MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information
THE BIRTH OF A PRINCESS
By Doug Sassaman
Twenty days or twenty hours, I can't remember, but whatever it was, it was hell (or at least Purgatory). Labor started at around 8 pm Friday night and we were excited as two schoolgirls. We decided to play it cool and not rush off to the hospital until Denise felt like the contractions were really kicking in. Tricky business that, you don't want to go to the hospital too early for fear of public ridicule by the midwives only to be sent back home in shame, and if you go to late... you better just hope the front seats in your car recline.
At 2:30 am it seemed like a good time to go, as Denise had lost her schoolgirl appeal and was beginning to recite what I can only describe as some arcane demonic passages. I was very pleased at my calm demeanor as I drove to the hospital without violating a single law with the Exorcist in the back seat (not at all like you see in the movies).
Fortunately the midwives accepted us and allocated a 'delivery suite' with a view of nothing. The delivery suites with awesome views overlooking the lake couldn't be used due to some mysterious water leak. A cursory inspection by 'me' later in the morning found them to be quite operational without so much as a bucket or a drop of water on the floor. I made a mental note that the midwives were not to be trusted.
8 am and the pain isn't messing around anymore. Denise is way beyond demonic passages and is now speaking in tongues. Fortunately at that time our Doctor has finally moseyed her way into the hospital after finishing her leisurely morning routine. One look at Denise and she quickly orders up an epidural and every drug she can think of. Twenty minutes later and Denise is suddenly quite chatty again. She's yabbering with the shifty midwives and once again laughing at my jokes.
9 am and things are progressing s-l-o-w-l-y. Denise is only dilated 3 cm and has a ways to go. The doctor is long gone. And get this, I'm told to GO HOME! (We lived just down the road.) I mean I pretty much figured I was a useless cog in an otherwise very efficient process, but they could have at least pretended to need me. But then visions of golf sprang into my head and I thought that going home might just be the best thing for everyone involved. Alas, no such luck, they were going to pretend to need me after all. I only had time to make a few panicked phone calls, choke down a bowl of toasties, and then fly back to the hospital in a cold sweat fearing that I missed the delivery.
2 pm - Denise has been fully dilated for ages now and we're waiting for our Doctor to return from her Christmas shopping before Denise can push this baby out. The Doctor finally arrives and guess what, she tells Denise to start pushing! So by God push she did. She pushed so hard I thought her eyes were in danger of bugging out. If she used that same force in weight lifting, I can state with confidence she could bench 400 lbs. minimum.
During all the pushing the epidural began to wear off and Denise was charting new territory in the realm of pain. The Doctors didn't want to top off her epidural because she could push more effectively without the aid of any sissy medication. During all this, my critical role was to rub this certain nagging spot on Denise's back. I also found that the less I spoke the better things went. My few attempts at hob-nobbing with the medical staff were met with disdain. Comments such as 'Gee her thingie is really bulging out' got me nowhere.
It's 4 pm and I'm convinced that this baby will never come out and Denise may possibly remain like this forever. After two hours of pain and pushing she was completely and totally exhausted. It's like running a marathon and then having to run another marathon back to the start because you forgot your keys.
Medical science came to the rescue in the form of a Hoover vacuum cleaner but they call it a Ventoose instead of a Hoover so they can sound all fancy-pants like and make the poor distraught husbands feel even more confused. This Ventoose thing has a suction cup that they stick onto the baby's head and then play tug of war until hopefully the doctor wins and the baby comes out. Fortunately for us the Doctor won and Emma Victoria Sassaman was born unto us at 4:32 pm on Saturday December 5th.
Now for the drama, it seems that our little baby Emma came down with congestive pneumonia during her ordeal. We could tell right after she was born that she wasn't breathing properly. Denise and I went into an emotional free-fall, but the doctors were reassuring and said she would be fine. They put her into an oxygen-enriched incubator and decided to transfer mom and baby to National Women's Hospital, which has a state of the art newborn intensive care facility.
I was a basket case for two days, but fortunately Emma improved rapidly and in no time at all was at Mom's bedside learning how to breast-feed. Emma was put on a five-day course of antibiotics and fully recovered.
Oh, and lest I forget to mention the other star of the show, Denise walked around like a rodeo star for a few days after the delivery, but recovered nicely.
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