Tuesday, December 20, 2011


21 years ago today, Jillian Helene entered the world.

I had worked all day the day before. It was a crazy busy day in Special Care Nursery. I remember I had had cheesy vegetable soup for lunch. I got off work and went to my friend's house to pick up Thomas, and decided to sit and shoot the breeze for a while. And then it happened.


The pop that changed the world happened while I was sitting in her husband's favorite chair. I literally leapt into the kitchen. My friend looked at me like I was nuts and asked what the heck I was doing. I said "Ijustreallyreallyhavetogotothebathroom," and tore outta the room.

Positive towel sign. That's what we called it in OB when a patient came upstairs with a towel in between her legs. And that's exactly how I left my friend's house: with Thomas in a stroller and a towel in between my legs. Another of my friends was going to babysit Thomas for me, so I told her to meet me at the hospital and took off driving. This was in the days before cell phones, so I couldn't even call Dan, who was at work at the same hospital I was heading for.

I went up to Labor and Delivery, pushing Thomas in a stroller, towel in between my legs. Our secretary saw me standing there and asked "when the heck are you gonna have that baby" to which I responded, "probably about now, since my water broke half an hour ago." That got their attention. I got put into a room pretty quickly, got into my gown, and paged Dan to call my room. Here's the conversation:

Dan (sounding confused): "Where are you???"
Me: "Labor and Delivery."
Dan: "What the heck are you doing there?"
Me: "My water broke. You need to come up here."
Dan: "How do you know your water broke? Are you sure?"
Me: "They tested it. My water broke."
Dan: "How reliable is the test?"
::about this time, Thomas, who was 14 months old, tries to stand up in the stroller. I found myself stretching the phone across the bed to try to reach him before he tumbles onto the floor headfirst. The towel was history."
::in walks my nurse::
Me: "Would you just come up here, because I'm standing here with shit running down my legs."
::Nurse looks concerned::
Nurse: "Lisa, is it really shit?"

(Yes, we OB nurses do get worried about that, because it's a bad sign when baby poops before it's born.)

Me: "No, but he needs to get UP HERE."

He did, and we circled the city till 5am, which caused my OB to perspire. He had gotten temporary privileges to deliver me at that hospital, so he didn't have anyone to take over if I didn't deliver in a timely manner. He had an 8:30am flight the next morning, so we needed to get it rolling, but I was stuck at 5cm at 4:30am. He suggested an epidural. We told Dan that the particular anesthetist who was working was going to ask him to leave while she did it, and he was fine with that. Fine, that is, till she walked in.

Anesthetist: "I'm going to ask you to step out while I do this."
Dan: "Why? Why can't I stay?"
Anesthetist: "Because I need you to step out."
Dan: "I don't understand why I can't stay."
Anesthetist: "Because it's my personal preference."
Dan: "What about MY personal preference? Because I don't see why I need to leave my wife when she needs me...."
About this time, a voice straight from The Exorcist said "GET OUT....NOW."

Yep, that'd be me. And he left.

Ten minutes or so later, they laid me down, epidural complete. I told my nurse she'd better check me, so she did, and said nope, still 5 cm. I looked at her kinda crazy and said "you know, I think I need to push." There was another nurse in the corner, setting up instruments for the eventual delivery, and all I heard was her say "uh oh." So yep, my nurse put on gloves, checked me again, and people got a little excited.

Jill was born less than ten minutes later, at 5:09am. Only her name was Valerie. For a while. But that story has already been told. And yes, my OB made his flight.

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