Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22, 2001.

My back had been killing me all day.

I was ten days overdue, and quite over the whole pregnancy thing.  Quite over it, indeed. Her original due date had been May 13th, which was also her paternal grandmother's birthday.

The ex-hub (at that point, simply 'the boy') had made plans to go to Toronto that day to see his bio-mom and step-dad who were visiting from way way up north, and whom we only saw occasionally, being that they lived 20 hours away, and we didn't drive.

She handily thwarted those plans.

The pain in my lower back gradually increased over the course of the day.  I had chalked it up to the baby having dropped.  By 2 am the pain was excruciating, keeping me awake and in a state of discomfort and by 3 am the pain was coming in waves.

Oh, God.  In waves.  Being my first pregnancy, I didn't catch on right away but when I thought back to a concept I had heard of called 'back labor', I realized what was happening, and I started to cry.  This woke the boy who asked me what was wrong.

"I'm sorry hun.  I don't think you can go to Toronto today."

8ish months earlier I had been experiencing pain in my legs.  8 hour days at work left me in debilitating pain at the end of the day.  This worried me, given my history with circulation problems.  After a particularly bad night, in tears from the pain, I decided to go to the ER.  It was the boy who had suggested the possibility to which I had promptly pfffffted and shook my head. 

"I'm only, like, a week late."
"Uhm... no.  You're like, three weeks late.  Believe me, I keep track."

At least one of us was paying attention.  Anyway.
At the hospital, when they took my INR,  we requested a pregnancy test.  When the doctor came in, he asked the boy if he was the father-to-be.  We looked at each other, shrugged and said "That, depends, what are you saying?"
Emerging from assessment room, we found that about four of our friends (all guys), plus the boy's nephew who was staying with us, were in the waiting room, waiting for us to come out with the results.  I can only imagine what we must have looked like to the others in the waiting room - a Maury Povich episode waiting to happen. 
Labor was a piece of cake.
Or so I thought.  
It really is like bad menstrual cramps, I thought.  My grandmother and her boyfriend had driven us to the hospital, and notified my parents who had already headed to work.
Every 15 to 20 minutes, my stomach would tighten, and I'd ooh and owww, all the while thinking what's the big deal?  This isn't THAT bad.  The contractions, however, slowed to a halt around. 6:30 am.  Rather than send us home, the doctors decided to induce labor, seeing as I was already way overdue.
Jesus Christ on a cracker.  Whole new ballgame.
My abdomen was being put in a vice and twisted to oblivion, seeming to last 20 minutes each time, with only about 30 seconds rest between contractions.  The boy, in an attempt to be helpful, tried rubbing my back with a tennis ball.  I promptly took it from him and whipped it across the room.
"Please.  Don't Do That."  

He ceased trying to help and decided that the best way to support me would be to just stay the hell out of my way.  This was probably the best course of action.

It may have been around noon that the doctors came in and told me I was only 2cm dilated.  They broke my water, and hooked me up to a fetal monitor.  After an hour, the doctor, looking grave came in and told us that the baby's heart rate was dropping, they'd need to perform an emergency C-section.

My response was a resounding "Holy shit, yes, can we do this now please?  No, I mean really.  Like now.  Open me up and get this kid out, already.  General Anesthesia?  Yes please!"  

As they were prepping me for the surgery, the contractions continued annoying me to no end since at this point it was basically pain-for-no-reason, not accomplishing anything.  I badgered the nurses, my OB, and the anesthetist who also happened to be my family doctor, asking when they were going to go ahead and knock me out because holy hell this shit HURT.  A LOT.

They eventually rolled me into the OR and ran the IV line with the drugs that would knock me out.  It's odd, you know... between being put out and coming to, it always seems like no time passes at all.  I woke feeling strange.  My stomach was flat-ish and my throat was sore.  The boy was at my bed, telling me we had a baby girl.  

"A girl? Neat." I said groggily.  My throat was scratchy from being intubated. "I want a popsicle.  please."

We named her Tierney, a Gaelic name I had fallen in love with 6 years earlier when my nephew was born.  It means 'Noble'.  She was given the middle names Catherine, for my mother, and Melissa, for her godmother and my best friend at the time.
Today she is ten.  She's smart and yet innocent, sensitive and yet full of humour, kind-hearted and beautiful.  Ten years ago, she changed me, in that she made me a mother and gave me a new perspective.
Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

May 22, 2001


  1. Wow, that is amazing!
    You have a beautiful daughter Andie! Happy day to you both!

  2. what a story

    she's stunning. Those eyes look like my kids'. Happy Birthday to your beautiful little girl.

  3. That is absolutely the best labor story I've ever heard. I've heard the "it's magivally beautiful" that glosses over the pain, and the "OMFG IT'S LIKE DEATH!! NEVER DO IT!" ignoring that at least you got a kid out of it.

    This was the most truthful and perfect version I've ever heard, and what a beautiful way to say "happy birthday" to your lovely daughter.~

  4. Having been witness to and in the OR for two preemie emergency c-sections, well, this story hit me. Congrats and happy birthday!

  5. A beautiful baby turned into a beautiful girl.

    Happy birthday, Tierney -- and Andie.


    Great post.


  6. Aw, this brought tears to my eyes. I hope she had a great birthday!

    And now you've made me want to share my labor story, haha. Maybe on JUNE 22, my girl's day :)

    Thanks for sharing this.


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