21 January 2008

Can I Have This Dance For The Rest Of Your Life?

New Years Eve was destined to be disappointingly uneventful. There were festivities at the Pavilion, the artist in residence organized a New Years ball. I was too pregnant and tired to even consider it, but I was weepy for being so immobile and big and insisted that I accompany Ed on the evening walk with Secret Agent Dog in hopes of rising out of my melancholy. I’m not good at sitting still or down for long periods. I sat on a bench at the ball field and watched the lights swirl in the Pavilion while music rose on a breeze in the crisp cool evening air and Secret ran and jumped and whirled in acrobatic feats to catch her Frisbee. It made me smile and breathless.

It seemed like such a short spell and we were walking back home. We’d bring in the New Year watching Angel (the spin off of Buffy The Vampire Slayer) because I love Lorne (the green demon who sings show tunes and looks so wonderful in yellow) and I’d go to sleep early, likely drift off on the sofa and hope the Zantac kept the acid reflux in check. But then, WHOA what was that? In the middle of the second episode on the Netflix disc I was hit with a wave of contraction. I think I just had a contraction, I announced with a bit of surprise and disbelief. That was the beginning – at about 11 pm on New Years Eve.

Because I was so full of amniotic fluid, the technicians at the fetal monitoring lab told me that I might not even feel contractions associated with early labor. That might have been true. I moved from “early” labor (contractions 10 minutes, then 8 minutes, then 5 minutes apart) within a mere half hour and dove right into active (regular contractions, five minutes apart) labor by midnight.

Neither Ed nor I really believed it. He kept urging that we gather our many’s and get a move on. I kept saying that I didn’t want to drive into the City on New Years Eve night only to be turned away because I arrived too early or it was a false alarm. He packed the truck with my hospital bag and labor kit and called LB to let her know we’d likely be dropping the dog off. I lay in bed as the contractions worsened.

I’d really wanted to have an un-medicated delivery, but after about 9 hours of active and transitional back labor, I asked for a fentanyl shot and when that wore off and the contractions came on two fold (literally, two at a time, less than a minute a part) in timing and intensity, I surrendered to the epidural at about hour 10. She was facing the wrong way and despite being fully dilated, she wasn’t budging beneath the pelvic bone. I pushed for hours, with no progress. In the 11th hour (which was actually the 18th hour) the epidural began wearing off and the anesthesiologist was in a c-section. We pushed right through it and the attendant finally offered either suction or a c-section. I opted to try the suction first – so he came in with vacuum/suction at about 6 pm on New Years Day… he turned her head and literally she was born two contraction, four minutes later. Why didn’t we do that several hours earlier!?!

I was spent, but she was healthy as they come - pink and beautiful. The nurses said there was a rush on labor/delivery that night and ten couples arrived, ten babies were born. They said that she was hands down the healthiest looking of them all. (I guess newborns often look yellowed and jaundiced and all pruned…. Not Zoe, she was plump and pink and full faced.)

She weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and was a sleek and tall 21 inches long. Her hair is coppery red and as the attendant said, “she looks a little grumpy.”