I awoke around 2:30am to a sharp pain. I shot up in bed, not sure what to think of it. It didn’t feel the way I’d always been told labor pains would feel. After a minute, it subsided. I relaxed back into bed only to have the pain return. I shot up again, but this time I leaned over and attempted to rustle Mat, telling him I think something’s wrong. In his sleepy daze, he picked up his arm enough to pat me on the back and said, “you’ll be ok… mumble… mumble….”
I did try to return to sleep, but the pain returned. This time, Mat awoke enough that I wasn’t feeling well. We decided to call Mat’s mom and ask her about it. She suggested we take a walk; if the pain disappears, it’s just my body practicing. If it doesn’t, we need to call the ambulance. We took a short walk up and down on side of our block, with me feeling the pangs every few minutes. At the time, it didn’t occur to us that this was a sign that we should be calling the ambulance. Silly us.
The pain started to subside as we returned to the apartment. Once we got upstairs, we decided to sit up for a little while just to make sure the pain was gone. Mat went to get us glasses of water, and I headed over to the exercise ball to sit and relax. Mat came over, placed our waters on the table and sat on the couch. However, the moment he reached over to pick up the remote for the television, my water broke!
We both went into hysterics, trying to figure out what we needed to do. Mat rushed for a towel and the overnight bag for the hospital. From the bag he plucked the German phrases list we needed for communicating with the hospital and the EMS. He dialed the ambulance, only to be greeted by someone who said he didn’t speak any English. Mat was able to tell him I was pregnant, but we were having a terrible time finding anything that said “labor” in the German phrases list. After what seemed like an eternity in frustration, Mat blurted out, “Baby kommt jetzt!” (baby comes now!).
The ambulance was dispatched immediately.
As we waited for the ambulance, we tried to make sure we had everything we needed (which was difficult for me, as I was unable to do anything for more than a few minutes without stopping). Finally the EMTs showed up, along with a few military policemen. As I stood up to go, Mat said, “wait, just one minute,” and rushed to the back of the apartment. The MPs and I waited, staring at each other blankly. Finally, Mat returned, seemingly carrying nothing more than he had before.
We all piled into the ambulance, me in the back on a stretcher and Mat in the front passenger seat. It seemed like the longest and bumpiest ride of my life, though it only took us minutes to get to the hospital.
As we entered the hospital, I was rushed into an elevator, while Mat was jerked off in the opposite direction to take care of paperwork. The pain was getting so bad that I thought for sure Mat would miss the birth. In a few minutes, I in the maternity wing and given a private birthing room. The lights were dimmed, and I was placed on a very comfy bed… only to have a midwife place the most constricting baby monitor ever wrapped around my tummy. The midwife checked that it was placed properly, and left!
All alone, I heard nothing up and down the hallway outside. Every minute or so, I would have a contraction, which not only hurt like the dickens but made me wonder just how much worse it was going to be. If no one was in here with me, surely it wasn’t very close to time. This pain was unbelievable, and no one was checking on me!
The midwife finally returned after what seemed like ages had passed. She kept telling me not to turn on my side so much, that I would fall off the bed. Unfortunately, giving the side of the bed a death grip was the only thing getting me through the pain. When Mat was finally able to join me, his hand paid the price.
A doctor and assistant came in, announcing that it was time to give me an IV. In my haze, I said, “no, please, no needles…” and then Mat was able to calmly explain that we wanted no intervention unless it was absolutely necessary. The doctor got very mad, huffed about, then said he would return. Mat told me later that the doctor had also said that it was pitocin they were trying to give me. This is something given to induce labor, to which I was already experiencing!
The midwife said, “ok, let’s see how far along you are.” She checked, and her face lit up. She asked, “are you ready to push?” I was more than ready to get this over with.
And then it was over.
Baby was born just a few minutes later! It was the strangest feeling; the moment the baby was born, my pain disappeared and I started to giggle. The midwife checked baby, wiped them off, wrapped them in a blanket, and handed them to me. After holding Baby for a while, I gave them back to be weighed and measured. Then, Mat held them for a little while, dancing with them around the hospital room.
We spent three days in the hospital. We had a few friends visit and called many many friends and family back home.