I remember one of my last visits to girlfriend before the birth, as we were determining just how large Beau had grown inside the cavernous mound once known as my waist, I reminded her of how I had used castor oil when I was pregnant with John and how the emergency mass-evacuation of all the contents in my bowels had caused contractions violent enough to break my water (thus I was able to go in and have my baby at week 38 when he was still only a little over 9 pounds and 22 inches). I brought this up for a few reasons, most important of which was that I was scared of having another big baby and was desperate for any alternative she could offer. I know what most women say about child birth, that you forget the pain and anguish as time marches on and you don’t remember much aside from the beautiful highlights. Horseshit. I remember just how painful it was to have John Blue (I may not remember exactly what all happened that day, but that has more to do with my mom-brain than with some phenomenon that helps you forget your lady parts were the site of a nuclear blast). I remember gauze underwear, trying to pee, ice packs and numbing spray….I remember all of it!! With girlfriend telling me that Beau was bigger than J Blue my PTBD (post traumatic birth disorder) set in and I started having brutal flashbacks of my legs in stirrups. I came to and, after prying several obstetrical tools out of my hands, girlfriend began to assuage my concerns (my laid back facade didn’t work? Weird.) by telling me that there was no way she was going to let me push out a baby that was over ten pounds. I sighed in relief only to catch my breath again… “But we can’t leave him in there, though, right? Soooo….” She told me, in the non-negotiable way that only girlfriend can, that if she concluded Beau was over ten pounds on the day of delivery she wouldn’t give me an option, she’d take him by c-section. “Yes ma’am.” was all I could say.
Yay for me, I get to either blow out my bottom half or be splayed open like a fish while I stare at a sheet meant to block me from seeing what’s going on, all while being strapped down like an inmate and wearing a hair net. Super. I nervous chortled that everything was cool, got in my mart-cart and slowly wheeled my giant self out of the office. Just kidding I wobbled out, squishy cankles flapping in the breeze.
Over Halloween I downed an entire bottle of castor oil. (Not all at once, mind you, but kind of…I was in panic mode.) The next 24 hours or so blur together but I do remember laying on the floor of my bathroom, listening to a breezy echo coming from my ghost town of a colon asking Red to bring me a pillow since I had decided that was where I would spend the night. Too much of a risk to go all the way to the bed. The result of all this was NOTHING. Not even a fake contraction. Johnny was a rule follower, Beau apparently was not. The only good thing was that if I did go into labor any time in the next few days I was not gonna poop the bed. Bonus for me, I suppose.
Back at girlfriends for another check-up and she inquired about my failed attempt to induce labor through black magic (that’s the castor oil, it’s now considered a dark art and forbidden in my home). I let out a forlorn sigh, but all she could do was tell me that she would induce me at 39 weeks. No sooner. Now I have to stop here and acknowledge that I had become one of those women who is desperate to go into labor and had begun to exhibit some of the qualities I had heretofore found annoying in other preggo-potamuses. Yes, I called myself a preggopotamus, it is the most accurate description of me at 38 weeks. Get past it. You have to understand though, it wasn’t that I was ‘over being pregnant’, I mean I was but it wasn’t being pregnant and uncomfortable that was causing my psycho behavior. It was the inescapable fact that, the longer this took to go down, the harder it was going to be. John was born at 38 weeks and it was like Normandy up in that room. If it got worse than that?!? I shudder at the thought…
On Monday November 4th I woke up feeling “ugh, gross…and I can feel my hair throbbing” as though I was hungover (I wish I was hungover, I could have face planted in a pitcher of sangria at that moment). I had been told by my favorite nurse ever in the history of eternity, Tammy, that from my last visit until I delivered if I ever felt the need I could just come up the the office and they’d see me as soon as they could. No questions asked. Why do I love/fear/need Girlfriend so much? This is one of the many reasons. She does not mess around with rules or regulations, she only does whatever the hell she wants to do. So I decided I’d get dressed and go into the office to see if everything was ok. Notice the difference between my first pregnancy and this one? I no longer cared so much if I was the skitzy lady worried about every fart and burp (mine, not the baby’s) because I knew what was coming and I needed to take care of business, y’all. When I got there I noticed, more than ever before, just how many pathetic sympathy looks I was getting from women everywhere. Their faces were saying “Oh honey, you are just huge and you look like a gooey disaster. Bless your heart.” To which my face responded “Back the F*@K away from me lady, I’m gassy!”
After running a few tests Tammy and Girlfriend concluded that I was, wait for it, HYPERTENSIVE!! YAY!! We celebrated with happy dances in the exam room. Why? Because that was the medical reason I needed to be induced before 39 weeks. That’s why. I was going to get to have my baby!! Girlfriend told me to go home, pack a bag and be back up to the hospital by 7pm to start the induction. I got in my car to go home with a huge smile holding up my jowls. Until I realized I was actually going to have another baby…
So I spent the rest of that day packing things up, running to the grocery store and making arrangements for John Blue with his best friend, Poppy. My first call was to Red, of course, and he didn’t answer because he never answers his phone so I called Lil Sista and told her to get her ass in the car and start driving this way because I was going to squirt out a baby and I needed her to tell how much worse her delivery was than mine was going to be. She squealed for half and hour, grabbed her daughters and somehow managed to avoid being pulled over as she raced up to Funky Town. Red called back and I told him he was going to be a father, again, some more. He was excited, but you kind of have to know Red to understand how he handles big, big things like babies or buying a car or when someone eats the rest of his thin mints because she didn’t know he was saving them for a cheat meal and made an honest mistake. He gets nervous about hospitals, needles, blood and guts and stuff. Plus he had to coach groups that night and was worried about how he would be able to get to the hospital without having to cancel on all our clients on such short notice. He honestly was very excited to be having another son, he tells everyone that seeing John Blue born into the world was the coolest experience and he recommends every future father take part in the delivery of their babies. But I’ve learned over the years in our marriage that I have to put blinders and a feedbag on him and drag him through some big scary things…like seeing his wife calve a man child. I swear I could not love that man more than I do. He makes me laugh
Yaya drove me to the hospital that evening and was going to be by my side until Beau was born. For old times sake I asked her if she needed a tea or some poppers or wanted to run any errands before we hit the road. Ah, memories. I went to check in and the nurses wanted my name, my doctors name and if I could please step on the scale with the large screen overhead that flashes your weight to the entire maternity ward… Um, screw your scale. I’m pretty sure it’s not the third most important thing in the world right now after my name and Girlfriends name….so take a guess and go with what your gut tells you because I am not weighing myself in public for all the money in Texas. That’s what I wanted to say as I schlepped onto the scale. I took my shoes off, like I was trying to make myself lighter or something…it made the nurses chuckle. I understand why in hindsight. Aaaaand up flashes my weight. I tried to act like it was no big deal until my mother, God bless her, yelled out a startled “You weigh 217?? Good gawd girl, what have you been eating? I told her not to be eating all those fatty foods but you try getting between her and a cake pop, that’s dangerous. She doesn’t listen to me anyway so I don’t know why I try.” Thanks. Mom.
In my room, gown on and with mom and here comes my nurse. She reminded me of Coach but she was less demonstrative and way less happy to be there….so not like coach at all, really. She put the IV in my arm that connected to a bag of hanging fluid and, just like before, that damn thing was super painful. And can we take a moment to point out that a huge, fluffy preggo does not need anymore fluid!! Why on Earth did I need MORE liquid pooling in my nether-regions when I was clearly retaining everything in a 3 foot radius already. For the life of me I do not get it. I knew, as soon as she hung that bag, that I was going to look like a beached elephant seal by the time this whole thing went down. What’s a girl to do?!? Bloat, that’s what. So much for any cute delivery pictures.
After a little bit the nurse (we’ll call her Pansy since she was kind of a pansy compared to coach) came back in and told me her orders were to insert a tiny pill up to my uterus that would hopefully stimulate labor and help me dilate. “Well, last time we just hooked up a thing of pitocin and got the party started, are we not doing that this time?” Nope, we were going to do the pill thing and wait it out through the night to “see if anything happens.” I’m sorry but you can’t be that damn vague to a woman who is about to go on the front lines. What do you mean? But that’s all I got, so Yaya and I settled in for a long night. I know my body. I know damn good and well I’m not going to dilate with this pill, I could have saved everyone a lot of time. I do not go into labor naturally, it takes effort and synthetic hormones!!
After a few hours Lil Sista burst through the door as though she were hiding from the Fed and excitedly jumped into the bed with me giggling with happiness and anticipation. Part of her excitement was due to the fact that I had asked her to be in the room when Beau was born. I was holding one of her legs when Evie Alaine was born and it was the most amazing thing! I saw everything and, even though I thought it would be slimy and very national geographic, it was incredible. So I wanted her to be with me for support and because she had never seen a baby being born. Since Beau is her God Son it made sense that she be there when he takes his first breath :) Awww, warm feelies.
In true Lil Sista fashion she had presents. She handed me a very heavy bag labeled Kate Spade and I ripped into it finding an amazing Kate Spade wallet that I will be carrying until I’m 108 years old (yes I’m living that long, I have a large life insurance policy on Red and I intend to kick the bucket having to translate ‘there’s a pain in my chest’ to someone in Italian), a Rockstar since I hadn’t had caffeine in 67 years, two adorable pants for Beau she’d found at a boutique, cookies and……….a large bottle of sangria. Yes!! My beautiful baby sister brought a huge bottle of wine to my delivery room! Why? Because she loves me, that’s why! And she likes to party, obviously. And because she’s freaking awesome. We had to hide it most of the night, but it was worth it. Just knowing that soon I’d be able to swim in a burgundy ocean of amazing was helping me stay focused on the task at hand. (Note: I did not drink the wine while in the hospital, even though I thought about it, it was just a lovely reminder to keep my eye on the prize!)
Big Red showed up a few moments later sporting a stink eye for me and Lil Sista. He was still pretty steamed at us. You see, earlier in the evening he told me “Listen, I’m going to coach these sessions then I’m coming to the hospital immediately. I do not want to miss anything so if something happens in the meantime call me, I’ll have my phone on me and I’ll stop everything to answer it. BUT ONLY CALL ME IF SOMETHING HAPPENS. I don’t want to have to stop a work out otherwise.” I forgot to tell everyone else this, though. So right in the middle of the 6:30 group Lil Sista called him, he hurriedly answered the phone expecting to hear some imminent news about his son, only to have Lil Sista ask “Hey, do you want anything from Chipotle?” He was….not happy…bout that. My bad. But it’s against the Geneva Convention to be mad at the bloated preggo in the bed.
Pansy came back in before Red had time to begin his well practiced monologue on respect and hard work blah blah blah and checked my lady parts. Nothing. So we tried to find something on t.v. to watch. It was going to be a long night….that ended with a bang.