Hello. My Name is Epidural. My Water has Broken. Prepare to Birth: Baby Chpt. 16, Part I

J&EThe five minute ride to the hospital is a blur. I do remember slowing to a roll to let Bashert and Nenè off at the front door, peeling off to the parking garage and then running, yes, running back to the hospital. Back then I was a good 30, 40, okay, 50 pounds lighter and could well, you know, run. Even still, I was out of breath and sweating like a glass of iced tea by the time I finally located them up on the third floor triage area in a curtained off area.

Now as our luck would have it, Todd and Marge Chester arrived at the hospital at the same time as Bashert and Nenè were entering. Apparently the ride up in the elevator was quite the hoot (see bashert04 on the side link for her telling). I got to experience the latter part of that comedy of errors.

When I arrived on the triage floor, Bashert was in obvious pain and dripping wet. Mrs. Chester – Margo – on the other hand was bright and cheerful, flitting about chirping to everyone that she just knew her water had broken. I got a good look at Margo. She was tall and thin and wearing skinny designer jeans with high heeled boots. The thought of pregnancy had not even crossed her body’s mind yet.

Triage Nurse was in the common area passing on information in a loud stage whisper. “Mrs. Chester in exam area one is here because her water has broken. Ms. Bedlam-Smith in exam area two thinks her water has broken.” That was it for Bashert. All the anxiety and pain lifted any filters she had left at that point. She grabbed my hand and said in a very not whisper, “Thinks? She ‘thinks’ her water broke? I’ve got Niagara Falls between my legs and I ‘think’ my water broke?” Momma-to-be was not a happy camper. This did not bode well for our rapidly approaching birthing experience.

We could hear Triage Nurse making nice with the Chesters. “Let’s get you checked out, okay, Honey?” For crying out loud even I could see that Margo was dry as a bone and looked less pregnant than I did! Meanwhile, as they were checking out dear Margo, poor Bashert was lying on the exam table shivering, sodden and scared. All I could do was be with her and try to take her mind off of things until the doctor arrived.

I heard Triage Nurse start in with her stage whisper again explaining the various states of the women on the floor. When she got to Bashert, she again said, “She thinks her water has broken.” This time Bashert did not hold back at all, “Will you stop saying that! I don’t think my water has broken; I know my water has broken!” I could hear the bass voice of the doctor quietly responding to Triage Nurse. Thank goodness he finally got there. It did not take long after to get things straightened out as to who was actually birthing a baby that night. The doctor sent Todd and Margo off into the night to ponder how many stock options they could wrangle before their next dry run at childbirth.

You will notice that I used the pronoun “he” in reference to the doctor. Please recall that OBwan warned us that she would be out of town over the weekend. What night was this? Right. Saturday night equaled no OBwan. Bashert and I had joked early on about the “lesbians” ending up with a drop-dead gorgeous doctor on call when she went into labor. Guess what – the doctor on call that  weekend turned out to be the living, blue-eyed embodiment of Ken. Even through her pain and fear Bashert had to laugh at that one.

Dr. Ken turned out to be very nice. Once he quickly cleared up the whole Todd and Margo thing he turned his full attention to Bashert. He was kind and reassuring and most of all he was able to put Triage Nurse in her place with a dazzling smile.

You see, Bashert does not do pain. Bashert’s middle name is Epidural. First name on the admittance forms: Epidural. From day one of our prenatal visits with OBwan it was clear that Bashert would be getting an epidural. OBwan, herself a three times over mom at this point, agreed whole-heartedly and made extensive notes in the file to that effect. Big bold letters: Bashert gets an epidural as soon as possible. Apparently, Triage Nurse did not think this was a good idea.

After Dr. Ken examined Bashert and gave us the news that there was meconium (baby poop) in the amniotic fluid and she needed to deliver in the next twelve hours, Bashert asked about the epidural. Well, little miss Triage Nurse, stepped up and interrupted, “Oh, no, you don’t want to do that! It will just slow things down.” All I could do was look at her with “Wha?” stamped on my face.

Dr. Ken let her have her say and then turned to Bashert directly, did the toe squeeze, flashed a smile and asked her if the epidural is what she wanted. I believe if she had not been having a contraction at the time, her response would have raised the roof, “YES!” Dr. Ken then said that he would make all the arrangements and they would make her as comfortable as possible until the arrival of the anesthesiologist. Triage Nurse huffed and finally went away. One stone, two birds. Bashert relaxed as well as she could for the moment. Her epidural was on its way.

Now that Dr. Ken had given the official declaration that Bashert really was in labor, we were moved to the actual birthing room. It was a relief to get away from the confusion and craziness of the triage area. The birthing room felt incredibly spacious after all three of us being squashed in the exam area. Even with the little area that was portioned off for working on the babies after they were born, there was quite a lot of leg room. Here there was a bed, a couch, a hard chair and the usual assortment of medical machines burping and whirring. We actually had access to a private bathroom which was great. Nenè set herself up on the couch and began dozing. Bashert and I were alone for the first time since we sat down to watch Sir Elton so many hours ago.

World Premiere 2003

Yoda arrived in this world eight years ago today on his exact due date.  Its nice to be punctual when starting out.

Bashert and I had just reached a song we knew during a PBS special on Elton John.  There we were humming along with Sir Elton and BAM! Bashert exclaims, “I think my water just broke!”

In all my worldly wisdom, I replied, “Get off the couch.”

I can be so compassionate at times.

We got her up and moving toward the door calling to NeNé to come on down, it was time to go to the hospital.

As we got to the door, Bashert stopped, gripped the door frame and said she didn’t think she could do this. I said it was a little late for that now.  She grimaced and said that she meant walking to the car.

We managed to get to the car and sped off to the hospital, which was all of five minutes away.  I dropped the two of them off at the front door and went to park the car.  I think I broke my own speed record running back into the hospital (this was before the Plantar’s Fasciitis set in and I could still run).

The triage nurse wasn’t too on the ball.  She got confused between Bashert and some chickie who thought her water had broken.  Triage Nurse wasn’t too helpful in calming Bashert down either, she wanted to explain procedural methods. Not a good idea.

You see, Bashert wanted that epidural right away.  She introduced herself in the hospital as, “Hi, my name is Epidural Now.”  Triage Nurse didn’t read people very well.

We asked when the doctor would be there.

Turns out as is usually the case, our doctor was not on call that night.  We joked that we would get some dashingly handsome male doctor, whom all the nurses swoon over.

We got exactly that.  Bashert groaned, but he was right on top of things, basically ignoring Triage Nurse and calming Bashert at the same time.

After the initial prep, we were shown to the ‘birthing room’.  The room made up to look artificially cozy and comfortable where Yoda was to be born.  NeNé claimed the couch and began dozing. It was getting pretty late into the night by then.

The anesthesiologist couldn’t arrive fast enough.  Bashert kept asking every ten minutes as to where he was.  She got rather insistent that I question the staff, so I went out in the hall and pretended to speak with the nurse.  It calmed me and placated her.

When the anesthesiologist finally arrived we all rejoiced. Then he and I spent the entire time he was administering the manna from heaven trying to come up with from where we knew each other.  We never did figure it out.

Bashert floated into a wonderful la-la land.  NeNé fell asleep on the couch and I maintained a half sleep/half vigilance state next to the bed.

Around 6:45am we realized that it was time for the shift change.

Into the room walked a woman with long blonde hair and a fully made up face. Great, our child was being delivered by Ken and Barbie.

Surprisingly, Barbie turned out to be very capable and competent. She guided Bashert through the delivery with great understanding and confidence.

Yoda gave us a couple of little scares when he finally came out.  First, meconium accompanied him on his way out and the doctor was afraid that Yoda might have aspirated some during the delivery process and second the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around Yoda’s neck several times.

One would think that would have prevented him from aspirating anything, but they had to make sure.  So, when the doctor cut the cord, the nurses whisked him away to verify all was clear.

I knew all was good when the nurse joked that she couldn’t put a diaper on the kid because he kept pooping.  She’d get him cleaned up and there he’d go again.

When Yoda was placed in our arms for the first time, we didn’t see all the marks his travel to us had brought – scraped cheeks, bruised eyes and fat lip.  All we saw was a remarkable little boy, who vaguely resembled Curious George and sent our hearts to the clouds.  I don’t think we’ve come out of them since.

NeNé snapped a picture of us at that exact moment. Yoda’s World Premiere, 10 August 2003.

Happy Birthday, Potato!