Seven years ago today I took two buses to the hospital. We were living in Edinburgh, Scotland, where public transportation is pretty awesome. We didn’t have a car and we didn’t have much money either, so I didn’t want to take a cab. Besides, I was only in very early labor – I wouldn’t have gone in for several hours if my midwife hadn’t called and told me to go in because blood tests showed that my pancreas was shutting down. I even sprinted across a four-lane road (the walk sign was on) from one bus stop to the second. I saw the connecting bus sitting at the light, and it was one that only ran every half hour or so (which I knew because I had been teaching classes that met at the same hospital). I’m going to guess that that sped things up a bit!
I tried to convince Mike to meet me there, but he gave the “first babies take FOREVER” line – and he had things to do, including teach an evening class. So I went there on my own, where I tried to convince the triage doctor, who was trying to put me up for the night in some random ward while they figured out what to do with the pancreas thing, that I was in labor. He said “No, you’re wrong. you would be much more upset than this if you were in labor.” Sometimes being a calm person works against you.
Luckily, my water broke, Hollywood style, drenching me and the entire room, so they decided I was right. They transferred me from triage up to the maternity ward. I called Mike, interrupting his class. I convinced him to COME NOW. So he ended class fifteen minutes early, and some kind student drove him to the hospital. Emma showed up a couple hours later – two days late but still quite small at 6lbs, 1.5 ounces. Emma was born on the stroke of midnight, so they let me pick her birth date – 2/23, or 2/22. I liked 2/22/06 better, so we picked that – and then had to amend her birth time to 11:59pm at the registrar (from 24:00 they had written at the hospital).
I love many, many things about the UK NHS health care system, and I was happier with my prenatal and birth care for Emma than any of my other babies. The one thing I don’t miss? Shared recovery rooms with no nursery. I was in a room with three other women, all recovering from C-sections (I was on the high-risk ward). Those three other babies cried all night (Emma didn’t cry, but didn’t sleep, either – just stared wide-eyed. I was a little relieved when she passed her hearing test the next morning!) So we got out of there as quickly as they would let us (6pm – once they realized that, with the baby gone, my pancreas was happily functioning once again), and a friend picked us up and drove us home.
My beautiful baby Emma has grown into a beautiful girl. I love being her mom, and seeing her learn and discover new things every single day.
Happy Birthday, Emma!