Where did I leave off? Oh, that's right. With Mike suggesting a coffee pitstop and me using profanity. Needless to say, we did not stop for coffee.
I hailed the first cab I saw (luckily, the birthing fairies had planted one right outside our building) and jumped in before Mike could mention any prospect of brewed beverages again.
It was about 6am.
Once seated in the cab, without a razor or a hair dryer to distract me, it hit me how much pain I was in.
With my first pregnancy, contractions started in the early morning and slowly escalated throughout the day, until we finally felt it necessary to head to the hospital at 2am. This time, I'd been having contractions for under two hours and wasn't even sure I was going to survive the cab ride.
When we arrived at the hospital, we ran to the maternity wing, went straight to the nurse's station and announced I was in labor.
NURSE: Do you feel like you need to push?
ME: I feel like I need an epidural.
NURSE: Ok, let's get you a room.
They brought me into the initial examination room, tested the baby's heartbeat and told me I was 4cm. dilated.
The next hour was PURE HELL.
You know, that lovely time between when the nurse orders your epidural and you actually get the epidural. The hour you spend lying down with straps around your belly, when you would rather throw yourself out a window than remain still. Of course, lying down lets you fully appreciate the intensity of your contractions, pity the entirety of the female race and contemplate murdering your husband while he texts his friends and munches on a Clif bar as if he is the person in need of energy and sustenance.
Finally, they brought us into "the birthing suite" where I talked to the anesthesiologist. She explained the risks involved while I pretended to listen, all the while thinking— WHATEVER! JUST DO IT ALREADY!!!! PLEASE! BEFORE I HAVE ANOTHER CONTRACT— OH FUUUUUCKKK!!!!!!!!
Once the lecture was over and the papers were signed, Mike was kicked out of the room (giving him that magical moment to purchase a cup of coffee) and the epidural was administered. Fifteen minutes later, all was well.
Wait. What the fuck. What is that crazy pain in my left ass cheek???
ME: Ummm….nurse? I seem to have a crazy pain in my left ass cheek. Do you know what that is?
NURSE: The baby's head is really low. She's probably resting on a nerve.
ME: Oh. Will the epidural make it go away?
NURSE: Probably not.
Awesome. Suddenly, the crazy ass pain seemed ten times worse than my contractions. I could not lie in a way that made me comfortable. Right side, left side, on my back— each position brought it's own breed of ass cheek pain. And pressing the damn epidural button did nothing to help.
ME: MIKE!!! ARE YOU STILL HERE????
ME: Can you please massage my left ass cheek?
There is very little romance in a birthing suite.
The nurse said I would probably have the baby within the next two hours. So, Mike started making phone calls to our family while I was left to massage MY OWN ASS.
It was at that point, a nervous little intern walked in and asked if we minded if she observed the birth.
NERVOUS INTERN: Hi…. I'm an intern…. Would you mind if I, uhhh…. watched the birth?
ME: Sure, that's fine.
NERVOUS INTERN: Ok, thanks. If you need anything, like… ice chips or… really anything… just let me know.
ME: Great. Would you like to massage my ass?
I'm not sure what happened to the intern after that. I imagine the poor thing slowly backed out of the room, hid behind the ice chip machine, and brainstromed alternative professions.
Soon after, a doctor arrived, started to examine me and asked how I was doing.
DOCTOR: How are you doing?
ME: I have a crazy pain in my left ass cheek.
DOCTOR: Okay! You are fully dilated! Ready to push?
Really? We had been at the hospital for less than three hours. With Mazzy, we were waiting to fully dilate in the birthing suite for over 14 hours. All of a sudden, everything seemed very rushed and informal. And everyone in the room seemed so young! Where were the adults around here???
Before I knew it, Doogie Howser swiftly propped my legs up and pulled back the sheet. That's when I saw my husband visibly shudder.
MIKE: Whoa. Wasn't there a curtain separating us from that stuff last time?
ME: Just don't look!
Then Mike started going on about how everything was happening so much quicker this time, asking if we could push back the birth so he could mentally prepare himself, and repeating that he really really thinks with our first delivery, there was a curtain sheilding his eyes from whatever was happening below my waist.
NURSE: Your husband is really funny.
ME: He's not joking.
Seven minutes and three pushes later, at precisely 9:41am, I was being handed our second baby girl.
"Say hello to Harlow Eden!" Mike announced proudly before cutting the umbilical cord.
I think I cried.
I loved Harlow on sight.
Even if she came into this world as a ROYAL PAIN IN THE ASS.