Thursday, March 08, 2012

Part the Second

I posted part one and suddenly had the most vivid mental image of Thursday afternoon: standing up in the office, chatting with the friend who runs the show up there, sending faxes for Iyyar, while Barak in his red cabled sweater sat there reading White Fang and eating a ruggel from the plate that was sitting there for some visiting rabbis.

Anyway. Where was I?

Right. The plane ticket.

I really should have written this earlier because the details are already getting fuzzy, but I remember walking out the door and up the stairs and thinking oh, right, real contractions hurt a lot more than those contractions I've been having, and also thinking about something a friend told me, which is that when you're in labor the gates of shamayim are open like they are on Yom Kippur so daven as hard as you can. Walked up the rest of the stairs and out the door and the cab was there and my husband caught up with me; got in the cab and headed off to Ein Kerem. I can't remember if we fielded any plane-ticket calls on the way there--maybe Alisha does.

The entrance to the hospital that most people use is through a small mall, which seems like a strange thing to have attached to a hospital but is actually a really good thing when the hospital is as far away from everything as this one is. I wanted to go in that way because it's the only way I know how to get to L & D, but the cab driver turned around and took us to the emergency entrance: I asked him to go back and he grumbled something about only trying to make it easier for us. Went through the security and the guy mannng the entrance made some comment about Mr. Bigfoot's two bags--"Is this all you have?" Uh, it's not so much, considering, but obviously you've never seen a woman come here to have a baby. Buddy.

Went through all the passageways and into L & D and put my envelope full of stuff down on the nurse's desk. Walked up and down the hall, looked at the uncomfortably realistic posters depicting the phases of labor on the wall, walked back in, and was brought by a nice Israeli midwife into an examining room to get checked.

A side note: you know how some people's foreign language speaking skills suddenly get a lot better after a glass or two of wine? I've seen this happen myself--people who can't ordinarily speak Hebrew jumping an ulpan level or two at a Purim seuda, or some of my classmates in Hungary magically speaking improved English at a pub. I think it has to do with your brain's filters; when the filters are off, and you just kind of go with it, sometimes things actually improve.

I've never tried to speak a second language while under the influence (SSLUI?) but apparently the effect is not limited to inebriation. It can also happen while you're in labor. I have NEVER spoken such good Hebrew as I did that night. Ever. There was past, present, and future, all conjugated more or less correctly; idioms I didn't even know I knew; vocabulary that must have dropped into my subconscious without my knowing and sat there in the muck for months before flying up into service as if my magic.

After five minutes, midwife was speaking Hebrew to me, and English to Mr. Bigfoot. Seriously. That would be... a first.

Anyway, she put me on monitors and the baby sounded fine (hoofbeats!) and she checked me and told me I was four centimeters dilated.

Four. Centimeters.

Remember with Marika? I was between four and five for what, three weeks?!

So. Yeah. A little bit disappointed there. I'd sort of hoped to walk in and give birth again, but not to be.


The L & D room looked pretty much like L & D rooms anywhere, down to the fake wood flooring and the warming bed that looks impossibly irrelevant until there is actually a baby in it.

And then the phone rang. A few more times. About the plane ticket. The price had gone up--what was it, Alisha? 500 dollars? I said JUST TELL HIM IT IS TWELVE HUNDRED I WILL PAY THE DIFFERENCE I DO NOT CARE BUT DON'T LET HIM OFF THE PHONE WITHOUT A TICKET. More phone calls. At one point I remember grabbing the phone from my husband, dealing with something (my billing address I think) with Alisha and then handing it back to him when the next contraction hit.

Seriously insane. But he did get the ticket in the end.

Midwife came in, and oh glory she was AMERICAN and very nice. The contractions got more serious and I went in and out of the bathroom thinking, oh yeah, this is what this is like... I'd forgotten how not enjoyable all of this is... and I think that was when I told my husband he could go hang out in the hall. There was a labor ball there which I've never used before and I sat on it and bounced and it was just what I wanted, for a little while anyway.

My friend Bruria walked in and her husband was there, with a Meuhedet bag containing a bottle of soda water and pretzels. I remember his oh-so-guy "Want a pretzel?" to Mr. Bigfoot and then the nurse shooing them elsewhere and one of them saying, "You're really supposed to make your after bracha where you eat" and me saying "JUST GO!"

Bruria was rubbing my back and the contractions got hard and fast and I stood up and leaned on the bed but wasn't ready to start pushing. Bruria thought I was and I said no I'm not and then I guess I screamed--okay, I screamed--and they told me to get up on the bed so they could see what was going on.

And the rest of it, well... what is there to say? It hurt. A lot. I screamed. A lot. Natural labor, especially when it is back labor, is not fun. And I had really hoped for another magic easy labor and it was not happening. I had felt that the baby was so low and the ultrasound I'd had earlier had shown him really low but by the actual labor he had turned the wrong way. At one point I dimly realized that there was more than one doctor and more than two midwives and an ultrasound machine had materialized and someone said, "we need to turn him" and people were saying move this way, get on your side, get on all fours, DON'T PUSH DON'T PUSH which, truly, is almost impossible when you're at that point because pushing against the contractions is the only thing you can do, and a woman said "היא לא יכולה" then PUSH NOW and I kept thinking it was almost over but it took such a long time... there was one doctor who kept yelling at me through every contraction, "חזק חזק חזק עוד עוד עוד" (strong! strong! strong! more! more! more!) in this urgent way that made me keep thinking that this was the last push and the baby was almost out and yet he wasn't even close and I drank some water through a straw and screamed some more and pushed and eventually Bruria screamed "there he is! I love this part" and I thought "WHAT?!" and it was over and I had a baby boy. And I may as well be honest that as every other time, except maybe with Marika, I was even gladder that the labor was over than I was to have a baby on my chest.

But I'm pretty happy about him now.

[Coming next: Part the Third, In which I Discover that I Have Sent My Husband Home Prematurely.]


Cyndy said...

Ah, another cliffhanger. The little guy is incredibly cute.

Anonymous said...

Oooohhhhh what a story! Action! Emotion! Yelling!

And a happy ending! At least to this chapter: looking forward to the next one :)

~ Jasmin

Deborah said...

And there I was, just today, feeling sorry for myself that I never, you know, actually _had_ a baby.

What a doo-dah I am!