It was a typical sunny day in the desert, and the weather man promised excessive heat for the next four days. I was thirty-eight weeks pregnant, and like every other day of the past nine months my stomach dictated what I wanted to eat. That’s what brought me to the base’s Starbucks at 1107. Before I’d reached the door I could taste the delicious brownie I had my heart set on.
Then my water broke.
In front of six Marines who barely looked old enough to shave.
If things happened the way Hollywood portrayed them, those Marines would have had a story to tell their buddies when they got back to work. Luckily for me, when my water broke, nature took its course and the water was more of a trickle than a gush.
Knowing what was important, I still got my brownie.
The drive to the hospital took six minutes--an eternity when every bump and stop caused a fresh gush of fluid to escape. When my sister and I secured a coveted ‘expectant mother’ parking spot we hustled, or in my case, waddled with a sense of urgency, to the labor and delivery floor.
Labor and delivery at the base hospital is a lot like any other place in the military. A lot of hurry up and wait. Once I was secured into a room and strapped into an uncomfortable bed with monitors and IVs, the real fun started.
By fun, I mean the lying around waiting for the contractions to actually start doing something.
Five hours after I arrived, the doctor pushed Pitocin into my IV, in an attempt to move my labor along. Every hour a nurse came in and upped the amount of the drug dripping into my body, and every hour was the same. A lot of waiting without change.
It wasn’t until nine hours and half a season of Veronica Mars later, something finally happened. My contractions stopped playing nice and sent a pain through my body so intense the world went black. It felt like something had broken. The Marine later told me it was probably his wrist cracking when I put him in a wrist lock.
I rode the pain of each contraction, silently for the next hour. Veronica Mars was still playing on the television, but I couldn’t focus on what was happening. I no longer cared whether she was with Logan or some other guy. With each contraction, the pain escalated. By the time I was ready to give up on the idea of a pain medication free birth, the doctor informed me I was too far along. My son would arrive within the next two hours.
For those of you who have never experienced child birth, two hours is an interminable amount of time. It might as well be nine months. I didn’t want to contemplate another two hours of my insides being torn apart by Edward Scissorhands or my own personal torturer--Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street.
As it turns out, Boy Wonder wasn’t interested in hanging out that long either.
Thirty minutes later I demanded, to the room at large, to get the doctor, because the baby was coming. I’m not sure who went for the doctor, or hit the call button, because at that moment I was hoping to go numb from the waist down. Blacking out would have been okay too.
Within moments the room was packed like a frat house on a Friday night after finals. Aside from my three person morale team that included the Marine, my sister, and my dear friend (and work husband), Corpsman K, there was a fleet of medical personnel: A doctor, a nurse, and three Navy Corpsmen. The perfect beginning to a joke.
It was a regular party, and I was the girl on the table.
I pushed for thirty minutes, and during that time I realized some very important things.
I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for.
It is possible to silence an entire delivery room with a single look directed at Corpsman K when he made a comment about his arms being sore from fanning me off with a clipboard.
The song Ring of Fire has a whole new meaning to me now.
At 2215 on June 6, 2013 Boy Wonder came into the world. Six hours shy of nine years to the day his brother was born an angel. On the anniversary of D-Day. To the sound of Taps playing across the base.
For the third time in my life, I experienced love at first sight.