When I went into labor in the wee hour of 4:15 am on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008, I had already been awake for nineteen hours. I had lain awake all night trying to will my contractions to start. I closed my eyes and visualized myself going into labor, repeating, "I am having contractions" aloud in my empty bedroom, over and over again. I had anxiety about not knowing when the baby was coming. I was tired of being pregnant and my due date had arrived. Therefore, I was awake when I felt the first slight twinge in my belly. Five minutes later, another one. And then another one. I couldn't believe it! I had willed myself into labor on my due date (I was re-thinking that decision later...)! I woke up my husband, who was of course sleeping soundly, told him I was in labor and we began timing my contractions. Five minutes, eight minutes, three minutes...kind of all over the place, but we took showers and went to the hospital anyway around 7 am.
By 10 am, I had dilated to 3 cm and the pain was pretty intense. I had now been awake 24 hours. I wanted to kill my husband because he kept falling asleep in the chair next to me with his head against the wall instead of holding my hand through the contractions. I understood he was tired, but come on! Did he not think I was tired too with no possibility of sleep anytime soon? I was beginning to feel very alone in my suffering. He was supposed to suffer with me! Not fall asleep! My family and my doula had not yet arrived and I was still in the big room with all the other pregnant women in pain - I believe they call it the holding area, or cell, as I like to call it - waiting for someone to take me to a private room. The nurse finally arrived to take us and as we are walking down the hallway to my room, we hear a blood-curtling scream coming from one of the other patient rooms. And when I say blood-curtling, I mean it was a murderer-is-pulling-out-your-guts-while-you-are-awake-and-cutting-you-into-tiny-little-pieces kind of scream. It was the most terrifying sound I have ever heard and would put horror movie screams to shame. Not exactly what I needed to hear right before giving birth. A group of people were standing at the nursery window, staring at one of the little gems, when they heard the scream as well. One of them looked at me as I waddled by and said, "That's not what you want to hear!" and my husband said, "She doesn't have to worry...she's getting an epidural." ... Okay, you know how in the movies, when someone says something is or isn't going to happen, it is usually foreshadowing, telling the audience that actually the opposite is or isn't going to happen? Well, in my lifetime movie, the line my husband threw out was big-time foreshadowing. Big-time. I, of course, just didn't know it yet.