At 38 weeks I went to the hospital for, what I hoped would be, my final appointment with the consultant. And it was. Although I never actually got as far as seeing the consultant.
Sitting in the waiting area, I bent forward to pick up a magazine and my water broke.
As soon as I arrived at the delivery ward (with water still gushing out of me), the contractions began coming every three to five minutes, increasing in intensity. My wet clothes were put into a plastic bag and I was dressed in one of those attractive nylon hospital gowns with broken ties at the back. This afforded the rest of the ward an excellent view of my bum and of the wad of sanitary pads stuffed between my legs to soak up the fluid that was draining ceaselessly from me!
Mike arrived in a whirl of excited anticipation, clutching my inadequately packed hospital bag. This was the same bag that I had packed 10 weeks earlier but then decided to unpack the day before and only put in the barest of essentials, since I had planned to go home within 24 hours following the birth. The ‘essentials’ included a packet of fudge, a Feng Shui book (so I could re-arrange the labor room between contractions) and a pair of jeans in anticipation of my body springing back to pre-pregnancy size within two seconds of the birth.
After lying in a pool of amniotic fluid for half an hour, I was given an internal examination but told that I wasn’t at all dilated. The cheerful midwife also informed me that because my waters had broken first, I would have what was termed as a ‘dry’ labor, meaning that it could be prolonged and more painful. And no, it wasn’t anything to do with my age.
After the first half hour in one of the delivery rooms, Mike was high on entinox (“I love this stuff,” he slurred, eyes rolling back in his head) and I was hanging over the bed in pain.
Several hours and hundreds of sanitary pads later, I had been pierced with a variety of needles in miscellaneous parts of my body, wired up to an assortment of drips, including an epidural, after screaming for total pain relief. The first epidural only numbed one side of my body, but that’s another story.
By midnight, Mike was asleep in the rocking chair, after consuming the entire bag of fudge, and I counted the cracks in the ceiling while pondering my fate.
By the time I gave birth to our beautiful, perfect baby daughter, Lauren Erica, at 6.20am on November 12, 1999, after a 14-hour labor and no sleep, I was in a better condition than Mike. He was sporting the 6am shadow, office attire that he’d been wearing since dawn the previous day, dark circles under the eyes and was shuffling around like a cripple because he’d nodded off to sleep in an awkward position. I also believe he was suffering from an overdose of entinox, if that’s possible.
Two clamps were needed for the baby’s cord, which the midwife said was the longest and thickest she had ever seen. She said that Lauren had obviously been a very well nourished baby. Hah! Another point for the antique!
The day following the birth, Lauren and I came home, both in excellent health.
Life with a new baby, after a twelve-year break, has been a breeze. Apart from my breasts, which still enter the room half an hour before the rest of my body, all my other vital organs have resumed their original and rightful positions. OK, so my abdomen resembles a blancmange but, of course that has nothing to do with my age!