I was on the home stretch when things began to get complicated. As I entered the third trimester, I began spotting. The doctor assured me that unless the bleeding was heavy, that the baby wasn’t in any danger. They were going to monitor me closely. A week or so went by and the bleeding tapered off. It was a relief when it finally stopped.
Once I stopped worrying about possible complications with my pregnancy, a financial complication arose. My husband had been miserable at his auto tech job for some time. Angry and fed up with his boss, he just up and quit one day. Although I was sympathetic to his frustration, I wasn’t too happy about his timing. This left just my income, which wasn’t nearly enough to support a baby and us. As it was, we were barely scraping by. The bills were pilling up and we were having a difficult time making all of our credit card payments. Interest charges and late fees were skyrocketing and it made me cringe just to think about how long it was going take to get out of debt. We were considering bankruptcy, but a friend who had been a paralegal advised against it. She felt so strongly against it, that it made me reconsider. I urged my husband to wait things out for a bit to see if they improved.
In the mean time, I refilled for Medicaid. With our sudden drop in income, I figured we were a shoe-in for it. I spent the required day to see a caseworker and file the proper paperwork. I was told that we would have an answer in two weeks to a month. I hoped it was sooner than later. I was dreading the huge headache of more medical bills I couldn’t pay. At the time of my pregnancy, a vaginal delivery was just over $2100 and a C-Section was an astounding $24000. That was just for the doctor to do his or her job. That wasn’t counting the hospital stay, medication and all of that stuff. I did my best to avoid having a panic attack every time I thought of having a baby without insurance, but it wasn’t easy!
We began Lamaze classes close to my eighth month, thinking we had plenty of time. Our instructor told us about how many women experience the baby “dropping” up to two weeks before delivery. This led me to wonder if I had recently dropped even though I wasn’t due for over another month. The first week of teaching at my new college had literally left me breathless. I am usually long winded, but I found that I couldn’t speak for too long without a break. The second week of class, right before we began Lamaze, I noticed it was easier to breath and speak. Then there was the fact that all through Lamaze class, I couldn’t get comfortable. No matter how I sat, I felt a tremendous pressure on my tailbone. I had mild constipation throughout the pregnancy, but suddenly it was as if my digestive track had simply stopped. I never wanted to poop so badly in my life!
I considered calling my doctor, but thought that perhaps that I was overreacting. My next appointment wasn’t for three weeks. After that appointment, I would start going every two weeks and then every week. I wasn’t having contractions and the bleeding had stopped. I was tired and achy, but that was common with pregnancy. I decided to take the wait and see approach. I didn’t want to go through the hassle of demanding to see the doctor for normal pregnancy symptoms. At the last ultrasound, I was told that I had no signs of preterm labor.
Jason spent a few weeks unemployed before he found another job. This one was at Bath Fitter. It was a welcomed change in occupation for him. He told me where it was located, but I had never been by his new place of employment. Jason had not given me a number to call him in case of emergency just yet. We had owned cell phones for a while, but due to our budget cut, those were no longer in service.
That week, I taught at the college on Tuesday and on Wednesday, I taught at the SylvanLearningCenter. I couldn’t get comfortable all day Wednesday. Both my back and abdomen ached. I leaned forward and backward in my seat, but to no avail. Then Sylvan sprung a surprise meeting after work, which I had to attend. I stood during most of the meeting, which was only slight more comfortable than sitting. I was feeling tired and ill, but I had no idea that I was in the early stages of labor.
When I arrived home late, Jason was worried sick about me. I told him that I didn’t call because I thought the meeting would only be a few minutes. The few minutes turned into nearly an hour. I apologized for worrying him. I heated up left over spaghetti for dinner, but didn’t eat much. My stomach hurt. I took a couple of Tylenol and went to bed early. I tossed and turned all night, unable to get comfortable. I didn’t think anything of it because I’d been tossing and turning for a couple of months anyway.
Thursday morning I woke up after Jason had left for work. It was around 8:30 am. I waddled into the bathroom to pee. I heard a small ploop sound and felt a small gush of liquid. I thought perhaps my water had broken, but I wasn’t sure. The Lamaze teacher said to put on a pad and if it was noticeably wet after a short time that is most likely our water breaking and not urine leaking. I paced the floor trying to decide what action to take next. Should I wait and see if the contractions start or should I go the emergency room? Maybe I should go to the doctor and make sure it is really the bag of waters. I picked up the phone and called the doctor’s office. The receptionist told me to come right away; they could squeeze me in at 9:15.
I grabbed my purse and headed out the door. I didn’t have a bag packed yet and I didn’t even think to grab anything for a hospital stay. I drove myself to the office, which was about ten minutes away from our house. I checked in and sat down to wait. In the brief five or ten minutes I waited, I realized that I was indeed in labor. The contractions began and they were unmistakable. I figured I had hours before the baby actually came, so I remained calm and remained seated until they called my name.
The doctor I normally saw was out or busy, so I saw one of the other doctors at that office. He took one look said he was pretty sure I was in labor. He swabbed the liquid and tested it to be sure. When he saw the results, he smiled and said, “You are in labor. Go to the hospital and have your baby,”
I stopped at the check out counter to call Jason and let him know that I was in labor and that he should meet me at the Women’s Hospital. I looked in the phone book, but couldn’t locate a number for where he said he worked. I called information and they didn’t have a listing either. The company had changed names and I didn’t know what the old one was. I stood there through a couple of painful contractions trying to figure out how to get a hold of my husband. I took a deep breath and thought it best to call someone to pick him up. I knew the location, but it was across town. I’d never make it there safely. I called Brad at his work.
“Can you please hold?” he answered.
“No!” I exclaimed.
But it was too late. He’d already pushed the hold button. He hadn’t even waited to hear my response. I stood there impatient and frustrated and in lots of pain. Luckily he came back to the line fairly quickly. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, this is Cari. I am in labor. Can you please go pick Jason up at his new job on the corner of Fifth and Main Street?”
“I will be at the Women’s Hospital.”
“We’ll be there as soon as possible. Bye!”
I hung up and headed toward the elevator. The receptionist didn’t bat an eyelash or even think to ask if I had a ride. She could have offered to call a cab or an ambulance, but she was didn’t even think to look up from her work as I left. I wasn’t worried about driving myself though. It was kind of an adventure and truthfully the hospital was less than ten minute from the office. I was uncomfortable, but not to the point of being impaired. I kept calm, focused, and got the hospital in a timely manor.
The worst part was trying to find some damn parking. The whole lot was full and I wasn’t about to park clear out by the street and walk all the way to the front door. I noticed that right by the door were signs for some emergency parking. They stated that the spots were only to be used for ten minutes at a time. I guessed the car would be there longer than that, but considering the situation, I felt no one would care. I parked by the door and walked in to see the receptionist there.
I said in an even tone, “I am in labor,”
“Wow, you are calm,” she commented. “What’s your name?”
“Cari Vaughn,” I replied.
“Your doctor called ahead and said you were on your way over,” she said as I sat down. I answered a few questions and had a seat in the waiting room. She told me that someone would be out with a wheel chair shortly.