David's due date was July 30, 1991. I had an uneventful pregnancy - not much sickness :), average to slightly-high weight gain :( etc. However on the day of July 29 I realized that I had not felt "the baby" move all day - this was around 7 o'clock in the evening - and I was terrified. We called the doctor.
. . . "I'm sure everything's fine . . . blah blah blah." His advice - drink a coke, lie down and concentrate on feeling the baby move. Simple enough - I fixed myself a glass of diet coke (thinking the caffeine should do the trick) and settled onto the sofa.
At 8:15 or so . . . After the specified hour was up, I still had not felt movement. Once again, we called the doctor at home. More annoyed than worried (I think) he told me to meet him at the hospital. He was sure everything was fine, but he would hook me up to a fetal monitor just in case. (Should we be relieved or terrified?)
My husband and I headed for our local hospital and entered through the emergency room (as specified by the doc). They put me in a wheel chair - though I assured them that I was ONLY there to be monitored not to give birth - and wheeled me to a birthing room. After losing my clothes I settled into the surprisingly comfortable bed, anxiously awaiting the doctor.
9:00 or so . . . After a few short minutes, a nurse came in to check me. She assured me that Dr. M was on his way. After physically checking my dilation she left the room, then she came back with another nurse who also checked me "down there." (What was I? - the featured attraction at the nurses peep show?) Suddenly one of the nurses left the room to call Dr. M. The other one began wiring me to a large piece of electronics. Then she asked me "How long have you been in labor"? "Oh, I'm not in labor," I replied. "I'm just here to be monitored because I haven't felt the baby move lately," thinking they must have me confused with another patient. "How long have you been having been having contractions," she continued. Duh!, what did I just say? "I'm NOT in labor . . ." I began as the other nurse reappeared. "Dr. M is on his way," she told the first nurse.
"Honey, you're having strong contractions, and you're dilated to about a 5. You ARE in labor." Then she proceeded to show me the little jumpy marks on the tape each time I had a contraction. I could watch the baby's heartbeat on a separate tape. (By the way, I should have drank a COKE not a DIET coke - it's the sugar that stimulates the baby to move around - not the caffeine.)
I'm not sure exactly what all happened next (after all, it has been almost six years) - lots of activity, people in and out of the room - my husband looking worried. Then the doctor showed up, looking sleepy. "So we're going to have this baby are we," as he reaches under the sheet and into my private area. "Why didn't you tell me you were in labor"? Once again I stated that I did not know I was in labor. (I still had not felt a single contraction.) I had to watch the tape to know when each one came and went, and my water had not broken.
Dr. M suggested to the nurses that they "keep an eye" on my dilation and let him know when my water broke. He then suggested that I get some rest. "If your water doesn't break during the night, we'll break it first thing in the morning."
On and off through the night one nurse or the other would "check" me. I dilated to about an 8 and everything slowed down. Every time I would start to drift to sleep, someone would come to check something - and my mother had arrived - with lots of questions and comments. Her excitement made me a bit nervous, but really, I was thrilled she was with me.
Still no activity from within . . . The next morning around 7:30, Dr. M came back, "How are we doing," and other miscellaneous pleasantries as he dove beneath the sheet. He talked with the nurses, my i.v. was changed. "I'll be back in a little bit to break your water," and he was gone.
Around 8:30 am, he broke my water. What a mess - I am so glad it didn't happen at home! Sometime around the middle of the morning, I began to feel the contractions, not really painful but noticeable. I apparently had an ex-drug pusher for a nurse. "Don't you want something for the pain; let me get you something to take the edge off; don't you want a little 'whatever' (I don't remember the name)," every few minutes. Finally around noon, I'm not sure if it was because of the now more than noticeable pain, or just to shut her up, I accepted a half-dose of demoral.
2:00 pm or so . . . Things seemed to have really slowed down. I had expected to have the baby by early afternoon. I was so thirsty. (Ice chips only, no water, no soft drinks, no juice). By 3:00, I was experiencing the joy (ie pain) of labor. I had remained calm through my husband's hovering and smothering attention, my mom's nervous questioning and critiquing, and his mom's mindless babbling! But as labor progressed and I tried to remember my Lamaze instruction, I became increasingly irritable.
MY HUSBAND HAD BAD BREATH!
As I was doing my breathing...(Hu Hu Hu), the nurse would encourage me to FOCUS. Fine, I'm focusing. But then my mom started telling me to focus on Wayne (husband). I voiced for everyone in the room, "I DON'T WANT TO FOCUS ON Wayne!" My point was well taken. Although I was irritable and loud, I still had not cursed or truly yelled at anyone.
Around 3:30 or so, I decided that I should go ahead and have the epidural. No one seemed to know when the baby would come. They called the anesthesiologist (who, by the way, is known for asking for the receipt of prior payment or a check IN THE DELIVERY ROOM. We had our receipt because even though I wanted a natural birth I had given myself an out just in case). He came in within the next half hour, but then the nurses spent an eternity (or maybe just 10 minutes) looking for his "pink chair." Apparently an epidural cannot be inserted by this man without his pink chair. (By the way - mom has been removed at this time.) Even though I hadn't really wanted it, the epidural was worthwhile; it really eased the pain. EXCEPT - the baby was exerting enough pressure to completely block one of the nerves in my pelvic area. With each contraction, a pain just short of electrocution shot down my left leg.
Around 4:30 . . . The nurses decided that it was time to call the doctor back in. They encouraged my breathing and pushing etc (though NO ONE suggested that I focus on Wayne). Before the doc got there, one of the nurses saw the head. The peep show began again! Each nurse took a turn, and I think went into the hallway to find other nurses for a peep.
As Dr. M got there, the nurses are telling me NOT to push. Excuse me! but this child is coming out!! The head nurse was doing something - supporting the baby I guess between my legs. Another nurse was trying to tie Dr. M's smock, another was putting on his gloves - he had no mask - as suddenly he reached past the nurse between my legs to catch the squirmy pink/blue/grey child popping out of my body! There must be some rule that says since they are charging you so awfully much, they must be the one to actually catch the baby.
Whew - we made it! 5:08 p.m. - guess I should have held off on the epidural after all! David weighed in at exactly 8 lbs and was 20 1/2 inches long. His full name is Roger David Parham. He's named after my father (Roger) and his father and paternal grandfather (David)