June exercise - The Arrival
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|Tue, 06-20-2000 - 4:32pm|
June exercise - The Arrival
Hello ladies. Please critique away and hold nothing back.
Julia skipped out of Dr. Shafer's office, her week-long suspicion finally confirmed. In a mere seven months she and Rick would be cradling their first baby. She floated through the parking lot to her car, a smile affixed to her face.
Rick was not aware of Julia's premonition. It took every bit of will power to keep from blurting out "I think I'm pregnant" before she was sure. She would disclose her secret to him this evening as he indulged in his favorite dinner of lobster slathered in melted butter, a meal reserved for special occasions.
Julia was puttering in the kitchen when she heard Rick come in.
"Hey is that lobster I smell? And what's with all the candles?"
"Hi Honey," said Julia appearing around the corner. "How was your day?"
Rick strolled up to his wife and kissed her forehead which just reached the level of his mouth. "Great. I made a pretty decent commission on some stock I sold for a guy. From the looks of things here, I'd say you had a pretty good day, too. Did you get a raise or something?"
"Not quite," said Julia. "In fact, I had a sub come in to teach the last hour of class so I could go to a doctor's appointment."
Julia led Rick to the dining table which was adorned with fresh cut flowers. Two white candles in gold candle holders, a wedding gift that had never been used in four years of marriage, burned in the center of the table. Steaming lobster filled their plates. Julia poured them each a glass of sparkling cider.
"What was the doctor's appointment for?" Rick quizzed.
Julia grinned as she noted the wonder on her husband's face grow more intense. "Aren't you going to eat your lobster?" she teased.
"Come on Julia, what's going on?" pleaded Rick.
"Well, how does the name "Daddy" grab you?" Julia leaped out of her seat unable to contain herself.
Rick jumped to his feet and lifted Julia in the air. "Really, we're going to have a baby."
"Yeah, it's due in December."
Within the next couple of weeks, Julia began to experience morning sickness. The last two weeks of teaching her fourth grade class became a chore with frequent sudden trips to the bathroom.
As the queasiness subsided during the summer months, Julia used the free time to decorate and furnish the spare bedroom as a nursery. Not desiring to know the sex of the baby ahead of time, pastel pinks, blues, yellows and greens were splattered throughout the room.
"Wow Babe, this looks great," exclaimed Rick sauntering into the room, stuffed animals exploding from his arms.
"Great, the baby's not even born yet, and you're already spoiling it," scolded Julia.
Rick beamed and winked. They both stood back to admire the room that their child would soon occupy.
When school resumed after summer vacation, Julia was six months along and feeling rejuvenated. Her new fourth grade class constructed a chart to track their teacher's expanding belly. Her plan was to teach until a week before Christmas break, her due date being December 28th.
Julia and Rick devoured every book they could about pregnancy, labor, birth, the first month, etc. With two months left, October marked the beginning of Lamaze class. They diligently practiced their breathing exercises at home.
"I want it natural," huffed Julia between breaths. "No anesthesia."
"Don't worry, I'll keep you focused," assured Rick.
Julia lay resting on the sofa one evening, belly protruding skyward, swollen ankles perched upon pillows. She was engrossed in her latest pregnancy book when Rick charged in from work.
"I heard from Mike today," announced Rick. "He's getting married in a few weeks and wants Jack and me to go on a weekend camping trip with him, kind of a brother-bonding weekend before he gets hitched."
"And when would this be," asked Julia.
"Well, the only time he can do it is the weekend of the 14th," said Rick cautiously.
"OF DECEMBER," roared Julia, dragging herself to a seated position. "That's only two weeks before the due date. You can't possibly be considering this."
Julia was now pacing, Rick striving to keep up with the back and forth motion.
"It'll be fine," assured Rick. "The Lamaze lady and all these books say the first baby is usually a couple of weeks late. This trip is something I really want to do. It's a place our dad used to take us when we were kids. It's only three hours away, and I'll have my cell phone if something comes up, which I'm sure it won't."
Julia's pacing slowed to a waddle. Her body felt tense, and she drew in a few deep breaths to calm herself. She plopped back down on the sofa.
"Okay, if it's that important to you," sighed Julia. "I know you don't see your brothers that much since your dad died."
The night Rick was away, Julia tossed and turned and only briefly slept. Her thoughts were consumed with what ifs. In the early dawn hours of Sunday morning, she became aware of a dull backache. Shifting positions from one side to the other did not help. Giving up on the idea of sleep, she rolled out of bed and shuffled to the kitchen.
The first stabbing pain gripped her while brewing herbal tea. Dropping her teacup, Julia made her way to the sofa, her breathing rapid, her heart pounding high in her chest. She breathed deeply until the pain gradually subsided, and she relaxed.
Five minutes later, she clutched her belly as the second pain ripped through. She panicked as the realization struck her like a club in the head. "Oh my God, not today." Tears began streaming down her face as she panted through the pain.
After the contraction ended, Julia reached for the phone and speed-dialed Dr. Shafer. She shouted to the nonchalant answering service operator that this was an emergency. Her second call went to Rick's cell phone. After six rings, she heard his groggy voice.
"Rick, I'm in labor," cried Julia, once again in the midst of a contraction.
"You can't be. It's two weeks early."
"Yes I can be, and I am. You get back here now." Julia was sobbing into the phone, everything she had learned in class soaring out of her mind as the crushing pain took hold of her.
"Call the doctor, call 911, and I'll meet you at the hospital," Rick assured her and hung up.
The phone rang just as Julia hung up. Dr. Shafer told her that an ambulance was on the way and she would meet her at the hospital.
The fifteen minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive felt like hours. In between contractions, Julia chastised herself for letting Rick go. He was going to miss the birth of their first baby, and she was left alone to endure this excruciating experience. "You said you'd be here to keep me focused," she muttered out loud.
Dr. Shafer met Julia in labor and delivery. She was set up in a labor room within minutes, monitors beeping, an IV placed if needed. The baby's heartbeat sounded rapid and normal. Dr. Shafer lifted Julia's gown to examine her. "You're already at nine centimeters. I don't know if Rick will make it in time."
"Why did I go into labor two weeks early?" demanded Julia.
"When a baby's ready, it's ready," said Dr. Shafer. "There is no indication that anything's wrong. You're just early."
Within an hour, Julia's status changed. The desire to push during the contraction was overwhelming. Dr. Shafer arrived and performed another exam.
"Well Julia, this is it. You're fully dilated at ten centimeters. It's time to push this baby out."
"No, not yet," pleaded Julia. "Please, can't we wait a while longer. Rick should be here soon." She was sobbing again at the thought of going through this alone.
"I'm sorry, Julia," said Dr. Shafer. "Your baby is ready now."
A nurse propped Julia up and ordered her to push during her next contraction. This process continued for the next half hour without success. The nurse dabbed the sweat from Julia's face and muttered encouraging phrases, a job that is typically reserved for husbands.
Julia felt weak and exhausted, unsure if she could go on. She could see Dr. Shafer's mouth moving, speaking to her, but was unable to decipher the sounds. Her mind was empty. What was she doing here?
"Julia, Julia, you can't quit now. Just a couple more pushes." Searing pain through her groin zapped her back. She pushed with every ounce of strength she had left and experienced an agony beyond description. The nurse held her sweat-soaked hair back from her face.
"I see the head, Julia," encouraged Dr. Shafer. "Just one more big push. I know you can do it."
The nurse propped her up once again. Julia felt the contraction build. She took a deep breath and pushed with an intensity she didn't know she had left. Her bulging eyes felt close to popping. She felt the baby emerge from its warm home into its new world. She flopped back down feeling weightless.
"Congratulations, Daddy, you have a daughter."
"Daddy?" Julia squinted toward the foot of the bed as Dr. Shafer set the baby in Rick's arms, his breathing heavy from sprinting through the hospital.
"You made it," whispered Julia.
Rick slid up next to Julia. "I'm so sorry you had to do this alone. I promise I'll never go anywhere again two weeks before the due date."
"Again?" scowled Julia.
Julia gazed at her daughter. "Welcome to the world, Sarah Lynn."
Julia glared at her husband. "I'm glad you made it, and boy do you owe me."