Date: Friday July 7, 2017
Key Players: Pleasantly plump pregnant lady (39 weeks, 1 day)
Basketcase of a dad-to-be
Excited big brother-to-be
Bunny (arrived the day before)
Setting of the scene: For the past few weeks, Mr. William had been quite the acrobat. He flipped from breech to head-down four times, completely on his own. Surely an Olympic gold is in his future. On Wednesday of this week, I had an OB appointment where my doctor decided it best to induce on Friday before this crazy guy went breech again. Induction appointment scheduled for Friday at 4pm. OMG, this is happening! It's really happening! During the appointment, she also stripped my membranes. If you've never experienced that delight, just imagine someone being elbow-deep in your reproductive tract and then punching the inside of your uterus. Highly recommend. But in any case, I do believe that little gem of a technique works for me. It sent me into labor with JDub, and I also started having very mild contractions with William later this night. Milder than menstrual cramps continue off and on all day Thursday and Friday, accompanied by that super yummy slimy mucousy bloody discharge. And for all of you throwing up in your mouth right now, let me redirect you to that TMI warning above, hehe. Keep reading ... if you dare.
Friday, July 7th
2:00 pm I am all showered fresh and purdy for the big event. Some jittery nerves have set in, but I'm actually mostly excited. I cannot wait to meet this little miracle, and my fear of reliving JW's traumatic delivery have lightened. I've basically come to an acceptance that childbirth sucks. However it happens -- natural, with drugs, c-section, or whatever else -- it will be painful, and there will be a recovery. So let's do this thang! The appointment isn't until 4:00, but I am anxious to go ahead and go. Brian, Jonathan, Bunny and I pile into the car and head toward the hospital.
3:00 pm Arrive at Kaiser, and it's hotter than hades outside. Like melt your face off hot. 113 degrees, to be precise. We walk into the hospital, and there goes my freshly showered thing. Sweat, comin out ma pores. Since we have some time to kill, we head toward the oncology ward in hopes of visiting Dr. Fu, who treated Brian's cancer in 2008. I am fighting back tears through all the elevators and hallways, reminiscing about all the trauma that ensued 9 years ago and that today (literally today), this 9-year chapter of life will finally be over. And over in such a happy wonderful way. So surreal yet so emotional. We make our way to Dr. Fu's office and try to finagle a drop-in appointment. The secretary seems enthusiastic and hopeful, but after a 15 minute wait for the doctor, she reports he is too busy to visit. Bummer. But not too surprised. I bet he has no memory of Brian. Normally, it would be somewhat sad or rejecting to be forgotten, but in the world of cancer treatment, I suppose it's good to be forgotten by your oncologist. Anyway, we move on through the hospital, having killed a little time.
3:30 pm Arrive at labor & delivery. We walk in all smiley, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and are greeted by several nurses at the reception desk who give us looks like "who are you, and why are you bothering us?" One of them is extra feisty and barks there are no available beds right now, and she'll call us when they're ready for us. Wut? Huh? Head shake. No no no, you don't understand, girlfriend. I have an appointment. Uh-POINT-ment. She explains that all this 100+ degree heat is putting people into labor, and they have more triage situations than usual. She'll call us when there's an open bed. U-to-the-G-to-the-H! Damn it, I was all mentally prepared to do this thing. Stay calm, Laura, stay calm. It'll probably be an hour or two, but this will still happen soon. We all hem and haw about what to do. Stay? Go? Kill time somewhere else? Traffic sucks, so we can't go anywhere too far. If we go somewhere, it must be indoors because of the heat. Oh, and we have a 5 year-old in tow. So it must be somewhat kid friendly. We decide to go get food.
4:00 pm Arrive at the Habit for burgers. It is so freaking hot outside. Like Baghdad hot. Just getting in and out of the car is brutal. We order some food, and it's exceptionally tasty. Super mild contractions with yummy ooey gooey mucus crap discharging throughout all this. J is getting a bit restless. Heck, we're all restless. I really want to get this show on the road, and I'm getting worried that the appointment could be pushed back to tomorrow. Not only would that be a giant tease, but I've been hoping this boy might get the coolest birthdate ever (7-7-17). Pushing the appointment to tomorrow would obviously foil that little plan. Dang it, why haven't they called yet? B pushes me to stalk and harass them; no waiting around for them. But I am hesitant to bother them since they were already annoyed. Will this be like pissing off a waitress, who then spits in your food? But I really want this appointment to happen today, so I reluctantly agree to call in the car.
5:00 pm We sit in the scorching hot car with a/c blasting in our faces. My heart is beating faster as the phone rings. Please let me talk to someone nice, please let it be someone nice. Ahh, it's Tiffany, the feisty one. Yay. She is super crabby and snaps at me that she still has no open beds. B pushes me to ask about switching hospitals. What about Fontana? What about Moreno Valley? Can we go there? She snaps that those are not options because they're not sister hospitals with Riverside. Whatever that means. Ok, then can you patch me through to my doctor? She's not here. Huh? It's 5:00, and my appointment was scheduled for 4:00. Why isn't she there? Oh she never arrives until 5:30. Gat dang, this whole thing is getting to me. I am so frustrated, yet I'm paranoid about a pissy waitress spitting in my food. So I apologize for bothering her and explain that I am just anxious to get in today and am worried the appointment will be pushed to tomorrow. She seems to soften up a bit. A tiny bit. She says she understands and will call us at 5:30 with an update. We hem and haw about what to do for 30 more minutes.
5:10 pm Arrive at a nearby Walgreens and offer to find Jonathan a prize for being such a great sport about all this. Wander the toy isle for what seems an eternity. Super mild contractions continue through all this, and my undies are nice and disgusting by now. Sick. Time really seems to stand still. We agree that we'll stay local until the next phone update. If they still don't have beds at that time, we'll head home and give up for today. My nerves are really getting up there, but I work hard to contain them. I don't want JW to sense that anything is wrong, and I don't want to let myself be discouraged. It takes an eternity and a day, but J finally decides on a baseball toy that he wants as his prize. Phew.
5:30 pm Arrive back at Kaiser, ready to wait for this supposed phone call. We're all doubtful that Miss Tiffany sourpuss attitude will even call. But sure as shoot, my phone rings at 5:33. My heart races. Oh dear Lord, let her have good news. Hi Hun, this is Tiffany. Ok we can get you in at 6:00 today. Or 6:15. Well, probably 6:00. Ok? OMG yes! OK! Thank you thank you thank you! Ahhh, relief. This is happening. It's really happening. We kill a few minutes in the car, playing with J's new baseball toy. I am so distracted, though, I can barely fake anything playful. At some point in there, B takes J to the bathroom. Bunny and I chat for a moment in the car. She offers prayers of thanks for this sweet baby and a safe delivery. It's a tender time, and I'm beginning to get more emotional about what is about to ensue. It's now close to 6:00. I am wanting to sprint upstairs to the L&D floor, but my giant belly, goo-filled undies, and continued heat from hell prevent me from doing so. Yeah, I can't move that fast. But it's finally time for B and me to say goodbye to Bunny and our first miracle sweetheart. Our first baby has been so good through all this nonsense. And saying goodbye to him suddenly hurts. We lock eyes, but I can't get any words out. The next time I see him, life will be different. And I don't want him to be afraid to be separated from us tonight. I muster out some I love yous and goodbyes, and we both shed tears. My heart is hurting. I want this life change so badly, yet I will miss my life with only J terribly. I am excited. I am terrified. The frog in my throat is intense. I don't want to scare this sweet boy. Pull it together, Laura. Pull it together. Mama loves you so much, sweetheart. You have some great dreams tonight, and I can't wait to see you in the morning with baby William. That will be so wonderful! We part ways, and I tearfully walk into the hospital with my love toting all our overnight stuff by my side.
6:00 pm Arrive at labor & delivery. During our short walk up here, B and I have mentally prepared for another waiting game. But to our shock, they shuffle us into a room without any delay. Holy crap, this is happening. Omg. Don't think about it. Don't freak out. Get stripped down and into an awesome hospital gown. Assess the room situation. B and I have nervous jitters. But I'm mostly excited at this point. Let's do this THANG! My doctor arrives and greets us in her usual friendly way. We exchange some comments about the delay and confusion, and everyone is excited to move forward. She checks me, which is an absolute joy. Pause, not. Gat dang! Why does that have to hurt so bad? Even with the experience of childbirth in my history, that lil ole cervical check still hurts like a mother. She declares I'm already dilated to a 3. Yay! So all those tiny cramps and nasty discharge may have been productive! She decides while she's all up in my business that she'll do another membrane sweep. Holy mother of God, shoot me in the face, damn it nuts, wtf?! Blasted hell, she strips the shit out of whatever membranes are up there, and it hurts like a freaking nightmare! B and I are both cringing through all that, and the doctor is all enthusiastic. You're doing great! Let's get some pit going, and I'll wait to see about breaking your water until later. And you wanted an epidural, right? Oh heck yeah. Ok, since you're already at a 3, you can get that whenever you want. Are you serious? Sure, why not? Ok this is excellent. Let's just do it now, then. Sure thing! Wow, I can't even imagine having a baby with basically no labor pains. She leaves, and some nurses are in and out with questions.
7:00 pm Anesthesiologist arrives with an epi cart. Oh, be still, my heart. He is very chatty and friendly through the whole thing. It's so different this time around. I'm just sitting on the edge of the bed, facing Brian, we're all three talking and laughing. No pain. No contractions. Unlike last time, where I was about to come out of my own skin with the pain while the anesthesiologist coached me in breathing so I would hold still. Wow, this is the way to have a baby. He's done. Time to lounge around and wait. I slowly start to feel my legs getting heavy. Tingly. Weird. Holy crap I feel weird. Like on the verge of panic weird. My legs. I'm all about a pain-free delivery, but since I felt fine before the epi, I'm now feeling out of control with the numbness. With J's, the numbness was such a relief. This doesn't feel like relief though. Just weird. I'm fighting off panic. Lots of panic. I'm not used to this. Is this what a panic attack feels like at the beginning? Jeez I don't want to lose control. Pull it together, Laura. Pull it together. Nurses are in and out through all this, asking about my legs. I let someone know I'm feeling very panicky. Oh it's probably just the numbness. Your heart rate is ok, sweetie, and the baby is doing great. You'll feel better in a minute. Ok. Take her word for it. Please, brain, take her word for it. Slowly, I become completely numb from the waste down, and the panic does subside. Phew.
9:00 pm Dr. Chou does another lovely cervical check, which I thankfully cannot feel at all. Ahh, check away, doctor! Well, you're still at a 3. But that's fine. The pitocin is titrated up, so it sometimes takes a while to get things going. I bet by 4 or 5 am things will be different, wink. Aww, I start letting go of my hope to have a baby on 7-7-17. Darn. But not a huge darn at this point. Just a small darn, as I'm just wanting him to be here safely. B and I chat through these hours. We put on a Seinfeld re-run and pay no attention to it. Nurses are in and out, flipping me from one side to another and cramming a peanut ball between my knees. They are so kind and friendly. Seriously, L&D nurses (with the exception of Miss Tiffany) are just angelic. I share with them my fears and concerns about re-living a traumatic delivery. They are so sensitive and supportive and offer tons of reassurance that this time will be better. I desperately want to believe them. At some point, I realize that I should be believing them because aside from those few moments of near-panic, this has been a breeze compared to last time. Ok Laura, believe them. Believe them. This will work out fine. Everything will go ok. Just relax. The hours tick by. More chats. At some point, I surprisingly doze off.
Saturday July 8th
12:30 am Ka-POW! JOLT!! Holy freaking crap, what the hell was that?!?! Omg I am jolted from this doze by the most powerful POW. Not painful, just POW! What the eff was that?! My heart is pounding out of my chest, and I could run a marathon with this adrenaline. Forget the epidural and numb legs. I am shaken by this massive jolt, and my heart is beating out of my chest. I swear I even heard the jolt, whatever it was. Brian. Brian! Wake up! Something happened. My voice is shakey with all this adrenaline. Something happened. Call the nurse. I don't know what happened, but I think my water may have broken? Within a few seconds, a new nurse comes in and confirms that yep, the water broke. She cleans me up a bit and checks me. Dilated to 6. Ok good! I've calmed down a bit and am happy to hear the ole cervix is opening up. The nurse explains that labor will probably start going faster from here on, and just call her if I start feeling any pressure. Like pressure in my bottom. Ok will do. She leaves the room. Ten seconds later, I have so much pressure in my butt I cannot believe it. Breathe. Breathe. Heee heee, hooo hoo. Holy crap this is intense. Breathe. Breathe. Ok a slight break. It's lessening. Ok phew. Maybe that was just a weird contraction that happened right after the whole water drama? Oopf nope. Here comes another one. Hot damn, that's some pressure up my ass. Is this normal? Wtf? Heeeee heeeee. Hoooo hooooo. Omg I'm shaking to the point of convulsing. Like teeth chattering shaking. My body is going crazy. But this freaking pressure in my ass is too distracting to panic. Breathe. Breathe. Ok another wave passes. What the hell is this? Brian is starting to freak out. I'm calling a nurse, I'm calling a nurse! No no, don't panic. She just checked me 10 minutes ago, and I was only a 6. Let's give it until 1:00 and then call if we need to. Ok. Oh shit, here comes another one. And another. Breathe. Breathe. Son of a motherless uncle, that butt pressure is unbelievable! Shaking. Breathing. Omg.
1:00 am Brian promptly picks up the phone and calls the nurse. Laura is having a lot of pressure. Ok we'll be right there. Within a minute, the same nurse as before arrives. Ok honey let's see how you're doing. Do you feel any pressure? Ummm ... yes. Yes I do. Like you have to go #2? Yep, that would be a great way to describe it. The most gigantic #2 any human has ever passed in the history of mankind. Like snap my pelvis to pass a #2. Holy shit. Breathe. Breathe. She ever so calmly decides to check me again. You were just at a 6, but let's see if you've progressed any more ok honey? Ok. Oh my god, he's right there! He's going to deliver himself! I'll be right back. We need to get you ready to deliver. Heeeee heeee. Hoooo hoooo. Butt pressure out the wazoo. Omg this is happening. Oh Lord, please get him here safely. Heeee. Hoooo. Heeeee. Breathe.
1:10 am A couple nurses or midwives roll me onto my back. He's coming out, honey. Just push. No problem. My body pushes out of instinct. Ok. Take a breath. Alright honey, push one more time. Sure thing. Guuuuusssshh! Relief! And the cutest, most precious little life of joy is hurled up on my chest. He's here! He's here! Brian and I burst into happy gleeful tears of relief and joy. William wiggles and cries. Nurses are wiping him vigorously. We're all smiling and laughing. Oh my God, thank you! Thank you!
1:15 am Dad, do you want to cut the cord? Ok right here. Just snip. Snip. Chuckles, tears, baby cries. Everyone is happy. Suddenly the privacy curtain by the door flings wide. Dr. Chou comes running in, her hair flying back. She stops dead in her tracks with a look of confusion. Huh? What happened? He's here! He came on his own! What? Are you serious? You just paged me! I know, he was in a hurry! She shakes her head with a look of mixed delight and disappointment. She comes to my side. I have tears streaming. So this is what a normal delivery is like? Yes, so much better, right? Yes, thank God! She admires the baby's cuteness, and we all are laughing and sharing our amazement about how fast everything happened.
1:30 am A midwife or doctor has been stitching up my lady bits and is just about finished. Did you have an episiotomy? No, not this time. Did you have one before? Yes. Ok, you tore in the same places. Oh wow. Thank God for epidurals. She declares I have 2nd degree tearing, but it's all external this time. No biggie. I can deal with external. She is quick, and the whole repair process is a breeze compared to before. Complete breeze. Through all this, I'm holding a squirmy baby William. He's then taken over to the warming table. Weighs in at 7 lbs 6 oz, 20" long. Gets some slime wiped over his eyes, a foot prick, and a Hep B shot. He rightfully screams hysterically, and if it weren't for my numb legs, I would run over there to rescue him. Oh my heart. I hate that this is his welcome to the world. I'm sorry, baby. Eventually he's all wrapped up and brought over to me for some snuggles. The nurses are in and out, but the room settles down to be just Brian, William, and me. I cannot stop staring at him. B and I shed tears of joy and relief. We all snuggle and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this boy's life and his epic entrance into the world.
3:00 am My legs are back, thank God. The same nurse who caught my puke helps transfer me to a wheelchair. Brian hands me our little miracle, and I insist on a photo. We head to a recovery room, exhausted from all that's happened. We spend the night holding sweet William, starting bottles, getting vitals checked every hour, and having random nurses pop in and out of the room. So yeah, it's quite restful.
8:00 am A nurse decides it's time for me to try peeing on my own. Oh joy. It takes some time and caution, but I eventually heave ho myself to the side of the bed and make my way (with her help) to the teensy tiny bathroom. She gives me a tutorial on how to prepare my own diapers, and through all of this, I feel like my insides are going to plummet through my crotch to the floor. I look down, and all kinds of bloody crap is coming out. Not like get a blood transfusion blood gush, but still feels weird and is totally disgusting. I am feeling quite tender in the nether regions, and she has me plop my butt down on the hospital toilet. Ouch. But more importantly ... eeeeeewwwwww!!! I think the last time I actually sat on a public toilet was after I delivered Jonathan in 2012. Huge no no. Sick. But I have no choice at the moment, and I pray the hospital janitors have done their jobs well. Anyway, I sit and sit. The nurse comes and goes. I try to focus on letting out some pee. But nothing. Not even one drop. Please let one drop come out so I can get back in bed for a while. Please. But the ole bladder won't cooperate. Nothing. The nurse is gracious and says I can try again in an hour. She can't remove my IV until after I've peed, so I'm motivated to get better hydrated. I head back to bed and start chugging the water. I'm hesitant after the puke episode, but I feel a bit more normal now. And I want this IV out of my arm. So I drink.
9:00 am Out comes the pee. Like a gallon of pee. Mixed with blood and all kinds of intra-uterine shit that should be beautiful since it sustained this precious human life for 9 months, but it's just nothing but plain old gruesome. Even as I write this, I'm not quite sure why I feel the need to describe the nasty details. But for some reason, I feel the whole picture is important. Childbirth is beautiful. And horrifying.
11:00 am I am dying to see my sweetheart Jonathan. And he and Bunny arrive about this time. He is so cute with his adorable little grin. He quickly climbs up to give me a tender hug and meet his new brother. He beams with pride, and my tears are free-flowing. There are photos galore. Brian and I recount the whole birth story to Bunny. Through all of this, nurses are in and out to check vitals and ask questions. Given all that's happened, I feel quite good. Tired but good. The baby is checked out as perfectly healthy, thank God. I'm checking out as perfectly healthy, thank God. We start getting hopeful that we can be discharged today and get back to home sweet home. But no such luck. We're informed that we'll need to keep the baby there for 24 hours, which would be into the middle of the night. I'm disappointed to have to stay longer in the hospital, and very disappointed to break the news to Jonathan. I don't want him to worry or miss us for another night away, although I know he's fine with Bunny. But my heart is now in two places. Oh motherhood.
Sunday, July 9th
6:00 am The sun is shining. After another long night in the hospital, we're ready to get this show on the road. We want discharge. We want discharge. The nurses tell us they'll try to get us out first today. Jonathan and Bunny arrive about 10:00. Tons of snuggles and photo shoots. We finally get discharged at 12:00. Head home, with a stop at Luna's for a celebratory take-out lunch. I marvel at how much better I feel this time around. I can't even imagine stopping for take-out on the way home after Jonathan's birth. Thank God this all went so much better.
1:00 pm We arrive home and find our adorable neighbors have gone above and beyond with a precious welcome sign. They are so cute and thoughtful, I can hardly stand it. Home, sweet home. Ahhh. Yes. It's over. But it's just the beginning. We eat a wonderful lunch. Angel baby snoozes off and on all day. We overload our phones with pictures. Jonathan is in and out of various playing. That night, I stay up with my newest sweetheart William until about 3am. Then I hand him over to Bunny and get a solid 5 hours of sleep. Glorious. Wow. I awake feeling like a million bucks. Well, a million bucks who just got the crap beat out of her unmentionables. I move cautiously and slowly through the next few days. At some point in there, my boobs explode. I wish I could enjoy this second (and final) time I will ever have boobs in my life, but they hurt like a mother effer. Like anyone who comes near them will get swatted. Git! Oh, the female body. You're so beautifully complicated.
Wednesday, July 12th
11:30 am I am finishing up this blog post while Bunny has taken J to a trampoline park, B is doing a doctor depo in his office, and angel face William is peacefully snoozing right beside me. I am tired, sitting in my own diaper with crazy sore tits. But I'm functional. And good. I love this little human more than any blog or words could ever express. The same goes for Jonathan and Brian. There are certain types of love that just cannot be captured. My heart is so full, it just overflows in tearful gushes all the time. I'm sure hormones play some role there, but they don't account for everything. These emotions are legitimate gratitude for my precious family, who I came so close to never having. I could not be any more grateful for how this birth experience went. And more importantly that William is here safely and perfectly healthy. God has been so kind to me. After all the trauma we've endured with cancer, infertility, 4 cycles of IVF, hopes and dreams shattered, etc etc etc ... this is one gorgeous way to close that chapter. I've got tears dripping down my dark-circled sleep-deprived eyes, and life couldn't be any more beautiful.