Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Fast Ride

I had been feeling antsy all morning. Nervous, wired, and nauseous. I told Jethro that afternoon that he was going to take me to the mall to buy a toe ring. I told him if I was going to be spending hours in a bed staring at nothing but my toes, I needed a toe ring. Jethro, having pretty much lost the will to live by that point, meekly agreed.

I was tired of being pregnant. Even though I was 5 days from my due date, I was sick of it already. I had thrown up to the point where I had gone from a healthy 160 lbs down to 130 when I was 9 mos pregnant. I thought a trip to the mall was in order, if for no other reason than to get things moving.

I bought my toe ring and some stuff from Bath and Body Works, leaving Jethro wondering where on earth his tomboy of a wife had gone and what fiendish girly-demon had replaced her. I then proceeded to march around the mall twice. I say march, but it was more like sway from side to side. I was carrying too high to waddle, so my walk looked more like that of someone who was trying to balance a stack of cups on their forehead.

Nothing happened at the mall. Disappointed, we drove home. Jethro said, "Let's get the hospital bag ready just in case."

"Why?" I asked. "It's not like anything is going to happen. I'm going to be the first pregnant woman to remain so indefinitely." I wasn't exactly at my most rational.

"Even so," said Jethro, who was an expert at humoring me after 9 months of making his life a living hell. "I'm going to leave my keys right here on the TV just in case."

We laid down in bed and got busy. We were still newlyweds, but it was more for business than pleasure at that point.

I passed out around 11:00pm. Exactly two hours later, I was awakend from a restless sleep by a pop and a swish. A rush of adrenaline propelled my elbow deep into Jethro's back.

"Jethro! My water broke!"

I do not exaggerate when I tell you this. Jethro sat straight up on his hands and thrust himself off the foot of the bed, landing with his feet on the floor with the car keys in his hand. It was as if he had planned it. He was waiting by the door while I got dressed as quickly as I could. I had one big contraction just after my water broke, but the next few weren't too bad.

We got in the car. I told Jethro to hurry. Jethro turned on his hazard lights and started speeding. For the first and only time in my life, I didn't tell him to slow down. The highway was deserted, but the hospital was about 40 minutes away. We made it in closer to 15.

We pulled up to the hospital doors, and the security guard held the door for us. "Good luck, folks," he called after us.

The ladies in the admitting room gave me lots of paperwork to fill out. This was the third time I had had to do this, and I was about to cry in frustration. The last time I filled it out, I made them promise me that I would't have to do it when I came in to have the baby. They lied.

I told them my water had broken and this probably wasn't the best time to fill out paperwork as their chair was now all soggy. They told me not to worry about it and I immediately began to worry about it.

I was lying on a bed when a nurse came in and began asking me questions. The cheapo maternity plan I was on allowed me to have an epidural if I wanted one. I wanted one. The nurse said, "Yeah, you definitely want one. It really really hurts if you don't." I was doubly sold.

After a bit, the doctor came in. He was a nice man. He asked the standard questions, then snapped on his rubber glove and said he's see how far I was dialated. In went a speculum, fingers and a flashlight. Then, SWEET MOTHER OF FUCKING PAIN!!!

I yelled, the doctor yelled, and then everything went crazy. I heard the doctor shouting for the nurses, "SHE'S COMPLETE! ALL I CAN SEE IS THE BABY'S HAIR! GET HER TO THE OR NOW!"

"Oh sweet Jesus," I thought. "I'm so so fucked. I'm not ready. I thought I'd have a few hours to get psyched. This is like a dry-fuck only way fucking worse." Then a worse thought struck.

"Ma'am?" I said to one of the nurses wheeling me into the OR. "I'm not gonna get my epidural, am I?"

She didn't break it to me gently either.

They were wheeling me at a breakneck pace down the hall. "I need my husband! Jeth! Jeth!"

We paused by the waiting room to collect a clueless Jethro. "What's going on?"

"She's complete."

"How many centimeters is she?"

"10. It's time to go."

I began to panic at that point. I told them I wasn't ready and that I didn't want to do it. They told me I really didn't have a say in the matter.

They handed one of my legs to Jethro and someone else had another. I heard my voice reach higher and higher decibals. I think it eroded my tonsils. I was pretty sure this was the end. No one else seemed to think so, and I cursed them unintelligably, but thoroughly. I think I got my point across. I'll spare the goriest details, but in exchange for cheapo maternity care, 25 medical students ended up witnessing them. I'm still irritated by that.

After 17 minutes, each one distinct in its own exquisite agony, Gwennie was born. I will never forget the second I saw her. It's one of those moments made perfect by the absense of fire. Her eyes were opened wide. Her arms were flailing wildly. She was more real than anything I had ever seen. I never counted her fingers or her toes. I knew they were all there.

"Oh my God!!! She's so cute!!! Is she OK? What's her Apgar score? Are you sure she's ok? She's blue!!! She's so cute!!! What's her Apgar score?" I was babbling like a crazy woman. They said her Apgar score was 7, then 9, which was just fine.

The baby nurses wrapped her up and handed her to Jethro since I was being sewn back to virginity by a retarded intern.

Jethro brought her over to me. I held her and looked at her. Her ears were huge and they stuck straight out and she was fussing. She looked like a pissed off elf and I loved her so much.

I didn't cry that night. Too much had happened and my brain kind of shut down for awhile. That could also have been due to the Vicodin, which I demanded with regularity since I hadn't gotten my precious epidural.

By the following day, I was ready to leave. I had just been visited by the lactation consultant, who was one crazy voodoo mama. All she was missing was the bone through her nose. After watching Gwennie make a little piggy out of herself, she declared me ready to proceed in her Jamaican accent.

I dressed Gwennie in her little nightgown and suddenly I was crying. I hugged her, pressing my cheek on her tiny hands and kissing her dear little face.

I sat with her the whole ride home. Jethro drove us back to the apartment as if the car were brand new, and so began our life together.


To Gwennie: I don't know whether you will ever read this blog. Maybe you will when I am dead (if the internet is still around then). But I want you to know that I love you so much. I don't think you will ever know how much. I love your stubborness, your ingenuity, your short-temper, your sweet nature, and your sense of humor. I won't let you get away with all of it, but I love it all. I want to keep your sweet little face pressed to mine forever, but I know you won't allow that.

I will always love you, little girl. Remember that when our opinions diverge. Two people as stubborn as we will butt heads pretty regularly. Just remember how much I love you when they're crashing together.

Happy Birthday, Kid.


Your Mom


Christopher Smith said...


Zelda said...

No way, Angi. I was in labor for all of 1 hour, most of which was spent driving in to the hospital. I didn't really need one.

micki said...

What a nice story. I always thought the women who claim they love being pregnant were just a little extra crazy! My first son was 2 weeks late and still didn't drop, no water broke, no nothing.

Happy birthday to Gwennie!

Jenny said...

Happy birthday to your little girl! And yeah, what Angi said about the epidural, yikes.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Gwennie.
That was a great story.

Tammy said...

Happy B-day a day late, Gwennie and great job Mom and Dad.

I had both my babies without the epidural too. The second one is worse because you know you're not gonna die, you just want to , real bad.

Kristin said...

Happy Birthday Gwennie and many many more.

Traci Dolan said...


Zelda said...

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes. She had a fabulous birthday complete with a bloody lip.

Angi - Most women who go without epidurals should probably be elivated to sainthood. I, on the other hand, should not. I came out of both pregnancies wearing small size pants, where I hadn't been that size before. And I never had any really terrible contractions for any extended length of time.

I should be shot.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

Jethro rawks, dude!

When my ex was popping out my daughter, I was more of a mess than she was.

jp said...

Happy birthday Gwennie. You are lucky to have the parents you do.

Brighton said...

Beautiful, and Happy Birthday Gwennie!

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