Labor & Delivery – Part 1

Written at about 1:00pm on Thursday, July 5th, from the hospital’s labor & delivery room.

This isn’t what Hollywood told me it would be like.

Labor is always depicted as beginning with the giant splash of water breaking. The mother-to-be screams and starts her breathing as the father frantically runs around the house grabbing all of the bags, pillows, and whatever else and cramming into the car. The car speeds away, only to speed back in reverse to pick up the mother that was left in the driveway. A 10 minute car scene ensues, with the father bobbing and weaving between traffic while the mother huffs and puffs and contorts her face with the pain of her contractions. They race into the hospital, at which point the mother is whisked away in a wheelchair. Five minutes later, the mother has her legs up, is sweating, lets out a primal scream and *plop*, out comes the baby.

Our experience hasn’t been quite so dramatic.

We double checked the house to make sure the doors and windows were locked. I neatly packed the bags in the trunk of my car. We put on Jimmy Buffett as we pulled onto the road. We stopped at 7-Eleven. I bought a Vitamin Water, Dragonfruit flavor. The bored hospital attendant signed us in and showed us to our room. As Meg changed into her gown, I played around with the HDTV on the wall, learning that we had cable TV, movies for rent, and free Internet access.

Wait, let me back up a bit.

Last Tuesday, July 3rd, we had a baby doctor appointment. After the doctor (who looks disturbingly like Fonzie from Happy Days) finished checking Meg, we began to discuss our options. I say “our options”, but realistically they were quite simple. Meg was to be induced, it was simply a matter of when.

We scheduled the induction to begin on Wednesday night (July 4th). Since she still wasn’t very dilated, the induction process began with a balloon that is inserted into her cervix and expanded. I could go into more detail, but believe me, you don’t want me to. That would take place over the course of the night, and then the induction drugs would begin in the morning.

We told anyone we couldn’t avoid that we had another doctor appointment on Thursday, just to buy us some time. In reality, we knew we’d be in the hospital. But as you people proved you can’t be trusted to not endlessly call, we decided to keep it quiet. I was even tempted to post this as I wrote it, directly on the site through the Internet access in our room (I wasn’t kidding about that). But again, we’re looking to avoid a barrage of calls.

As I said, we arrived at the hospital on Wednesday night, at about 8pm. We were told to enter through the emergency room.

“Hi, we’re checking in for Labor & Delivery.”
“Are you in labor?”
“No… yes… uh, Jay?”

Meg was a bit frazzled when we got there. We managed to get through the registration and were escorted to our room. On the way to the room, I saw a rather expensive looking piece of hospital equipment in the hallway. I looked up at the monitor connected to it, which proudly and prominently displayed a Windows blue screen of death. I tried to stop and take a picture — I figured my company would get a kick out of it — but I figured I’d get in trouble and I at least wanted to make it to the room before being labeled a disturber of the peace. Needless to say, I was discomforted at the fact that my child’s delivery would be done with the assistance of Windows based machines.

The room is… well, surprisingly comfortable. I was happy to find it wasn’t painted hospital white. I was even more surprised to find that there was an HDTV mounted to the wall. I grabbed the giant remote connected to Meg’s bed and began to explore my potential distractions. Recent movies for rent and Internet access would do nicely to pass the time. We also have a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, so all in all, it was starting to feel like vacation. I also felt comforted in the realization that there is an extremely good chance I won’t have to eradicate the room of any lizards this time.

I was also surprised to find the pull out chair thing I was meant to sleep on was reasonably comfortable. If not for the constant interruptions of nurses throughout the course of the night, it would have been a downright good night’s sleep.

Meg was hooked up to two monitors. The first tracks the baby’s heartbeat. It wasn’t just a graph, it also played the sound out loud. For those of you that don’t know, I’m an awful sleeper and really can’t get to sleep without some form of white noise. The rhythmic heartbeat served that purpose well. I figure if I have to spend the next 5+ years rocking, gliding, singing, and whatever other efforts to get the kid to fall asleep, he/she can start out life on the right foot by helping me to get to sleep for one night.

The other monitor tracks Meg’s contractions. Apparently, she has been having contractions. She just didn’t feel them, or misdiagnosed them as the baby kicking. We spent the better part of an hour watching this graph as Meg tried to see if she felt the contractions the computer was telling her she was having. She’d get all excited when she hit a spike, and kept trying to top her previous highest peak. I smiled at my good fortune that, at least for the time being, Meg was excited to see strong contractions.

So where are we now? Around 1pm on Thursday. Waiting. Meg’s been given the Pitocin IV, which is the drug that is supposed to bring on labor. The nurse comes in every 15 minutes or so and raises the concentration. Another hour of this bullshit and I’m gonna up it myself. I figure with my solid lack of any medical training whatsoever, she’ll expel not only the child in short time, but her lungs as well.

No doubt there will be more to write in the coming hours. We’re just entering Baby Watch: Hour 17 (counting from when we got to the hospital), and with very little reaction to the drugs, I’m not expecting the kid any time soon.

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