It’s May 7, 2017. Kate is eight years old today.
It’s story time here on the blog.
I can’t think of a better story than the birth of Kate. I’ve never written Kate’s birth story. I’m a little surprised at this because birth stories are one of those staple stories we, as parents, tell one another. Placentas, foot-long needles to the spine, a smear of poo on your baby as it slides out – I mean, there’s no filter when it comes to birth stories. No, I didn’t poo on Kate.
Before I begin the story, I will tell you I am feeling more pain now than I did eight years ago. That’s because my dumbass decided to book a dugout suite to watch the Kansas City Royals play the Cleveland Indians on the afternoon of May 6th. This normally wouldn’t be a huge deal but the group of people we joined are good storytellers and their stories always include a party bus, two stripper poles, fireball shots, and Prince’s power ballad, Pussy Control.
Back to my daughter’s day of birth –
Kate was due May 17, 2009. On the evening of May 6th, I felt contractions. I couldn’t sleep through them. Once the contractions were five minutes apart, we called my parents to pick up Emma and headed to the hospital around 2 am on May 7th.
I changed into a hospital gown and monitors were wrapped around my belly. The nurse checked my cervix and we waited.
Nurse: No change. You’re at a 3.
Me: No change?! They’re five minutes apart!
Nurse: I’ll wait another hour but if you don’t move, I might have to send you home. You are welcome to walk the hallways and see if that helps.
I walked the hallways with Scott. Another nurse pushed a baby burrito past us in a clear bassinet.
Nurse: Look at this little girl! Her daddy is a Sporting KC player!
Scott: Really? That’s cool!
I stared at the baby. And then looked at the mountain attached to me.
Me: Don’t let anyone upstage you, Kate. GET OUT.
I waddled back to my room. The nurse checked me again.
Nurse: No change. I’m sorry, Julie. I’m going to have to send you back home.
Scott: And do what?
Nurse: Come back when the contractions get stronger or if her water breaks.
Scott: If her water breaks at home, I’ll be delivering a baby at my own house. You better send me with a handbook on how to deliver a baby.
Nurse: You’ll be ok. It’s probably false labor.
Scott: No, you don’t understand. She’s Mexican. Last time she had a baby and her water broke, the baby just flew out of her vagina. And the doctor said she’ll be faster with this one. Get ready for us to be on the news with a highway birth.
Me: Scott, it’s fine. We’ll go.
I walked into the bathroom to change into my own clothes. I held on to the sink. The contraction took my breath away. I walked out to the nurse’s station where Scott was still arguing with the nurse. He was writing down notes on the hospital admittance form.
Scott: So I’ll take the shoelace and tie it around the umbilical cord?
Me: Oh my God. Let’s go.
Scott: This nurse is making a huge mistake. Sending us home like this when you’re clearly in labor.
Scott drove me home. The morning light was just starting to fill the sky with color. I was quiet. The contractions were intensifying.
Scott: I guess I’ll call my parents and tell them false alarm. They’re probably almost to Kansas City by now.
Me: Uh huh.
Scott: Why don’t they induce you? What kind of nurse is that?
For the next 30 minutes, Scott drove back to our home. We turned down our street. I felt liquid on my legs. I jumped out of the seat.
Scott: WHAT’S WRONG. WHAT.
Me: Scott. I think. I think my water broke. It’s all wet. Everything is soaked. Scott this can’t happen. Why did she break my water on our street? KATE!!
Scott: Are you sure? Are you sure your water broke?
Me: I know I didn’t pee. It’s gushing. Scott, I can’t stop it. I’m wearing your pajama pants. It’s all over my car! She’s not letting anyone upstage her.
Me: Just go.
Scott turned around and floored it.
Scott: Damnit. We’re going to hit the morning rush hour traffic.
Scott started to make phone calls. I cried with the pain and the fear of my fast deliveries.
Scott: I DARE A COP TO PULL ME OVER. THIS IS THIS STUPID NURSE’S FAULT. I’M GOING TO FIND HER AND RAISE HELL.
Me: Don’t. Don’t kill us. Scott, you need to hurry.
Another 30 minutes passed and Scott pulled up to the hospital again. A nurse ran out of the emergency department with a wheel chair. I stood up out of the car. Water gushed again. I cried.
Nurse: Yep, your water broke. Let’s go. Dad, park the car and meet her in labor and delivery.
My room sat untouched since I left an hour before. Another nurse walked in.
Nurse: Yep, that’s amniotic fluid. Go change into a gown in the bathroom. If you need to, go ahead and pee too.
I sat on the toilet and peed. I wiped and looked inside the toilet. White flakes were everywhere.
Me: HEY! What is all this? Is something wrong? There’s white flakes in my pee!
The nurse walked in.
Nurse: That’s amniotic fluid. It’s normal. Nice and clear. That’s good.
Me: Oh. Hold on, another contraction. Ok. What happened to the other nurse in here?
Nurse: We had a shift change.
Me: Oh, thank God. No ass ripping.
Nurse: I’m going to check you and if you’re far enough, we’ll call the epidural team in here.
Scott arrived. I was at a 6 and the epidural team wheeled their cart in. I finally sat in my bed, relieved I couldn’t feel anything anymore. The nurse walked in again to check me.
Nurse: Wow. You really go fast, don’t you? You’re ready to push!
Me: But I didn’t even get to close my eyes.
Nurse: I’ll call your doctor.
The hospital staff prepped the room. Lights came down out of the ceiling. Stirrups were placed in front of me.
Nurse: Bad news. Your doctor is stuck in traffic.
Scott: Are you kidding me? Can’t one of you deliver her?
Nurse: We could but legally can’t. I’ll call a doctor off the floor. Oh, honey. This baby is falling out.
Another nurse ran in and held Kate’s head. The nurse ran out of the room and ten seconds later a female doctor walked in. She put her hands up, like she was being held hostage.
Doctor: I don’t deliver babies.
Doctor: I didn’t sign up for this. I’m not an obstetrician. I’m a D.O.
Me: You’re not a doctor? What the hell is a D.O.?
I looked at the nurse holding Kate’s head. My legs were spread as far as they could in the angry D.O.’s face.
Oh my God. She’s scared of my big vagina.
Scott: Looks like you’re delivering one now. Someone better catch my daughter or I will.
Nurse: We’ll talk you through it.
I didn’t push. Kate fell into the doctor-but-not-an-obstetrician-doctor’s hands. Kate cried. The nurse took Kate and put her on my chest.
Me: Oh, Kate.
Scott: Hi, Kate! Happy Birthday.
Me: Scott, her hair! She has blonde hair.
My real doctor ran in as the nurse helped Scott cut the cord.
Me: Oh, thank God. Don’t let that woman near me with a needle and thread.
Doctor: I’m so sorry. The traffic. I’ll finish you up. We’re going to deliver the placenta. You might have to push again.
A nurse took Kate away.
Doctor: Beautiful. Placenta looks good. I’m going to stitch you up. What’s your daughter’s name?
Me: Kate. Her name is Kate Audrey.
Scott: Hey! I won the baby football pot! It’s 5-7-9! And 8:30 am!
Happy birthday, Kate! May 7, 2009 at 8:27 a.m. – you never did let that other baby in the hospital upstage you. You always have the best stories.