Monday, May 3, 2010

Side Step

For just a moment, I'd like to take a leap faaaar into the future. Today is baby S's first birthday and I've been having flashbacks to the day she was born for the last three days!

Having a baby, while a beautiful experience, is stressful in a lot of ways and when you have the huge differences in culture involved that M and I have, it can be made even more stressful. When I first told M that I was pregnant, he panicked. I am not talking about a little freak out, I am talking about major panic, household crisis.

M wanted children, yes. He knew that we were planning for children, yes. He just apparently did not realize that it could actually. . .happen. As time went on there were larger and smaller panic moments, for instance, the day we found out the baby was a girl and M silently disappeared for several hours only to return with 20 pounds of beef. Yes, I said BEEF. I still have no explanation for what happened there.

Over the course of the pregnancy, we discussed how things would go for the delivery. We knew that I would have to have a Cesarean ahead of time and I informed M that he would have to be in the delivery room. He balked and was nervous about it and many times told me that he would not do it, but I never took him seriously. The difference in birthing habits culturally is huge. I've heard friends from Pakistan talk about the mother spending the weeks leading up to and the weeks immediately after delivery with her parents and as M relates it, the man is DEFINITELY NOT expected to be in the room.

My Cesarean was scheduled for the morning of May 7, 2009 and M felt that he would be prepared. He still joked that he wasn't going in with me, but I knew that with the advance warning and preparation, he would be fine. Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3would be my last chance to get the house prepared for the baby to come. I spent all day Saturday cleaning the house and cooking byriani and haleem and spaghetti. The haleem would be done Sunday morning, the byriani was done around 5:00 and M wanted to take some to his buddies at work, and a friend who was visiting. These visits usually last for hours so I just kept checking the haleem and doing laundry, and cleaning the house.

Here I was, days before my planned birth running up and down the stairs with big boxes of laundrey and three meals cooking in the kitchen. I was feeling SO well organized! So prepared! Just after M left I noticed some signs of labor. I pushed them aside as being to minor. . .called my parents who encouraged me to call my doctor. Talked on the phone with my bestest friend who begged me to call the doctor. She told her mother, who called and scolded me for NOT calling the doctor. So, under pressure, I paged my doctor directly, she did not answer. I paged again an hour later, she did not answer. I took it as a sign, but my father, did not. By this time, a normally very mobile, active baby was not moving at all and had not for hours. He demanded that I call the on-call physician who listened apparently, to the first part of what I said and told me that there was nothing wrong and that I should wait a few hours and call back.

I called M and told him about the ruckus (downplaying a little, not wanting to cause a panic) and he told me he'd be coming home soon and not to worry. An hour later, no M. I called the hospital again and the nurse said that the doctor had told her to tell me to come in and be evaluated if I called back. . .still no M. So I called him back, 10:30pm and told him we needed to go to the hospital. . .sounding annoyed, he told me he'd be on his way home soon. . .

At 11:30 when M was not yet home I called him and absolutely tore into him no longer downplaying or being calm. It was just before midnight when we got to the hospital. There was construction all around and the normal entrances (I am a Paramedic, you'd think I could figure out how to get into the hospital. ..) were all closed. The Labor and Delivery was closed at 8:00. . the emergency room entrance blockaded by cones and "Do not cross" tape. M was mad. Mostly he couldn't see past the fact that I had yelled at him on the phone and that though he'd been up since 5 am I was dragging him to the hospital to be "checked out" for something the doctore said was "nothing." Frustrated, I stomped back to the car and called my dad. I told him that the doors were all locked, we couldn't find an entrance and that I was taking this as a sign that God did not want me there tonight. By the way, I DROVE TO AND FROM the hospital.

We got all the way home while my father berrated me for leaving the hospital. He told me that I was acting crazy and that if I did not turn around and go back he was leaving work and driving the hour to my town to MAKE me go. THIS is what convinced M that I needed to go to the hospital. . . .and so we drove back. We went to the non-emergency entrance and found construction signs saying it was now the emergency entrance. We were registered (while my water was continuously breaking) and I was forced to sit and calmly sign all the paperwork--they even asked for my $500 copay. . .

In the room, the nurse did her tests as M dozed on the daddy couch. The nurse confirmed that my water had broken and told me that the surgery would be moved to the next morning around 7am. We discussed a few questions back and forth before M looked up, oblivious and asked, "So when are we going home?"