Forty weeks and four days, at 98.6 degrees or so, was how long we had to cook our little turkey before she decided she’d had enough. After watching nearly every person in the world, have their baby, including Kate Middleton who was very obviously taunting me, I finally went into labor four days after our due date. Baby 1.0’s birth is a tale of two stories: Act One is a story of bravery and courage, of one woman digging deep down into her prehistoric roots to birth a child au natural. Act Two is a story of when that same woman said “fuck it,” drove to the hospital and demanded “all of the drugs.”
I finally went into labor at 1am on a Friday. I woke my husband up and we laid in bed timing my contractions, steady at about 10 minutes apart. We waited, and timed, and waited, and wondered. By 7am the next morning, they were down to about 8 minutes, and we were down about 8 hours of sleep. We called people, brought our bags to the door, settled down on the couch and binge-watched season one of Arrested Development, which in hindsight is ironic because it was exactly the state I was in: 12 hours into it, and I had made virtually no progress. We called the midwife who cautioned this could be false labor, effectively crushing my spirits like a beer can on the forehead of a drunken NASCAR patron. While the contractions weren’t exactly curse-your-husband painful, they were uncomfortable enough to keep me from sleeping, which was quickly turning me into a curse-your-husband kind of person.
This guy knows how I feel.
18 or so hours into it, we called off the parents and settled in for another long night. My contractions were still 8 minutes apart, but increasing in intensity which left me unable to relax. I wandered from the bath, to the couch to the air conditioning unit, feeling more and more hopeless and confused. So much pain! So little baby! Oddly enough, the only thing that brought some semblance of peace was listening to a Songza playlist composed entirely of whale songs. To be clear, these weren’t songs about whales, but rather the actual songs of whales, which makes perfect sense if you are tripping on Peyote in the desert, or, you know, having a baby.
24 sleepless hours into it, I called my midwife in tears. There was still no progress, but the pain was becoming more and more intense, and I was feeling very sorry for myself. She cheerfully suggested to just keep waiting, and said to call if the contractions got any closer. I hung up the phone, and angrily rolled around on a yoga ball while incoherently cursing at my bewildered husband.
30 hours into it, I gave up. My contractions were a measly 7 minutes apart, 2 full minutes away from where they recommend you come in, but after not sleeping for a full day and feeling like Chuck Norris was round-house kicking me in the uterus every few minutes, I insisted we go to the hospital and see what exactly was going on.
Chuck Norris doing what he does best.
Well this is where things got good. I was ushered into a room where a magical, beautiful, kind midwife whom I’d never met, gave me two options: 1. She could give me some medicine to make me sleepy, then send me home to wallow in confusion, doubt and self-pity for even longer allowing me to follow my “birth plan,” or 2. She could give me drugs, admit me into a room to take a nap, give me an epidural, and then shoot for about an 8pm arrival of our baby. Before she even finished her sentence, I was demanding drugs. All of the drugs, to be exact, and after receiving some drugs, I quickly requested even more, like some kind of Hollywood starlet on a post-Disney career bender.
Me and my chins, just waiting for our next turkey sammich.
Drugs were given, and I was wheeled I up to my lovely, spacious, air-conditioned room overlooking the bay. Someone brought me lunch, fluffed my pillows, and I was finally able to lay back and relax… for about 4 minutes (or a few hours if you ask my husband), because then my water broke. One epidural, and a handful of pushes later, Baby 1.0 was born. She was beautiful, with a head covered in thick black hair, and blue eyes that sparkled. But because I have the maturity of a 13-year-old boy, even in the most important of situations, the first two things I said after the midwife alerted me to our daughter’s arrival were: 1. So it isn’t a kitten? (A lame inside joke used to deflect attention at work) and 2. Did I have the baby out of my butthole? (An even worse inside joke that started when an OB friend of mine drunkenly claimed she “knew my type”, and proclaimed confidently I would “have a baby out of my butthole” years before I became pregnant.) Having mentally prepared myself for living the rest of my life with the human equivalent of a cloaca, I was delighted to hear my friend’s prediction didn’t come true, leaving me to hope she never decides to ditch her current job for career in fortune-telling.
40 hours after it all started, my husband and I stared down at the newest member of our family. “She is absolutely perfect,” I thought as a cocktail of new hormones overtook my system. “Hang on here, there has been a mistake! These guys? These guys are amateurs! This should be interesting.” thought Baby 1.0. And away we went….