Monday, July 21, 2008

When our little Graham-and-cheese-on-rye came into the world

I realized over the weekend that I have never actually told the story of Graham's birth here. I think there's part of me that didn't feel justified in having a birth story, as if in some way I didn't really experience giving birth, just like I didn't really experience pregnancy. So I have no right, in some wacko smacko way, to talk about it like I have anything to say. Which, I guess, is to a certain extent true -- I have very little to say about the third trimester of pregnancy. I was just starting to get uncomfortably large when Graham came along. And I have no idea what it is like to birth a full-term baby. I imagine it is somewhat harder. But I have to quit making myself feel like I am not a real mom in that sense -- sometimes I need to remind myself that while yes, he was small, and yes, he was early, I DID PUSH A HUMAN BEING OUT OF MY BODY. So, lo, Graham's birth story.

Most of you know the beginning part to this, but a short recap all the same. We were home in Massachusetts for the holidays, and I was happily huge. It was the first time I had seen my family since early September and it was just beatific (I know that's not the right usage of that word, but it's the right word in the wrong way, so, deal) to sit around and bask in my pregnant, Christmassy glow. Christmas is a big deal in my house (how 4 people manage to make gift-giving last >5 hours is a mystery Joe has never solved) and the feeling of being there on Christmas morning, feeling Graham kick away, was as happy and safe as I have ever felt in my life, I think.

My mother-in-law and mom had set up a baby shower for us the weekend of January 5-6th, but Joe had to work during that interim week. So the plan was (as awful as it would be for Joe to do all that driving) that he would head back home just before New Year's, and then come back that weekend to 1) play a show with his fancy-pants cover band, and 2) pick up me and all our shower loot and drive back home, where upon we would begin the 2 month countdown to D-day (including childbirth classes that were scheduled to start January 7th). So Joe set off for home the morning of December...errrr, checking calendar...30th. He had an uneventful ride, and called to tell me he was settling in with The Wire and a pizza. Lovely - that meant I didn't have to sit around and wait for him to get through 5 episodes in a row like I had been since my parents had gotten him hooked on it earlier in the week. I know, I know - it's LIFE-CHANGING TELEVISION, I get it. But cripes, there are so many less depressing things to watch. Bring on my twentieth viewing of Love Actually, thanks very much and pass the hot cocoa.

Anyway, we had a pretty relaxing day as well. It was so nice and slow and comfortable to be home with my parents. We ate dinner, we watched some tv (NOT The Wire, although I am sure my mom tried to make me), and I went to bed all early-squirly-vacationy-like.

And all was fine and well until I woke up at about 11 pm with, honestly, a start, because I was soaking wet. And my first coherent though, truly truly, was: "Did I seriously just WET THE BED, at my PARENT'S HOUSE? Because I am THIRTY-ONE YEARS OLD." I went to the bathroom, and I peed like I could never pee again. And the pee just kept coming. I tried Kegel after Kegel, and it just wouldn't stop. So I went downstairs (still peeing, mind you), and just like the thirty-one year-old that I am, got my mommy out of bed because by this time, I was terrified. (I would say I was peeing my pants I was so scared, but, you know, I was.) So Mom found me one of my grandmother's incontinence pads (this was getting better and better) and we went off to call my OB. The lovely doc on call called me back, and suggested that I go to our local hospital, just to be sure. Of course, my mom and I were both convinced that I was just peeing like a maniac (there was some ebb and flow by this point). Maybe the baby's head was just pressing on my bladder! Maybe I had a UTI or something! O-ho! Regardless, we got my dad up and out the door we went.

My mom and I could not have been more committed to this "it's just pee" story. The whole way to the hospital, we were talking about how crazy it was that the baby could force this much liquid out of my bladder. "So much pee!" "I know!" "Crazy!" "Totally crazy!" "Ha ha ha ha! Pee!" And then we walked into the ED.

Me: "Hello, ED triage person! I know this is soooo not a big deal, but I am 30 weeks pregnant and I just started peeing like crazy! And it won't stop! So, my doctor said I should just come in to make absolutely sure everything's fine. But I know you're very busy! And obviously this is not a big deal! So is there just a chair I should wait in for someone to come tell me that I can go home? Won't take up too much of your time, promise!"

ED triage person (rolling her eyes, but very nicely): "I'm sending you up to the OB floor, right now."

And my mom and I kept this up, the whole way up the elevators, through the intake process, while waiting for the nurses, and right up until the very nice nurse said: "Here's your room, take off all your clothes and get into a gown, and here's a pad, and your clothes go in this bag and the doc on call will be in shortly." And that's honestly when it hit me. I wasn't just going home. This wasn't a go-to-the-hospital-just-to-be-extra-extra-careful-but-we're-sure-nothing-is-wrong kind of thing. This was a your-water-just-broke-two-and-a-half-months-early kind of thing. And, cue the me-losing-my-resolve-and-cool-completely kind of thing.

The story continues here and here...

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