The car ride to the hospital felt like a dream. The black sky, street lights passing by in a blur, bar hoppers dashing across the street in front of our car at a red light. “Want to stop for a drink?” one of us joked weakly. “Guess we won’t be going to see Black Swan tomorrow!” another one of us — I’m not sure who — said as we rode toward the hospital. I was continuing my slow-paced breathing and holding the beaded necklace that the women who attended my shower made for me, using it as my focal point through contractions. The ride to the hospital seemed longer than it had any time we had gone for our regular midwife appointments, and it felt like we were the keepers of this great secret, like everyone else was going about their normal routines and we were about to witness a miracle that no one else knew about.
At the hospital at around 10:30 Hubby parked and we walked in together. I had to stop and lean over a railing by the parking garage during one contraction, and two women leaving the hospital stopped to ask if I was okay. “Yes, we’re just about to have a baby!” Hubby said, and my contraction ended and I smiled at them. Inside, I sat down in the emergency room waiting area (where we had to enter since it was weekend hours) and Hubby got in line behind a man at the counter. I wondered how long our wait would be as I felt another contraction beginning, and a female employee saw me from behind a half swinging door and asked who I was with. I couldn’t talk — just pointed at Hubby. She quickly had the security guard behind the desk push me in a wheelchair up to the seventh floor, labor and delivery.
Upstairs, although I had preregistered, I knew I would have more paperwork to fill out, and I had to fill out a form with my name and basic information (turns out my labor was so quick that I actually had to fill out MOST of the paperwork after though! — including a form that said they thought I had a “reasonable chance at a vaginal delivery” even though at that point I’d already had one — ha!). I was taken into a room where I was put in a bed and strapped to a fetal monitor. I did NOT like lying back in a supine position for this monitoring, but thankfully our practice only requires it for 30 minutes. Our nurse started asking me all of these frustrating questions, like what was my occupation, and how much education had I completed. Hubby was answering her but getting short with her, because he was really focusing on me. He was so awesome this whole time — coaching me with reminding me to stay “limp noodle” and to breathe, telling me “you can do it! you’re doing great” over and over again. Finally the nurse asked me what I would rate my pain on a ten-scale.
“Probably a three or four,” I said, thinking that while it was intense that surely it could get more intense.
I saw her look dubiously up from her charts (or so it seemed to me) as if thinking, “you came in too early girl!”
“Don’t get me wrong — it’s intense,” I said. “I just imagine it will get more intense.” I said in between contractions.
Then it was time for her to check my cervix. “Are you done with a contraction?” she said?
“Yes, but hurry” — they were coming on so quickly now.
Then she checked my cervix and said, “Oh wow, you’re an eight or a nine — I could really almost push this last bit aside.”
Things started to become blurrier for me here. I understand now what is meant when you hear that labor is like going deep into an alternate dimension. I felt like I was existing on another plane, but I knew I was safe with Hubby there to take care of me and to make sure that everything around us was keeping us safe as well. I felt like we were going on a journey together.
Our midwife, Anjli, was called and had been there for maybe one contraction before I told her I felt like I had to push. (I was just glad she made it in time!)