When my first daughter was born:
We had moved back to Salt Lake after spending a year in Alameda. We moved the first part of August, and settled into our house in the Avenues. I had continued working for Allen Communications, the same company I was working for when I met Hubby, the whole time we were in Alameda.
We really liked Alameda, and would have probably stayed there if the job market in the San Francisco area wasn’t so awful. It was awful everywhere, but SF was hit particularly hard.
Tomax, the company Hubby worked for when I met him, wanted to hire him back and was willing to move us back to Salt Lake to do it. So back we went.
I worked for about a month – into September, and was getting ready to start my maternity leave. I hadn’t decided exactly when because I was not expecting this baby for a couple of weeks.
Then on Thursday the 6th of September I got an email at work requesting I come to a meeting in one of the conference rooms. It was a pink slip meeting. A bunch of my co-workers and I were getting laid off. They asked us to come back on Friday to clean out our desks.
Getting laid off was hard, but not so hard for me as for others. Since I was not the major bread winner, and since I’d been expecting to take a leave of absence from work anyway… I remember that Hubby was so very sweet, as expected, and while he was hugging me that evening when I told him he told me that now I’d have time to write that book…
On Friday the office manager confessed she’d gotten wind of a lay-off about a week before. They had been planning on having a baby shower for me that Friday, but she figured what with a big lay-off the day before, maybe it would be a better idea to bump the shower to Monday, the 10th of September.
I had what I thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions over the weekend, I think Sunday night. Except they were rather painful. I put a call into the 1-800 nurse for our insurance, which by the way was still my insurance which was much better than Hubby’s insurance, and they said it was probably nothing given how sporadic they were.
The shower was a lunch deal, and I had a few sporadic contractions during the party. No one noticed until my friend tried to talk to me once and I couldn’t… it was kind of funny, actually.
After the party I had an appointment with my OBGYN, Dr. Beard. She was running kind of late, but she assured me that I was 4 centimeters dialated and chances were she’d be seeing us back that night at the hospital. I assured her that the baby shouldn’t be coming for another week, even though it was well within the due date window.
We went to Costco on the way home from the doctor’s to pick out a VCR for upstairs. I was still firm in my plan to catch up on the baby and birth manuals, and watch the movies that my mom had loaned me. As we were in the VCR section, at about 6:15 I got a contraction that was followed at 6:30 by another one. From that point on they continued fairly regularly. I felt kind of bad for the guy who was trying to help us pick out a VCR, as he was politely trying to direct the conversation my way, and I kept breaking off listening and would walk painfully around the displays. I didn't really have the inclination to stop and explain, I just had the inclination to walk away. Which is odd for me as I'm a real explainer. Maybe he's seen a woman in labor before and he kept talking to me and looking at me rather intently because he suspected I needed to go to the hospital. But since I never got very big with Thing 1, maybe he figured I was just rude.
Hubby got some dinner at Costco, but I remember reading a warning somewhere to be careful what you eat in these circumstances because there’s a good chance you’ll just be throwing it up later. I just got a fruit slush, which turned out to be a good idea, because it tasted awfully good to me, and I was just thirsty anyway. I can’t remember if I threw it up later or not… I think I did.
We went home, and for some reason Hubby’s sister came over. I can’t remember why. She kind of hung out for a while, despite my obviously being in labor. I remember she kept pestering me to go to the hospital. She said at 4 centimeters she had an epidural already, and before that was in agony. She wasn't helping. I was certainly in labor, but agony is a strong word, and I would rather be at my house than in the hospital so I waited. I kept wondering why she was there but it seemed rude to ask. Besides, I was a little preoccupied with what I was doing. It might have been 8 or 9:00 pm when she left.
Finally, around 11:00 at night Hubby and I went to the hospital. The contractions stopped abruptly. They said that I was almost dialated enough to be admitted, I can’t remember how much, but that I was on the edge. IF the contractions didn’t start up again they’d send me home. However, in about 45 minutes they started again.
We had read about “the Bradley method” in a book. It involved Hubby pushing on the small of my back to counteract the pain of the contraction. I thought it worked quite well. It kept him busy, for one thing, and of course he didn’t always have his hand on the right spot so some of the time what he was doing was distracting me from the labor pain by driving his fist into my back and giving me a new pain to focus on. And of course I wasn't really able to direct him "Lower, Lower... left..." But it was quite a lot of work for him and in general really did help.
There were several times that I decided I was ready for an epidural, but the nurses were so encouraging telling me I was doing so good, and moving so quickly, and so much farther ahead than any of the other women in there that night. And I was asking them in a rather passive, conversational manner. Like “So let’s talk about an epidural.” Which they did. Talk me out of it.
Finally, around 2:30 a.m. I was READY for that epidural!!. It was hurting and I was tired. Hubby was tired. He had been pushing vigorously into my back since nine that night. We called the nurse, and I was going to tell her no messing around now, I want an epidural. And before they give me one I need to go to the bathroom one last time. She came in and said no, it’s too late, it’s time to push.
So that’s what we did. I mean I did. One nurse pulled a leg up to my shoulder, and instructed Hubby to do the same with the other leg. Then they told me to push.