For three years, I've been meaning to write up Porter's birth story for his birthday and have yet to meet the deadline. So in honor of his half birthday (yesterday), here's Part 1.
September 20, 2006: I lay on the hospital bed, tears streaming down my face. I just kept repeating, "This is my worst nightmare. I don't understand how this happened. This is my worst nightmare." And I meant every word that was escaping my mouth. I had spent the last 16 months and 10 days constructing my prevention plan to keep me out of this exact predicament.......
May 10, 2005: I was at my sister's apartment when she gently started grabbing at her stomach. Her very large stomach. She was 5 days past her due date with baby #2. "Gay, I think something might be happening." I was her caretaker and appointed chauffeur while her husband was working 4 hours away. I needed to get her safely to the hospital and keep her company until he arrived. That was my role.
My sister went in and out of indecision for the next 30 minutes, while I prodded her to get a hospital bag together....just in case. And then I escorted her to the car. Whatever doubt was present 30 minutes ago had totally evaporated...this girl was in full-blown labor. The short 3 mile drive to the hospital was broken up by intervals of contractions. Conversation would halt and she would take a death grip on whatever lucky object she latched onto. And she would grimace. And breathe HARD. ...And then she was okay. Now how far apart are contractions supposed to be when you go to the hospital? Aren't you supposed to go in when they're like 5ish minutes apart? Well, we survived about 8 STRONG contractions on our
long short drive.
We pulled up to the hospital and made our way into the lobby. But not without a pit stop. Roo Doggs found that hospital's brick wall and begged it's support to make it through just one more contraction. And she did. We got to the elevator just as the door opened. 4 nurses started to emerge. Until they saw the state of my sister. They took her by her arms, retrieved a wheelchair and got right back in that elevator with her. I think this was an emergency? I didn't know. I just remember being concerned that I was parked in a slot marked 'emergency' and I couldn't determine whether or not our situation was worthy of that spot and heaven forbid I get a ticket. The nurses knew a lot more than I did. This was an emergency.
We made it up to the labor and delivery room at 11:20 pm. And the "team" went to work. They're calling for all available nurses, ordering to get the room prepped, demanding a doctor to join them. Meanwhile, my sister was trying to change into a hospital gown and at the same time yelling from the bathroom, "I WANT TO PUSH. CAN I PUSH, CAN I PUSH?" which request was met with a firm, "NO. DO NOT PUSH." With that request denied, she was on to the next. "I NEED DRUGS," and started rattling off a list I wouldn't be able to repeat even if I wanted to. I didn't have a clue what she was talking about. But the nurses did. And their answer left no room for negotiation, "There's nothing we can give you. The baby's coming NOW." All the while I am alongside her- turned from chauffeur to birthing coach- offering any support I can. Should I hold her hand? Should I touch her? Should I not touch her? I faked it until there was a definite position to fulfill...they needed me to hold her leg. The stirrup for the left leg was broken, so I was to be the left leg stirrup. I slid in right next to her, took a firm grip on that foot and told her what a good job she was doing. A resident doctor took position and it was time to birth this baby.
And that's when the screaming started. Actually, that may or may not be true. In an attempt to be completely honest, I'll say those are the screams that are ENGRAVED in my long-term memory. Oh, those screams. I remember looking around thinking, "Isn't she embarrassed?" Well, she needn't be; I was embarrassed for her. Like when you're at church and someone goes up to give testimony....but decides to sing their testimony. And of course they're the type that can't hit a single note on key. You can't bare eye contact because you are so embarrassed for the fact that they are NOT embarrassed and should be. That's what her screams were doing to me- those screams that knew absolutely no limits. Such depth that you would've thought her very heart was being ripped from her. So vulnerable, they were revealing each and every individual emotion she was feeling. Leaving nothing for the imagination. And she could have cared less. My eyes were as big as saucers and if you had the spare millisecond to look at them, my fear was being displayed just as openly as hers.
The resident was ready and commanded a push. She screamed and pushed; he executed a quick bob and weave as something came flying out the birthing canal. He had just nearly evaded a full-on kiss with the water bag and whatever guest fluids were with it. Gross. I was holding, and gripping, and cheerleading while she unleashed those screams and rallied up a few more pushes.....until that 9 pound 3 ounce sweet baby boy found his way out. There he was.
And just like that.... it was over. I held that big little baby in my arms while my sister got stitched up and I groped around to touch something that would ensure reality. Did all of this really just happen? The nurse announced the time of birth.....11:36 pm. I kid you not, it had only been 16 minutes since we entered the labor and delivery room and a mere hour and 10 minutes since I was sitting on her couch, while she stood at her kitchen counter, wondering if....something might be happening.
And to reinforce the absolutely traumatic nature of what I- better yet, my sister- had just experienced, 13 hours later I gave a perfectly drugged birth to my own Dallin B........without a single scream.
To be con't...hopefully manana. Click here for Part II.