I was fired from my first "real" job. I had just decided not to look for a better gig because this one was cushy — easy, low pressure, and relatively well paid — and a few weeks later I was called into the manager’s office on a Friday afternoon and told my services were no longer needed.
After two months of fruitless searching and the disappointment of the "perfect" job falling through, in desperation I took an assignment with a temp agency working second shift operations in a hospital’s IT department. The rest, as they say, is history. The temporary assignment turned into a permanent one within a month; two months after that I was promoted to team lead. Within a year I moved up into an analyst role, in two I was running my own projects, and in three I’d been hired by another major corporation as a consultant. Ten years later I’m a senior-level manager at a major corporation making software for hospitals.
All this because I got fired from a job I should have left in the first place. My life has a path, I believe, and I can stroll along the paved trail with ease or go off-road and fight the underbrush, but in the end, I end up where I should.
I tell this story because the lesson figures into my son’s birth story. To rephrase: you are who you are, and you can chisel away at the edges, perhaps making them a little more smooth, but the main part is pretty well set.
My mom and stepdad came into town the last weekend in July in the hopes of being around when my son was born. Two weeks of "nope, I don’t feel any different, sorry" had worn me down; two days of people staring and starting every time I made a sound didn’t help, but it was good to see them. She took him to the airport Monday morning — August 1, my due date — and joined us at our midwife appointment.
For the first time in my pregnancy, I was swollen everywhere, including my face, a fact I mentioned only because I’d heard this could be a sign of impending labor. Also for the first time, my blood pressure was high. Not for the first time, my belly had not grown in a few weeks. Uh, oh. Though the urine test didn’t show proteins (thus, pre-eclampsia unlikely), I was told to go home, put my feet up, and do nothing until my blood test results confirmed I wasn’t pre-eclamptic. An ultrasound was scheduled for ASAP — Thursday — to make sure my little dude was okay.
Oh, and I was 70% effaced, not dilated at all. Put another way, my cervix was still tightly closed. I was convinced he’d arrive on August 5 and was prepared to hang out.
I called for the results of my blood test (negative) and asked nicely if there were any ultrasound cancellations that day. The snotty woman wasn’t happy with the request and put me on hold to answer another call, then came back a few minutes later to report that someone had just cancelled and I could have their appointment. Woo, hoo! Two days of worrying avoided once we were told everything was okay, I thought, but because the other outcome could be a hospital visit, I loaded our bags in the car without telling my husband or Mom.
Again for the first time, the ultrasound wasn’t the reassuring experience I’d hoped for. My son wasn’t moving much (though I blame this on the hour — 11:00 am was morning nap time for my little fetus) and most concerning, my amniotic fluid was low. Way low. As in, 5+ was "normal" and I was 2.5. Bright side: his heartbeat was nice and strong.
The ultrasound tech left to chat with the midwife, who then called in a second midwife, who then left to make a call to the OB while we were escorted into an exam room to be told we needed to head to the hospital for an induction. I’d suspected that was coming since the ultrasound, my mom caught on when the second midwife was called in, but my poor husband was taken completely by surprise. But hey, we had our hospital gear in the car!
I was still 70% effaced and not dilated at all.
Brief side note to say that I begged my shell-shocked husband and mom to get me some food on the way to the hospital but they ganged up on me and refused. At noon-ish on Tuesday, I ate a protein bar I badgered them into taking out of the labor supplies bag. This would be the last thing I ate until some time on Thursday. Take heed: if you are headed to a prenatal appointment around the time of your due date, eat first! Eat well!
We drove straight from the Hippie Birth Center to the hospital, leaving behind my plans for a natural, non-intervention (NON-HOSPITAL) birth. My husband was quiet, my mom extra upbeat, and I was searching my Kindle books on my Blackberry, re-reading all of my notes about Cytotec, Pitocin, and inductions, feeling rather disconnected from it all.
to be continued*
*I know, I know, "to be continued" sucks, but I haven’t yet worked out how to tell the whole story, so I’m going to process it in parts. In exchange for that frustration, here’s a baby picture:
“Hark, who goes there?”