Fifteen years ago, St. Patrick's Day was a on a cloudy Friday. The night before, Dan was working out of town. I was home watching ER, and I called him after the show to tell him, sort of jokingly, that I was having contractions. I was really having contractions, but I really did not think they were anything serious. They were really light, and close together, and not at all bothersome. And besides the baby wasn't due until March 25, and I was positive I would never deliver before the 20th. I was planning on about the 29th. I had been to the doctor the day before and came back with a report that everything was still sealed up tight. No indications whatsoever of labor being imminent. So we joked around about him missing the birth, and I told him to hurry up and get home the next day.
The rest of the that night was uneventful. Friday morning, as was St. Patrick's Day tradition, we had green cream of wheat for breakfast. Mitch and Alisa went off to school, and Duncan, Will and I puttered around the house for most of the morning. I remembered laying down on the couch in the living room and timing those pesky contractions, which had stayed steady all night, but hadn't changed or increased at all. And they weren't bothering me, other than playing games with my head.
Around noon, I gave up trying to get anything done, and took the boys to the McDonalds in Smithfield. They played in the play area and I ate their happy meals. On the way home, we stopped at an arts and crafts store. I had seen a show on TV where this super artistic mom and taken a plaster cast of her big pregnant belly and then painted it and hung it on her wall. I thought it was so cool, and I was determined to make my own plaster cast of my big pregnant belly. Crazy, right? I guess my hormones were raging. I was also feeling bittersweet about the whole pregnancy thing because I was sure this was my last pregnancy. I guess I wanted to preserve the moment or something. Anyhow, thank heavens I did not buy any plaster of paris. I can just picture what might have happened if I had been home alone with four kids and a middle full of drying plaster when I went into full blown labor.
By the time we got home, Mitch and Alisa were home from school. I was in the kitchen doing something in the fridge when Dan called to tell me he would be home in a few hours. I told him I was fine, but still having contractions, and I was starting to wonder if this might be it. He told me he would hurry and not to let anything happen. As if I had any control over the situation.
Over the next few hours, the contractions slowly got a little stronger and a little more regular. I called my mom and told her maybe she should come up tonight, just in case something happened in the night.I told her no hurry, Dan was coming, and there wasn't much going on anyway. I called my the doula I had hired to help me through labor and told her I was having a few contractions, but nothing painful. She said I was probably in the early stages of labor, and she would be on call for as soon as I was ready to have her come. The hospital was a five minute walk away (yes, I was going to walk to the hospital. I figured it would be good for my labor.) I was not at all concerned about being at home alone and in labor with four kids for company. I really really felt like the baby would not be coming until the next day. Alisa had a moms and daughters primary activity in the morning and I remember thinking maybe I could still make it to the activity, which was at the church right next door to the hospital, and then head on over to labor and delivery after the activity.
Dan got home before my mom got there. We didn't know it at the time but she was stuck in a terrible traffic jam. By the time Dan got home, I was finally sure I was having real contractions. We packed a bag, and decided we would wait for my mom to get there, then leave for the hospital. I got in the bath to relax a little bit while we waited. Then my memories get a little blurry. I remember Dan was panicked about my mom not being there. I remember Dale Willis showing up on our porch with pizza for the kids. Dan must have called him. And I remember getting out of the tub and thinking, wow! I am all of a sudden in PAIN. I got dressed and laid down on my bed and all of a sudden, I knew that I was about to have a baby. I was not going anywhere. I was going to deliver that baby right there in the room. My mom finally showed up, the doula showed up, Dan was freaking out, and I remember saying that I just wanted to give birth RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. The doula was not really keen on delivering by herself with a hospital just around the corner, so between her and Dan they made me get out the door and into the car. I kept telling Dan I could just walk- that it would be faster than driving, but he didn't listen. After a one minute car ride, we pulled up to the emergency entrance and walked straight through to Labor and Delivery. Dan, ever the dramatist, yells out to the first nurse he sees, "MY WIFE IS HAVING A BABY!" and the nurse, says OK, and saunters slowly over to us. "NO", he yells, "SHE NEEDS TO PUSH RIGHT NOW!" I've never seen a nurse jump quicker than that one did. She grabbed a wheel chair and got me right into a delivery room, and yeah, it was time to push right then. It was about ten after eight in the evening. They got me changed and ready, and the whole time they are telling me don't push yet, the doctor is on his way, don't push yet, and I'm thinking, why are you waiting for the doctor, you are a nurse! You've seen this done before, you know what to do, and I am doing all the work anyway! I don't remember how much of that I actually said out loud, and how much I only thought. I was just so angry they were making me wait.Turns out the doctor, who was filling in for my midwife, who had told me at my last appointment that the ONLY day she would not be around was on the 17th, was out in his field taking care of his cows. Only in Cache Valley, right?
It seems like it took him forever, but in retrospect, I'm glad he didn't come in smelling like manure. He must have walked in about 8:30, sat down at the bedside, and caught Audrey on her way into the world at 8:36 p.m. weighing in at 8 lbs. 13 oz. And it really was that fast. No IV, no monitors, no drugs, no dilation updates, and almost no doctor. It was the perfect delivery. Well, nearly perfect. I still wish I just would have had her at home. The worst part of the whole night was getting into the car to get to the hospital.
About an hour after she was born, my mom brought the whole crew right into the delivery room to meet their baby sister. Alisa was absolutely beside herself to finally have a sister. Will was oblivious to the baby and just wanted to sit on the bed with me. Duncan thought she was pretty cool, and even Mitch was impressed with how cute and little she was. Dan and I were both flying high. I was deliriously happy for weeks after, amazed at how easy her birth had been, and how perfect she was. We had picked out the name Audrey months before, before we even knew she was a girl. Then, the week that she was born, one of the cable channels was hosting Audrey Hepburn week, and playing nonstop Audrey Hepburn movies, and to us it was a sign that we had the perfect name for our perfect baby girl. Even though that dumb doctor kept telling me to name her Patricia.
She is SUCH an Audrey, and I am so blessed to call her mine.