I woke up around 2:30 or 2:45 am Tuesday morning, the 5th of June. I wasn’t sure if I was having pains or just had to go to the bathroom and moved too quickly…but after I lay there for a few minutes I decided it was some cramps. They were light enough I thought I could go back to sleep but after a while of not falling back asleep I got up to go to the bathroom.
Since I couldn’t sleep and it’s wasn’t too late in the States I tried to call Mom. She didn’t answer so I left her a message saying I was cramping but I didn’t think it was the real thing…I just wanted to talk. I called her a few more times and then gave up and called Jo around 3:20am. We talked for about an hour…I asked her if she remembered how her contractions were…and said if I could talk through them they must not be real labor contractions. Jo didn’t remember…it has been almost 10 years since her kids. I’d picked up the maternity book, but I just couldn’t believe that it was really happening. From the book I thought I should feel some back pain but it was only an area about the size of one or two fists right at the front of my pelvic bone. I hung up with Jo about 4, and by 4:30 I decided to wake Tj up. I still thought it wasn’t real, but I wanted someone at the hospital to confirm that I wasn’t in full labor. I didn’t feel like concentrating enough on finding the prefix for the hospital so that’s where Tj came in. He described the symptoms to the nurse but the pains weren’t of consistent intensity so I told Tj not to call Heidi (who’d volunteered to keep Max during labor/birth). A minute or so after he hung up the pains became one constant pain and Tj said that that was it we were going to the hospital.
By this time I was feeling light-headed…I’d been taking deep breaths. I asked Tj how the book said to breathe and he did the breathing with me (so different from Max’s birth :-) Tj went to the bathroom and got some pants on and sat with me through another contraction or two, and I just kept thinking that I couldn’t handle walking the 300 feet to the hospital entrance. I hadn’t packed my bag yet but I’d set aside all the stuff I wanted to go so I told Tj to stuff it in the backpack. I got the paperwork we had scattered on the counter together…I had planned on taking it in that day to get Jack’s passport started before he was born. Tj then said that he had to get some shoes on Max in case Max had to walk…I was so ready to go now. Then Tj said Max need to be changed out of the t-shirt of Tj’s that he was wearing to sleep in so he wouldn’t trip while walking…I was trying to be patient but I really needed to go to the hospital! It just seemed like he kept coming up with things to do to delay us. I didn’t think I was in labor, but I just didn’t see how I could walk that far with the pain I was feeling. And just to slow matters down even more every time I felt a contraction I wanted Tj to come hold my hand and help me breathe…I couldn’t remember if it was he-he-he or who-who-who! When Tj was by himself I wanted him to watch me, but when he brought Max out I didn’t want Max to see me in such pain. Poor ole Tj…he was pulled in so many directions but he just rolled with the punches.
Finally Tj was just about ready to leave so I told him to bring me my pants. After I pulled them on they were bothering my stomach and then I thought that if I wore the dress I’d brought they could more easily check me and send me on my way…so Tj got that for me and I pulled it on. I asked him to put my shoes on and help me stand and then I started walking and told him to just catch up with me. I wasn’t moving very fast…didn’t want to take big steps. After I got into the hallway I could hear my internal voice telling me to speak softly because other people were sleeping in the hotel but I know I was louder than I should have been when I told Tj “Either I just peed my pants or my water broke!”. I made it down the five or so stairs and out the door when Tj caught up to me. He kept going about half a step faster than I thought I could manage so I kept letting his hand go. Max kept saying “You see the moon, Mama? You see the moon?” so I finally answered him.
It always makes me laugh to think of the picture we made as we rounded the corner and became visible to the guards at the emergency entrance of the hospital. Tj had Max on his back and was carrying my backpack of stuff and Max’s diaper bag and holding my hand. I must have looked like every pregnant woman you see in the movies…slowly waddling closer and closer and hollering loudly, then panting. A woman who was waiting for the bus near the hospital asked Tj if he wanted a wheelchair and then ran to the hospital to get it, but the hospital guard had one closer. I kept thinking that I wouldn’t be able to sit down with all of the pain I was feeling (just like in the room I had been thinking I couldn’t stand/walk with all of that pain…silly me). When I sat in the wheelchair I immediately felt the rest of my water gush out…it was a downpour! Tj started trying to push me but then the woman who had been waiting for the bus offered to push me inside. Sometime around this time Tj showed our ID’s to the guard…everyone has to be checked before they go into the hospital. Incidentally this is the hospital where all the guys from down-range (the war) come.
Tj hadn’t seen this part of the hospital, he wasn’t even supposed to be here yet. He’d worked it out with the guys here in Germany to fly with them for a week and so he came to Germany a week earlier than planned, fortunately. He and the lady asked at the front desk how to get to labor/delivery. Once we were on the right floor Tj mentioned not knowing where L/D was and I told him to read the signs. I remember thinking after I said that and he said he was, wondering why I thought that was helpful. The whole experience was almost like out-of-body…I could see myself doing these things but didn’t feel very in control of myself. Finally we got to L/D and the nurses asked what was going on…I thought it was obvious! They put me in a room and while Tj started putting Max and our bags down the nurse started getting our info into the system. Before things got so crazy back in the room I’d told Tj that his only job at the hospital was to tell them over and over that I wanted an epidural until they got me one. At the hospital I never even gave him a chance…the first thing out of my mouth was ‘I want an epidural’ and then a minute later ‘have you called for the epidural yet???!!’. That dang nurse just said ‘I can’t call until we get your info into the computer’ and I swear she talked so slowly! I wanted to throttle her! After a couple of seconds she had me lay down on the bed and took a look, and then said ‘Well, there he is!’. I (again) refused to let myself think about doing this without an epidural! Talk about denial!
In the elevator I had felt the urge to push…and really felt my body pushing, but I tried to hold off a little bit because I was sitting down, and because we weren’t in L/D yet. But now when the nurse was just taking her sweet time about getting me my epidural I started yelling “I’m pushing” like it was a threat to her! Silly me! She told me to relax and push, but how are you supposed to relax when something that big is coming out of something that small? For a few minutes there it was just like you see on TV, there were two or three nurses and a doctor all yelling at me and I was yelling back. Tj was at my left leg, holding it up for me, but I don’t think he was yelling, just trying to calm me down. Finally one of the nurses, Andrea, standing at my right hand got right in my face and yelled very authoritatively that I had to stop screaming and push. She told me to hold my legs open and push the baby out. I told her she’d have to hold my legs open for me…I just couldn’t bear to hold them open. I wondered why she and Tj didn’t really hold my legs down but Tj told me later that he’d been using all of his strength to hold my legs but I was pulling them closed. Just a couple of pushes later and Jack came out. If I remember correctly after his head came out the cord was around his neck. Just as they went to cut the cord they were able to get it from around his neck and then I pushed him all the way out. I kinda knew it was silly at the time but I could always see Tj out of the corner of my eye and I remember as I finally listened to the nurse and calmed down that I felt bad about ignoring Tj, but I was doing it anyway. :-) It’s funny how your mind can operate on more than one level at a time.
This whole time Max was sitting on his chair in the corner. Right before Jack came out Max started getting upset that I was yelling so much…Tj turned around and told him that I was yelling at the playground [Max likes to yell (like any other 2.5-yr-old boy) and we’ve told him that’s the only place it’s ok to yell]. A second or so later a nurse came and took Max out of the room, but then Jack was born about a minute later so the nurse brought Max back.
I tore in two places and when the doctor came to stitch me up she put a little lidocaine at the site. About three hours after the birth I asked for some pain medication and they gave me a Motrin…but that’s all the pain medication I got for the whole birth! It really surprised me how quickly I recovered and how good I felt after the birth. I think having the whole thing go so quickly meant that my body was not as stressed as with Max’s birth. If I ever give birth again I definitely want an epidural…but if you don’t get one just have the baby fast is my recommendation. :-)
While everything was going on after the birth Jack had to stay on the warming bed because his temp was a little low. Max had to stay on his chair or on my bed because the floor was so bloody. It was good to hold him a bit and let him know I was ok. I tried to nurse Jack a little but it didn’t go as well as nursing Max did. It wasn’t a big deal to me, though. Having nursed Max for nine months I figured Jack and I would figure it out. While all this was going on I would occasionally look over at Jack and just be startled to see him there and think ‘that’s my baby! that’s why we’re here’. Having him come two weeks early was something I just never expected. I didn’t really think I’d be ready for him to come on his due date, and the fact that he came so early made everything even more surreal.
After a while Tj called his mom and work and I called Jo to tell them about the birth. (We waited to call everyone else till they were awake in America.) Tj then called Heidi to see if she would mind keeping Max that day and overnight…she couldn’t come get him for another three hours or so because she was on her way to the airport. Tj finally took Max back to the room to get him some breakfast and let him nap before she came.
And that’s the story of how Jack made his way into this world!