As told by Julia Hollar
Most women think the day their first child is born is a moment they will never forget. When my friend, Julia, told me her funny account about her labor and delivery, I knew it would be one of my columns. I’ll back up a bit and start with the surprise proposal and wedding. Julia tells me the following:
When I tried to think of my most unforgettable moment, at first I thought it would be the day my husband took me for a surprise ride on a ferry to the lighthouse at Cape Lookout. That was when he proposed to me and gave me my engagement ring. Of course I told him, “Yes, yes, yes.”
This happened the week before we left for Vegas with my best friend and her husband. This trip had been planned for months and I was really looking forward to us having fun in “the city of sin.” Little did I know what would happen when we arrived!
My thoughtful fiancé, Cort, had arranged for us to be married in the gardens at Caesar’s Palace. Cort had taken care of everything in advance and I was clueless to the preparations going on behind the scenes. He had asked my father for my hand in marriage, purchased our wedding bands and made all the necessary arrangements.
We checked into our hotel, Cort told me what he had planned and that I needed to find a wedding dress. My best friend, Katie, and I set out to find the perfect dress and all I had to do was walk down the aisle at the appointed time. It was a gorgeous day and our ceremony was beautiful. Women who say men aren’t romantic couldn’t be more wrong and Cort proved it to me by planning our perfect wedding.
In June of 2013 I found out I was pregnant. The first few months I was terribly sick, sleepy, moody and hungry. Then I had the flu, developed problems breathing due to my asthma and everyone knew I did not enjoy being pregnant.
My swelling and contractions began at week 25 and only worsened after that. At 36 weeks the midwife checked me and I was 1 centimeter dilated and 65 percent effaced. She said, “Oh Julia, this is great for your first pregnancy. I can feel her head and I think she might even have hair.” My response was, “If you can feel her head can’t you just pull her out now?” She laughed thinking I was joking and said, “No Julia, but you are a hoot.” She told me this didn’t mean I would deliver before my due date, but that I was making progress. I left there thinking, “Crap, I still have 9 more centimeters to go!” I left and went to have highlights put in my hair. The next day I went to my asthma doctor to have my breathing checked. I didn’t pass the test, but she said I should be okay during labor. From there I went to Babies R Us. I waddled in there as fast as I could before someone else could buy the one and only item they had left that I needed.
I talked with Katie, whose car wouldn’t start. I drove to Gastonia to help her and we went to Target, Wal-Mart, a make-up store and out to eat. We then drove to Hickory to get Katie a car. She called later to see if I got home okay and I told her was having some strange pains, but we brushed it off.
As I lay in bed that night I prayed, “Dear God, I know I’m not due yet, but if this baby is strong enough and can breathe on her own, get her out of me.” I knew I was being selfish, but I was so uncomfortable, still working and having to wear bedroom shoes. I wanted this over with. I awoke at 2:30 am and thought to myself, “What is this pain. Ugh, I don’t like it!” At 3:30 I called Cort, but he was just coming in from work and went to bed. I took a bath and sat on the yoga ball. The dog was pacing the floor by this point. At 6:30 I woke Cort up and said, “We have to go to the hospital.” He got up, took a shower and it seemed like it took him forever. By this time I’m crying. I was worried I would be one of those people they send back home because I wouldn’t be dilated enough.
We arrive at the hospital and the triage nurse checked me and said in a rude voice, “You are only at 2 centimeters.” “What?! This can’t be,” I thought again! She said, “The midwife will be here in 45 minutes. Try to walk and see what happens.” I walked for 10 minutes and then I told Cort, “Forget this!! I want pain meds!” At that moment I had turned into the patient we all dread taking care of if you work in the medical field! Cort said it was too early and they were going to send us home. I said, “We are not leaving here without a baby; I don’t care what they say.” The midwife arrives and says I’m now at 5 centimeters. I responded, “When can I have something for pain?” She said, “Oh honey you could have already had something.” My level of mad went off the scale. By the time they got me upstairs to my room I was 7centimeters dilated. The nurse said, “You have to have lab work and a bag of fluid before you can have the epidural.” My response was, “I need something and I need it now!” She said, “What’s your pain level on a scale of 0 to 10?” I said, “An 11, lady!” She took one look at me and then I was given something that made me feel almost completely out of it. I heard a baby cry and asked Cort if that our baby? He said, “Uh, no that’s across the hall.”
Finally at 8 centimeters I wanted the epidural. The nurse said, “You’ve done the hard part. Do you still want it?” My look told her all she needed to know and I was given the epidural. At 10 centimeters it was time to push. I pushed for 3 hours and I heard the monitor go off. The nurse said, “I think something is wrong!” Cort’s eyes were big and I looked at him and he told me everything was okay. The monitor went off again, and Cort looked at the midwife and said, “Her lips are turning blue. Is that normal?” An oxygen mask was put on me and a doctor came into the room. She said, “Hey Julia. I’m Dr. Whitton”. She stepped out, came back in 30 seconds later in scrubs and high heels. She said, “Well you have 2 choices…. never mind.” She then pulled out forceps, which were never discussed in Lamaze! And there she was, our little Gemma! A beautiful, healthy baby girl. At the same time here comes that same nurse with Motrin and I said, “Really, really? You saw what happened. I’m going to need something better than that and you can take that back to CVS.” Then she brought me something more effective.
It’s finally time to take our baby girl home. The nurse comes into my room with a wheelchair and says, “Well, let’s get you to your car so you can go home.” I looked at her and said, “I don’t have my baby.” She looked stunned and said, “Oh, we’ll go get her.” Needless to say, I know they hope if I ever have another child I go to another hospital.
Paulette Ballard collects interesting, funny and unusual stories from people in and around Lincolnton. If you have a story you would like to submit for her column, e-mail it firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line type “For your column.” Include your name and phone number for her to contact you.