It was a quiet night, when suddenly I was awake, gripping my bulging belly.
“I think I’m in labor!” I cried to Lance. I glanced at the clock. A red 3:30 glared at me. I laboriously made my way out of the bed to the phone and called the hospital.
“What do I do?” I asked the nurse. “I’ve never been in natural labor.” I listened to her advice and after thanking her, I hung up. Turning to Lance I repeated what she said.
“I should take some Tylenol and a bath, but since I hate baths I think I’ll take a shower and then I’m going to do the dishes and vacuum the floor.” Lance blinked groggily at me.
“You’re going to what?”
“Shower, dishes, floor.” I was determined as all psycho nesting mothers are.
So after a shower, I washed the dishes and Lance vaccuumed the floor. We sat and timed my contractions. They were only 8 minutes apart, but the pain was getting worse.
Lance called his parents around 5:00 a.m. “You’d better come on, it looks like the baby will be here soon.”
Lance convinced me to lay down again, assuring me the house was clean enough for company. I managed to nap between contractions but the pain was so intense that I had to get up on my hands and knees and breathe through the contractions. My main fear was not getting an epidural.
I convinced Lance to call a lady in our church to come over and stay with Emma so we could go to the hospital. The pain was now taking my breath away. That epidural was my prize now. Sally, a church member, arrived at 7:15 and after showing her Emma’s clothes, breakfast and other pertinent items, we made our way to the car.
I had fancied a Bojangles biscuit before heading to the hospital, but the four times I had to stop my tour of the kitchen with Sally to get on my hands and knees and breathe convinced me to head to the hospital NOW.
We made our way to the delivery ward with me in a wheelchair and my pillow, suitcase and video camera all perched precariously next to my bulging belly contracting all the while. Passing by the Admitting desk, the clerk took one look at me and said, “Go on, honey. Daddy can come back down and fill out the paperwork.” I grunted out a thanks and we were off again.
We made it up to the tiny labor ward and the two nurses sighed as they saw us. Apparently, there were four other women in labor and only the two of them. I glanced at my watch. 7:30 a.m. Lance went to finish my admittance paperwork while I slowly got undressed and put on the sexy gown the nurse handed me. I think I asked her at least four times if I could have an epidural now, please. She called my doctor as the other nurse checked my dilation. I was now dilated 5 centimeters. The nurse on the phone said my doctor was on his way, and that the blessed anesthesiologist was also on his way, that he would be here within the hour. It was now 8:00 and Lance hurriedly rushed into the room. I will never ever ever forget the expression on his face as the nurses checked me again and said, “We have no time for an epidural because you are a 10 and you need to push.”
I vaguely remember crying, because the idea of natural labor terrified me. I had never prepared for that, never wanted that, didn’t take the stupid classes that taught me how to breathe. This was just all wrong.
The meaner of the two nurses approached me and got right in my face. She told me that she was going to help me bring this baby into the world and would tell me what to do. I think I apologized for the way my breath smelled, I can’t quite remember. But I do know that she was mean and bossy enough to tell me when to breathe and as she was being mean and bossy, the other nurse was getting the room ready for our little girl. We kept glancing at the door, hoping my doctor was going to be there, but it was just us.
Suddenly I felt, horror of horrors, that I was going to poop on myself, the fear of all laboring women. I said, “Um, I think something’s happening…” and suddenly I felt the hot splash of my water breaking.
The next moment, I felt the need to push like never before. My child’s head shot out and the nurses were shouting to me to NOT push. I remember asking, “HOW DO YOU NOT PUSH?!” They said, “Pant like a dog!” So I panted like a dog. I do remember glancing up at Lance who had his mouth hanging open and eyes as big as saucers and shouting “DO SOMETHING!” Poor Lance.
I looked up at that ceiling and panted like a dog. Occasionally animal sounds came out of my mouth and I just HAD to push, ya’ll ladies know. Finally after this went on FOREVER the nurse said, “Ok, you can push.” And my doctor walked in.
One push later, a squirming, icky baby emerged, much to my relief.
It was 8:32 a.m. and Adelyn Morgan Murphy had just breathed for the first time.
She was a honkin huge baby. 8 lbs 11 ozs. 21 inches long. All natural, not one bit of drugs, not counting the Tylenol from the dingbat nurse who told me that would help.
Addie is now four today. She is the funniest, blondest, wiriest, sweetest, most ornery kid there is. She can make you laugh, make you pull your hair out, make you sit and cuddle with her and try to mentally burn in the moments when she wraps her arms around your neck and squeezes.
This morning she got out of bed, padded her way across the room to me and tugged on my shirt. “Mama, is it my birthday?” she asked in her raspy morning voice.
I scooped her up, squeezed her tight and said “Yes.”
I wrote that last year, the day Addie turned four. Now, she’s five. I can’t believe how fast that kid is growing up. She’s reading now. She writes her name in that cute kid scrawl where the A is tiny and the E on the end is five times bigger.
She’s got a sense of humor. She’ll cut a joke and look at you out of the corner of her eye with a grin, just waiting to see if you got it.
Addie doesn’t walk. She skips.
I pray that my child will bring joy to people. That as she skips into the room, states something completely obvious, “You have blue hair. Are you really old?”, that the subject in question will stoop down to her level and pick up some of the life that radiates from Addie.
Tomorrow, the day of her birth, we shall go to our nearest Kid’s Mecca, aka Chuck E. Cheese and eat pizza and collect tickets. We shall celebrate the birth of our baby.