16 years ago today, my oldest daughter was born at Shady Grove Adventist hospital. I had gone early in the day with "pre-term" labor and was sent home to "rest" for a little bit before coming back to the hospital. While Ralph rested I ate some scrambled eggs and toast and called everyone to tell them I was having the baby! When the contractions got closer together we made our way back to the hospital. My parents were there, his parents were there, my sister, my brother and sister in law, my niece, our good friends and the god parents of Catherine (and the other 4 children that came after!), and Eric and Betsy were there. The labor was fairly easy, for the most part. At some point most of the people waited in the waiting room for news. The doctor assured us that there would be "hours" until the baby was delivered, so Ralph went to Red Lobster with Eric and Betsy. After all it was down the street only a few miles and he had his beeper on, so he could be reached if we needed him.
Sometime before he came back and after I had gotten my epidural, I started paging him because I was in a lot of pain. Not just pain with contractions mind you . . . but constant pain! The anestisiaologis told me it was because I had a "window" where the epidural could not get to. Great, I thought the epidural was supposed to help the pain, not make it worse! Since Ralph was not back yet and had not answered my pages (and there were MULTIPLE pages!), I had my mom come in with me when I had to start pushing. I pushed for days until Ralph finally arrived! Okay, really, it was about 20 minutes, but it seemed like days!
Apparently Ralph, Eric and Betsy were enjoying a leisurely dinner confidant in the knowledge that I would page them if I needed them. This was before cell phones were EVERYWHERE, folks. So, they figured no news was good news! When they were leaving the restaurant and Ralph went to see what time it was, he noticed the missed pages and they rushed back to the hospital.
So I had Ralph on one side and my mom on one side and I pushed for about 30 or so minutes more. I still had constant pain. The anestisiologis tried to compensate by pushing the epidural, but it did not work, I still had constant pain on one side. Finally, Catherine Elizabeth Thomas was born! I was so excited and could not take my eyes off of her- what a miracle! And what a relief to have her out! You moms all know what I mean! So while the doctor did his "stuff", I enjoyed my daughter! At some point, Ralph went out to the waiting room to tell everyone the good news.
One thing you need to know is I have negative RH factor, which means the placenta needs to be checked to see if the baby also has it. It is not a big deal, but something that needs to be taken care of, especially if I wanted to have any more babies. So the doctor made sure to get the placenta to the lab for testing.
So, while I am in the room with Catherine and my mom, Ralph is in the waiting room telling my family and friends about our daughter being born. As they are ALL there listening to Ralph, an orderly comes out to the nurses' station and PLOPS a Ziploc bag with my placenta in it and very loudly says, "This is the Thomas Placenta that needs to be taken to the lab for testing immediately!" You can only imagine the reaction of my whole family, it is probably the same one you are having right now! Let's face it, we woman want to keep our placentas private!
So after the shock of seeing more than they ever wanted to see, my family and friends came into my room and met Catherine. We spent about an hour or so talking and enjoying each other's company. Then everyone went home. Ralph went to the nursery with Catherine while she got some shots and tests, normal newborn stuff. When he came back to my delivery room it was time to transfer me to the recovery room. The nurse, who was about 75 pounds soaking wet, asks me if I can get into the wheelchair from the hospital bed. Good grief, that is easy I thought! So of course, I told her sure!
Little did any of us realize the implications of all of that extra epidural I was given. . .
So, here is the scene, just so you are clear about it. There is Ralph, who is over 6 feet tall and over 250 pounds and a nurse who was probably about 1/3 my size standing on either side of the wheelchair waiting to help me from the hospital bed to the chair. So here I am on the edge of the bed and let's just say I was not tiny (we do not need to get into numbers here do we?) and I had just given birth less than 3 hours before. I slowly slid to the side of the hospital bed being careful not to flash anyone since I had a hospital gown on. As I try to put my feet on the ground to basically stand up and turn around into the waiting wheelchair, I do not realize that I had NO FEELING in my right leg because of the epidural! So what happens? You guessed it! My right foot hit the ground first and just buckled under me because I could not feel it! But, do I fall to the ground like a normal person? Ha! No way! On the way to the ground my lovely, fashionable mesh underwear that I was given in the hospital gets stuck on the side of the hospital bed! I am literally hanging about 2 inches off of the ground! Ralph tries to help me by ripping the panties off of the bed, and I fall the remaining 2 inches to the floor. The tiny little, slip of a nurse was totally useless to help me, so Ralph came up in front of me to try to help me stand up. Squatting down and putting his arms under mine, he wrapped his arms around me and told me he was going to stand up. As we stood up I told Ralph I did not feel well. He said that was okay and continued to stand up with me.
Then I fainted! Yep, that's right, as my poor husband was squatting down helping me up; I became DEAD WEIGHT and caused him to fall back into the wheelchair. Ralph broke my fall, but he fell right into the wheelchair. Knocking it backward with a very loud crash. I remember waking up on the floor and shaking uncontrollably. I looked around and saw Ralph on the ground, the nurse looking like a deer in headlights and several other hospital personnel standing at the door (they had come running when they heard the noise). One of the people standing at the door was the anesthesiologist who gave me so much epidural and I just looked at him and said, "Well, you did a good job!" I had to be picked up and put back in the hospital bed. Needless to say, I stayed in the bed and was wheeled to the recovery room!
I called my mom to come back up to the hospital and Ralph went to the ER. He stayed in my room that night on a cot.