Sarah hijacked this entry, which is fine with me. After all, it’s her uterus; maybe it should be her words, too.
At some point after Jeff turned off Napoleon Dynamite—which I never really wanted to watch—I went back to bed and fell asleep. When I woke up around 1 a.m., Jeff was snoring in our bed, his dad was snoring in the guest room, and his mom was snoring on the basement couch because she was sick and didn’t want to keep Jeff’s dad awake. I couldn’t go anywhere. I was still having these terrible constipation pains, so I took a bunch of magazines and pillows into the bathroom and put on some music.
Around 3 a.m., I realized that the pains were happening every four minutes or so. Hmm. I had thought they were just the worst diarrhea cramps I’ve ever had. Turns out they were contractions.
Suddenly, I was like, “Whoa! We’re supposed to go to the hospital when they’re five minutes apart.” So I woke Jeff up. He jumped out of bed, grabbed a piece of paper and a pen, and followed me into the bathroom to time the contractions, which were coming faster. They were also starting to hurt really bad. For some reason I kept yelling “Ouchie Momma!” When I tried to shower, it took forever because I had to stop every time a contraction came.
You know those big blue yoga balls that you do stomach crunches on? I bought one years ago to work out with, and instead it went into a closet for four years. But now it was my saving grace. Whenever a contraction came, I stopped whatever I was doing, got down on all fours with my chest and my face resting on the ball, rolled back and forth, and moaned. I can’t explain why. It just felt good.
“I think we should go to the hospital,” I said.
“I don’t want your parents in the car on the way there,” I said.
I needed to concentrate—and spread out—and the idea of four people in a Honda all the way there sounded pretty miserable. (I also had a feeling that we were going to get to the hospital and they were going to say, “Honey, that’s not a contraction—that’s constipation.” And we would have to come home.)
I was obsessed with wearing a specific pair of pants, and while I was looking in the dryer, I got hit with a brutal contraction—ouchie momma! Somehow, Jeff’s mom, ten feet away on the couch, snored through the whole thing. She was impossible to wake up. Eventually, Jeff roused her by squeezing her big toe, told her that I was having contractions 3 1/2 minutes apart, and said we’d call from the hospital. She was pretty out of it. I wondered if she understood.
In the back alley, before Jeff could get me in the car, I said, “Here comes one. Gimme the ball.” So I got down on all fours in the alley with the cats. Then I climbed into the back seat and labored all the way down Lake Shore Drive. All I remember was going around the Oak Street curve and rolling from one end of the car to the other. When we went around the other side of the curve I rolled back. Jeff drove like a maniac.
We arrived at the hospital and when I got out of the car, another serious contraction hit me. Down I went . . . on all fours . . . on the sidewalk . . . in the dark. With my big blue ball. Jeff said it looked like I was praying to Mecca.
Inside, the nurses ushered me into triage, but they made Jeff wait sit out in the waiting area, which was awful. Instead, he insisted on standing right by the big double doors at the triage entrance, with all our bags and stuff. Finally, a nurse took a chair out to him and told him to stop blocking the doorway.
They hated me in triage. “Here’s the robe,” a nurse said. “Put it on.”
I said no. I had on the pants I wanted and Jeff’s blue shirt and my sneakers, and I wasn’t taking them off.
The other nurse tried to give me an IV. I refused.
They gave each other a look that said, “What do we do now?”
“Give me my husband,” I said.
They said he wasn’t allowed in triage because there were no private rooms. So I said, “OK, give me the ball.” Again they said no. We had reached an impasse.
“I want to do this naturally,” I said.
They rolled their eyes. “Does your physician know about your decision?” one asked.
I said yes, and they went off to page Dr. Harth. Things were not going the way we wanted. But then, out of nowhere, another nurse showed up. “You’re awesome and I totally respect what you’re doing,” she said. “But this is an old-school hospital. You’re going to have to fight them every step of the way.” And I was, like, “Yes! Fight the power!” I never saw her again. It was like an angel coming down and telling me to kick ass.
So I decided I would.