As Jessica left the office on Friday, I called out to her, “See you soon, but remember don’t go into labor tomorrow night!” I was joking …well, sort of.
I had tickets to see my favorite band, U2, for Saturday night. We had bought the tickets 10 months ago, well before Jessica knew her due date. The band had not played Nashville in 30 years. My husband and I were super excited about the concert. Part of the life of an OB/GYN is realizing that babies do not consult our schedules before making their appearance. They love to come on our children’s birthdays, holidays, in the middle of the night and during long awaited concerts. Sharing on-call duties with my partners allows me to attempt to have a life outside of medicine. I wasn’t on call that weekend, but I also knew that whenever Jessica delivered, I had to be there. We had been through way too much, too many sad times, to many tears for me to miss the big day.
As I was pulling into the Y to go to spin class Saturday morning, I got a text from Jessica saying that her water had broken. Great, I’m thinking, if her water is broken that gives her plenty of time to deliver before tonight.
The nurses called me an hour later to say that no her water wasn’t broken, but she was contracting. “The baby looks healthy and mom is doing great,” they reassured. I checked the time and started to get nervous. “Let’s watch her and see how it goes,” I told them. Yes, honestly at that moment I was really hoping the timing would work out, but more than that, I was thankful for the healthy baby that has been so longed-for by my dear friend.
Around noon the contractions began to pick up. I went to the hospital, filled out paper work and broke her water. She was 5 centimeters and getting really uncomfortable. I brought the “Rattle and Hum” DVD and joked that we could watch it while she’s in labor, if I miss the concert. She got her epidural and felt much better. The atmosphere in her room felt so peaceful. Everything was going perfectly. There were no blood pressure issues, worries for c-section or gestational diabetes. It was just a ‘normal labor.’ I was so relieved that the only ‘drama’ associated with this day was my silly concert.
By 2 o’clock her cervix was still 5 centimeters, so I went home (I live 5 minutes from hospital) to see my family who was visiting from out of state. At this point, I was starting to think of back up plans for the show. I called my husband’s friends to see if they could go in my place, just in case, but I couldn’t find any takers.
At 4 I got the call that she was uncomfortable and feeling pressure. “I’m on my way,” I said, grabbing my purse. A few minutes later I walked into her room. She was writhing in pain, evidently her epidural had stopped working and she was feeling a lot more labor than she had hoped. “It’s almost over,” I said, trying to soothe her. She didn’t really reply, she just gave me a look that said ‘get this baby out of me.’
She was not out of control, there was no screaming, cursing or biting (yes, I have been bitten before by out of control labor patients), but I could tell she was really hurting. The anesthetist arrived and gave her one last dose of medicine as we were getting things set up for delivery, and luckily this kicked in at just the right moment.
She began to push and quickly crowned up.
“He’s got dark hair like Hope’s!” I said. Jessica’s Husband is a red head, so there had been much conjecture as to what color the hair might be.
Jessica pushed like a champ, and a few minutes later at 4:57 pm, I laid a beautiful, healthy, screaming, squishy baby boy in her arms.
7 lbs 13oz, 20.5 inches long
Dave cried as he cut the cord. The whole room was simply happy.
The last five years have included:
1 ruptured ectopic
1 healthy baby girl
1 kidney stone
countless rounds of clomid
a zillion negative pregnancy tests
1 pregnancy book
and now, finally Joshua Kent Wolstenholm
When all was said and done, we made it to the concert right on time.
It was the most perfect day.