Two weeks before Rosie showed up, Claire and I sat in the OB’s office and cried. It was one of those scared shitless cries where the tears are just the manifestation of self pity that comes when a great plan falls apart. We were 37 weeks, and yet apparently, today was the day we were gonna have a baby. At least we thought.
You see when a woman is pregnant, their bodies can start doing some strange things. You probably know about the big stuff, like eating jars of pickles and midnight cheeseburger runs. (Claire had both of those, but her biggest and weirdest craving was Root Beer. Claire loathed Root Beer before pregnancy. I mean absolutely detested even the slightest hint of sarsaparilla. Once, a couple years ago, she made me leave the room and brush my teeth because I had imbibed in a Barq’s when the establishment didn’t serve Dr. Pepper. Despite this hatred, Claire could not get enough Root Beer during pregnancy. It was her poison of choice for the whole nine months. We were buying craft bottles for home flight tastings and planning trips to festivals for the stuff. Strange.) Other weird things are less widely discussed but are actually a much bigger deal than just increased sugary drink intake. These include Gestational Hypertension and Gestational Diabetes. For reasons I won’t dive into because I’d do a piss poor job of adequately explaining them, some healthy young pregnant women develop high blood pressure and high blood sugar during their pregnancy which can really strain their bodies and their babies. Throughout prenatal care, they are constantly running blood work, glucose tolerance tests, and taking blood pressure. Unfortunately, at that fateful 37 week appointment, Claire’s BP, which hovered around 110/70 before pregnancy, was 153/110. High enough that our OB told us to go to the hospital for an induction that day. Now don’t get me wrong, we discussed our options, but at the end of it, induction was the correct medical decision with the data we had. We were practically full term with a healthy baby. Everyday you hold on to a hypertensive pregnancy, the risk for major complications for both mom and baby goes up. The literature says go, so we trusted our OB (who is incredible btw. More on her in part 2), and we went.
Now back to the tears. In the heat of that moment, with the world flipped upside down, the one thing that I was most concerned about was cupcakes. (I know. I know. In that moment, with the birth of my first child imminent, I was crying about CUPCAKES?!?) Let me try to explain. You see, for months we had been planning out how the birth would go. We wanted to naturally progress into labor at home where we would spend the next few hours with massages, watching carefully curated tv shows and absolutely, most importantly, we were going to make Rosie some birthday, funfetti cupcakes before heading to the hospital when we were closer to delivery. In a speed run induction, like what we were thrown into, there was barely time for us to grab Chick-fil-A, much less bake a batch of cupcakes. I was devastated. (Quick aside, there should always be time for the glory that is Chick-fil-A, except on Sundays of course.) Claire was worried about more important things, like the fact that an induction almost always comes with an epidural (something she wanted to avoid) and inductions can easily take 24-48 hours, especially for a woman who was showing very little progress at the time (Claire was 1 cm dilated and 75% effaced).
The next hour after we left the Obstetricians, before we made it to the hospital, was a dramatic one. We had to call our parents (who live in Abilene and Plano, which are, respectively, 2.5 and 5 hours away from Lubbock) so they could make arrangements to leave and get here. Obviously our little surprise induction had to happen on the first day of a new semester so I emailed my professors about missing the first day of class (which also meant missing a quiz. I had studied my ass off for that quiz. So add that to my list of worries, cupcakes and quizzes. I got like a 108 on the quiz when I was able to retake it the next day. Shout out to Dr. W and Dr. S for being super chill about letting me make that up!). We were in separate vehicles so Claire headed home to get some last minute things packed while I ran to that temple of fried chicken heaven for the only thing that that could adequately allow me to eat my emotions that day, a spicy sandwich, waffle fries and the elixir that is Chick-fil-A sauce. In the time it took me to get home with the bag of happiness and a couple Arnold Palmers, Claire had taken a shower, shaved her legs, fixed her hair and had both bags packed and waiting for me to load in the car. Girl takes an hour to do half that in the morning, but with a baby coming she was ready in 15 minutes.
The drive to the hospital was uneventful, Claire works at the school where I attend, and it’s all the same building, so we each make that drive multiple times a day. Parking was a different matter. We finally found a spot just on the other side of the Mexican border and loaded ourselves down for the hike into Labor and Delivery, me with all 15 bags, and Claire with her CFA cup. The hospital was expecting us, so we went right back to a great ground floor room with a view of the glorious Lubbock landscape (aka a parking lot) and settled in for what we expected to be a long haul. Four hours later we were walking out and headed home.
You see, they started taking Claire’s BP as soon as we got there and they were getting some interesting readings. The initial read was slightly elevated from normal (130/86), but every 15 minutes it gradually slid down into normal healthy levels till it stabilized at about 110/70. Now of course she had to get stabbed 3 times to get an IV started, and we had to answer all 12,537 admission questions, but with a BP that nice, the rush toward induction was mitigated. Our OB gave us the out to hold off and try and wait for a natural labor, and we took it gladly. Meeting little Rosie would have to wait at least a little longer. We walked out of the hospital and did the only logical thing to do… Taco Tuesday.
The next two weeks would be full of attempts to coax that baby out the natural way. We tried every wives tale or myth we have ever heard, and some things we made up ourselves. Spicy food, 10 mile walks, yoga, dancing, EPO, and… well you get the picture. At one point, I looked into a Native American shaman who had a high success rate, but since pregnant ladies shouldn’t travel, the logistics just weren’t there. Big bonus of all this, we went for buffalo wings, something I usually must reserve for Super Bowl Sunday or dudes nights. Having lived in New Jersey/NYC area, Wingstop is the only place even close to legit in West Texas. Claire got mango habanero. Not to be outdone, I got atomic. We both spent the evening rotating through our only bathroom. Still no baby.
Eventually we gave in and did induce at 39 weeks. Our Faux-duction (and steep bill for that hospital admittance to have our blood pressure taken for 4 hours) bought our little one about 13 extra days in the oven. #worthit The really good parts were still to come, so I will pick up here in part 2 of this post, and we will jump right into the action packed world of actually pushing a watermelon sized parasite out of a human body. Fun!