October 9, 2003
Mister Man was due this day. I’ll always remember that it was a Thursday. My pregnancy was going well, and I felt fine. I wasn’t feeling the panic to get the baby out that I had when I went to my first ob visit where I was crying about how I’d been three weeks late and there was no way I could do that with this baby and basically made a fool of myself at the first meeting of the doctor. Way to make a great impression. I had a regularly scheduled ob visit that day, and no dilation. None. I was told to come back in a week. Not two days or so, a whole week. Egads! I was also told that I was the perfect picture of pregnancy, as silly as that was.
October 10, 2003
Surprising everyone I worked with, I showed up to work and worked a full day. In fact, when I left around 5 I told everyone I’d see them on Monday. I thought nothing of the tickles I’d been getting in my tummy as it tightened up now and again starting at 2:30. Silly me.
My husband went to the basketball game to do his PA announcing or had a Scholastic Bowl match or something. I remember he was home around 9 and brought leftover pizza. We put it in the oven to heat it up. That was when I admitted that I’d been having contractions and that they were now regularly seven minutes apart.
Me being me and my husband being a math teacher, we started timing them and realized that they were now five minutes apart and coming more quickly. Hmm. I drank 64 ounces of water and walked around for ten minutes. Nothing changed. We called the doctor and were told to head to the hospital.
We turned off the oven, and I packed my hospital bag — I’d really believed that Mister Man was going to be three weeks late. My husband drove the thirty minutes to the same hospital where I was born (ironic considering how much I’d moved around growing up). By the time we arrived at the hospital, I understood what real contractions felt like. When the valet (ok, the hospital was undergoing construction and the parking lots were closed so they had valets to park your car since it was a huge hike otherwise) opened the car door, I literally couldn’t move because I was frozen in pain. They panicked. I didn’t.
Inside the hospital, we signed in. I was to sit in a wheelchair to be brought to the labor and delivery wing. Halfway into my sitting down in the wheelchair, I was again overcome by pain and was frozen in position. Ironically, I wasn’t yet rethinking my “I don’t need any pain medication” philosophy.
The doctor on call checked me out, and I was four centimeters dilated with contractions every three minutes. Lovely. It was now around 10:30pm, and we settled in for a nice long wait. By settled, I mean that I started doing laps around the ward in the hopes that it would stir my baby to start coming. About every two minutes I was seized up in pain and couldn’t move, including in midstep and totally unbalanced where my husband had to grab me to keep me from falling because I literally couldn’t move. Did anyone else have weird contractions like that?
About 11:15, I gave up on the idea of no pain medication, and I asked for an injection of something. The nurse kindly obliged immediately — I have a feeling she thought I was nuts. Forty-five minutes later, nothing had changed.
October 11, 2003
Shortly after midnight, I again summoned the nurse and asked when the pain meds were supposed to kick in. She gave me a weird look and told me they worked within 3-5 minutes. Apparently my body didn’t care for those drugs and chose not to metabolize them. I gave in and asked for an epidural.
Given that I was still only at 4 centimeters, I’m surprised they obliged given the horror stories I’ve heard. However, I think me being hooked up to the machines showing them the strength of my contractions and the fact that they were now 90-120 seconds apart convinced them to give me an epidural.
When the nice anesthesiologist came to give it to me, he told me I had to sit absolutely still to avoid any damage. Once complete, he told me that he was impressed and he’d never seen anyone sit so still. Little did he know that he chose the middle of one of my contractions to stick me and I had no choice in moving even had I wanted to.
Around 6:15, I was still only four centimeters. Given that my contractions were 60-90 seconds apart and pretty strong — I could feel them even through the epidural and they hurt, although it was bearable — and I’d apparently been in labor for almost 16 hours yet with no progress, they decided to break my water to try to hurry things along.
After they broke my water, they discovered that Mister Man was looking straight up instead of tucking his head under. They then started checking his head position every 15 minutes in addition to my dilation. Neither changed.
At 9:07, a nurse walked in and told me that the doctor was going to call me on my phone. At that point, I was mentally numb and already knew what the doctor was going to say. Yes, I understood that my child banging his head on my pelvis was a problem. Yes, I knew he wasn’t currently in distress but that they were concerned this could change at any moment. Yes, I realized that if he hadn’t changed his head in three hours and probably had been like that for much longer, accounting for my lack of progress, he probably wasn’t going to. Yes, I understood that the best option now was to do a C-section. Yes, I was fine with that and would wait the ten minutes for him to arrive at the hospital.
At 9:30, I was fully prepped in my room. Or at least as fully prepped as you get before being wheeled into surgery. The nurse began wheeling me out of my room. I was literally half in and half out the room when I was rushed back into my room. I got the hurried explanation that someone was on their way to the hospital with a ruptured placenta who needed an emergency C-section, so I’d have to wait. I waited.
We tried again about an hour later. My husband got to wear the fancy robes and accompany me. Everyone arrived in the operating room with no further emergencies, and the doctor did his famous “everyone ready” call. At 11:07, they made the incision. At 11:15, Mister Man was pulled from my womb just as Northwestern was kicking off against Indiana. The nurse announced that I had a boy, and my husband leaned over to kiss me.
The amniotic fluid had mecomium in it, which they knew from breaking my water. They immediately took Mister Man to have him suctioned to pull out any possible mecomium from his lungs. Luckily, he aspirated none of it, and all was well.
The entertaining part of this was the dorctor closing me up. He looked around to his colleagues and asked anyone if they’d happened to notice what time they’d started the procedure. You know, because they need to keep records of it and all that? Everyone gave him a blank look and silence in return. I piped up “11:07” and was thanked. “Ummm, you didn’t happen to notice what time we actually pulled him out, did you?” Lucky for them, I pay attention to clocks and times and milestones.
I didn’t get to see or hold Mister Man for awhile due to the anesthesia I was given via my epidural. I saw him briefly in the operating room before I was taken to the recovery area. There, they laid blanket after heated blanket on me to try to stop my shivering while I waited for the feeling in my body to return.
My body doesn’t like medication I know. I have bad reactions to this (see Little Miss’s birth story), and morphine makes me vomit. I had strong aspirin for 18 hours after Mister Man was born to help with the pain, but that was all I could stomach. If you ignore my whining about the labor pains, I tend to have a strong pain tolerance, which came in handy.
Three and a half hours after Mister Man was born, I was finally able to hold him again.
The ensuing years have been a blast. Mister Man was the ultimate cutie pie and sweet as can be! Do you like how creative I was making birthday (carrot) cupcakes for his baseball themed first birthday party?
Daddy did take him trick or treating that first year when he was only a few weeks old. Somewhere, we have a picture of him in his Pack ‘n Play surrounded by candy. By the time he was two, he really started to enjoy Halloween. (However, you can see the lack of his core strength as evidenced by his complete slumping — he was already in OT and ST at this point.)
At three, we’d moved into our new house, and he loved the opportunities fall afforded him. I even convinced Daddy to continually rake leaves so Mister Man could jump into them and make a huge mess.
Last year, not surprisingly, saw Little Miss getting into the action (do you notice that there is ZERO hair growth in the past 12 months?). He’s been a great big brother, and he’s so generous and sharing with not only his baby sister but with everyone. Yesterday we had friends over for dinner. I made biscuits with the kids, and he insisted that the two daughters put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl — his favorite job — because he wanted them to enjoy the experience.
Today, he’s five. He’s got great friends who he talks about all the time. He does great on playdates, and going to birthday parties is one of his favorite things to do.
He started learning to read in February and now picks up books and just reads them. He received his first birthday card from one of my aunts on Wednesday and read the three page poem about Nemo doing great new tricks on the reef by himself, no help.
He’s learned to swim in the past year and has made fantastic progress. In fact, he now can swim fully by himself for almost ten yards with his face in the water.
He wants to be either a swim teacher or an early learning teacher, depending on the day. And given his sweet disposition and intelligence, he’d be great at either.
He takes care of his sister. When she cries, he tries to comfort her. And when she’s doing something he feels is wrong, he doesn’t hesitate to try to be the mommy and boss her around.
He loves telling jokes. Reading the comics with Grandpa is one of his favorite things to do, even though he doesn’t really get all the jokes. There are always some real jokes in the kid section, and he delights in repeating them to me and anyone he can find. His favorite is one that people frequently don’t realize is a joke until the end, which makes it all the funnier.
He’s my sweet, smart, funny boy. I love him, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. Happy Birthday, Mister Man!