Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A Week of remembering: Tuesday

On this Tuesday, one year ago, and at about this time of day, I was sitting right where I am now--my office at the university--and doing pretty much what I'm doing right now--reading about nostalgia in a bid to think of something clever to say about You've Got Mail.

I was humongously pregnant: Miss Baby was due on the 7th, but no woman in my family had ever managed to carry a baby past 38 weeks at the very latest, and I was feeling hard done by and uncomfortable and tired and anxious and impatient. As one does. I was wearing flip flops and my feet were hideously swollen. I was distracted by self-surveillance: is that a contraction? Is the baby moving more today? Less? Where's my damn raspberry leaf tea? I was also the object of some fun in my department, a red-faced and puffy whale of a researcher, pig-headedly still coming in to the office everyday, if only for the relief provided by the industrial air-conditioning. I was also the object of some wonderment to my midwives: at my Monday's appointment, it was discovered that I was still perfectly healthy, Miss Baby was perfectly content, everything was wonderful. But I had progressed from 3 cm dilated to nearly 4, with no labour. And Miss Baby was still riding high high up in my belly, unwilling to drop. They sent me home to wait.

But Tuesday, this Tuesday one year ago, at around 11am, midwife Joan called.

"What are you doing at the office?" she demanded. I told her I was working.

"I'm concerned about you," she said. "I was too hasty with you yesterday and now I'm worried. You absolutely cannot work anymore. I don't want you going into labour at the office. I called Pynchon already and he's coming to pick you up."

This was surprising. At my appointment the day before, Joan and student Nikki were the picture of blasé unconcern, dismissing my impatience and desire to go into labour RIGHT NOW. Joan had still more to say:

"You're ready to go, and that baby is too high up. I've been thinking about you all night. You need to go for an ultrasound right now, and I'm referring your case to the obstetrician at the hospital. Call and make your appointment with the ultrasound technician, and then call me back."


"And for God's sake, if your water breaks, lie down first, and call me second. Lie down. That's important. I think you're going to go really fast."

This was very surprising. Ultrasound? Obstetrician? Lie down? Really fast? I had beautiful blood pressure, and a lovely fetal heart rate. I was bored but not yet overdue. I was dilated but not in labour. I had been for plenty of ultrasounds already--oddly-placed placenta--but now Joan was sounding urgent. It seems she feared the cord might come before the baby, or that the placenta might be blocking the cervix. And she seemed to believe that I might give birth on the floor of my office if I didn't leave this very second. All this wait, and suddenly, at 11 am with a book in my hand and my feet up on the desk, HURRY HURRY HURRY.

My heart was beating fast. I called the ultrasound clinic and then Pynchon. He raced to get me. I called my sister--my second labour support person--and she decided to come to my town, to leave work, to keep me company and await what might be a birth today.

Lying on your back for half an hour of 'emergency' ultrasound with still no labour symptoms and no sense of urgency is uncomfortable, but worrisome. And then, after all the bustle and hurry, you go home to wait. To call the midwives and find out if you're going to the hospital for an induction under the care of the duty obstetrician.

I went home and shaved my legs. I called my mom. I ate a lot of cookies and waited. Pynchon went back to work. My sister arrived, bearing a mound of celebrity gossip magazines and some welcome distraction, in addition to a hospital bag full of snacks and amusements and necessities. We were ready. We waited together.

Joan and Nikki came to the house, and they examined me in my own room, on my own bed, an intimacy that seemed to portend coming events. Pynchon held my hand. Nothing happened: the baby was still high, my cervix was still dilating, my placenta still enough out of the way to not be a concern. Only now I really really wanted a climax to the story. They did tell me that the ultrasound indicated that the baby was about 9 pounds, and I freaked out. Joan assured me that these estimates were usually off the mark by about 15% in either direction. I prayed for small.

We took some silly photos. Every minute seemed an eternity. We waited. And then we went to bed.

June 6, 2006: dressed for the Stanley Cup playoffs.


Christine said...

Just kind of wandered this way via someone else's blog. Great story,a nd i can't wait to hear the end. I ended up with two over 9 pounds--9lbs 7oz and 9lbs 12oz. Oy.

Omaha Mama said...

Oh what a beautiful story, I read it quickly and with bated breath. A little anti-climactic, don't you think? I would appreciate part II, the birth, when you get a minute. Nostalgia and You've Got Mail (the movie or AOL sign on alert?), I'd still like to hear about that.

When is Miss Baby's b-day? And I was thinking perhaps as she becomes a toddler, she could become Ms. Baby, because it's so much more mature!

nomotherearth said...

Why is it that labour stories always make me cry?? Damn hormones. Anxious to hear the end!

Jenifer said...

Hello. Hello. Anyone home? Mimi, please come back soon and finish the story.

Thanks. :)

Oh and I like Ms. Baby, very mature.

Mimi said...

Ms. Baby. I love that, Omaha Mama. It's perfect. I just read some research that shows that, despite the intent of the honorific (ie, to designate a woman, without reference to marital status) that people of all genders and ages, but particularly young women, are more likely to call 'Ms.' any woman who is Above a Certain Age, or a lesbian, or divorced. That's really sad.

And anti-climactic? Ladies, she ain't getting born until Thursday night / Friday morning. Believe me, the anticlimax of this story damn near killed me when it was happening. I'm glad it comes through in the retelling ;-)

bubandpie said...

"distracted by self-surveillence" - What a perfect way of putting it.

So clever to blog this in real time. It's killing me already!

slouching mom said...

I'm not going to be able to stand waiting for the next installment, you know.

I'm impatient that way.

Beck said...

It's so funny that by the end, it is so obviously a HUMAN BEING inside another human being, like a very uncomfortable stacking doll.
Several days! Good grief. My longest labour was 20 hours and that was MORE than long enough, thanks.

Mimi said...

Beck -- at this point, I'm not actually in labour at all. I'm just dilating and going about my daily business. Cranky, but normal. No contractions. Nothing. A very uncomfortable stacking doll indeed.

kittenpie said...

pumpkinpie never dropped at all, either. She had to be cut out instead.

Mad Hatter said...

Am lovin' the pic. My lord, you were all belly. I also love "Ms. Baby" as a name. Good on ya, Omaha Mama.

Like the others I am eager to labour out the week with you.

Bon said...

she didn't come til thursday?!? wow.

you were ALL baby, weren't you? i sorta swelled all over; here you had this small VW parked on top of your otherwise still narrow hips.

i am agog. and awaiting more!

Bloor West Mama said...

I can't take the anticipation...

What a great post Mimi, you had me sitting at the edge of my seat.

See you tomorrow:)

cinnamon gurl said...

Just catching up now, and making sure to read from the beginning to the end. Beautiful beautiful beautiful picture and belly! I was more like Bon, swelling all over.

And this:
I went home and shaved my legs.
Um, how?!? at ten months' pregnant? I don't think I could do that after about 8 months...

ewe are here said...

I hate the ultrasound people; they're clueless. They told me MF would be about 7 pounds - the week before I had him, a week early at that - and he was 8.4. Grrrrr.

Great flashback here.... still reading. :-)