Last summer I posted Little Miss Sunshine’s birth story, and a few weeks ago, I wrote up my experience with Captain Jelly Belly. So I thought I’d go back and read what I wrote when Gal Smiley was born, because I’d had my blog for a few months back then, and surely I had written some sort of announcement or summary of the day. And you know what? I didn’t even mention it. Oh yeah, had a baby, no big deal, no big changes, nothing of note to record! You can tell I wasn’t too into this whole “blogging” thingy back then.
So just for completeness, I thought I’d type it up.
Three-and-a-half years ago, I was sitting on the couch watching TV while Sir Monkeypants did a little work on his laptop in the kitchen. The Captain was already in bed, asleep. It was my due date. I’d had an OB appointment that morning showing no dilation or activity, and my OB had booked an ultrasound for later that week, but I was pretty convinced I’d be having the baby today and told him I’d see him at the hospital the next morning, when he came on for his shift at 8am.
Sound familiar? Like, exactly the same scenario as with the Captain?
6:30 pm — Nothing is going on. What the hell? This is when I felt my first contraction with the Captain! Get this show on the road!
7 pm — Still nothing. Could I possibly be…mistaken? No!
7:30 pm — Hold the phone.
8 pm — A second contraction! TOLD YOU SO. My will, she is like iron. I alert Sir Monkeypants that labour has begun. He gets out the stopwatch. Contractions are coming every 10 minutes or so.
8:45 pm — Sir Monkeypants calls over to RheostaticsFan to let her know that we will probably need her to come over to care for the Captain sometime in the middle of the night. She decides that it would just be easier for her to come over now, so she can sleep at our place and not have to wake up and drive over at 3 in the morning. Plus, that way, we can leave whenever we feel ready. So she goes off to pack an overnight bag and says she’ll be over soon.
9:30 pm — Contractions have been coming on strong, every few minutes, for at least a half hour now. But my labour with the Captain lasted 14 hours. It’s way too early to go to the hospital, right?
9:45 pm — RheostaticsFan arrives. Boy, am I happy to see her! We make chit chat, with me pausing every five minutes or so to climb up the couch and moan in pain. It’s quite the party. We should have put out snacks. As with the Captain, we begin The Talk — should we go to the hospital now? Will we be embarrassed to be told that we need to go back home for the next 10-12 hours? On the other hand, if we don’t go soon, will Sir Monkeypants be delivering the baby? Ha ha! That totally won’t happen! Right?
10 pm — Sir Monkeypants calls it. We’re going now. I think he maybe called our moms. I was kinda too busy to notice.
10:30 pm — We’re in the triage room, which is the room where they receive pregnant ladies who think they are in labour. A nurse checks you out and decides if you should go home or be admitted. The nurse says I’m at 3-4 cm dilated and having good contractions, so yay! we’re here to stay. I immediately ask for my epidural. Bring on the drugs! The nurse goes off to find the epidural guy and a birthing room for us.
11 pm — The nurse finally returns, only to tell us that we can’t have a birthing room yet — there is one available, but it needs to be cleaned and they can’t seem to find any of the custodial staff. The worse news — I can’t have an epidural until we are in the birthing room, and the epidural guy is about to go into the operating room for back-to-back C-sections. Since it’s unlikely we’ll be in our room in the next two minutes, I probably can’t have my epidural for at least another hour. I pout. Don’t upset the pregnant lady!
11:30 pm — We’re finally in our birthing room, and as expected, epidural guy is busy. The nurse checks me and I’m 5-6 cm dilated, and whining like a big baby (no pun intended!). I still haven’t met the OB on duty, and she’s busy in the aforementioned C-sections, so the nurse goes down the hall to another birthing room where there is a midwife attending to her private client. “Just in case,” the nurse says.
11:45 pm — The midwife, Anne-Marie, drops by to say hi and to check me out. I’m 7-8 cm dilated and begging for an epidural. The nurse says, “Oh, it’ll be soon dear,” while she and Sir Monkeypants exchange looks that say, “We’re way past that now, but you be the one to tell her.” Don’t think I didn’t see you. In the meantime, the nurse offers me some gas, and I say, “YES, GOD, YES.” The gas is gooooood.
11:55 pm — Nurse: “Let me know if you feel like you need to push.”
11:56 pm — Me: “I WILL BE PUSHING NOW.” Nurse: “Ahh! No, don’t push!” Me: “AS IF.”
11:57 pm — The nurse tells me to hang on, and it’s a huge, huge thing that she asks. I can’t describe the overwhelming need to push that comes when the time is right. You just gotta do it, you know? But I wait as best I can as she calls over to the operating room, only to find that the OB is still busy with the C-sections. So she races down the hall to get Anne-Marie. At this point I seriously thought that Sir Monkeypants would be delivering the baby within the next minute. Except for the minor complication that he’d have to do the delivery with one hand, because I was using his other hand to pound over and over into my forehead, to distract me from the whole birth situation. Surprisingly effective, I recommend it.
12:05 am — Anne-Marie arrives and is totally rocking awesome. She calmly assesses the situation and gets everyone into position. She gets me to relax by telling me softly but firmly what is going to happen and what I need to do. I thank her by having my water break all over her shoes. Now that’s gratitude!
12:15 am — Everyone ready. One push, head out. Second push, all done.
12:21 am, September 21st — Gal Smiley is born. I made it, and I feel awesome! The nurse cleans her off and wraps her in a blanket while Anne-Marie delivers the placenta, which doesn’t really hurt at all. I get to hold Gal Smiley and nurse her right away. With just us, the midwife, and the one nurse in the room it all feels really intimate and lovely and right.
12:30 am — The OB on call, Dr. Honey, arrives. Nice to meet you! Anne-Marie scoots back to her actual client. Sorry other lady! Hope you didn’t deliver your baby while your midwife was busy delivering mine! I need one stitch for a small tear, which Dr. Honey repairs while gets a chance to hold the baby.
1 am — We’re wheeled off to our recovery room, me holding Gal Smiley. On the way Anne-Marie pops out of her client’s room just to say hi and see how I’m feeling. She’s so fantastically nice, I’d cry with gratitude if I weren’t so busy beaming with joy. I’m really happy I got this chance to thank her profusely for all she did.
2 am — Gal Smiley and I are doing great, so Sir Monkeypants heads home to relieve RheostaticsFan. It’s funny, we were so very worried about what we would do with the Captain when the time came to go to the hospital, that RheostaticsFan did her best to make us feel better by coming over for several Saturday afternoons before the birth to get to know the Captain’s schedule and make him comfortable with her. And in the end, he didn’t even know that she’d been there!
I stayed in the hospital for just over 24 hours, and then we were discharged and back at home. I can’t get over how great I felt after this birth — especially compared to the Captain’s delivery, where many, many stitches from the episiotomy and a big drop in blood pressure after the epidural left me bloated, nauseous, and unable to sit or walk comfortably for weeks. With Gal Smiley, I was up and out of bed within a few hours, and able to walk around the block with both kids within a week.
I’m not convinced that I could have gotten through the Captain’s delivery without an epidural, but I do believe it would have been a faster delivery, with less damage and an easier recovery, without one. As it is, I’m thankful I got a chance to deliver Gal Smiley this way — with minimal medical intervention and drugs. I’m a firm supporter of epidurals — by all means, have one if you need one! — but the delivery of Gal Smiley just felt really natural and powerful and joyous. I recommend it.