First things first – go back and read Part One to find out how the universe perfectly choreographed the timing of the onset of labor, the coincidental arrival of top-notch childcare, and The Mister finishing his work to make a deadline all in time for us to head to the hospital at the exact moment we needed to.
I left off at the part where we started off to the hospital and contractions started getting intense in the car.
Mamas, is there a more uncomfortable place to labor than in the front passenger seat of the car?
I was unable to talk during contractions at that point, and Mister recognized the familiar sounds of Courtney in transition labor. He got to do the whole driving with the hazard lights on thing, which was kind of cool. The other drivers thought he left the lights on and they were all signaling to him in different ways. If they only knew.
We arrived at the hospital and Mister dropped me off at the tunnel to the main building while he parked the car. First a nurse passed me, then a little clan of residents, then a couple more nurses…and do you know who offered to help? A janitor. He offered me a wheelchair and to get us to our floor. A janitor. (I declined because I didn’t want to sit, but still.) The janitor took one look at me and knew what was happening. Either the “medical professionals” didn’t recognize labor as labor, or they had more important things to do than make sure I didn’t drop a baby in the parking tunnel.
Mister came back and we headed to Maternity. We checked in and got set up in the room. Mister overheard the nurse on the phone telling the midwife to take her time, saying, “she’s having a few contractions, no rush.”
She didn’t really hang around long enough to know how frequently they were coming, and I guess I handle myself well because she didn’t think they were strong. The Mister and I knew we were close, so he had a brief chat with the nurse. She gave me a proper exam before she made any more assumptions.
I thought I would be at least 6cm dilated.
I was 9.
The nurse had a little more pep in her step after that. She immediately started setting up for second stage labor – she brought the big lights down from the ceiling and set up the midwife’s cart with all of her supplies. My doula-BFF arrived just in time.
The midwife arrived, and it was go time from then on. She said she wanted to break my water, and I told her I didn’t want to be on the clock. She kind of chuckled a little. Had I forgotten I was already 9cm dilated? If it would take 24 hours to get to 10, I’d guess a cesarean would be in order, no?
She broke my water and mentioned that it was meconium-stained. Really stained – enough to have the neonatal team in the room, on the ready. I don’t recall details (give me a break, I was busy) but I’m told I pushed for 30 minutes, which was incredible considering I pushed for 4.5 hours and 1.5 hours with my first two, respectively.
Once he was out, the neonatal team went to it. Nugget had indeed aspirated meconium and was having a pretty hard time. They brought him to me very briefly – just long enough to give him a kiss – before he had to be rushed to the NICU.
I tried not to think the worst. I tried to focus on the quick birth and the way everything fell perfectly into place before we left. I stuffed my face with peanut butter crackers while catching up with doula-BFF. All the while, my imagination created a big projector screen in the room and played all of the scary things that I envisioned were happening to my sweet baby. I did my best to ignore it.
He ended up staying in the NICU just over a week (more on all that later), but he’s home now and perfect.
Perhaps that’s why he’s gone easy on me ever since!
Presenting Nugget, a few days old…