November 21/22, 1992 - A Recap
It was around 8:30pm on a Saturday night. we were over at good friends B&J house playing a rousing round of crib. Boo had just gone or was going down for the night and there was a break in the action. DH was scorekeeper and it was time to let him know to keep track of a little something different. Finally around 10:30 J (who had been paying very close attention) finally blurted out HEY ARE YOU GUYS COUNTING CONTRACTIONS????? Oh yeah, for 2 hours now. That gave us the gentle nudge we needed. Time to get home, pull out the bag and decide if it was "time". On getting home I went and rocked myself in the "baby room". Pretty soon there was going to be a baby in it. How crazy did that sound. Dh came in and said I thought I'd find you here. Is it time? I almost wondered if I was faking it. Yes. Its time. We lived in Crestview, but my Dr. practiced out of the Victoria General Hospital so that's where we went. Plus it was "my" hospital. I grew up in that area and every single childhood emergency I had ended up there. I was a candy striper, my first job was in the records dept, my mom spent time as a patient there and was also Director of Medical Records. It was MY hospital. Little did I know that by the time I was done I could have cared less. Birthing a baby has a way of putting everything else in perspective.
By the time we got to the hospital at around 12:30 things had slowed down a little. Oh we were in labour alright, but kind of in a holding pattern. I put on the pretty gown they gave me and crawled into bed. DH got comfy in the not so comfy bedside chair and we waited. Might have slept on and off for 2-3 hours I think. Contractions came and went. I thought I was holding up pretty well. In the morning we thought we better let people know where we were. First things first - how in the world was our cat doing??? To date she had been the only thing we ever had to take care of. We were worried. She'd never spent a night alone before - poor thing. So, we called BTB and he came over with his fiancé. They spent the whole afternoon sitting in our house, watching Grey Cup semi-finals - keeping our Casper company. How nice is that? Poor Casper didn't know she was about to become a second class citizen.
Next DH called our parents. Letting them know they were soon to become grandparents (for his parents this was the first grandchild). That done, again we waited. My contractions were coming on stronger now. Not so much time in between and I was getting really uncomfortable. My Dr. had shown up to check on me. That was nice. It was Sunday morning and I actually felt kind of bad. He smiled and let me know it was fine. Said the only bad time today was 2:30 when his son was being baptized. I figured we could work with that.
Walking the hallway seemed like a good idea. So there we were, walking up and down with each other and other couples in the same boat for company. You kind of look up, smile encouragement at each other and then move on. There is too much else to think about - no time to chit chat.
10:30am - walking the hallways when suddenly BOOM. I felt a sound that I thought should have been heard around the world. Really it was just in my head, oh wait - except for that big GUSH. Yup, my water broke, right there in the hallway by the elevators. A nurse came immediately. She brought a wheelchair, with a wonderful sheepskin on it. I was horrified - I can't sit on that, it'll get dirty. She just smiled, sit. Its ok, lets get you cleaned up. I looked up at that point. There was another woman walking the halls - she was staring at me with horror painted all over her face. I think she knew she was next. Things started to get a little intense after that. I got into bed and never left. The pain with each contraction was becoming increasingly unbearable. I changed my mind. This was not good. I had had very strong thoughts on NO DRUGS, NO EPIDURAL. I relented a bit. They gave me Demerol - ugh, which was worse - the pain or the vomiting. It made me so sick. I vowed never to do that again. Things were moving along now. I heard the word "transition" mentioned. I was starting to get a little aggressive. Right about this time, my mother-in-law arrived. She had come to check on us, see if there was anything she could do. She was being very kind and wanted to give Tim a break, wondered if he should go to the cafeteria and grab some lunch. I was vehemently opposed to that idea. If I couldn't leave, neither could he. He stayed.
The nurses were great. One in particular had been a mid-wife in Africa and she was a very calming presence. Knew just where to dig her knuckles in my back and showed Tim how to too. There was so much commotion between the nurses, Tim, his mom and the tornado of pain that had its grip on me. Suddenly through it all I heard a voice. You the known the one - the one that has kissed every hurt, hugged away every tear. I can't say it was God, but close. It was my mom. In the hallway. She was here. I thought if anyone could make this stop it would be her. I heard her ask if she could come in, would it be alright - are you sure? I couldn't take it - I yelled for her, I was crying. I wanted her so bad. Of course she came. She held my hand, she wiped my brow, she stayed.
As if on cue, right around 2:30 I suddenly had the urge to push. Whoops - did I say 2:30?? Yes 2:30! The nurses were great. With me every step after I started pushing. If I thought the room was full before, it was now packed. The gory details I'll leave out, but everybody had a part to play. The nurses right where they needed to be, my mom by my head, Tim and his mom each at my feet. Those contractions were UN-FREAKING believable. It felt like forever, but really only about 30 minutes passed. Just in the nick of time, about 2 contractions left to go - my dr. comes. I felt kind of bad by this point, but got over it fast. Pretty much all about me right at that moment. Do you know what a miracle is? That moment - when you go from being a pregnant woman, to a mom? It happens in a heart beat, the moment is etched in my brain - when they first put a beautiful baby girl in my arms. There was still so much going on around me. But I was calm now. Time stopped. I looked at Tim. I told him I loved him. We had a baby.
My baby is 16 years old today. Still a girl, not yet a woman. But always my baby. Happy Birthday.
Memories creep up on me now and then. I think about the fact that we had both moms in the room. It made up such a huge part of our story. I wouldn't change it. Our dr. was so choked to realize they were there. he loved it. Mandy's middle name is Victoria, after my dad Victor. A nurse thought it was so sweet that we named her after the hospital.