Ten years ago today I was sent over to the birth center straight from my obstetricians appointment. I was eight centimeters dilated, yet not in labor. My body works in strange ways. Since then, I have proved that I can sit at seven or eight centimeters dilated and not be in active labor.
I arranged for childcare and made my way over to the hospital, which was right across the street. My packed bag was already in the car. Once I was settled in, Pierre took Katie to the cafeteria and bought her a tray full of sugary distractions. I made my phone calls and told everyone I would have a Flag Day baby. My mother-in-law arrived with Emilie and Abigail and I waddled to the lounge to play with my girls before they went back home with her.
As I waited for my doctor to come, I heard a bit of a commotion in the hallway outside my door. I began to think that the doctor forgot all about me. The commotion outside continued. I thought I heard crying. It was not the cry of a newborn baby, but an adult wailing with grief.
The nurses came in and told me that they had decided to let me rest that night and not break my water. My doctor would come to see me in the morning. The woman in the room next to mine was delivering a baby who had passed away. We were the only two patients at the birthing center, and since I was not in active labor they were going to devote themselves to her and her family.
My impatience turned to gratitude.
I did not dare open my door. I wouldn't let the grieving family see me pregnant and joyful.
It became quiet in the room next door. I heard the squeal of her bed's wheels as she was brought down the hallway to the other wing, to the room reserved for grieving parents.
The nurses didn't really think I would make it through the night, but I did.
Early the next morning, I opened my door just as the other set of parents were walking out the door, empty handed.
I was a little more than eight centimeters dilated. My water was broken, but after a few hours nothing had happened. My doctor ordered Pitocin and left for lunch. In about ten minutes, I was ringing my nurse asking for an epidural. She checked me. I was ten centimeters and ready to push. I don't even think my doctor had made it out of the parking lot.
After quite some time pushing, my first son was born at 6 pounds 12 ounces. He was only 34 weeks and 5 days (I still wonder if we should have just let me sit at eight centimeters for a few days.) He was grunting a little so they called the NICU at another hospital to transport him over.
I was allowed to leave the hospital after six hours, and I went right to the NICU to be with my son. My husband and I walked out the birthing center's doors empty handed as well, but I was not sorrowful. I was on my way to see my boy. For the first three days, I only left Evan's side to sleep in a nearby room. Ten days later he came home on an apnea monitor.
Evan is a special kid. He is sweet and kind and funny. Evan is extremely prepared for everything. He keeps me on my toes. He makes sure that everything is in order, everyone has a snack packed for school, and that I have signed every paper in his schoolbag …twice. Until Evan, I had never met a kid who acts like an old man. If he had his way, he would eat waffles at every meal. He plays hard and is extremely loyal and dedicated. This boy is going to do great things.
Evan is excited to be turning "double digits" tomorrow. His day is busy with Field Day, the Hamlet cast party, and Katie's end of year gymnastics party. There will be lots of cupcakes and celebration.
Every June 14th, I remember the baby born in the room next to mine. As I am getting ready to celebrate my son, I think of the parents and wonder how they are. I will never forget the little soul who touched my life that day.