Off and on during the last couple of weeks before I was due I had experienced some unreasonable fears about the sink being full of dishes when I left for the hospital. I know that sounds ridiculous, but hormones can do strange and crazy things to a person. Through the pain that was now coming every five minutes or so, I was genuinely glad that I wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore: the sink would not be full of dishes when I left for the hospital. I continued to shuffle about and tidy up here and there. I put my toothbrush into the overnight bag and got some snacks together to take for the kids. Then I told them to clean up their toys. Let me just say that when a woman is in labor the last thing she wants to do is argue with two toddlers about picking up their mess. I believe I almost cried.
When my mom arrived we grabbed the bags and herded the kids into the car. The drive to the hospital went smoothly (besides some occasional clutching and rapid breathing on my part). We were able to get a close parking spot, and the elevator door opened for us immediately (before having my first child I worked in that hospital for over three years and that just doesn’t happen). There was a bit of a speed bump when we got to the birthing unit though- it seemed that quite a few other women were already in labor and there wasn’t a delivery room immediately available.
It was just about 3:10pm, and I made a quick call to my husband to let him know that we were at the hospital. He wanted to know, was I really sure that I was in labor, because he was terribly dehydrated and needed to stop somewhere to get a beverage? I told him that if I wasn’t in labor this time I would eat my hat, and that he could get a cup of water at the hospital.
While I paced the hall and tried not to scare anyone coming into the unit for their pre-birth visit, the nice lady at the desk was on the phone telling whomever was on the other end of the line that they needed to find me a room because I looked “really uncomfortable.” I think that’s code for “if you don’t get this woman out of the hallway she’s going to cause a scene when her baby pops out onto the floor.” I’m also pretty sure that my pacing was making everyone nervous: my mother kept kindly suggesting that I sit down, and I tried, but pacing seemed to suite me better.
In an effort to preserve the peaceful atmosphere of the hallway the kind nurses decided to put me into a recovery bed while a room was being cleared at the inn. I changed into one of those indecent tushy-baring hospital gowns and was directly delivered into the hands of the chief resident. She promptly hooked me up to the monitors and checked my progress. I was already eight centimeters dilated. Apparently the doctor was right when he predicted that this whole thing would go rather quickly. Now all we needed was for he and Daddy to show up before it was over.