As I mentioned in last week’s entry, on Friday October 9th, I was 36 weeks 5 days pregnant. I had been experiencing contractions all day long, including the six hours spent at the University of Chicago Medical Center for Atia’s spinal tap and chemo treatment. We’d finally gotten home and I’d taken a shower followed by a nap.
I was awoken by the phone ringing; it was my mom. I told her about our day and how I’d been contracting a lot. She made me promise that I wouldn’t go into labor that weekend because she was heading out of town – I promised her that I wouldn’t. We hung up and I realized I had to pee (too much information?).
As I got up from bed to go to the bathroom, POP! My water broke. It had broken when I went into labor with Atia too, but this time it was different – a small leak, as opposed to the rushing river I’d had before. I wasn’t really sure that it’d even happened until I investigated further. Yep, my water had certainly broken.
I decided that I needed to blow dry my hair, since I’d fallen asleep with it wet, and put on makeup. I was in labor for 22 hours with Atia, so I figured I had plenty of time and, darn it, I wanted to look good for pictures! I was able to dry my hair, but as I started putting on makeup HOLY COW!
The contractions hit me like a freight train! During them, I actually dropped to the floor in a squatting position several times. They were so strong and so close. But, I was determined to finish putting on my makeup – eye liner and mascara included. Steady hands, steady hands…
In the meantime, I’d asked Steve to call my OB/GYN. When the contractions came, I couldn’t even talk to her. I yelled, “Hold on” and began heavy breathing exercises. That’s all she needed to hear. She told me to get over to the hospital right away and reminded me that second babies normally come in half the time of the first ones.
My sister-in-law rushed over to watch Atia and we headed out the door. The car ride was HORRIBLE! It was my worst fear come to fruition… a Friday night, during rush hour, downtown Chicago, trying to cross Michigan Avenue and it was raining!! Oh, God, why did it have to be RAINING?!?!
Cars were bumper to bumper and we were barely moving. All I saw was a sea of red tail lights – I leaned over, across Steve in the driver’s seat, and started reaching for the horn. I’m not sure what I thought honking would do, but my hope was that the other drivers would understand my S.O.S distress signal and part like the Red sea… didn’t happen!
Needless to say, I was crying, screaming and panicking the entire ride to the hospital. I even frantically waved to a police car pleading for help. I wanted him to turn on his sirens, like in the movies, and escort us to the hospital. Of course, that effort was in vein because our car windows were rolled up and he was two lanes of traffic away from us – he never even noticed us!
I did however roll down my window and threaten a taxi cab driver that was trying to cut us off. “Are you kidding me?!”, I shouted, “I’m in labor! Get the hell out-of-here!” Then in a pleading voice I said, “Please, please, please let us go ahead of you.” I was like Cybill – a total split personality. All I’ve got to say is, don’t mess with a woman in labor. Right, ladies?!?
We finally arrived at the hospital and were ushered into a triage room.
I have to stop here for a moment and commend Prentice on their flawless check-in process and efficiency. The move from triage to a labor and delivery (L&D) room was seamless. Hooray for a hospital that knows how to do it right! I give it two thumbs up for excellent patient services and support staff.
OK, back to my story…
I was 5 cm dilated, 80% effaced and contracting less than every 5 minutes. They were strong too. When I got up to my L&D room, I was immediately given an epidural. Ah, relief! That was around 8:00 pm. I progressed nicely and by 11:51 pm, after an hour and twenty minutes of pushing (are you kidding me?)… Asher was born!
(continued in 2 weeks)