Upon waking for another round of fetal monitoring around 5 or 6 AM, my husband began reading to me from Eleven On Top, the latest comedy-crime novel by one of my favorite authors. He had purchased the book, per my suggestion, as a little token of his appreciation for the work I’d be doing on our daughter’s inaugural birthday. That day dawned slow and hopeful as the hospital, too, came awake, carrying a chorus of nurse’s voices, along with the smell of slightly burnt bread in the toaster.

Exploiting all available forms of media, we took a break from the book to listen to a CD of Lewis Black’s comedy and flip through the television channels as we waited for the arrival of the midwife-on-call. The TV beamed over photos of a second round of bomb attempts, this time undetonated, that were wreaking confusion all over London. All around us, the world turned, but my husband and I watched each other awkwardly in a sterile pink room that stood still.

The fetal monitor, to which they hooked me up once per hour, indicated a low heart rate, but that didn’t come as a surprise. A week earlier, I had been sent by my midwife to the hospital for a non-stress test that showed the same thing. The midwife on duty that day was not concerned, saying that the baby must just have a low baseline by nature. Nobody seemed too concerned now, either; or, if they were, they weren’t letting on. So we waited, and the mood was early-morning quiet and anxiously reserved.

The midwife’s first order of business when she arrived around 8 AM was to approve breakfast. My little feast arrived in the form of gelatinous egg and cheese on a croissant. Chris took out the video camera and recorded for posterity my ruminations on whether or not the greasy slab would actually stay down when the contractions came on. I had every hope for an unmedicated birth, but the reality of the pain and each twisted turn of events was only naïve speculation at that point.

Our “birth plan,” was shot to hell almost the moment the midwife walked in and saw the results of the fetal monitoring for the first time. “This heart rate really has me worried,” she said as she rocked slowly and contemplatively in the wooden chair across from my hospital bed, watching the low line creep across the computer screen. “I think we’re going to have to put you on an IV and give you some oxygen. We’ll see if that helps the baby out. We’re going to have to keep you on the monitor from now on. You’d better put on a hospital gown.”

I looked down at my comfortable black nightgown and mentally crossed “No IV” and “Intermittent fetal monitoring only” off my birth plan. My husband asked if I could just drink a lot of water instead of receiving fluids through the IV, but that, apparently, was not an option. A cumbersome clip was attached to my finger to record my own heart rate as the IV went in and the plastic-y smelling oxygen mask went over my nose and mouth. This, I thought, sucks. The midwife’s internal exam put me at 2 centimeters’ dilation, which is roughly where I had been for the past couple of weeks.


Blogger Whirlwind said...

No fair, you got food! I took me 45 hours with Jules before I could get food. Matt also spoiled me with new books (and himself with a gameboy) to help with the wait.

7:47 PM  

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