Taz turned 30 this week. I also have to brag about my amazing daughter. She was selected for one of the most prestigious fellowships for her specialty. It was her first pick and it is an amazing achievement, but then again she is an amazing woman.
I was reflecting over the weekend about her birth and decided it was time to jot down my memory of her birth. It has moments of sheer hilarity. I was 26 years old when she was born. My life at that stage was
- married for three years;
- I had just started a new job as an administrative assistant for a lovely father/2 son company that would wind up launching me in my profession for the next 25+ years
- we had just purchased our first home
Within 2-1/2 years, going into the future, I will survive a direct hit from Hurricane Andrew, switched to my then-new profession and come to the realization that I had a very shitty marriage to a guy who is a good provider and dad. But I am getting ahead of myself. This post is about Taz’s actual birth – all 36 hours of labor. Yep, 36 hours of contractions less than 3 minutes apart. OK, OK, hard labor was only about 8 hours.
The first mild contraction was while I was fixing tacos for dinner. Taz had the decency to be extremely punctual and start labor on her due date. I paused as I was cooking and thought, “I think that was a contraction.” Then I looked at my tacos and thought, “Shit, I am eating my tacos and I’ll tell then husband (TH) about the contractions afterwards.” Good call.
We timed the contractions carefully. When they were 2-3 minutes apart, we hustled to the hospital and got sent home in rookie disgrace with instructions to go see my OB in the office at noon. WTF – I am having a baby, people. You think I am still going to be in labor for 12 more hours?!
We showed up at noon ready to proceed directly to the hospital. Nope, he checks me and sends me home AGAIN. I asked the doctor how I would know it was time. He described it as a band tightening across my stomach like an Indian sunburn— remember those? I blanched but asked if I could eat. Food is always key, isn’t it? Sure but keep it light.
Around midnight it was time once again. TH had the brilliant idea I should take a shower before we left. Yeah, I should have done it earlier because full fledged contractions in the shower was no picnic. Plus I really had not slept much at all for 36 hours at that point.
At this point my water had not broken. We get to the hospital and I am admitted. Hooray! We are having a baby! Taz was born when hospitals had just introduced the concept of birthing suites, which were really expensive. I was cheap, so my labor was in a room with another young woman. I was not a good roommate. They timed these roomie situations so each patient is at different stages. My roomie needed to push. What a sissy. As her hubby and nurses urged her to push, she kept crying she couldn’t.
Meanwhile I am in active labor with no epidural. The anesthesiologist had an emergency (more on that later), so I was having strong contractions every 2 minutes while watching the movie, “The Hindenburg”. Yes, I am a blimp trying to explode watching an actual blimp explode. The irony of this was hilarious….afterwards.
After 20-30 minutes of listening to my roomie whimper and cry that she couldn’t push, I was done. The Hindenburg, no drugs, her whimpering… I loudly said something along the lines of “Suck it up, Buttercup, because you are having a baby one way or another.” That brought my labor nurse hustling over with a gleam and chuckle in her eyes.
I was scolded, however, I loudly replied that roomie’s baby was coming so she might as well stop crying and push. I think I added something along the lines of “I will shut up when I get my epidural.”
I ended up having the highly desired epidural for only about 2-3 hours. When the anesthesiologist finally walked in, I was all over him. “Where have you been?!” Keep in mind it is about 3 or 4 am.
He did have a legit emergency. A woman who had no idea she was carrying twins went into labor early and had one baby naturally and the other via C-section. I never knew you could do that! She was my post-labor roomie. Very nice postal worker who was stunned about the whole situation: twins, early delivery — wow.
Anyway, the epidural was heaven and I dozed off for a little while. I had the room to myself because the nurses didn’t dare give me another roommate. Meanwhile my TH was holding court in the hospital cafeteria. How do I know? Because there is a friggin’ video of him holding a cup of coffee and laughingly toasting me. Something to the extent of “while you are rolling around in pain, I am here!”. Asshole.
Taz was the first grandchild so EVERYBODY was there. While I had been home, we kept getting folks calling and my TH could not understand why I didn’t want to talk to anyone. At the hospital we had TH’s three siblings, their spouses, his parents, my mom and stepdad. I did appreciate all the love and support, but I just didn’t want to see or talk to any of them.
Finally it was time to push. After a couple of tries, the labor nurse tells me that it will go better if they turn the epidural off. OK, I am ready. Turn it off and let’s rock. The next hour was a lot of work. Somewhere, I don’t remember when, my water finally broke. TH is hovering and completely useless. He kept flittering out to smoke and update the family. Finally it was time to move me to the delivery room.
Birthing suites are fantastic. Because moving me when I was trying to push a bowling ball out of my lady parts did not go well for several reasons:
- My bed got stuck. Due to my aforementioned outspokenness with my former roomie and no subsequent replacement, we had spread out and the result was somehow my bed not having enough space to roll out. After ramming into several objects including a wall, we finally made it into the hallway.
- TH made everyone pause in the hallway so he could get his gown and booties on. My nurse had to park me in the hallway to help him. Everyone is
yelling telling me not to push.
- Finally we get to the Delivery Room and they tell me to shift over to a delivery table. Are you serious? Move? I did. I have no idea how. Once again, birthing suites are phenomenal.
I am on the table, my doctor strolls in and the anesthesiologist returns to hook up my epidural for the final moments. I recall asking the anesthesiologist how much he was charging for this superfluous anesthesia. He stammered and I then instructed him to adjust the mirror so I could see my baby’s birth. The rest of the room was laughing. I was highly entertaining.
Taz’s birth was then straightforward. She popped out with only a minor episiotomy and the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. That mirror was handy. I saw the cord and immediately started clamoring. My doctor had deftly flicked the cord off, but too late. I had seen everything. He immediately assured me the cord had been very loose. Taz’s color was that dark red purplish color that is perfectly normal, but I am a new mother, so what do I know? I know about blue babies.
“Is she blue, is she blue? What is her Apgar score?” My doctor reassures me that all is well. He was right all was well.
Here we are 30 years later and Taz is quite the accomplished woman. I am such a proud mama. Happy Birthday, you beautiful, amazing woman….
Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash