Chapter One

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The “WEE” Hours

Shortly after the sun went down, the two lay in bed talking about life and discussing future plans for their family, when a sound that mimicked a balloon bursting came from Annie, accompanied by a warm gush of liquid that flowed from between her legs and onto the bed. Marshall jumped up from the bed with a jolt.

With concern on his face he asked “What was that? What was that sound?” He wanted to know.

“Holy crap my water, my water just broke!” Annie shrieked. Getting up from the now soaking wet bed, Marshall picked her out another pair of pants to change into. She was trembling as he helped her out of her saturated pajama bottoms. Annie’s breathing turned shallow and quick, she was overwhelmed with nervousness and worry.

“Do you want to call your mom?” Marshall asked her. Saying nothing, she nodded and reached out for the cordless phone. Annie was shaking so badly that her teeth were chattering.

“Mom?” She managed to get out. My water just broke.”

“Well get to the hospital, and tell Marshall to BE CAREFUL!” Her mother begged. “Go to the EMERGENCY ENTRANCE, I’ll be waiting for you.”

“Okay we will.” Annie said. Marshall was already changed and ready to go before Annie hung up the phone, he just needed to grab the car keys and his wallet. Annie looked at the mess she had made all over their bed, normally she would have freaked out and changed the sheets, washing them straight away, but not tonight. She took deep breathes concentrating on the contractions that were stronger than before, but not outrageously painful. Inside her head she prayed to God. Please. She pleaded, please don’t let this baby be born before we get to the hospital. Marshall drove over the speed limit, he was careful, but still sped the entire way. They pulled in to the emergency entrance of the hospital just before 10:30pm. Annie wasn’t surprised to see her mother, future mother-in law and a wheel chair all waiting for her at the emergency door. Marshall came to a cautious stop underneath the hospital over hang. He quickly got out of the car, while a hospital valet driver walked over to take his place in the driver seat. We made it thought Annie, we are here and my prayers have been answered. Opening the car door, she stuck out one of her swollen legs, then the other, she positioned herself in such a way that her belly would rise from the car first. Steady she thought while breathing through another contraction.

“Wellll!” Annie’s mom exclaimed in her drawn out country voice. Whenever she was excited she‘d sound out the “L” for seconds. “The baby is coming! Ohhhh, look at you, here sit down in the wheel chair, you shouldn’t be walking.” Deborah insisted. Annie didn’t object to that order from her mom, she’d been walking for most of the day anyway.

Mary hugged her son who was visibly excited about becoming a daddy. Then she hugged Annie and rubbed her forearm. The three carefully helped Annie sit down in the wheel chair, pushed her in to the hospital elevator, then up to the Maternity floor. They were greeted by hospital nurses whose energy filled them with a calmness that everything would be just fine. The nurse even tried to help Annie out of her clothes and into her hospital gown.

“No! Annie objected, I want to wear the pink one I brought from home, it’s in my bag.”

The nurse kindly shook her head and explained to Annie that she could change into her own gown once her baby was delivered, and that she needed to be in a hospital gown for now.

An electronic fetal monitor was placed around Annie’s abdomen to track the baby’s heartbeat, then another device was put in place to measure her contractions. Annie got into the hospital bed surrounded by her mom, Mary, two nurses and Marshall who smiled at her and kissed her forehead. As the night went on Annie changed positions rolling from one side to the other, the pain she felt was mainly in her back. She tried to close her eyes and rest, but the agony of it was unbearable.

“Can I have some Tylenol”? She asked the nurse. My back hurts so bad.”

“I can give you something like Tylenol that will help take the edge off. It’s called Demerol”. Annie didn’t care, she just wanted the pain gone, she also didn’t expect labor to last this long. She thought once her water had broken, it would be a speedy delivery, and her baby girl would be born. That was not the case. Hours passed, her stomach continued to tighten tighter and tighter, and the contractions were coming faster. The nursing staff tried to ease the pain by placing Annie in a whirlpool bath in hopes of soothing her and helping her back pain. They left the two, almost parents alone, so they could share the moment in private.

The small bathroom was decorated with charcoal painted walls and stainless steel fixtures, nothing about this was soothing and the bath didn’t help Annie in the least. She groaned and moaned as each contraction came. It was if a rubber band was squeezing her and a Mack truck was pressing against her lower back. Annie began to get frustrated with the bath, the bathroom and everything else around her. She felt fat and swollen, embarrassed at being completely naked in front of Marshall in this unattractive state.

“Marshall, this water is not helping, get me out of here, my back, ohh “. She stopped mid-sentence as another contraction came harder than ever.

“Annie, Annie, here let me help you. Should we ask the Dr. for something else for the pain?” Marshall asked her in the most sympathetic voice. He felt helpless, he didn’t know what she was feeling, only that his love, was in severe pain. He helped her get out of the tub, then dressed her in the hospital gown and assisted her back into the bed. She lay on her side and breathed through the next squeeze, wishing that this would soon be over with.

“Annie, Hi, It’s Dr. Westerlund. How are you doing”?

“My back hurts mostly”. She explained.

“Well, let’s see how far you’ve dilated”. The Dr. said excitedly.

Great! Annie thought, I have to move again? Can’t she see I’m in excruciating pain? Her hospital room was dimly lit, she tried to focus on the pictures hanging on the walls, to distract her from the contractions. Annie imagined herself in one of them, sitting on a bench on a spring day, nestled in a park overlooking a pond. Oh how I’d much rather be there she thought to herself. Rolling over on to her back in her ugly purple Hospital gown, preparing herself to be examined by the female Dr., who herself was expecting. Deborah and Mary were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the grandchild, they wanted to know how much longer it would be before she would be born. Sitting in guest chairs near the hospital window they both sat up at the same time to hear what the pregnant Dr. had to say. It was well into the early morning hours, the black framed clock that hung on the wall read 2:35. Both grandmothers felt exhausted and wore it on their faces.

“Ok! Dr. Westerlund announced. Seven centimeters, about. You’re getting close Annie, hang in there okay? Make sure you let the nurse know if you need anything.”

Annie nodded her head while breathing through another contraction. She rolled to her side and reached her hand out to Marshall. The couple had been up since the morning before and were worn out. Marshall collapsed in the hospital chair that sat next to Annie’s bed. He leaned his head on his stretched out arm and reached his hand out to hold Annie’s, then closed his eyes in hopes of getting a little rest. As the medicine helped keep Annie’s pain under control, she too closed her eyes. Although, her contractions were getting stronger, her exhaustion was setting in and she miraculously dozed off.

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