Writing happens a lot less frequently when there's a newborn to take care of! But here, at long last, is the birth episode. I have a couple more planned, so don't say goodbye to Kate Miller quite yet!
47. And the two shall become...three! (Sept 4, 2013)
By the time they reached the hospital, Kate’s contractions were coming quickly, every five minutes or less. She practiced her breathing exercises, focusing on breathing in and out, directing her thoughts away from the vice grip on her back that tightened with every contraction.
They took her into a room with another girl in curtained off section, gave her a moment to change into a hospital gown, and then asked for her information. Kate felt rushed and awkward, having to pause in the middle of giving her phone or social security numbers to lean over the on the bed and breath deeply whenever a contraction would come. Well, I’m glad they’re not going to have to induce labor! she thought to herself with only a small pittance of relief. Relief right now would look more like sleeping on her stomach for about a year.
After moving to her own room, the doctor measured her and pronounced that she was at 2 centimeters. Kate was alarmed. That’s IT?! she thought, aghast, after laboring all day I’m only at 2? Her eyes widened with worry as she realized she was only 20 percent of the way to delivery. Two hours later, the contractions were rolling one after another, like waves hitting her back on each side in an ever tightening vice grip. After being measured again (this time at 4cm), she took Mister’s hand. He was tired and distressed, seeing Kate hurting and not being able to help. Beforehand, they had talked about trying to avoid medication--especially an epidural, considering Kate’s extreme antipathy toward needles. But with each contraction, Kate felt that with one more, she must either vomit or faint. So after a moment of talking, they decided to change their plans and get the epidural. Needles were the least of Kate’s worries at the moment, and considering how much longer the labor was bound to last, getting some rest through the night would be essential for their general sanity.
In a matter of minutes, the anesthesiologist came and hooked Kate up to the medication. The pain ebbed away to a warm numbness. Not completely numb, as Kate had expected. She could still feel pressure, and the muscles contracting, but the pain was gone, and she could relax. What’s more, Mister, who she now noticed was looking haggard, could stop worrying and get some rest. It was almost surreal how relaxed she was. But she didn’t have a choice. Her legs felt too heavy to move--she could only barely slide them up and down in the bed. She couldn’t lift herself up or roll over. So, she lay in bed, relished her lack of pain, and read her book: The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, which Mister had recommended to her. She didn’t usually read books of that sort, but she appreciated its unique style, and Dillard’s experiences inspired her to write with more purpose and dedication.
She read. She looked around the shadowy room, considering the subtleties of colors in dim lighting. She watched Mister sleeping in the reclining chair by her bed. And she slept herself, but fitfully, interrupted every fifteen minutes by the squeezing and beeping of a blood pressure cuff digging into her left arm. The nurse was always and ever kind, helpful, and prompt. She tried, but failed, to mute the blood pressure machine. She had two boys of her own, one just starting high school. Kate sighed at the passing of time. Her own son was only hours away from starting his life in the world and she knew that it would seem but a breath’s worth of time before he would be in high school himself.At ten o’ clock the next morning, Theodore James Miller was born. He came out quiet, and nestled snugly on Kate’s chest for a few quiet minutes, but proved that he had a more than adequate voice when the doctor took him for poking and prodding. He had a full head of dark silky hair, and the most adorable little button nose. Mister was by her side the whole time. When the doctor handed Theo to him, his eyes glowed with pride and joy. He and Kate shared a long look and remembered the wonder of the ultrasound many months before. “We have a son.” Kate said again with a smile, and added with a small laugh at the wonder of it, “We’re three of us now!”