Until now. I’m awake enough to know I’m experiencing extremely intense contractions. It’s involuntary, but I feel my body trying to escape this bed and this place, attempting to leave itself behind and get somewhere safe.
The brutal contraction finally ends and I’m completely knocked out again.
Unbeknownst to me in Ambien-land, the following takes place:
Within a few hours, I go from hardly 3 cm dilated to a full 6 cm. They order my epidural and Brandon texts my mom to alert her that labor is picking up, and she comes back to the hospital.
I’m very, very asleep. So asleep in fact, that I am utterly unaware that the epidural is being placed. (I hope that conveys my level of unconsciousness!) It takes a team to hold me in place: Brandon, my mom, and a nurse while the anesthesiologist works in between my wake ups and contractions, which are only minutes apart.
Our third baby, a girl, yet unnamed, had been in a transverse (sideways) position for much of my pregnancy. In response, I ventured out to chiropractic appointments multiple times a week, utilizing a specific type of chiropractic care called Webster’s technique. I was familiar with Webster’s because it had been successful with Finn, my second baby, who was breech for almost the entire pregnancy.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about this baby’s positioning; it was the main subject of so many of my prayers. I even recruited my close friends and family to make it a matter of their prayers, too. I felt mostly sure that she would end up head-down, allowing for a typical vaginal delivery just like I had with my other babies.
May 21, 2019. It’s the day of my induction, four days past my due date. Every last one of my babies have had to be evicted…they just get way too cozy in there. My doctor has been out of town but is now back, so it’s time to get this baby out! I sneak in a last minute chiropractic appointment (baby is head-down, best we can tell), and then I rest for the remainder of the day in the living room chair I’ve claimed for the majority of this pregnancy. Soon we kiss our babies and make our way to the hospital.
Third baby, yet it’s every bit as surreal as the first go around.
We see this hour together often, and I know: it could be worse. Much worse. I whisper a quiet “thank you” to you for letting me catch up on some sleep. I think sleep might be my love language.
You’re wide awake. I’m half-asleep. I go through the motions: I nurse you and burp you, then swaddle you back up tightly, because you are without a doubt the busiest-bodied baby with the strongest startle reflex I’ve ever seen. (God? Please bless the inventor of the swaddle, especially the Velcro ones. Amen.)
You stop squirming for a second and lay completely still. With my lamp glowing in the dark, I see you look right at me. We lock eyes, and in that instant, my mechanical mommy autopilot is switched off and I’m human again. I smile silently at you, because I can’t not, and you grin back. Baby gums, dimples, squinty eyes and all.
My eyes are still tired, but now they’re alive. Bright.