Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Snoodsman Cameth

One of my oldest friends and his wife are having a baby girl today.

Watching them await her arrival these past few weeks has been taking me back to that morning in September when David and I first met the Snood.

*Begin flashback*

About a week before my due date my cousin called to check in on me.

"Isn't it exciting?" she asked with delight, "It's like Christmas Eve when we were kids!"

And it is kind of like Christmas Eve.

Except that, speaking as someone who went 13 days past their original due date, it's more like Christmas Eve - if you didn't actually know when Christmas was going to come.

And then after nearly two weeks of thinking that maybe tomorrow will be Christmas, you start crying alot and you eventually stop believing on some elemental level that Christmas ever existed in the first place.

Oh! And also on Christmas you don't have to work for several hours to pass the presents through your vagina before enjoying them. So yet another difference!

OK. Christmas metaphor ending.

I finally went into labor on a Thursday morning. The night before I had gone out for dinner with my sister and my mom to a seafood place and I woke up at around 6 in the morning with one single, overwhelming thought,

“Woah, those clam strips were a huge mistake!”

I lay in bed for 20 minutes, wildly overdue and hugely pregnant - and yet somehow mystified by what could be causing my recurring stomach pains.

Turns out I was in labor!

I woke David up at around 6:30am.

By this time my husband and I were veterans of approximately 20 hours of Lamaze classes and, armed with pamphlets galore, we felt more than ready to face the challenge ahead.

Things got off to a bad start.

David consulted the pamphlets and announced, "We need to start timing the contractions!" We tried, but neither one of us could figure out when a contraction was beginning or ending.

After 1/2 an hour, I gave up and got into a hot shower. Our Lamaze teacher had suggested that this might help get labor really going.


By the time I got out of the shower the pains, which had been 'stomach-based' were transformed and were now significantly more 'whole-body-agony based'.

Back to the pamphlets!

My husband read aloud, "Remember, labor is a long process. Do NOT go to the hospital too soon!" I sat down on the couch to wait it out as David put on a pot of coffee and went to wake up my mom.

She emerged from the guest room, took one look at me writhing on the couch, and said, “
I think you should go to the hospital.” I responded in all seriousness that we could not go to the hospital because our pamphlet told us not to.

Two contractions later I decided that the advice of my mom (a four-time child-birther) might actually trump the wisdom of "So You're About to Be a Mom: A Guide Your Child's Birth Brought to You by Pampers!" and we headed for the hospital.

We arrived around 8:15am, by which time I was feeling deeply unhappy. The lady at reception asked for our medical record number and I responded by vomiting into her garbage can.

Reception lady gratefully handed us to a passing nurse, who hustled us towards a bed. I changed into a hospital gown, laid down and began loudly expressing my displeasure with my predicament. Nurses would occasionally pass by my curtained gurney and shout in, "Try to calm down, now!" before heading off to deal with other patients.

David (aka the bravest man in the universe) dove in at this point - asking if I'd like to try some breathing exercises. I told him that what I would really like is some medical intervention, or in the alternative I'd really like to punch him really hard in the face.

David chose option number one and managed to wrangle a doctor, who came in to check me at about 8:30am. She started to explain what the day would be like, how they have me walk around for a while to help everything progress (I remember thinking, "Lady I hope you have a gun if you are planning on getting me out of this bed") and then I would be moved to a birthing suite....

Then she lifted up the sheet and said, "OK, no skip all that - baby on the way!"

She summoned some nurses, who started pushing my gurney towards the door. No time to head for the fancy birthing suites I'd admired on our hospital tour weeks earlier - they wheeled me instead to an empty operating room across the hall. Oh, and also - no time for any of those fancy "pain management medications" I'd been waiting for.

Let the natural child birthing begin!

I'll spare you the gory details - but suffice it to say that there was much pushing...

...and that the several hundred years of Irish peasant genes that make up my personal ancestry really came in handy. Less than an hour after arriving at the hospital I had the Snoods in hand!

In 2000, I ran my first marathon with a group of several friends. I remember meeting up with one of my running mates at the finish line. We looked at each other, elated, exhausted and amazed by what we had been able to accomplish.

As David stood over me, gazing down while I held Snoods in my arms I turned to him and said exactly what my running pal had said to me back at the finish line in 2000:

"That was amazing! Let's NEVER do that again!"