Allow me to preface this post: When I reached my 35th week of pregnancy, everyone who has ever known anyone who has ever birthed a baby unleashed their most traumatizing, horrific, grotesque birth stories on me: the rushing to the hospital; emergency C-sections; cords wrapped around necks; unnatural tearing; infections; thwarted attempts at natural births -- you name it. This is not one of those stories.
When we first found out I was pregnant, Casey's due date was predicted to be around 8.22.16 based on the ol' cycle method. Because I had been obsessively tracking all manner of conception happenings and variables via every expensive physical kit, at-home test and iPhone app available, I was certain this was wrong (I am actually an OBGYN in my spare time, did you know?) He was due earlier. His ultrasound measurements throughout the pregnancy confirmed this, so we (me, the OB) ended up estimating his due date to be around 8.14.16 eventually.
Here are the other things I, the OBGYN, knew: I was not going to attempt a natural birth. I had no interest, even after reading all the books and Googling all the things and watching the Ricki Lake documentary about how American birthing practices are dangerous and commoditized. Nope. No doula; no midwife: Come at me with your graduate degrees and your drugs; cut me open if you want to. I told my doctor -- the greatest, coolest doctor in the history of doctors -- to just do what needed to be done. If he thought a C-section would be safer, holla at me and we'll suit up and get that baby out.
I also knew I needed to feel like I had some manner of control over one of the most chaotic and terrifying events I will ever experience, and I was not willing to be one of those women who goes to 42 weeks and births a 10-pound baby.
And so when it looked like he was not particularly interested in coming out on his own and the Braxton-Hicks contractions thwarted not one but two fancy last-hurrah dinners we'd planned, we scheduled an induction for August 16th at the last minute. He weighed 7 pounds, he was cooked to medium well and it was time.
We were set to check into the hospital at 5:30 am on Tuesday. On our very last night as DINKs, Aaron and I went to Houston's for our last leisurely meal. I had a massive French Dip sandwich -- the last of my pregnancy -- and, wouldn't you know it, when we told our server we were having a baby the next morning, the restaurant picked up the tab for the meal.
Full and happy, we returned to our quiet, clean home, spent some time with Eva, and slept exactly one hour. Both of us were wide awake by two AM, watching the minutes tick by like hours as we waited to meet our baby boy. By 4, I sprang out of bed, took a long shower, straightened my hair and double-checked our hospital bag. AND THEN.
As we were putting our shoes on, the hospital called. 'There are no beds,' they said. 'You're going to have to wait a few hours. Maybe come in around 7 or 8. Kbye!' I WAS ENRAGED. I was so ready, I was so tired and, most urgently, FUCKING STARVING. They don't let you eat after midnight, you see, and I was more pregnant than I'd ever been in my life and I was pissed.
We sat fully dressed on the bed for a couple hours and watched the news while I complained. Time stood still. The news was mostly about Zika, the Olympics, and Zika at the Olympics. At last, it was time to head to the hospital. I can't really explain it, but I LOST MY WHOLE ENTIRE MIND while saying goodbye to Eva and sobbed uncontrollably all the way to the hospital. Looking at her, our first baby, knowing that when we returned to the house her whole life would be turned upside down and she was none the wiser... my heart couldn't take it. Looking back, I think I was so scared and overwhelmed myself that I was projecting all of that onto a cat because I didn't know how to express it.
We checked into the hospital (which took FOREVER, by the way: thank god I wasn't having painful contractions because there were so many questions to answer and papers to fill out that I would have pushed out the whole entire baby on the floor in front of the intake desk), they brought us back to our giant L&D room, and we got the show on the road.