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My due date was
May 24, 2001

Isolde June was born on
May 25, 2001

The stats:
7 lb, 8 oz
21 inches long
Perfect in every single way.

May 30, 2001

May 24 was my due date. When the morning of the 24th came I was despairing that I would never, ever have this baby. It seemed like she was going to stay inside forever. I was certain that I'd end up having to be induced or something; it just didn't seem like I was going to go into labor. I was feeling frustrated and impatient and angry that here it was, my due date, and I was still pregnant.

I had an OB appointment that afternoon. She checked me out -- 2 cm dilated, 60% effaced -- and we talked about inducing. After my appointment I had several errands to do. As I was driving around town, I started noticing that I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions and that I was feeling them in my back as well as in my abdomen. Of course I started wondering if maybe I was in labor, but then I realized it was probably just the heat (110 degrees that day) making me even more uncomfortable than usual. But the contractions never got any better, even when I finally arrived home and collapsed on the couch with the air conditioning going full-blast. In fact, they were getting worse; not only was I feeling them in my back, they were actually becoming painful. I started timing them. They were coming every five minutes. I called my husband and told him to come home because we needed to go to the hospital.

He got home and we decided to wait another hour before going to the hospital, just to make sure the contractions kept coming. We were both feeling so excited by this time, smiling and joking and making sure we had everything packed. The designated hour passed and I still seemed to be in labor, so off to the hospital we went... only to be sent back home! My contractions weren't showing on the monitor, and my cervix hadn't changed at all since my OB appointment several hours earlier. Oh my God, I was so disappointed. I was sure I was in labor, but no. Early labor maybe, but actual labor no.

It was a long night. The contractions didn't stop, but kept getting more and more intense. I got maybe an hour of sleep; the pain was too great to really allow for any rest. By 6 AM Friday morning I was certain I was definitely in labor; the pains were now 3 - 5 minutes apart and hard to think through. I let my husband sleep as long as I could (I knew it was going to be a long day) and woke him at 7:00 to tell him to take his shower fast because we needed to get to the hospital. This time it was real, I was having a baby, no doubt about it.

Everything that happened between leaving for the hospital and 11:15 (when I got an epidural) is kind of blurry. I was in an extreme amount of pain. I knew it was going to hurt, of course, but I guess I didn't think it was going to hurt so much. While there was space between contractions I was doing all right, but once the contractions started coming one on top of the other I went a little primal. Anyway, here's what I remember: we got to the hospital and were put in the triage area. I was hooked up to a monitor and this time my contractions were showing up -- they were coming every 3 minutes and were very strong. I was dilated to 4 cm and was nearly 100% effaced. The only problem was that there were no open rooms for me, so I had to stay in the triage area. And being in the triage area meant I couldn't get an epidural. For 3 hours I labored on this tiny little bed behind a curtain. I seem to remember that I was making an awful lot of noise and trying to apologize for it whenever I was able to catch my breath for a second. My poor husband was starting to get a little frantic, thinking that we were never going to get a room. He did his best to convince anyone he could to just send the anesthesiologist over even if I was in triage, but it was no use -- hospital policy and all.

Finally, finally, we got our room and only a few minutes later someone stuck a catheter in my back and I was myself again. Here it gets boring. I was still in labor, and everything was progressing, but I couldn't feel it. I could see the contractions on the monitor, but all I felt was a slight pressure. By 1:30 I was nearly ready to push, but my OB was in surgery. She wanted to be there for the delivery, so she instructed the nursing staff to hold off on breaking my water or doing anything else that might make me deliver. We passed the time by calling our families and friends to let them know that Isolde was very nearly here.

My doctor came in at 3:00, gave me a quick exam, and broke my water. Time to push! Unfortunately, the baby's heart rate started decreasing as soon as my water broke. It would go down too low for a few seconds, then shoot back up. All of a sudden, there was a burst of activity in our room. More doctors and nurses starting running in, the NICU was called, and my OB started explaining that we had to get the baby out immediately because of the heart rate fluctuation -- she was going to use forceps to pull the baby out as quickly as possible. Two pushes, bam bam, and Isolde was out. She was rushed over to the corner where the NICU team was assembled. It took only a few seconds for her to make her first cry, but I felt like time had stopped during that brief moment. I was frantic, wondering what was wrong and if she was going to be OK and if I was ever going to hear her announce her arrival. Then I heard a loud, long wail from behind the wall of doctors and everything was fine again. Isolde was perfect; the heart rate fluctuation was just a fluke or something. She was 7 lb, 8 oz and 21 inches long. She got a 9 on both of her Agpars. When she was brought to me I offered her a breast and she latched right on. From the very beginning she has been bright-eyed and alert, peering around with interest at everything.

So I'm a mom now. Amazing, isn't it? I look at her little flower of a face and I just melt. I can't get enough of looking at her and touching her and smelling her. She's endlessly fascinating, even though she doesn't do much beyond eating and sleeping and crying right now. Even though she's only 5 days old, I can't imagine my life without her.


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