Once we had managed to get past the two old gentlemen in the hallway, we were rushed to the PETU unit. (PETU stands for “Perinatal Evaluation somethin’-somethin’ Unit” — I can’t remember what the “T” stands for). It’s basically unit full of little curtained off rooms where pregnant women are evaluated to determine if they are in labor and, if so, how far it has progressed. The nurse quickly wheeled me into the unit, and by this time I was a little panicky. No one had taken the time to explain to us why we were being rushed so quickly – I had no idea if they were worried that something was wrong, if they thought the baby was going to be born right then and there, or if there were any other concerns. Let’s just say I was not exactly “in control” of my contractions at this point! Finally, I was in the PETU unit. For me this was, by far, the most uncomfortable portion of the entire labor ordeal. The nurse evaluated me, and determined I was 6 cm dilated. Whoa. Aside from this, I don’t remember much except for pain…pain…asking if it was too late for an epidural…and more pain. Oh yes, I also remember a couple of small vignettes…
At one point, the nurse left our little curtained-off area, and while she was gone I was hit by a doozy of a contraction. When she returned, I thought I should inform her of the fact, so I said “I just had a REALLY bad contraction,” to which she replied dryly “I know. I heard it.”. Um…oops.
The other little vignette I recall occured when my dear sweet husband was kneeling at my bedside, holding my hand and comforting me in my moment of need. I asked him to “breathe with me” during a contraction — and then I told him he had banana breath and asked him to kindly retrieve a piece of Trident from my purse, to which he obliged. Yes, I really did this.
Anyway, it was determined that it was NOT too late for me to receive an epidural (insert the “Hallelujah Chorus”), but I was then told that before the anesthesia could be administered, they would need to give me an IV…and that the bag would need to be emptied first. So the needle was inserted into my arm, and we began watching…
At some point in the midst of all this, I was loaded up into another wheelchair and we bid a not-so-fond farewell to the PETU, as I was wheeled to the delivery room. I remember, passing by the hospital bassinet that was set up in the entryway, already stocked with a tiny little baby cap that I knew was intended for Will to wear. I pointed it out to Mark, then reached out and lovingly patted it…things were starting to feel very real!
Meanwhile, the IV continued to drip…drip…drip. Finally, the bag was emptied, and the anesthesiologist was on his way to administer the epidural! Yahoo!
Now, in retrospect (and from what my husband tells me), I think the anesthesiologist was really a pretty nice guy. However, through the eyes of this woman in labor, he was very much…well, the stereotype of what a guy is like. For example, as he was administering the epidural in my back, he felt the need to casually ask “Say, did you ever know that you have a slight curvature of the spine?” (as if I cared at that moment). Another example was when I informed him that I was having quite a painful contraction, to which he replied “Yep, you’ll have a few of those while I’m working here.”. Grrrrr….
All that being said, however, he did end up being my hero, because for me, the epidural was the turning point of my labor experience. At almost the snap of a finger, I went from crying from the most horrendous pain I’d experienced in my entire life to snoozing, laughing, and almost giddily suggesting that I take pictures of Mark as we were waiting for the baby to come. Of course, my legs were so numb they felt like logs…but for me it was worth it!
Because of the epidural, the next several hours consisted of not much more than dozing and anticipating the coming arrival of our son. It was delightful yet a bit scary (I still felt a bit of fear about what the actual birth would be like!). The midwife came in the room a few times to check on me, and repeatedly told me that my job for the morning was to get as much rest as I possibly could to prepare forWill’s arrival.
Finally, around noon, it was decided that it was time to push! So push I did. I won’t describe much of that process here :), but I will say that it left me so grateful for my amazing supportive husband, and that the end result of it all was SO worth it!
Will Benjamin Wallace came screaming into the world at 1:57 pm, healthy and gorgeous. He was 6 lbs. 13 oz and 20.5 inches long. I will never forget the moment when they placed the beautiful, tiny, screaming, slimy, delightful boy on my belly! The emotions that rushed through both myself and Mark are almost indescribable. I just couldn’t believe that Will was finally here…and that there really was a baby living inside of me for all those months!
They immediately placed Will in my arms where I held him for what felt like the longest, best time. Finally, Mark got to hold him, too…our beautiful little miracle. 🙂
We stayed at the hospital for another 2 days, and it was wonderful. It was sort of like being in a luxury hotel where you are waited on hand & foot…except you are in quite a bit of pain and random people keep coming in to the room to check your vitals and such. There are a lot of fun memories from those 2 days, too…family visits, the odd/annoying hospital photographer, the wonderful nurse who was so kind and answered so many questions (Lisa), the crazy awful nurse (can’t remember her name, but her signature move was bursting into the room without knocking, and then frantically performing whatever task(s) she was there to do)…the sweet high school girl was volunteering at the hospital and kindly offered to bring us snacks & beverages…
Finally, on Sunday morning it was time for us to go home. This was the scariest part of it all — it made the fact that Will was really ours seem very real — but we made it home and, with the strength of God and the generous help of our families, we have had a wonderful couple of weeks so far. Will is doing great, and changing every day…I can’t believe how much he has already grown! He is truly the joy of our lives and I can’t even picture life without him! He has completely turned our world upside down, but in a wonderful way that we praise the Lord for.
And that’s my story. 🙂