The day of Griffin's birth seemed as if it was taken straight out of a movie scene. Aaron and I have had many past conversations where I tell him that not all labor and deliveries take 14 or more hours like Clark's did. Sometimes women go into labor and they barely make it to the hospital or end up birthing a child in their car or on a sidewalk or something crazy like that. He was convinced that only happened in the movies and that I didn't need to worry about having a hospital bag packed or anything because we would have plenty of time.
Well now he knows better.
Saturday, December 10, 2011 was an exciting, painful, scary, beautiful, and unexpected day. This is how the events of that day unfolded.
We woke up that Saturday morning as a family of three and wanted to take advantage of what little time we would spend together because Aaron planned on working that afternoon. Nothing at all was unusual about that morning. I waddled into the kitchen, fixed Clark some oatmeal, made Aaron coffee, had my bowl of Cheerios, and we spent most of the morning lounging in our pajamas. We decided to take Clark to Northpark Mall to get his picture taken with Santa Claus and then grab some lunch before Aaron headed to the office. Sounds like a fairly uneventful day if you ask me.
At about 12:45, we loaded up and headed to Northpark. Let me emphasize that at this point, I felt great. Perfectly fine. Not a clue what the rest of the day had in store for me. We got to the mall at 1:00, located Santa and the two mile long line of overzealous kids and parents waiting to sit on Santa's lap, and stood in line for almost an hour. Actually, I stood in line while Aaron entertained Clark by taking him up and down the escalator and buying him a ridiculous amount of chocolate chip cookies. I had a feeling Clark would not cooperate very well with Santa because it was so close to his nap time, so when it was Clark's turn, I warned the nice photographer lady that he was probably going to freak out and to just take the picture. There was no need to distract him or try to make him smile. It just wasn't going to be pretty.
Clearly I was right. The up close and personal view of Santa was enough to send him straight into panic mode the very second Aaron put him on his lap. I instructed the photographer to hurry up and take the picture so we could get the heck out of there before we caused a huge scene. I made my way to the cashier who I think was judging me the whole time and gave her my credit card.
At the exact moment she gave me my credit card back, I felt my very first contraction and it almost sent me to my knees. It completely took the breath out of me. It was bad. This was at approximately 2:00 p.m. I grabbed my card and the pictures out of her hand and told Aaron I was positive I just had a contraction and we needed to get out of there.
Two minutes later, I felt another contraction and it was just as painful and ridiculous as the first. And then another one came two minutes later. And another one. By that point, I started semi-freaking out. We walked out of the mall and I was trying to breath through the contractions while Aaron was letting Clark dawdle aimlessly in the parking lot. I can specifically remember Aaron patiently telling Clark to stay with him and that he couldn't run in the parking lot, and I turned around and yelled in a very demonic voice to pick up the dadgum kid and throw him in the car. It was around this time that I started getting very mean. Very, very mean.
Once we got in the car, I started timing the contractions on my phone. They were about one minute and 40 seconds apart and unbelievably painful. Even though I really wanted to go home and get my bag and take a shower and shave my legs and put make up on, we headed straight to the hospital. But not without Aaron first asking if we had time to stop at a Mexican restaurant so he could get some lunch. He was hungry, poor guy. That is a true story. He actually did that.
I would like to take a second to emphasize the timeline we were dealing with. The first contraction hit at about 2:00 p.m. while we were in the mall. We got in the car at about 2:10 to go to the hospital. In between contractions, I tried to call a few people to let them know we were on our way but ended up screaming in their ear because the next contraction came too fast. You should have been a fly on the wall in our vehicle on the journey from the mall to the hospital. I was screaming in pain like a dadgum drama queen, Aaron was trying to maneuver around some very heavy traffic on one of the worst possible roads in Jackson, and Clark was in the backseat looking at us like we were on drugs. I was demanding in a very loud tone that Aaron run every red light, weave in and out of traffic like a madman and honk at any car who dared get in our way, and yes, we went about 100 miles per hour on the interstate.
We got to the hospital at about 2:20 and I stumbled into the waiting room, looked at the lady behind the glass window and pointed at my belly and said, "this is happening right now." Then I doubled over a wheelchair sitting next to me while a contraction hit and screamed a little more. The contractions were about one and a half minutes apart by then and each one seemed to be more painful than the last. Oh the pain.
I was so not prepared for this level of pain. I was fully prepared to casually walk into the hospital on my scheduled c-section day and have a baby, but definitely not prepared to experience full out labor with zero pain medication. I couldn't breathe through the contractions and I had mini panic attacks with each one.
The nurse in the ER instructed Aaron to stay in the waiting room with Clark while she admitted me, and then she had the audacity to ask me for a dadgum urine sample and my entire medical history WHILE I was standing there minutes away from giving birth. At this point, I'm pretty sure I grew horns on my head. I let my inhibitions fly out the window and vocalized any thought that entered my mind. And believe me, these were not happy thoughts. It was kind of great, actually. I had never spoken my mind like that and probably won't ever have an excuse to do it again. In fact, looking back it was kind of funny. But at the time, nothing was even close to funny.
I think it was about 2:45 when they put me in a bed and this is when I started getting very irritatable and barking unpleasantries at anyone who made eye contact with me, mostly my husband. It seemed to me at the time that they had just stuck me in a bed and completely forgot about me. I was experiencing the most horrific pain in my life and screaming every minute and a half and I desperately needed an epidural to make it out alive. Aaron assures me this wasn't the case. They had not forgotten about me, they were just getting the operating room ready and calling my doctor and the anesthesiologist and blah blah blah. All I knew is that I needed pain medication or somebody was going to have to die.
Note: I've never been one to disclose personal information on the ole blog, but years down the road I'm going to want to remember these details, so I'll try to be discreet but I'm going to go ahead and let it all out. Brace yourself. The first time they checked my labor progress I was 6 cm dilated. Ten minutes later, when I honestly didn't think I could handle the pain anymore and I was violently screaming at every poor soul that entered my presence, they checked me again and I was 8.5 cm. Aaron was standing next to me me almost the whole time, although I'm positive he would have loved to have hung out in the waiting room to avoid being brutally yelled at. Have I mentioned how bad the pain was? Because it was bad. Aaron tells me that I repeatedly yelled the phrases, "Where is the freaking anesthesiologist!?" and "pain medicine! pain medicine! pain medicine!" no less than 200 times in that short span of 10 minutes. I needed relief and fast. It was horrible.
A lot of it is a blur to me already, but I do have very vivid memories of a few things. I remember watching Aaron getting suited up in scrubs and being wheeled into the operating room and thinking how cold and strange everything was. I remember feeling my last contraction while the anesthesiologist was giving me a spinal block and the wonderful feeling of relief I felt about 30 seconds later. I remember being worried that my doctor wasn't going to make it in time but being so thankful she arrived just in time to do the procedure. She was so encouraging and calm and made the whole thing as pleasant as it could possibly be. I remember Aaron sitting close to my face and smiling at me while he held my hand. I remember my doctor holding Griffin up above the curtain and tears streaming down my face. She said over and over again that he was a big boy and was beautiful and healthy and looked great. I remember a nurse saying, "You won't believe how big this baby is. He's nine pounds, six ounces!" I remember seeing Aaron hold Griffin for the first time and how happy that made me. I remember thinking about Clark and wondering what he was doing. I remember asking my doctor if she could do a little bit of liposuction after she pulled the baby out to kick start the baby weight shedding process. I remember when they wheeled me out of the OR and my family and friends were standing in the hallway waiting for me. That was such a sweet moment that I'm going to hold on to for a long time.
So Griffin Rice was born at 3:15 that afternoon. I had no idea when that first contraction hit at the mall that only one hour and fifteen minutes later, I would be holding our newest baby boy. That hour and fifteen minutes was the longest, most horrifyingly painful time period I could ever fathom and I never want to do it again.
We spent three wonderful days in the hospital getting to know Griffin and hanging out with a steady flow of visitors. My recovery was a walk in the park (compared to the first time) and I am confident a c-section was the right decision for me this time. As soon as I publish this post, I'm going to start writing about the last three weeks and fill you in on who this Griffin kid is. This one was entirely too long so I opted to forego the three thousand pictures I've taken since he was born, but rest assured that in my next post you will be overwhelmed with how cute he is. And Clark and Griffin in the same photo is almost too much to handle in one sitting.