Tuesday, January 31, 2012

my baby takes the morning train

We were rejected from the hospital for the second time on Wednesday night. As I hunched over the triage nurse's desk, crying, she handed me an Ambien and told us to return if I felt the same way in a few hours. So I took the Ambien, a strong, freak dream causing sleeping pill. Ambien doesn't mess around. But, as it turns out, neither do contractions. So the following hours went something like this: I dreamt that I was the campaign manager for Gabrielle Giffords, who in this dream decided to run for reelection. And because the contractions were as strong as they were, they became a part of my dream. I, my dream self, understood that it was my responsibility as campaign manager to power through the pain. So every time a contraction came along (which was about every three minutes), my dream campaign team would yell "Do it for Gabbie!", and I would sit up, rock back and forth for sixty seconds, then lay back down until three minutes later. From Stephen's perspective, I was snoring, waking up every three minutes and wailing, then snoring again. This continued until four in the morning, when one particularly nasty contraction snapped me out of my political delirium, and I found myself sitting in a puddle of blood. Any other night and this would mean total terror, but at that moment I rejoiced, knowing that if there's anything that will convince health care professionals to let you stay at the hospital, it's copious amounts of blood. So we went in for the second time that night and the third time that week. As soon as the delivery nurses saw the look on my face they said "That's it. She's staying." And that's when The Worst Night turned into The Best Morning.
Yet another exam revealed that I was at a 7 and yes, well into labor. I spent the next hour asking how soon I could get an epidural, every time getting the same answer, "in just a minute". Finally that minute came, and slowly the pain turned to pressure and then the pressure faded away and then all was right in the world. A few naps later and it was time to push. Honestly, one of the coolest things I've ever done. I know that sounds like the strangest thing, but it was all so calm and happy. I imagined doctors and nurses rushing around, me sweaty and yelling, lots of blood, an all around apocolyptic scenario. Instead it was Stephen, Dr. Nelson and a nurse named Polly, gently coaching me through each contraction then telling jokes and making small talk in between. Ivy did her part and progressed nicely, then after an hour someone summoned the rest of the delivery team, and a group of scrub-clad cheerleaders watched the final fifteen minutes. at 10:10 Doctor Nelson said "Next contraction we'll have a baby." He was right. I gave it everrything I had and out she came at 10:15. "She's beautiful," Stephen said. "Look at all theat hair," the nurses said. A few seconds worth of nose and throat suctioning passed, then I heard her cry. Polly handed me the loveliest goop-covered seven pounds three ounces I'd ever seen.
The rest of the day was a surreal blur, as both Ivy and I went through all sorts of poking and prodding and Stephen and I tried to remember everything everyone was telling us. Next thing I knew I was trying to feed my baby in the middle of the night. She didn't quite feel like mine. She felt like someone's cute little creature that I was asked to tend for a while and I wasn't sure how. I bounced Ivy in my arms as she cried, laid her head against my chest and "Shhhh-shhhh-shhhhed" until she slowly ceased the screaming, peeled her head away from my body, looked up at me with huge blue eyes, and just stared. That was it. She knew me and I knew her. She was mine. She is ours.


  1. I love this. And you. And Stephen. And Ivy :)

  2. I'm not sure I could explain why, but I was REALLY looking forward to this post! Congratulations!

  3. awww, meg, I'm so happy for little Ivy that she gets to have you for a mom :) and I'm feeling proud of you for reasons I don't know. this makes me feel like I'm not going to fail at having a baby.

  4. Congrats to you guys. This sounds kind of lovely, except for the blood part. Glad everything went well!

  5. I love this birth story. One of the more unique that I've heard, and I've heard a lot. You are one tough woman!!


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