For months, my friend April and I had been talking about taking this picture. On the 5th of June, I took it without her. Tim and I were on our way to the hospital to be induced (for real this time) and we made a special pit stop in order to capture this image. (Tim had no choice. I was driving.) My apologies, April, for doing it without you.
The bump, that we now call Harper Jane, had been cooking for a long 9 months. A very long, very hard, very trying, very uncomfortable, very scary 9 months. Her birth story is nothing short of this discription. If you are planning on giving birth to a baby soon, or planning on getting pregnant at all, please DO NOT READ this post. It is not my intention to scare you. It is not my intention to horrify you. I promise. My sole intention is to document my second daughter's birth. So, continue if you must. But, you have been warned. It's not pretty.
9:00- Arrive at Hospital
We didn't get off to a great start with the staff. I was admitted as Angela Waddy (my maiden name) rather than my married name because that is what my driver's license stated. It didn't matter that Tim ran home to get out marriage license. For all hospital purposes, I was to be referred to as Ms. Waddy and Tim would get called Mr. Waddy throughout our stay. Annoying? No. Not at all.
9:54- Water Manually Broken
The doctor arrived and checked my stats. She asked if she could break my bag. Uh. Yeah. Sure. Whatever you want. You're the doctor.
I was a little nervous. I'd heard that this was painful. The giant knitting needle was intimidating , but the procedure was painless. The doctor, while wielding her tool, mumbled a, "Wow. You have some pretty thick membrane up there." I wanted to tell her that everything
about me was "thick", but I was too nervous to get the words out of my mouth. You try being funny while something like that is going on someplace down there.
10:30- Pitocen Drip (slow drip)
After a routine check-up by the nurse, I'd not progressed any further along than when I'd arrived. (3 centimeters dilated.) The doctor had requested pitocen to help me along. (Pitocen is like synthetic oxytocin- a hormone that begins contractions) I was okay with that. Let's get this show on the road! I was still feeling nervous. I didn't remember what contractions felt like with Audrey. I was pretty out of it during her entire pregnancy. So, although I was worrisome, I was also looking forward to not only feeling the contractions this time but remembering them. I was even having Tim keep a log of all the happenings so I would be able to carve it deep into my memory.
1:30- Pitocen Drip (much faster)
So, there'd been a lot of waiting up until this point. My mom and sister, Kelli arrived and were keeping us company. They'd made a sport of watching my monitor. "Oh. There's one! This one could be big." They'd watch it spike and then look over at me to decide how much pain they thought I was in. Me, being called a 'wuss' all of my life, was determined to seem unphased by these happenings. I'd quietly take short breaths and hold on tight to the bed rail. I wasn't about to let them see me moan.
1:55- Pouty Bottom Lip Begins
Okay, this is what Tim wrote down in the journal. He makes fun of me (and now Audrey) for this strange behavior he calls Pout Lip. Anyway, he says I start to demonstrate it when I get seriously worried. So, obviously things had started to pick up in room 13. Yes, I was physically getting a little ruffled. The time was drawing near. And to tell you the truth, I'd felt my share of contractions by this point. I was starting to sweat! Call me a wuss if you will, I was ready for the epidural.
2:03- First Really Big Contraction
It was getting harder and harder to hide my pain from my mother and sister. I hated them for being able to calmly sit there and read their magazines while I was in silent distress. Tim had already rang the nurse and requested the epidural for me. She came in and looked at my printout. She said she needed to see them just a little bit closer together before she'd call the anesthesiologist. My mom and sister finally realized that they might want to give me a few minutes alone. They know I'm "sensitive". So, they left to get some fresh air. I continued to grip the bed rail in anticipation of the next contraction.
3:15- Epidural Complete
Finally! I could breathe. The epidural was the last thing I was really nervous about. Needles and I do not get along.
This was the home stretch. I actually started to feel a bit of relief. I knew I would have no problems pushing. With Audrey, I only had to push for 15 minutes and she was out. So, this one would be easy. (That's what I thought. Stupid me.)
My mother and sister had come back from wherever they were. They could also see the relief on my face.
3:33- Nurse Does A Routine Check
I was starting to feel all tingly. The epidural was definitely working. I had to have Tim grab my columns (my legs) and re-situate them for me a couple of times. I couldn't even feel the contractions any longer. I was feelin' great! I was ready to get on with it! I knew she was coming soon.
The nurse did her thing and was entering some information in her computer. Without warning or explanation she popped an oxygen mask over my head. What? What was this? Is this routine? I glanced at Tim with a worried look. He shrugged.
Finally, the nurse explains to me, and everyone in the room: The baby's heart rate dropped just a minute ago and she wants me to wear this to make sure she's getting enough oxygen. WHAT? WHAT? My anxiety levels start to rise, again.
For whatever reason- nerves, the weird smell of the oxygen, the contractions I wasn't feeling, anxiety...I started to feel queasy.
I told the nurse this. She said it was a normal part of labor. Not to worry.
4:05- Things Take a Turn for the Worse
"Tim, I think I'm going to throw up."
He rushes to find the trash can. My mom and sister look for a bed pan (not a bed pan, but you know what I'm talking about.) They find some reasonably sized container. Tim brings it over and my mom and sister exit, once again.
I puke my guts out. I didn't think it was going to stop. The nurse gives me a washcloth in order to wipe my lips. I eat a few ice chips and then, before you know it an army of nurses enter the room.
So, obviously once I saw all of the nurses, I freaked. It was all a blur, really. They told me to roll over on my stomach and get up on all fours. They lowered the bed so that my uterus was above my heart. I was basically doing a head stand. One nurse shaved me. One shoved a C-section consent form in front of me to sign. I couldn't tell you what all the others were doing. I heard one of them say they'd paged the doctor already, but hadn't heard back. I was wailing, as you can imagine. Tim was by my side the whole time. I'm sure he was scared shitless, too but he kept telling me that it was going to be okay.
I heard the doctor's voice. Thank God. She was there.
Before I knew it, I'd been transferred to a gerney and out the hallway I went, to the operating room.
Tim was ordered by the doctor to grab all of our stuff. (This part I don't really understand. But she wanted him to move all of our bags out of that room to prep it for another patient. So, this is where he left my side.)
4:35- Where is my husband?
So, while Tim was gathering our bags and belongings I was entering the war zone. By this time, I imagine he was getting on his gown and placing his hairnet on his head. I know he was waiting outside the OR for the nurse to tell him he could rejoin me. Meanwhile, I was going through literal Hell. The blue curtain went up. The anesthesiologist had returned and was working on my left arm- trying to get the epidural in so they could do the start the operation. There was a nurse on my right. She was holding an oxygen mask over me.
"Where's my husband?" I ask anxiously.
The anesthesiologist said he'd be called in once they prepped me. He was almost done.
Someone from the other side of the curtain said, "I don't think he'll be allowed in."
Then I hear the doctor shout, "We need to start. Are you ready? Are you ready? We really need to start. Now."
The anesthesiologist mumbled, "Well, almost. I think it's alright."
The nurse says, "I'm going to give you what the dentist gives you to calm down."
(This was all happening in a matter of seconds, mind you. I was flipping the ef out.)
I could feel the incision. I heard myself scream. I felt them tug it open and hands jerking about. I couldn't believe the pain. I was shouting, "No, no, no, no, no, please stop!" "SHIT!" "Please, please, please STOP."
The anesthesiologist asked, "Can you feel that?"
Then, from the other side of the curtain I hear, "Just knock her out. KNOCK HER OUT!" And I was gone.
(This was taken after he was told he wouldn't be able to come in. Sans gown and hair net)
4:51- Enter Harper Jane
At this time, Tim was notified by a nurse that he had a baby girl and that they'd be right out but were headed for the NICU. He was told they were stitching me up and it would be a while longer before I'd be out.
The NICU doctor came out with Harper and told Tim to follow him. I can only image the confusion Tim felt at this moment. Everything was such a blur. But, she was okay. She had arrived. And he was there for her.
I don't remember much after the C-section. I went into recovery though. Came to. Apparently, when I woke up, the first thing I asked Tim was if she was okay. He said he had to keep reassuring me that she was fine. Apparently, I talked to my family, but have no recollection of that, either. Once I recovered, they moved me to a new room. I wasn't allowed to see her that night, but kept sending Tim down to take photos of her.
I hate that I wasn't able to be there with her during her first hours of life. I hate that Tim wasn't there to see her born.
I'm thankful that everyone came out alive and healthy and fine. I'm thankful that she's here with me now. I'm thankful for a husband that is so strong and full of love.
Harper Jane has been trouble from the start. She entered this world with a bang!, to say the least. I'm sure she'll continue to keep us on our toes and throw us for many o' loops. I'm ready. I'm ready to take whatever she throws at me.
I love her.
Welcome to the family, Little One.