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Becoming Mothers: A Journey Begins With Purplish-Blue

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A bag was packed and ready, but not in any specific vehicle. After all, who knew which car would feel like the “right” car once the time came. It was 1 a.m. C was just arriving home from a dragging day that turned into an extended night of work. He was exhausted and only looking forward to laying his body down in the warmth of heavy covers only a January night can hold. Nestling his cold limbs against the heat of the woman who carried his child, who would one day be his wife, sleep met him.

C was unaware of the stirring. His baby boy was coming to greet him. Knocking on the walls that held him, preparing his mother for his arrival; she timed him. There had been false knocks before, too soon that medication needed to quiet them. This time was different. The knocks came, rhythmically. The timing was right now…not too soon. His anxiously excited mother measured the minutes, for she knew his father had just laid down his weary body.

She rocks C lightly, his sleep is not deep. “It’s time,” she softly says.

“For what?” the grogginessof his voice tells her that he’s hardly aware of what he’s saying.

“The baby’s coming. It’s time.”

“Why don’t you time it for 15 minutes or so…” he trails off as he rolls over.

Laughing, the first time mom says, “I have timed it. For an hour. It’s time!”

“An hour?” He’s awake now. C sits up to watch as she laxly makes her way into the bathroom…and turns on the shower. He holds back his pace as he chases after her and asks her what she’s doing. “They said you’re not supposed to do that. Don’t shower. If it’s time, we have to go. What if he comes too quickly?!? What if we’re stuck in the car because you had to shower.”

Determined and laughing she tells him that she’s taking a shower and that’s that. He waits.

They make their way to the designated hospital. It’s now 2:45 am. Sitting down at the triage desk, they calmly explain the anticipated arrival of their little love. Paperwork completed, a wheel chair fetched, the would-be first time parents make their way to labor and delivery with the air of a happy couple doing what they already know to do…at least that’s how it looked.

Discussions. Introductions. A check by a nurse. 2 centimeters she declares. Not enough to stay. “Go walk,” she instructs them. “Walk the floor, in circles, around and around…let’s see if we can’t get things moving a little more.”

So, they walk. In circles. Around the labor and deliver floor. For 30 minutes. They walk.

Trickles of perspiration appear about C’s face. Throughout their mandated walk about the floor, he had watched the mother of his first child bend over in pain. Series if not streams of contractions would pull her body towards the ground. His body, in response, was in a constant state of preparedness, bracing to hold her somewhat erect as the pain rippled through her body. Simultaneously, this was what he thought birth would be (from his viewpoint) and yet it wasn’t. Why are they walking the floor? If this isn’t birth, and they were sent home, what the heck would happen next? How would they handle it? How much more pain would he watch her in before someone would proclaim his baby boy ready to be received?

They returned to their room when the continued walking seemed impossible. The nurse checked her again. “Nope. Still 2 centimeters. Maybe just a little more. It looks like we’ll be sending you home.”

Panic nearly overtook C. Dazed confusion became apparent on the face of the would-be new mom. Both sat in piercing silence. Then, shift change, i.e., nurse change.

The couple overhears the hallway conversation. Nurse #1 is informing Nurse #2 that it is time to send this falsely laboring couple home. This was met by the tone of a nurse obviously less than professionally impressed by Nurse #1. Nurse #2 enters the room, snaps her gloves on while swiftly walking towards the couple, and announces that she’s checking for herself. (The feeling of being a physically “open” experiment to ogle at begins…)

“5.5 almost 6 centimeters!” she broadcasts rather loudly. Obviously this was out of frustration and with the purpose of letting Nurse #1 know her mistake. “You’re not going anywhere” she continues. “There’s a line for the epidural. If you want it, we need to do it now and I’ll cut you in line. OR, do you want to do this without? You seem like you’re managing the pain pretty well,” Nurse #2 smiles…

Whether out of optimism, surprise or excitement, C loses all sense of ‘the plan’, and follows suit, “What do you think” he asks his wife to be, “Do want to try to go without?” His innocent smile is met with a look of pure disbelief mixed with the edge of insanity, and a hint of pain to come for him. He retracts his question while the new mom-to-be blurts, “They make drugs for a reason!”

The line runs in smoothly…another one of those experiences that can never clearly be explained or fully understood without personal exposure. Nurse #2 and the couple quickly become friendly. Jokes fly, comfort and support is offered and accepted. The doctor comes in. The ‘sac’ is broken with promises to return by lunch…

…which arrives too quickly. The nurse checks, asks for a single push while timing on the monitor since the new mom could no longer feel the contractions. The nurse prompts, and within the first push, sternly says, “STOP! Don’t push. I have to get Dr. M here NOW,” and disappears out the door.

Moments later, the doctor pushes into the room and the nurse raises the bedding just a little more. With the raising of the head of the bed, vomiting ensues, a barf bin is inserted under the new mom’s face just in time to capture said fluid AND eye glasses that once were on her face that now land in this bin in between body wrenches.

As she witnesses only a blur of purplish-blue flesh being whisked away for cleaning, the new mom notes to herself that she will no longer listen to the rules of “no contacts”.

…and with that, their new journey begins.

Gina St. Aubin is a former Victim’s Advocate turned advocate for those with intellectual and physical challenges. She is the owner / editor and lead author of Special Happens, a special needs community resource and blog focusing on Autism, Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, Sensory Processing Disorder, Developmental Delays and more. She is a mother, wife, writer, special needs advocate, and coffee addict.

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