Birth stories for women are like fishing stories for men.
Get together with a woman of child-bearing age, and before you know her last name, you’ll know she pushed for 72 hours and birthed an 11-pound baby.
In keeping with the female tradition, I thought I’d share my “big fish” tale here on the blog.
In case you don’t know, the reason I’ve been MIA the last several weeks, is because I have a newborn and haven’t had time to blow-dry my hair, much less write a blog post.
I’ll warn you that some of the details of this story are just plain gross. Birth is messy and not for the faint of heart.
The night before I had my daughter, I started having regular contractions. But they weren’t painful, and I figured if I was in real labor, they’d probably hurt or something. So I took a Unisom and went to sleep.
(Note that I never went into labor with my son, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect.)
At around 6 a.m. my water broke in a matter that can only be described as…explosive.
Not at all like the slow warm trickle I’d read about in magazines and mommy blogs.
This was painful, and immediately triggered profanity-inducing contractions. One after another they came. Unrelenting.
In addition to the sudden onset of pain, I realized my “water” wasn’t clear. It was brown and murky (these are the gross details I warned you about) and I knew something was wrong.
I screamed for Todd to call 9-1-1 and take our son to the neighbors.
(Turns out the baby had just pooped, causing the normally clear fluid to be discolored, but I didn’t know that was a thing at the time. So I too, lost my shit.)
When the ambulance arrived, two guys, baby-faced and approximately 16-years of age, found me flailing on the bathroom floor.
One of them, we’ll call him “the helper” asked me if I was having contractions.
He started timing them. They were less than a minute long and less than two minutes apart.
They loaded me into the ambulance, and “the helper” said to “the driver”… “Lets run hot.”
I imagined he’d practiced saying that phrase a hundred times in the mirror. Flexing in his Captain America t-shirt.
“What does that mean?” the driver asked.
LIGHTS AND SIRENS YOU DUMBASS!!!!!!! I shouted in my head.
The helper told the driver which hospital to go to.
“Where is that one again?” asked the driver.
Oh God, I thought.
I’m going to give birth in this ambulance – with nothing but a prayer and two pre-pubescent boys by my side.
After what felt like hours, we arrived at the hospital where they wheeled me in through the main entrance of the Women’s Center.
Yes, they wheeled me through the MAIN WAITING ROOM OF THE WOMEN’S CENTER.
Past families of smiling soon-to-be grandparents, husbands, friends, and children anxiously awaiting new siblings.
Their smiles faded, as they stared at me in horror. I was clinging to the side of the stretcher, sweating profusely and HE-HE-HOOING through another contraction.
I am now responsible for an entire waiting room’s worth of PTSD.
We rolled up to the registration desk, where the helper asked the security guard where to take me.
LABOR AND DELIVERY!!!! I shouted in my head. WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR THE F-ING CAFETERIA!!!!!!!!!
So we wheeled over to the elevator, the doors closed. Ahhh, finally. Almost there, I thought. I can make it.
But the elevator doors reopened.
They tried again. Closed the doors and pressed “3.”
We did this a couple more times, before the helper realized we needed a swipe card to get to the third floor.
They wheeled me back out to the registration desk. Back down the hall. Back to waiting room. Back past the poor families who were still whispering about me.
Long story long, we finally made it to the third floor where a team of nurses greeted us.
I was 5 cm dilated. The baby was breach, but she was perfectly fine.
I was quickly prepared for my C-section, and before I knew it, the warm tingly relief of the spinal injection was rising up my legs.
I might as well have been laying on a beach in Tahiti.
I smiled, ear-to-ear, through the entire surgery.
At 8:06 a.m., my precious baby girl was born. She was 6 pounds, 10 ounces. Her hair was the color of corn silk and she had the juiceist lips I’d ever seen.
Even with the pain and humiliation of the morning, and the guilt I felt for traumatizing all those innocent people, I’d do it all over again.
It was my proudest moment.
My little girl. My biggest fish.
Note: Even though the paramedics in this story seemed a bit “green” – I was extremely grateful for their kindness. Thank you to all the EMTs, firefighters, police and paramedics for being willing to care for insane women like me each and every day.