So we arrive at the hospital at midnight. Thankfully, it is only a short drive up the street from where we live. Despite that, I almost rip the handle off the car door during the contractions. I say things like, "Fzzzzzzzzz! Schussssssseeeeeeet! Hurrrrggh..." I think I'm supposed to be doing some breathing exercises or something I learned, but for some weird reason, when I am in pain I tend to stop thinking of the things I'm "supposed to be doing". And do things that are a little more primal.
Like groaning and shrieking.
Matt says something like, "Do you want me to drop you off at the front?"
For some reason I am horrified by the idea of being left alone. No matter that I will have to walk uphill to the hospital from the parking ramp. This seems preferable to being left by the ER with the gunshot victims and possible O.D.s "No!" I say. "I can walk."
I do walk. Slowly. Like a drunk peg-leg pirate who has been at sea for two years and just walked down the gang plank into town. I have to stop once. Of course we are near the ER, right next to a parked cop car. For some reason I feel like I shouldn't stop here. Someone might ask me what I'm doing. Though it is pretty obvious what I'm doing. I'm leaning my head against a brick wall and moaning, while Matt grips my shoulders. Thankfully there is no one outside while I'm treating the building like it's my own personal wailing wall.
When it passes I shuffle quicker past the ER and to the main entrance of the hospital. From there it gets a little blurry. Somehow I tell the security/info. person who I am and why I'm here. Duh.... They call over to the birthplace and say they are sending someone to get me. Then I sit in a wheelchair and a woman in the waiting area says, "Congratulations..." She smiles. I think I grunt and stare at my shoes as I sit in the wheelchair. I feel like I could walk over to the other side of the hospital but there is a lot of construction going on and don't want to get lost and end up having to deliver the baby in some janitor's closet.
So I sit in my chair.
Soon a person comes to get me. I do a double take. I was expecting the person to escort me to be an orderly; an athletic type person. Those are the people you usually see on TV, right? Big, burly, bouncer type guys capable of handling difficult situations. Or spazzed out pregnant ladies.
The lady looks to be about 80 years old and weigh about 100 pounds. Tops. How in God's green earth is she going to push me over to labor and delivery? She doesn't look like she could push her own oxygen tank down the hall. Matt is apparently thinking the same thing. He immediately grabs the wheelchair and start pushing me down the hall while Driving Miss Daisy escorts us to the East Building and the elevators.
We take the elevator up to the fourth floor and enter the birthplace. No one is around; it is quiet. A nurse checks me in and then I go to triage where they will see how I am "progressing".
The pain is getting even worse. No longer donkey contractions. They have progressed to Holstein strangling capacity. They check and pronounce that I'm at 3 cm.
This is bad.
3cm means diddly squat. I need to get to 10cm. Which means I need to go 7 more. Seven! How long is that going to take I ask? About 1 cm per hour is normal, they tell me.
So in effect they are telling me I have 7 more hours of wanting to die every few minutes. Seven hours. Contractions that would choke a Clydesdale at every five minutes, and last a good minute a piece. Let's do the math on that. 12 minutes of contractions every hour. Multiple by seven.
Eighty-four minutes of torture. Just to get to the point of pushing. Pushing something the size of a watermelon out of my wee-wah. I imagine that feels even better.
No thank you.
I wonder if I still want to do it naturally, though at this point there seems to be nothing natural about feeling like someone is taking a rusty box cutter to my insides at the same time some invisible Anaconda is coiling itself around my small intestines. Then the big one hits.
Everything goes purple. Violet. I see orange stars and green dots. A revolting cold sweat breaks over my body, my forehead, my upper lip, and the wave of nauseating hot sick heat is cascading over my body like a tidal wave. Somehow I'm supposed to surf this wave and breathe through it. But my surfboard breaks halfway through and I'm pummeled down by a force not unlike a wave. A wave of festering garbage. Public outhouses on humid August afternoons. Slimy moldy green pastrami sandwiches stuffed with cigar butts. Falling face first into a steaming cow pie buzzing with flies. Teenage boy's sweaty socks stuffed in my mouth. Dick Cheney dancing in a sequined thong.
Basically, the most disgusting things I can think of.
I'm going to throw up.
I think I say it. And the nurse can see it. She gives me a plastic barf sack as my mouth fills with saliva.
Right on cue, I empty my stomach into the bag. All the pork chops, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Sayonara.
This is the point where I ask for the epidural.
Up next, the final frontier.