancy was to deliver a perfect sized baby of seven pounds. On a steady diet of frozen strawberries and gummy-bears, I believed my goals were within reason. I failed to realize the nearly proven fact that every bite a mother takes metabolizes twice, once on her hips and once in her baby’s bottom .
Before my Braxton-hicks could cause the trauma of childbirth to rush over me like a terror inducing nightmare, the scale began running out of numbers and my doctor’s measuring tape suddenly shrunk. I panicked and demanded a recount. My doctor seemed unconcerned until I was eight centimeters dilated. If she thought I was joining weight-watchers at that point, she was delusional, even if weight-watchers would have offered me a two for one discount.
Fortunately I abandoned my seven pound baby goal about thirty-six bags of gummy-bears back.
What I had not abandoned was the overwhelming need to go into labor earlier than my January first due date. Unfortunately I was confined to modified bed rest, meaning I could get up only to use the facilities. By thirty-four weeks that adds up to getting out of bed four hundred times a day. Lying in the bathtub would have been much more practical; however, ‘bathroom-rest’ doesn’t have the same ring.
My chances of spontaneous labor while propped on a pillow were about as good as my chances of winning bingo without having blue-tinted hair and panties that could double as a parachute.
If I had listened to the doctors, I may still be pregnant.
My daughter would be born weighing seventy-six pounds, and my swollen face would be plastered on every trash-rag magazine from New York to Nigeria.
I hate to admit that my desperation caused me to drink large quantities of castor-oil. I feel comfortable blaming this taste-bud atrocity on my husband who, after hearing one success story, believed a little castor-oil would cause our daughter to slide out like she’d been cooked in bacon grease for the last nine months.
It didn’t even clean my colon, and although it produced a few contractions (probably from the horrendous taste), I did not go into labor.
The American Medical Association should have paid me to disprove old wives tales, because not only did I drink the oil of a castor (something I’m still not sure is mineral, animal, or vegetable), but I also rode on every pot-holed road in the state of Maine. When a bumpy road produced car sickness, I turned to squats. If nothing else, I’d have fabulous legs to hang in the stirrups.
The only thing that contracted my ample middle was walking, a simple, but forbidden task.
Friday, December 28th was my last doctor’s appointment. My doctor informed me that I was five and a half centimeters dilated and fully effaced. She happily proclaimed that my baby would most certainly be born this weekend.
I heard TODAY.
Because I lived an hour from the hospital, she warned me to leave home after only twenty minutes of steady contractions. She feared a roadside delivery in the frigid temperatures of a Maine winter. I feared the baby deciding to hibernate in my mid-section for the winter.
Luckily for me the mall was only ten minutes from the hospital and its’ core was practically a speedway for fit seniors. I could do nothing but walk and celebrate the fact that my stomach contracted with every other step. The day of my daughter’s birth had finally arrived.
Dropping off my toddler at the kiosk where my friend worked, I set off to locate my husband and childbirth partner. Obviously he had forgotten that he was on the clock and his sole responsibility in this adventure was to time my contractions. There are only two places in the mall where my husband can get lost – Victoria Secrets and the music shop.
Since it was no secret Victoria had nothing to fit my current body, I headed to the music shop.
There is a point in every laboring woman’s life when her focus shifts from yellow booties to blood, sweat, and tears. For some unfortunate husbands, that means their blood, sweat, and tears; however, I almost enjoyed the uncertainty of my contractions.
There’s freedom in really not knowing when the floodgates will open and your precious little one will burst forth from your womb. I just didn’t want her to burst forth on the mattress in Macy’s furniture department.
That is why I decided to go to the hospital, but not without a drink of water.
Waddling over to the first counter in the food court, I asked a teenage boy for a glass of water. Fear spread across his face while he scrambled for not only a glass, but a pitcher of water.
I new the time to deliver had come.
My husband looked surprised when I pulled the headphones from his ears and told him to get the car. I’m not sure if he planned on me waiting until the mall turned out its’ lights or if he just wanted to finish the CD he was enjoying.
For some reason, my friends think that when I am laying on the delivery table in labor, it’s the perfect time for a visit. No-one cares that this is the time when nurses and doctors like to stream in and out checking on your progress. They just come in with their smiles and excitement and expect to party away the hours until ‘the transition’.
The transition is the time when you go from being a conscientious Lamaze-like breather to being a fire-breathing dragon. Anyone who gets close enough, namely your husband, will be blasted with a ball of misery induced fire. Luckily for my husband, I didn’t reach transition until they decided to go ahead and break my water.
That is when my husband committed the unpardonable sin.
“Hon, do you mind if I run down to the cafeteria and get some nachos and cheese? The cafeteria is about to close.” He ignorantly asked.
Nachos and cheese you say?
Why would I mind?
The only thing worse than the pain I am currently experiencing would be to undergo open-heart surgery while awake, not to mention that our daughter could be born at any moment. Why would I mind you disappearing for a little break and then returning with Mexican cheese on your breath?
The fireball escaped.
He’s never eaten nachos again.
After marriage counseling from the nurse, everything was progressing smoothly until I suddenly felt as though my baby girl had stuck her hand in the air and waved at me. The doctor came in and pronounced that we would soon be ready to have our baby.
About two seconds later our baby decided it was soon enough and slid through the birth canal, a fact that I most excitedly pointed out to my doctor. She turned and saw the baby’s head crown.
I will remember that moment as pure chaos. If I were a doctor on the labor/delivery floor of the hospital, I would walk around in a full bio-hazard suit complete with a mask and gloves. I don’t think OBGYN’s can ever be over-prepared; however, they wait until the last-minute to grab protective gear.
A team of hospital personnel began yelling in unison NOT to push. Given my condition, this was not the reaction I anticipated. I waddled through forty weeks of pregnancy waiting for this moment, drank two bottles of castor-oil, squatted until I wet my pants, and dag-gummit, I was ready to push.
I saw a blur of nurses and doctors and under my breath I said, “Pushing.”
“No!” They screamed in unison. “The bed’s not broken and we just turned the warmer on. We’re not ready yet.”
To me an unprepared delivery room is like an unprepared Santa on Christmas Eve.
My daughter entered this world with a wail that made every moment of waddling worth the wait.
Now she is 10 and still as precious as the day she was born!