Jack's Birth Story, Part Two: The Birth Center

Yesterday I finally started sharing Jack's birth story.  It's a long story, so I decided to break it up into parts.  I'm not sure how many chapters there will be.  I hope you stick around to hear the whole thing.  Read part one here.

I'm a mummy.....get it???

I remember sitting in the passenger seat of Den's car watching the city fly by as we drove to the birth center. We didn't say much to each other; I think we were both nervous, but were trying to put on brave faces.  My mind was both blank and racing at the same time.  I kept thinking, "....lungs, are the baby's lungs ready?  Please not the hospital.  Lungs....no hospital, please no hospital, please healthy lungs..."  My panic and anxiety had lessened, but I felt numb.  I felt like I was sitting still and the world was racing past me.

We arrived at the birth center.  I remember being nervous, but trying to put on a calm everything's okay face for the world.  I didn't want to freak out any other expecting moms in the waiting room.  The receptionist checked me in and I sat down and waited to be called back.  One of the midwives came and got me.  She asked me what had happened and I told her about my morning.  I tried to tell her all the details, but my brain was foggy.  I was still trying to keep it together so I don't know if what I was telling her seemed calm and rational or just paranoid nervousness, but she seemed nonchalant and flippant.  Maybe that was her way of trying to keep me calm.  I remember a little voice in my head wondering why she wasn't showing more concern and compassion.

The midwife examined me.  Almost immediately she said, "Yup, your water broke."  She felt my belly, "And you're having contractions.  Do you feel that?"  I wasn't feeling anything.  "No, I don't feel anything."  She tried not to roll her eyes and sigh.  "Give me your hand."  She puts my hand on my belly, "Feel that?  How your stomach is getting hard?"  I still didn't feel anything, "I think so?"  I was in a whirlwind.  She confirmed my water break so quickly I was still processing it.  The pit of dread in my stomach had dropped.  I was speechless and my mind was racing.  I couldn't believe I was having contractions.  Everything was happening too fast.  The only thing I could manage to say was, "Fire up the hot tub?"

The midwife gave me a blank stare.  I think she thought I was an idiot.  I knew I was too early to deliver at the birth center, but I still didn't know what, if any, options were open to me.  My mind was racing, trying to remember anything and everything I had read about PPROM.  I had questions and worries and was still holding on to the hope that something could be done so I could delay labor long enough to be admitted to the birth center.  In my mind I was grasping at straws to keep me out of the dreaded hospital.  Things were happening too fast and I couldn't find the words to say anything.  The midwife said (almost sarcastically), "I hate to break it to you, but you're not delivering here.  What hospital do you want to go to?"

What hospital did I want to go to???  Why would I have a hospital when I was seeing a midwife?  Wasn't the whole reason for a midwife was to keep me out of a hospital?  I chose a birth center so I wouldn't have to think about a hospital.  I immediately felt like I was being given a pop quiz on a topic I had never been schooled on.  I felt like a failure.  I felt unprepared.  I felt panicked.  It had only been about 30 seconds since she told me my water broke, but it felt like a lifetime ago.  I couldn't hold onto a clear thought and I didn't know how to answer.  I was desperately trying to form a coherent sentence; to give her an acceptable answer.  All I managed was, "Somewhere with midwives?  I know some hospitals have midwives."

She was getting frustrated with me.  I don't know why she was getting frustrated, but she was.  I guess I was failing her pop quiz.  Oh, gee, I'm sorry.  I broke my water just to ruin your day.  I had no time to process any of the things she was saying to me and she wanted me to give her the name of a hospital, off the top of my head, out of the dozens of places in Houston to have a baby?!?  As a midwife, as a medical professional, shouldn't she know a place for me to go? She threw out the names of some hospitals.  I tried to remember where my fertility doctor had privileges.  He was my friend.  Maybe he could at least be there so I would have a familiar face there.  I was dumbfounded and couldn't answer her.  She sighed and said, "I'll be right back."

When she walked out of the room, the full weight of what was happening hit me like a freight train and I burst into tears.  More than anything I did not want to have this baby at a hospital.  I knew the baby was fine, I don't know how I knew it, but I did, so I couldn't comprehend why I had to go to the hospital (logically I understood, but there was part of me that knew we would be fine if we delivered at the center).  I was scared.  I was angry.  I was just plain freaked out.  And there was nothing I could do about any of it.  I had so many questions, but no words to ask them.

The midwife spend almost two hours on the phone calling different hospitals.  She started with ones that had practicing midwives, but none of them would take me because they considered me too high risk.  She couldn't reach any doctors directly and kept getting the runaround from receptionists that didn't actually know anything and couldn't accept me as a patient.  The midwife may have been callous, rude, and unkind to me, but she really did everything she could to find me an appropriate doctor and hospital to transfer to.  I spent the entire two hours crying uncontrollably.  She spent the two hours on the phone and avoiding answering the questions Dennis had for her that I couldn't manage to articulate.  Finally she found a doctor willing to accept me as a patient.  It amazes me that doctors and hospitals were actually refusing to accept me as a patient since I didn't receive any prior prenatal care from them.  If I had just shown up at their doorstep they couldn't have refused me, but since I wasn't actually there, they told me not to show up.

She came back into the exam room and told me which hospital to go to.  She told me under no circumstances was I to let them check my cervix for dilation since I was at high risk of developing an infection in my uterus since my amniotic sac had ruptured.  She told me to stick to my guns about having a natural birth and to try to refuse as many unnecessary interventions as possible.  She told me to hurry, but to stop for food first since the hospital wouldn't allow me to eat.  She had a sense of urgency in her voice (not because I think she was concerned about me but because I think she finally wanted us out of her hair).  We thanked her for finding a hospital and left.

And just like that we were headed to the effing hospital.

I'll be back tomorrow with more of Jack's story.  I warned you this would be long......

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