(.....cont'd from previous post)
Once I knew that it was labor that was making my stomach hurt, of course the pain multiplied by 10!!
I took a quick shower, got dressed and started walking around the outside of my parent's house. Walking and walking and walking. Hurting and hurting and hurting.
Max isn't there. I'm going to have a baby and Max, my husband, isn't there. Cell phones weren't invented, or weren't used by the general public anyway, so he didn't even know that I was in labor. He was on the interstate, somewhere between our two states, happily driving, hopefully staying awake, planning on holding my hand and helping me, supporting me while we had our baby tomorrow.
My parents and I decided around 9:00 that evening that it was time to take me to the hospital. I have a very low threshold for pain and was hurting pretty bad. I was admitted to a labor room, checked out and it was verified that yes, indeed I was in labor. I had dilated to a "1", was very little effaced and screaming for my epidural. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but we don't usually give epidurals this early in labor, it could slow you down."
I don't think so. I want it NOW!!!
So they gave me an IV with some pain killer but it did nothing for me. Finally, I think they took pity on me. My husband wasn't there and I was hurting, so they called the anesthetist and gave me the epidural. I was probably dilated to a 3 by then.
Sadly, it didn't work. I still felt every contraction with alarming clarity. They tried adjusting the dosage levels, but nothing worked. It may have taken the edge off, but not by much.
My dad was a horrible distraction too. I don't think he was present at any of my siblings or my birth, so he was a newbie at this labor thing. His joy (and fun) was watching the contraction monitor. Any time a contraction would hit, he'd grab the paper and show me the graph and say, "Hey Valerie. That was a big one! Did you feel that?"
Yes, I swore at him. (Sorry Dad! I love you!)
Finally, he had had enough and I was getting nervous for him to be in the room for the actual delivery, so he went home. This left just mom and me. Mom, who had given birth 4 times before, knew exactly what I was feeling. Mom, who looked me in the eye and with tears in her own said, "If I could do this for you and take the pain away, I would." Mom, who was my rock. Mom, who helped me and supported me and loved me and cried with me. Mom, who worried with me when I was pushing at 3 in the morning and there was no doctor there to catch my baby. Mom, who rejoiced and cried some more with me when -after the doctor finally got there- and three more pushes welcomed my sweet baby into the world at the same time I did. Mom, who did the happy dance when they announced we had a beautiful baby girl (we didn't know beforehand what we were having but suspected it was a boy). Mom, who got a hug and kiss of congratulations from the doctor right before I did.
MOM, I COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!
(Buttercup was born on June 19, 1992 at 3:30 a.m. She was 11 days overdue.)
After all was said and done, and I was resting in the recovery room with my baby in the nursery, Max finally arrived. It was June 19, 1992. He missed his first born child's birth by 6 lousy hours. His first stop upon arriving in Guilder was at my mom's house. Remember, he had no idea that any of this had happened. My family was great. All they told him was that I was in the hospital and had had the baby. They didn't tell him anything else, so when he got to my room he didn't know if he had a son or a daughter. Right at that moment they brought Buttercup in and we looked on her for the first time as parents.
Everything was perfect. My baby was perfect, my husband was there and life was good.
For the first 12 hours anyway....
After the pediatrician came and performed Buttercup's first check-up he came with bad news. She had hip dysplasia. It was explained to me like this: Buttercups hip joints were supposed to be "U" shaped and the bones of her thighs were supposed to be a round ball. That ball was supposed to fit perfectly into the "U" shape of her hip bones. Unfortunately, her hips weren't formed at all and the balls of her thigh bones -or femur- didn't have anything to fit into. So my baby was going to have to be in a leg harness for weeks or months until her hip bones finished forming. (She ended up wearing it for only 6 weeks! What a blessing!)
That was a little unnerving and made me sad, but considering the myriad of things that could have gone wrong, this was an easy fix with very few lasting effects.
Max and I had already planned that Buttercup and I would stay in Guilder at my parent's house for the first month, so I could have the help that is so necessary with brand new babies. He stayed that weekend and left to go back to his job in Portland. Buttercup and I got into a routine and I learned the many important skills needed to take care of an infant.
On July 20, Max returned and we loaded up our U-haul. After saying a tearful goodbye to family and friends, headed off to our brand new life.
(Later.... if you can stand even more, we'll flash forward several years to today... and how Buttercup has grown up and what a remarkable young woman she has become!)