So we're walking up the entrance ramp to the hospital and I have a big contraction. I have to stop John for a moment so I can breathe my way through it. It comes and goes quickly and I tell John that I feel a little better about the whole "going to the hospital to get checked" thing. It still doesn't occur to me that I could actually be admitted to the hospital that night. In my mind I'm just being cautious – curious even – and my main concern is that the baby's ok.
If you guys have been around here a while you'll remember that Sydney was 11 days over her due date when I went in to be induced. And then after that? I was in labor for 22 hours, pushed for 2.5 hours, and then had to have a c-section anyway because she weighed 10 pounds, 7 ounces. In my experience childbirthing is not a quick process. In my experience childbirthing is not something that just goes ahead and starts on its own. Oh-ho-no … my babies are incubators. They like the womb. They have no good reason to get out and going on this whole outside worth thing. SO I THOUGHT.
John takes me to the elevator, we go up to the second floor and he leads me straight to the entrance door in the L&D wing. He knows right where to go and what to do. The waiting room is empty and quiet. We press the buzzer for the nurses station and they let us in. The hallway is clear and a nurse steps out from behind the counter to greet us … they're expecting us. I sign in and am introduced to my nurse, Lindsy. She leads us down to the recovery room for the OR (since I was scheduled for a c-section anyway they would monitor and examine me there "just in case." Oh my lands was I sick of the phrase "just in case" by then). The room was empty just like the rest of the passages we had just taken. John and I kept commenting to each other that the place just seemed reassuring, peaceful and calm.
Lindsy gave me a hospital gown and a cup to pee in and showed me to the restroom. I got ready and came out and I can only describe the look upon my husband's face as, well, thunderstruck to see me dressed in the hospital gown. I patted him on the shoulder and advised him to not get too excited … they were probably going to just send us home anyway (Gosh Manda LEARN TO TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS). I got into the bed and Lindsy returned. She hooked me up to the belly monitors: one for the baby and one for me. I signed a form and she lightheartedly got to work asking me the million intake questions. She was about my age, with black fingernails and long wavy brown hair and a diamond ring the size of Pluto. She shared with us about her three boys under five (and I damned her tiny waist. NOT FAIR!). I liked her immediately. John and I fiddled with our iPhones and chuckled with our sweet nurse and really didn't think much at all about the monitors for the thirty minutes it took to get through the paperwork. As she wound down and paused to type something in her computer I asked "Just out of curiosity, are you seeing anything at all on the monitors?" and let me say for foreshadowing I wasn't feeling much other than a twinge here and there.
Her answer? "Oh yeah! You're having contractions every two minutes!" To which my response was "SHUT UP!" And she showed me the ticker tape and yep, sure enough, there were those telltale wavy lines. "Well, what does that mean?" "You're in labor!" John's face is contorting in the most expressive surprise/shock/excitement display I have ever seen in my life. Shortly after she checked my cervix and I was dilated to two. Lindsy said she was going to call my doctor.
(Guys, feel sorry for me. It was STILL NOT SINKING IN. I was in total, absolute shock. And yes I was indeed aware that four days later I was scheduled to, yes, have a BABY.)
And thus I began my obsessive peppering of questions that went something like this:
"SHUT UP YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS? I mean, is it REAL labor?"
Nods head yes.
"So wait. I'm going to probably have this baby tonight?"
"Well, I'm going to call Dr. B and see what she says."
"But in YOUR experience, what usually happens in a situation like this?"
"Since you're in labor and you're scheduled for the c-section on Tuesday anyway, there's no reason to try and do anything to stop your labor. So they'll probably go ahead with the c-section tonight. But I'm going to go call your doctor." And she packed up her intake sheets and walked out the door.
John and I stared at each other in silence for a moment and then started sputtering things like "Uh, should we call someone?" and "Wait. The baby? Tonight?" We started making more phone calls and texting. We had to figure out who was going to stay with Syd that night (his mother) and who was going to pick up my sister from the airport (a friend) and who was going to bring my mom to the hospital (his dad). It was 8:30 pm at this point. It took twenty minutes for Lindsy to get back to us to tell us what the doctor wanted to do … to me it felt like two hours. I stared at the door, willing her to just COME BACK. I updated Facebook and Twitter. My phone battery was nearly dead. I chided myself for not throwing the phone charger in my purse instead of the suitcase. I stared at the door. I stared at John.
And then Lindsy returned. With an IV bag and kit. She didn't say a word and we already knew: October 9 is our baby boy's birthday. I saw the gear and practically shouted "NO WAY!" She was happy to reply "Ten!" Our surgery was scheduled. In an hour and a half and some change we would meet our son.