(Dear friends, you can now die happy, knowing what I look like at 3 in the morning. You’re welcome. That pained expression on my face is one-part fresh-epidural relief and one part stretching my neck as far as it would go to try and avoid a double chin in the only photographic evidence I would have that I was actually present for Ying Ying’s birth.)
(The warming/air station…I think. Honestly, I was pretty loopy. I seem to remember one of the nurses saying that they get everything set up “just in case.” Which is why we have babies in hospitals, after all. That, and the epidurals.)
My friends, on January 30, 2013, Lo Gung and I welcomed the newest member of our clan – Ying Ying. I had been on pins and needles for weeks, waiting for contractions to start. Oh sure, it’s easy to say in hindsight that I should have simply relaxed and enjoyed my last few weeks. (Enjoy may be the wrong word…but at least I should have relaxed!) The truth is, though, that Ming Wai (my oldest) came 8 days early. And Siu Jeun came 5 days early. And Ying Ying? Well, she came three days AFTER her original due-date (but smack ON her 20-week-ultrasound adjusted due date). I assumed that every twinge was the beginning of the end, and I did NOT want to miss my window of opportunity for an epidural. No, ma’am, I did not.
Obviously, I needn’t have worried. On January 29, I went to sleep around 11 pm. At 1:30am, I woke up very uncomfortable with contractions. By that point, my mother in law had already arrived in town, meaning that there was not a lot of options for places in the house I could make any noise without waking anyone up. I ended up in the baby’s nursery, with the door shut, trying to get comfortable and timing the contractions. When it became obvious that the contractions were NOT going away this time, and I had just about reached my crying point, I woke Lo Gung up. “Honey…it’s time.”
That’s me. Classic. That was about 2:30 am.
I had already called the nurses. They didn’t even question me. I had already been to the hospital once, on a false alarm, a few days before. (A very, very expensive false alarm. *facepalm*) This time, I simply called them and said, “I’m having painful contractions every 5 minutes, about 60-90 seconds long. This is my third baby. I will see you soon.” (When I arrived, the nurse said I sounded so confident and no-nonsense, she didn’t feel like asking me all the usual questions or making me stay on the line so she could hear me try to talk through a contraction.) About ten minutes later, Lo Gung and I tiptoed downstairs with our bags, and knocked on the guest room door to let my mother in law (Ma) know that we were on our way to the hospital.
When I arrived at the hospital, it was about 3 am. I had progressed to about a 5, if I remember correctly. I was relieved, honestly – I would hate to show up at a 3, in tears, you know? I’m a wuss, but…seriously. We got the epidural started as soon as we could, and then…the waiting began.