Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Birth Story, Part i

Thinking about Meg's birth, it makes most sense to break the story into three chapters. Plus, with my limited attention span, it increases the likelihood I'll finish this before she goes to middle school. Don't worry, really gory details have been omitted.

Just about every night last week, I convinced myself that I was going into labor. I would come home from work, shuffle around making dinner and doing laundry, and as I was getting ready for bed, I would notice contractions. They weren't particularly regular or painful, but they often would take my breath away briefly. I also noticed that the baby seemed to be sitting, er, down low which often would cause some shooting pain in my groin. I tried not to stress too much about it, I just went to bed figuring if it was real labor, the pain would be such that I'd know if it was real soon enough.

Friday, I went for my regular doctor's appointment. It was supposed to be the last regular appointment before operation inducement the following Wednesday. My regular OB had been out of the office and was pretty booked, but since I needed to see her before meeting her in the hospital on Wednesday, they put me on the schedule in an overflow spot of 8:30 a.m. -- way earlier than I would schedule an appointment for myself on a day I'm not working.

I went in for the exam fully expecting to hear that there was no progress. Certainly that had been the case in the weeks before. Instead this time, she announced that I was 3 centimeters dilated. When I asked what that meant, she said, "That you're going to have this baby soon." Of course, soon in OB talk doesn't mean in the next 15 minutes, it really meant sometime in the next couple of days, certainly before Wednesday. She then did a sonogram and was surprised to find that there wasn't much amniotic fluid. Apparently there were a few pockets left so no immediate cause for alarm, but based on that and the fact that I was already progressing a bit, she asked, "How would you feel about having this baby today?"

Of course, I jumped at that offer. "Great. Let's come to my office and I'll call the hospital and set you up for an induction." What we would do, she explained, was I would go in to the hospital and they would give me a little pitocin to speed the labor along. Since I was already progressing a bit, she didn't think I would need much pitocin or that it would be a particularly long labor ("Short, like eight or nine hours" which frankly seems like a long time to me). Dr. Lawson was on call that day, which was good for me since aside from my regular doctor, Dr. Bannon, I had seen Dr. Lawson almost as frequently. Dr. Lawson had just finished her residency and started at the practice about the time I found out I was pregnant so we had a good rapport. The only negative I could think of was that she's probably only 30, if you figure graduating from college at 22, medical school at 26, and four years of residency. Somehow I hadn't expected someone younger than me to be delivering my baby.

After Dr. Bannon talked to the hospital, she explained that that Friday was a busy day at Virginia Hospital Center. Apparently all the 7 a.m. inductions for that day had been pushed to noon so they couldn't take me immediately. "How would you feel about a 7 p.m. or even midnight induction?" That was even better for me, actually. It would give me a little time to talk to Bjorn, call my parents and get my affairs in order. I also had this idea that I would take a nap to rest up.

Bjorn had kept Andy with him at home while I went to my appointment with the idea that he'd meet me at her office about 9 a.m. to hand Andy off to me and he'd head in to work. Instead, I called Bjorn and we met at Chesapeake Bagel Bakery to discuss what she'd told me and what we needed to do to prepare.

After going over the particulars and calling our parents to make arrangements, we came back around to names. Bjorn had been lobbying hard to call the baby Katie. While I love the name, it would mean naming her Katherine and I wasn't sure about us having the same name. He liked Katherine Anne, I liked Elizabeth Margaret or Margaret Anne. Since Byron Andrew honors both Andy's grandfathers, I liked the idea of something to honor both grandmothers. After debating for a bit, I suggested rock, paper, scissors to make the call. He wisely suggested we table the discussion.

That day, I spent some time food shopping so that we'd have plenty to eat this week and ran to Target for last minute toiletries. I also compulsively tidied the house (not that anyone but me could tell), completed a bunch of little projects that had been bugging me, repacked my hospital bag two or three times, got stuff together for Andy since Mark and Bjorn's mother would be watching him overnight and putzed around in the baby's room. I tried to nap, but I couldn't shut my brain off so I ended up cleaning out a closet instead as I waited for it to be time.

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