Her name is Norah Adele and she’s a spirited little thing.
She was born six (almost seven) weeks ago, the day I was scheduled to visit my doctor before the induction that I was scheduled for two days later.
I had experienced false labor once a few weeks before. So when I was lying in bed on Sunday morning — exactly one week past my due date — and felt one painless contraction, then another, and another, part of me thought, “Pancakes!” The other part of me agreed, but because it suspected that this might just be it, and how long would it be until we could make pancakes again? Twelve years? That’s the part of me that decided I should get straight into the shower and get dressed, instead of spending half a day in my pajamas like a usual Sunday morning at home. The first part of me still thought the contractions would probably go away. So I started dinner in the slow cooker, too.
I don’t need to tell you that the contractions didn’t go away. And so pancakes, you could say, was our last decent meal. (It was delicious.)
By the time we were clearing the breakfast dishes, the contractions were getting more intense — still pretty painless, but strong enough for me to stop and take notice. And start timing. It was enough for both Keith and me to start getting anxious: Keith was anxious about knowing when to go to the hospital; I was anxious about, oh, childbirth, and if we could wait just one more day! my doctor would be back from his week-and-a-half-long vacation in Lebanon. And if I can procrastinate on something I’m anxious about, I will. Besides, Babysaurus had already procrastinated for a week on being born; she didn’t seem to be in any particular hurry.
So we went shopping to buy Keith some new work clothes. I needed to walk around; Keith needed to focus on something other than whether we should go to the hospital, whether to ignore my urging him to wait just a little bit longer, as the intensity — and pain — increased.
“I might want to use an exercise ball during labor, but not my good one because of all the …gushing,” I said as we left the department store. “Did you pack shower stuff for me?” Keith asked. “No. Let’s go to Target!” I suggested. “Okay, then maybe we should think about going to the hospital,” Keith said. “In class, they said to wait until contractions are a minute long,” I reminded him.
We shopped while I tried to get through each contraction as if I wasn’t having contractions, because if there’s one thing I didn’t want more than an episiotomy, it was to attract more attention than a forty-one weeks pregnant woman naturally attracts — which is about the same as a giant time bomb with the words “GIANT TIME BOMB” written in big, red letters across its front.
Finally, we went home and finished getting our bags ready. Despite my expert knowledge, Keith called the hospital to see when we should come in. “They said the same thing you said,” he reported, “when they’re lasting over a minute.” “Let’s wait another hour and see,” I said. The hospital was 40 minutes away. “By the time we get there, they should be long enough!” Keith insisted. “I want a bagel,” I said.
We loaded the bags in the car, and stopped at Panera for a bagel on our way to the hospital. But when I sat down at a booth, the pain became intense enough that I couldn’t eat. It was getting tough to get through each one without grimacing, and not wanting to cause a stir among the other patrons who were already eyeballing me tentatively — I suggested that we leave. So we did.
And went back home, because, “The food in the crock pot should be done by now,” I urged. “Can’t we call your parents and ask them to check on it?” “But–” “Fine. We’ll pick it up and leave it with your parents so they can store it in their fridge while we go to the hospital,” Keith insisted.
And so, the first phone call: “Sarah’s probably in labor, and we’re on our way to the hospital. Can we drop our dinner off at your house?” The second was to Keith’s parents. “We’re on the way to the hospital!” Keith said. “No you’re not,” said his mother.
We eventually ended up at the hospital, nine hours after it all began.
I thought checking in would be quick and easy, like it had been a few days earlier when I went in for a non-stress test, because I had pre-registered. Except that my pre-registration had inexplicably disappeared since the non-stress test, and if you haven’t tried to accurately convey your personal information while enduring moderately painful contractions lasting over a minute and occurring two and a half minutes apart, then you haven’t lived.
This is part one of a very long story describing the birth of Norah A. Babysaurus. If you’re feeling up to it, continue with part two.