One two, one two — chop chop! There’s a sense of urgency to the arrival at the hospital that I’ve never experienced before. Yet, strangely calm urgency
We get to the emergency room and the attendant grabs a wheelchair for K and I head back out to park the car. By the time I come virtually sprinting into the birthing room, K is on the bed, a nurse is getting a vast array of implements ready, and we’re all wondering when the midwife is going to arrive.
The nurse hooks up the two belts around K’s belly that measure the contractions and L’s heartbeat. She goes over some paperwork with K (“Would you refuse any particular type of medical intervention on religious grounds?” and the like) and then the midwife comes in. This is something like her 1,600th birth — she’s calm, calm, calm.
Contractions continue. Questions continue. More nurses come in and prepare a tray covered with various “sharps” — scissors, scalpels, needles, and a few things that look more Inquisitorial than medical.
Paperwork complete and sharps in place, it’s time to get K to the tub. I glance at my watch — it’s something like 6:40 am. We’ve only been there a little over forty minutes. Things are going so fast that it’s difficult for me to keep everything in perspective.
Once K’s in the, everything calms. K relaxes so much — and is so exhausted — that she actually begins falling asleep between contractions, which are coming with more frequency and lasting longer. I begin thinking, “Forget this hours in labor stuff — we’re having this baby within a few minutes.”
Through this all, K’s constant question: “When will I know to push?” The midwife, the nurses, everyone (except the only man in the room) respond with a reassuring laugh: “Oh, you’ll know.” One compared it to the feeling you get when you absolutely have to have a BM and there’s no toilet around. Nothing like a metaphor even the man can understand.
Sure enough, within a few minutes, K says, “I think I need to push.” And push she does, probably a total of less than ten times.
At 8:05, L makes her appearance, covered in cheesy Vernix caseosa, which the midwife advises K to use as lotion around her eyes. Her eyes, not L’s. “It’s the best moisturizer in nature,” she explained.
Within minutes, K’s in the bed, with L lying on her chest, and G standing around in a daze…