I stayed up all night with my mom. We sat at the kitchen table and she knitted and timed my contractions. I think we finally went to sleep around the three o'clock hour, or at least that's how the story will go from here on out.
Each of the children and my husband had a terrible stomach virus that week. First the oldest, then the girl, then my husband. He hadn't eaten all day and was on the mend, but still weak.
Needless to say, I was terrified that I was going down next, and wouldn't know it until the doctor told me to push. Thankfully (for me and the entire medical staff on duty that day) I never did get that stomach virus.
But after I'd gotten a few hours of VERY restless sleep, we decided that today was the day. Well, really, the baby decided on that day.
Apparently, even after two labors and deliveries, one isn't an expert on labor. I walked into labor and delivery on thankfully a very un-busy day. They put me in a room, sent Sarge to go register and came in to do the normal business. While the nurse was doing her normal business, she laughed.
She said, "we were so sure when you walked in that you weren't in labor."
"Really?" I asked, "so will I have a baby today?"
"Um, yeah, you're NINE CENTIMETERS." And then she called in every nurse in the place. Not kidding, there were at least thirty people in that room. My husband was gone, and I didn't know when he was coming back - he didn't know there was any urgency at all.
I did what any normal person would do in the situation. I started to cry. "PLEASE, tell me there is time for drugs! I can't do this without drugs!"
I'm pretty sure the nurses were preparing to deliver my baby with no doctor. They calmed me, said they were SURE they could get the IV and the medication in quickly and that they'd call an anesthesiologist. No worries, they told me. I'm pretty sure that was all a farce, and an "oh, Lord, please make this woman stop crying and start making herself useful."
Seriously, everything worked out like a dream. My doctor sauntered in about thirty minutes later, "Oh, I was just out taking my dog for a walk when they called!" the anesthesiologist came in plenty of time and my husband got the paperwork done in record time without even knowing he needed to get it done in record time.
I remember Sarge sitting on the couch in the room, absolutely exhausted from his illness. He helped when he could, but his help wasn't needed too much -- the baby was there in less than an hour after we'd arrived at the hospital. Heck, my help wasn't needed much!
As I held his tired, 50 pound body tonight, I was reminded that the nurses wouldn't let me hold him while I slept. I obediently put his tiny body back in the bed until they left, then I'd take him back into my arms and we'd sleep peacefully. I'd been the one taking care of him for nine months, some stranger wasn't about to start telling me how to take care of him!
And so, the adventure began.