Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Would you like some cookie dough with your epidural?

(April, 2001) -- I pray that raw eggs won’t harm the baby, because Crystal and I have just put a large dent in a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, which I made in her mother's kitchen while she endured sporadic contractions. The eating of said dough either causes or coincides with stronger and more frequent contractions. It is now rush hour, and finally time to head for the hospital.

We’d been warned that hospitals are often inhospitable to adoption situations, but we find nothing of the sort. Nurses and doctors are curious about our arrangement with Crystal, and seem unfazed by the presence of Roger and me. They even give me a hospital bracelet to match Crystal’s.

The hours drag on. Roger and I had been up all night the previous night thinking of both boy and girl names. It is becoming clear that we are in for another long night.

Near midnight, a walk through the halls accelerates Crystal’s contractions. She begs for painkillers. She’s given some kind of drip, but it barely takes the edge off the pain. She can’t have an epidural until the baby is awake, which is indicated by a certain heart rate.

In her drug-induced semi-euphoria, Crystal tries everything but summersaults to get this baby to wake up. Any time the heart monitor beeps a little faster, she wildly flails around to get a nurse’s attention: “See, the kid’s awake! Gimme the epidural, ple-e-e-e-e-ase!”

Even with the painkillers in her system and contractions wracking her body, Crystal has the presence of mind to tell me, “If you want your family to be here for the birth, you’d better call them now.”

I’m dialing as she finally gets her much-desired epidural at 1:30 am.

Within 25 minutes, my parents and sister arrive at the hospital.

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(This entry. along with other posts about my daughter's coming home story, were edited and published in the May/June 2007 issue of Adoptive Families magazine.)

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