The night before Phoebe was born, I could not fall asleep. Randy and I were up until 2am because I was so uncomfortable. Contractions had been coming off and on for about a week, so this pain was nothing new to me. They were not consistent, so we didn’t suspect that I was going into labor.
Around 6am, I could not stand lying in bed any longer, so I got up to do my normal exercise routine. When I moved into a squat, I felt a pop and my water broke.
Randy says when he came into the room after hearing me call him, he saw me standing over a small puddle, staring down. “Do you think my water broke, Randy?”
“Yes, I’m going to call the doctor. We’re going to the hospital now!”
“I’m not so sure. I’m not having contractions. I thought there would be more fluid. I don’t think it broke. Let’s not go.”
Anyway else experience denial in pregnancy?
Randy insisted we go to the hospital. He called my doctor to let her know we were on our way. She let us know that she wouldn’t be coming because she was at a wedding two hours away from the hospital. (Don’t get offended for me. In Kosova, this is a totally legitimate excuse, so we weren’t bothered by it. Much.)
About 20 minutes down the road, the contractions started coming hot and heavy, every three minutes apart. We learned later that my doctor had called ahead to the hospital and told them we were on our way, but that we were first-time parents and didn’t know what we were doing so I wasn’t really in labor. Wasn’t that doctor surprised when I had to be wheeled into the hospital and was already dilated to a four!
We got situated in a room and, after two hours, the doctor let us know that I was dilated to an eight. He told me in English, “Tell your husband to let us know when you feel the urge to defecate.”
The next two hours I went into what Randy calls a Jedi mind trance as I focused on letting my body open up to let the baby out. During this time, I wanted Randy in the room with me but was very insistent that he not talk to me, touch me, and definitely not text anyone or take any calls. Poor Randy. It was a boring two hours for him.
After those two hours, I woke up out of my trance, feeling very uncomfortable. Randy helped me try out a couple different positions: standing, squatting, leaning on him. Finally, I just asked to sit on the toilet. That did it for me. I felt the urge to push (or defecate, as the doctor so delicately put it). It was time!
I forgot to tell you that we were informed upon admission that the hospital’s air conditioning had broken down the day before. It was the beginning of August, hot and humid. I was so uncomfortable during contractions that I declined to wear any clothing, including the hospital gown that was provided.
Now, they needed to wheel me onto the elevator and up another floor to get to labor and delivery. I was ready to get that girl out, acting extremely bossy, and not allowing the nurses to cover me up. Yep, one new father sure got an eyeful as they wheeled me down the hallway.
It turned out to be a big blessing that my regular doctor hadn’t showed for the birth. The doctor on call was great, spoke English very well, and coached me through a smooth, natural delivery. My baby girl was born, and Randy and I became parents.
I remember that it was raining outside while she was being delivered. After she was born, I felt a great sense of satisfaction at doing the hard work of delivery. It was cooling off because of the rain, and we spent all evening enjoying the reward after being patient for nine months, snuggling with our brand-new baby doll.
Our firstborn is Phoebe Agatha Grace. Her name means, respectively, “Radiant,” “Good,” “Grace.”