She called at 1:30 in the afternoon and said, “They will induce at 2:30, can you be there by then?” and I think that was the precise moment I went inside of myself just for some sort of preservation. I mean, I was cracking the whip, getting the always late B moving, making sure we had everything, calling the attorney, etc. but the part of me that felt was muted. The only time I freaked out on the way to the hospital is when I checked my Blackberry and I had an automatic vacation response email from my attorney. It reminded me of when we watched the season finale of the Soprano’s and the screen went black, B picked up the remote and said, “I don’t know what to do”. I looked at that email and was dumbfounded. She is out of town? For two weeks? But . . . the baby. Is like, coming out . . . Luckily another attorney from the firm emailed me right then to tell me she would be handling the situation and to call her when the baby was born.
Babymama was already in the room when we got there, and I was wondering if the staff knew about our situation on the elevator ride up. One step into labor and delivery answered that question – all eyes were on us. They knew.
She was putting on her gown when we came in. Her hands were shaking and she was having trouble getting it tied. My hands were steady but my brain was in that weird hibernation mode, so it took both us a really long time. Once she had her gown on she got in bed and we sat on the couch and we began the most awkward hour of all of our lives. The first hour was the hardest, I think because we were all nervous, and they kept coming in and checking her and we were just bumbling around. We settled in after that, and I reminded B that we were in this for the long haul, it could go on until the next day.
They induced at 4:30. After they started the pitocen, I went to the main lobby to tell my parents they couldn’t come up and that it would be awhile. When I was walking back, B was running out of the room to find a nurse because her contractions had become so bad so fast. When I got in there her whole body was contorted with pain, she was covered in sweat, and her lips were shaking. We had to wait about twenty minutes for the epidural person, and it was awful. She is so little, each contraction was literally twisting her body. B had to leave for the epidural, so I stayed and stood in front of her holding her arms. When a contraction hit, instead of just squeezing my hands she squeezed and twisted, and I swear to Homer she almost broke my wrist. I bit the inside of my cheek and just waited it out, because how dickish is it to cry out about a strained wrist when she is having a needle put in her spine?
Epidurals are amazing. That was the end of the pain for her. She slept for a half hour or so, we watched TV, and then she woke up and told me I needed to call a nurse now, because she felt a lot of pressure. I had been prepared for hours of waiting, and so had the staff, so they leisurely came in and when they checked her it all started going really fast. The nurse told her not to push, to wait until things were set up. B and I moved to our positions up behind her head. They took the end of the bed off, rolled in the table with all the scary looking tools, and then the nurse told her she could push.
I’ve been in a lot of births, and usually I am holding the moms hand, counting while they push. But she didn’t want any of us. She grabbed her own legs, closed her eyes, and pushed. After three contractions the nurse yelled STOP! and that was the only time things got a little hairy. The nurse told her she could not push again, no matter how much she wanted to, until the doctor came in. Then I could hear the urgent doctor call. I peaked over and saw the top of Fiona’s head hanging out, and Babymama was like I NEED TO PUSH THIS BABY OUT RIGHT NOW. The doctor sauntered in, putting his gloves and mask on, and Babymama told him she had to push and he said, you can’t, pant like a dog if you need to. This was the only time she lost her cool, she looked at me and said, “IS HE FUCKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?” I didn’t even know what to say, so I said, “I’m afraid not.”
So the cord was around her neck. I’m glad I didn’t know this while we waited, obviously. She never did have to push again. He reached down, pulled the cord over her neck, and then pulled the baby out.
The first thing I noticed is that she had B’s ears. I prayed for that. I love his ears, they are shaped almost in a question mark. I just saw her, that is the only way I can describe it. I don’t remember hearing anything, or thinking anything. Like a movie, it just slowed down with a zoom lens on her. The doctor started to hand her to Babymama, and she held her hand up to stop him and pointed to me. When he gave her to me, she was still all covered in blood and stuff and screaming like they do and I just wrapped my whole self around her and whispered in her ear over and over and over again that it would be ok. Both for her benefit and mine, no doubt. The nurses kept trying to clean her up and wipe the blood off of me and I just didn’t even care, I just needed to keep saying that prayer: It’s okay, baby, mama’s here, it’s okay, baby, mama’s here.