Friday, August 21, 2009

birthing: day -1

This post could also be titled The Night Karen Turned Into a Crazy Lady.

As I alluded to before, labor wasn't an easy task for me. Five days before he was born, the contractions began. They came fast and hard. But not fast enough. So we waited. They usually showed up at night and I had my trusty yoga ball to bounce the pain away. But after the fourth night I was tired and beat. And I'd already decided the epidural was a must.

On Monday I was at the commissary with my mom and barely made it through the line and back to the car. It wasn't that I was having contractions, but my back hurt, my stomach was heavy, and walking was difficult. So I decided I'd go into Labor & Delivery when Jim got home, contractions or not, and hope for that magic number: four centimeters. If I was four centimeters, they couldn't send me home.

But I wasn't. I was only three. So I cried. I couldn't imagine another night tethered to my yoga ball and a clock, counting in pain but to no avail. Gratefully the tears made Bad Bedside Manners Midwife and her trusty Doesn't Say Much Nurse soften a bit and they discussed sending me home with a sleeping pill.

I initially protested, but Jim was for it from the beginning. He'd taken Ambien before and thought it was great stuff. So down to the pharmacy we went. When the nice guy behind the window handed me the bag, he had a look of concern and gave me this warning: "When you take this, be in bed ready to fall asleep. Don't read a book, don't mow the lawn. You can out-think this medication and it'll really mess you up."

Jim's response: "Don't worry, I'll get my other 9 months pregnant wife to mow the lawn at 9:00 at night." The guy just kinda looked at him.

Back home we went, Ambien in hand, the promise of a peaceful night before us. Or so we thought. (This is where the muppets come in. I'm sure you were starting to wonder.)

By 9:30pm the pill was in my tummy and my eyes were closed. Unfortunately the next thing I remember is having to go to the bathroom, stumbling in the dark, surrounded by muppets - by the hundreds. Now it should be said that I don't like muppets the way some people don't like clowns. They are scary little monsters wrapped in fur. And they were everywhere. If I opened my eyes they were gone. But I'd taken a sleeping pill, people. My eyelids felt like bricks.

As I stumbled, I felt Jim and could tell he was a little concerned. His wife had clearly flipped her lid, and he was the one who talked her into it. And I think I can say with confidence that he didn't leave my side the rest of the night. Because every time I opened my eyes, there he was telling me to relax. And I'd feel better.

Pretty soon the contractions began again and this is my memory of the night (I'm not making this up, it's 100% true). I'm imagining this is what LSD must be like.

With every contraction, a muppet would hand me something that I had to give to Jim. But to get it to him I'd have to bounce on the ball. And I could tell how hard the contraction would be based on what they gave me. Once I distinctly remember being handed a belt and telling Jim not to worry, "this one won't be bad because the belt was small." So I rolled onto the ball, bounced away and the belt disappeared. I assume it went to Jim.

The next one was a doozy, though. And I knew it would be because I somehow turned into a muppet. I remember that vividly and could even draw it out for you if I wasn't so artistically challenged. So my big bottomed muppet self rolled onto the ball and, well, the details are a little sketchy after that point. But somehow the muppet was given to Jim.

All the while I remember Jim saying over and over again, Relax. And then at one point he said something about needing two more good contractions. I was aware enough to realize that meant something and asked, Why two? He said that for the last three hours I'd been contracting pretty steadily. The first two hours at 4 minutes apart, and the last one at 3 minutes apart. If it keeps up, we should go to the hospital. At that point it was 3:30am on Tuesday morning.

Somehow I was able to put together that my husband had been by my side for the last 6 hours with his watch, coaching me through contractions. He walked me to the bathroom everytime I had to go, which felt like every 10 minutes. And whenever I realized he was there, I felt safe. Seriously, this man deserves Husband of the Year.

After my two contractions we woke my mom, told her she had 5 minutes to get ready, and we were out the door.

Once we got to the hospital, we heard the magic words: I was 5 centimeters.

These are some quotes from the evening as told to me by Jim (since I don't recall alot):
  • "I'm worried because there are at least 100,000 people and only 50,000 subways." (We're assuming by people, I meant muppets. Scary muppets.)
  • "Ok, right now I need to focus on contractions, ... (something else) ..., and sleeping." To which Jim replied, "No, the thing you need to do is relax and go to bed." To which I replied, "Ok, first priority: relaxing. Second priority: sleeping."
  • And then the thing about the belt.
Our take-away from the evening: Karen will never take Ambien again, pregnant or not. Even though there are 9 pills in the bottle. I think I'll donate them to charity.

Next up: Eli's birth day.


Erin said...

oh my gosh, Karen! You should have stuck with 2 glasses of wine!! 6 hours being surrounded by muppets? That's the craziest thing i've ever read in the 50,000 birth stories i've read over the years.

Erin said...

And, yeah me! i got to be first commenter!! :)

Mary said...

Oh Karen, you poor woman!

Susan Calzada said...

Wild. I've never heard of such craziness. I'm dying to know how this turns out. (I've figured out that it ends with a baby... but were you coherent for any of it?)

Megan said...

Oh wow - I laughed so hard reading , that is so insane! It makes me so glad that I opted out of going home with a sleeping pill like the midwives offered and instead suffered through a shot in the butt at the hospital to take the edge off so I could sleep. Man your story makes me thankful for that shot! But your story is so entertaining I can't wait to hear more :)

Rach said...

I had a friend who took ambien for awhile and thought she was having crazy sex dreams... only she found out almost a month later that they weren't dreams when her husband finally figured out she wasn't remembering anything.


Happy said...

I am so not ever finishing a birth story on my own blog until I have one that matches the caliber with which you told this one so far!

I'm at work sneaking in a blog break while I am supposed to be finding a very important document for a clunker deal.

I'm in here laughing and peeing my pants and minimizing my screen every time someone rounds the corner.

What a terrific hubby you have! I'm pretty sure Derek would have went downstairs to watch the NFL Network with a cold beer while I chased the muppets Not really, but maybe.

Can't wait to hear more! This is awesome!

Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility said...

Goodness gracious! Ambien practically put me in to a coma, but it never caused me to see poor thing! That must have been crazy!!

Angela said...

"It's time to start the music, It's time to dim the lights...."
Hee Hee I acutally like the muppets, but I am glad they were not present while I was in labor! I had been worn by a friend about Ambien and labor/delivery although her story isn't nearly as entertaining as yours!

Crafty P said...

oh. oh my goodness. karen- hysterical. amazing what those little pills can do! I so hope you were able to enjoy the labor, after the pill wore off(???) and the epidural came (did it come?). I'm on the edge of my seat.

muppets! hysterical! I can barely contain myself!

Susie said...

WHAT A TRIP!! You poor thing - at least you went to the hospital and hopefully left the Muppets at the house!! Can't wait to hear the rest. Although we were praying so hard for you that day - I didn't realize all that you had been going through :-) You have a prize hubby there, too! What a trooper.

erin w. said...

I don't even know what Ambian is, but I'm going to the grocery today and checking it out. SO crazy!! said...

I wonder if Eli too will have a strange fear of Jim Hensen characters as a result of this night... will he grow up fearing and hating Sesame Street? If so, I wonder if we can trace it all back to a hot night in August, shortly before he made his entry into the world...

truly this was the funniest birth stories I have ever read.

Lizzie Brown said...

my roommate used to take ambien and she saw some freaky stuff. for example, por ejemplo:

christmas lights that dripped with their colors like paint

my face, even though i wasn't facing her, rearranging itself all distortedly

putting mascara in between her eyebrows and then being convinced she had an actual unibrow and not knowing what to do about it

yeah, ambien is serious stuff. however, if i was surrounded by muppets during delivery, i would have been elated. but then, to each his own. your baby is wicked presh. congrats on not birthing an ugly wrinkly alien baby that would take a few months to get cute.

shannon_milinovich said...

when i was induced after being 11 days late, they started everything at 6 pm and they gave me an ambien. while i did not have one theme through my dreams like you, i did dream some pretty freaky stuff. the other problem when you are pregnant is that you have to go to the bathroom all of the time, which means trying to physically wake up enough to pee. luckily, i had to ring a nurse everytime i went - i wonder what kind of things i said to her! thanks for sharing an hilarious story!!

Cindy said...

Karen you had an adventure. Not only an adventure n having a baby but an adventure with a sleepong pill. Oh my goodness muppets you will never be able to look at them the same again! At least we know then ending you have a beautiful baby boy!

Momma B. said...

I can not think of a more appropriate birth story for you! I am ugly laughing and crying at the same time. And don't worry, I am sure you will laugh about this some day, too. Oh. DEAR. I am so glad you made it through ok...

TheConnorClan said...

this is the most hilarious birth story- so far... sorry to laugh at your misery. I laughed out loud so many time.

btw, you probably have the most beautiful newborn I have ever seen, he has such pretty skin and hair and def. favors both of you.

Amanda Z Naprawa said...

That's about the funniest birth story I have ever heard.

Shawna said...

I cannot wait to hear more of your story! AMAZING...You are simple AMAZING! Childbirth...WOW...and Eli is so beautiful! Love his head of hair. I can't wait to meet him!

Susie said...

WAITING FOR the next installment!!!
Please tell us more!

Erin said...

i'm completely compassionate about giving people time to recover and get used to life with an infant, but i'm starting to wonder if this is some kind of twisted ploy to see how many times people will check back to your blog for the next installment... i'm up to a couple hundred by myself, as i check several times a day!! please don't leave us hanging too much longer!!!