The day my identity changed

The next morning we arrived at the hospital on time.  We were told they didn’t have any beds available.  They said it may be afternoon before they had a bed for me.  We went and ate at Denny’s then went back and waited in the waiting room at the hospital.  We waited in the waiting room all day.  We slept.  The room was cold.  A nurse came and told me at 1600 hours, a room was ready for me.  She started my IV; she told me I could have an epidural immediately if I wanted.  I was still dilated to a four.  I told her I wanted to experience some of my labor, I wanted to wait.  She hung the bag of Pitocin on my IV pole, and hooked it up.  She told me I could only have ice chips and small sips of water.  The contractions were very mild.  I thought “If this is the worst it gets, I can do this without an epidural.” The contractions gradually became more painful.  They were intense. I cried a lot.  Mitchell cried because he didn’t like seeing me in pain.  I was agitated that he was upset.  He wasn’t experiencing the physical pain that I was.  I said many times that I never wanted to do this again.  Mitchell tried to comfort me; he told me we didn’t have to have any more children.

Deedee was beside me the whole time.  She was watching the contractions climb the computer screen and then decelerate.  At midnight I asked for the epidural.  The anesthesiologist got the epidural placed with no issues.  The epidural worked great.  The nurse placed a Foley catheter.  Half an hour later I started feeling painful contractions again.  I called the nurse and told her I was hurting.  The nurse and the anesthesiologist came in.  I told the nurse I needed to urinate; she told me I had a catheter and didn’t need to.  The anesthesiologist put a shot in my epidural line that knocked me out immediately.  He woke me asking if I felt a strong contraction I just had.  I didn’t feel anything.  The next 5 hours I slept.  The nurse came in and checked for cervix progression every hour.  I slept through some of the times she checked my cervix.  I told her I still needed to urinate a couple times.  She reminded me I was catheterized.

The last time she came into check me, the time was nearing 5:00 AM.  She said “You are at a 10, it is time to push.” I told her I was sleeping and we could do it later.  I believe she turned down my epidural.  She turned on the lights in the room.  The spotlight above my bed was blinding.  I began to feel incredible pressure in my pelvic region.  I said “You are right, it’s time to push.” I pushed and pushed forever.  Mitchell, Deedee, and the nurse kept saying I was doing amazing.  I was tired.  I was discouraged.  My body felt like it was having a bowel movement the size of a tree trunk.

The nurse said she could see Hope’s head crowning.  I asked for a mirror so I could see.  She told me they had no mirrors.  The nurse grabbed my hand and placed it on top of Hope’s head.  I was shocked.  I said “There’s really a baby in there!” My aunt Deedee laughed.  I had a renewed strength.  I was ready to see my baby girl’s face.

The doctor came in the room.  She told me to push.  I pushed as hard as I could.  At 0551 hours 10/26/2006 Hope Alyssa Bryley Smith was born.  She wasn’t crying.  I asked why she wasn’t crying.  The doctor said “She had a bowel movement on the way out of the birth canal, I’m suctioning her out.  I don’t want her to cry yet she does not need to aspirate the feces” 30 seconds later Hope let out a loud scream, and started crying.  I was so relieved.  The doctor clamped the umbilical cord and handed Mitchell a pair of scissors.  I could see how proud he was as he cut the cord.

The nurse took Hope over to the bassinet to clean her up.  They were rubbing her with receiving blankets to remove the vernix and blood from her skin.  They had a tube down her throat to suction her out better.  I could hear her crying but, I couldn’t see her.  Mitchell and Deedee were over beside the bassinet with her.  The doctor was stitching me up.  Mitchell walked over to my left side and said “There’s something wrong with her leg.” My aunt asked my doctor what was wrong with her leg.  My doctor said “It looks like a club foot, you need to have it checked out when you get to Colorado.”.  She was here and alive.  We were in heaven.  They only printed her left foot.  A nurse brought her to me.  I held her against my chest.  The feeling I had was indescribable.  I asked for a bottle to feed her.  As I fed her, I studied her.  Her eyes were a deep blue, like sapphires.  Her hair was strawberry blonde.  She definitely had my mother’s nose.  She was tiny in my arms,  wrapped up tightly in a receiving blanket.  I couldn’t see her foot.  All 7 pounds and 21 ½ inches of her was perfect.  She was mine.  I felt amazed that I helped create something so beautiful.  She was half me and half of the man I loved more than anything.  Mitchell held her for a little while, a smile, permanently on his face.  He was so in love with her.  He was so proud.  Deedee was taking photo after photo.  Then it was Deedee’s turn to hold her.  Deedee was breathless.  She said numerous times how beautiful she was.

The nurse removed the catheter.  I asked to go to the bathroom.  The nurse seemed annoyed with my question.  She brought me a bedpan.  I felt like she was rushing me.  She kept asking if I was done yet.  The catheter had been placed incorrectly; I filled the bed pan to top.

The nurse told me she needed to take Hope for a couple of hours.  She said they were going to do newborn screenings, and give her bath, and then she would bring her back to us.  Deedee said she was going to go to my house to shower and get some rest.  Mitchell and I fell asleep.  A chaplain came into the room at about noon.  He woke me up.  He was kind.  He gave me a card, congratulated me, and told me if we needed him he would be available.  Hope still was not back in the room.  I tried waking Mitchell several times.  I needed help to the restroom.  The nurse told me before they left with Hope not to try and walk by myself.  I couldn’t get Mitchell awake.  I called and asked for a nurse to come help me.  She stood close but I was able to walk my own.  The nurse left the room.  I decided I would go to the nursery to find Hope.  I put a robe on and walked down the hallway toward the nursery.  A nurse stopped me and said they had a different room for me.  I walked beside her back to my room.  I woke up Mitchell.  He and I gathered our things and put them on a cart with wheels.  He pushed the cart.  The nurse pushed me in a wheelchair.

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