Twenty-four years and a few hours ago, I was in crazy pain. I was twenty years old and at that very moment, I had the harsh realization that maybe I didn't know quite everything. Harsh. Very harsh.
Sometime the night before, I was awakened in the night to these sudden and sharp pains in the small of my back, pausing just a moment, and then searing up my spine. I thought I was going to die. Then, my water broke and the only thing that came to mind was a big "Uh oh..."
At the time, I lived in a house on the hill in a fairly wealthy section of Lake Placid. The only way this was affordable was to have five of my nearest and dearest move in with me. It was a four bedroom and I shared a room with Chef's father. It was downstairs and had an attached full bath. Kathy had the other downstairs bedroom, also with an attached bath. Upstairs was Kim in her own bedroom and Danny and Val, sharing the fourth bedroom. Both upstairs bedrooms shared a bath, and each were equipped with two twin beds. The place had oil heat, but we mostly relied on the woodstove downstairs in the living room, and since we were all coming and going at various odd hours, it was pretty easy to keep it going most of the time.
Kim was my best friend and we had fully discussed her taking me to the hospital when it was time. It was very naive of us to presume that "time" would be convenient to our schedules, and that making the 15 mile ride to the hospital wouldn't be that big a deal. We hadn't considered that it might be the middle of the night. Or that I would be in excruciating pain. Or that it would be one of the worst snow and ice storms we had ever known. Or that Kathy would be the only person home at the time and
not the person I wanted in attendance.
I think it took us well over an hour to get to the hospital, and it was a miracle we didn't freeze to death in a ditch on the side of the road. As bad as the pain was, I couldn't fathom giving birth in the back seat of the car, and home delivery was in no way an option.
My OB doc, Dr. V, was a pleasant older man. He was nearing retirement and had a new young partner. A very handsome and sexy new young partner, Dr. M. I made it my entire treatment schedule managing to see only the aging Dr. V. and having done nothing more than shake hands at the initial meeting with Dr. M. You know who was on call that night. Damn.
Had I taken child birth classes? Umm, no. Had I read up on the process? Nope. I was 20 and figured anything I needed to know would be explained along the way. I didn't ask a single question. I had no idea that an epidural might leave me paralyzed. But when that answer to my excruciating pain was offered up very matter-of-factly, I signed the consent form and held very still for that long thick needle to be inserted into my spine.
And then, the next thing I knew, from about my boobies down, I. Felt. Nothing. Not a thing. It was as if my body just stopped at my boobies. My contractions were still charging away as evidenced by the monitor, but I didn't feel a damn thing. I was liking it.
Since that illustrious time in my life, I have learned a wee bit more. I know, for example, it is quite ordinary to have an epidural and still be able to push. Mine was administered a tad too high. No pushing for me. All of a sudden it was time and my thighs and knees were right there on the table along side my shoulders and upper arms. This struck me as terribly funny. I was laughing uncontrollably at the sight of it all and it still gives me a chuckle today.
Delivery was a breeze and suddenly there was a baby on me. Kathy had to hold him there because I still could feel nothing. The nurses took him away after a few minutes and I was cleaned up and wheeled back to my room.
The next three days were a bit of a blur because I had a nasty reaction to the epidural. "I suppose she's allergic," one nurse quitly said. I was violently ill for three days. At one point it felt as if I was vomitting with every breath I drew. And in spite of it being 94 degrees in my room and me having multiple layers of blankets, I was freezing.
In the middle of all this, round about day two, I met my almost mother and sisters-in-law. Almost. I had been dating Chef's father for more than three years, two of those years living together, and I had met his youngest sister. Turns out she was the sane one in the family. Kathy had told Chef's father how sick I was. She told him that she could take him to see his son (and maybe me, too) at any time because she took those days off. Did he show up once? No. But I was lucky enough to meet his mom and sisters under those charming circumstances. Go team.
When I went home on day six, I had plenty of help to figure the mom thing out. Mostly, I sat in the rocker in front of the fire and drank a lot of juice to try to rehydrate a little. Someone always brought home some homemade soup from the deli for the first month or so, and it slowly became apparent that I was seeing less and less of chef's father. At that point, I really didn't care.
Enough thinking about the physical pain...Happy 24th, Chef!