I was waking up in the hospital after a fitful night's sleep, in labor with my oldest son. I was enjoying the last epidural I would ever have while in labor, clueless to the fact that it would no longer be working by afternoon. It was bright and sunny outside, and my mom was entertaining Dacey, my oldest. Mike, my then-husband, was there, trying to keep me amused while I was working.
Connor was my only child to display his future shyness by way of ultrasound. While all of his siblings were little exabitionists at the 20 week ultrasound, he managed the same feats of activity while keeping at least one hand covering himself, with his little legs crossed tight. At the very end of the ultrasound, the tech declared that she'd take one last look to attempt to determine gender. Connor removed his little hand, uncrossed his legs, and gave us a very brief look, before recrossing his legs. We came so close to having to wait to find out that I was carrying a boy.
By early afternoon, my painless birth started to become uncomfortable. It was at that time that I found out that there was only a single anesthesiologist in that in town hospital. That, coupled with the fact that a float* had returned around 9-10 months earlier meant that the hospital on base and the one that we were at in town were experiencing a baby boom of sorts. There were a lot of women asking/begging for the anesthesiologist to give them their epidurals, as well as other things going on in the hospital.
My mom and Dacey came into see us at about 2:00. I regretfully had to tell my mom that there wasn't a lot of change since I'd spoken with her last. I did get to tell her that I had a new nurse, who was from Anamosa, a town about 15 minutes from where I grew up. We chatted a bit, and mom decided that she would take Dacey across the street to the mall and walk around a bit, and get her hair trimmed. We said our goodbyes, and resumed waiting for that epidural that never came.
After mom and Dacey left, things started moving fast and furious. My bag of water finally broke. Within minutes of the nurse confirming that it had, I was screaming at poor Mike to get her back, I NEEDED to be checked again. She came in, and as I clung to the bed rails like a drowning rat, we argued. She said that since my water broke, she couldn't just check me, and I had finally made it to a 5 when she had checked. We bickered back and forth, and finally, I convinced her to just look, but not to touch.
What happened next was like a bad comedy. She lifted my left leg, promptly put it down, ran to the door, and called for help, an isolette, and for someone to call the OB's office again, the baby was crowning. She came back, I rolled onto my back, and at 2:46 despite my doing everything in my power to keep him in, Connor entered this world screaming like a banshee, delivered by my fellow Iowa native nurse. The OB made it a few minutes later.
My mom and Dacey returned shortly after 3:00. Connor was in the nursery being cleaned up and taken care of while I was moved to a new room. I will never forget my mom, the registered nurse who at one time worked in labor and delivery, asking if I had made any progress. I looked her dead in the face and said sid something along the lines of "Do I not look like hammered shit? Connor's in the nursery:". We chatted a bit more, then my mom and Dacey were led away to go see Connor.
Here I am, 17 years after the fact. Birthdays are just another day when they are my own, but these past few birthdays of Dacey and Connor make me feel old.
*I was married to a Marine. A float was when Marines were deployed with the Navy on one of their ships. Mike hadn't been on one; Connor just happened to be conceived at the same time as a lot of other babies were, upon homecoming of a parent.