Emory was born at 4:05 AM on August 8, 2007. It was a Wednesday. He entered this world at the very same moment Brooklyn was being hit by a tornado and a storm was flooding the subway. I could see the lightning from my hospital bed. We could hear the thunder overtop the sounds of the delivery floor. Twenty-eight hours prior that very moment, I had been induced.
I arrived at the hospital on Monday at 5:30 PM and waited five and a half hours to be admitted. In that time, I had my first ever panic attack, which took place in the hallway right outside the Labor and Delivery Unit at NY Presbyterian. As people joyously walked through the halls holding balloons that read “IT’S A BOY!”, I was hyperventilating. I successfully “lost it” because I had spent five and half hours dealing with the most insincere person I have ever come in contact with. I wish I could capture in words just how horrible she made me feel. I wish I could capture the intensity of emotion I felt just before my breakdown. But it’s impossible. Even now, months after the fact, tears come to my eyes just thinking about her.
Imagine this: I am 41 weeks pregnant, going through contractions. I was told earlier that day they weren’t the right kind of contractions, they weren’t the kind to “get things going”. Instead, I had a blood pressure reading through the roof, which is why I was scheduled for induction. My doctors were worried about the baby. The floor was packed with scheduled cesareans and other inductions. On top of all that, there were the spontaneous laborers coming in. It was busy and insane and the nighttime desk clerk was related to Satan.
My mother and TobyJoe did their best to keep me calm. Earlier, we had a big laugh about a farting dog named Walter. You see, one of the names we toyed with was Walter until we found out about the popular children’s book “Walter the Farting Dog.” When my mother told us about Walter the Farting Dog, we both snorted with laughter. But all laughter came to an end at around 10:00 PM when I really started to fall apart physically. My blood pressure sky-rocketed. My contractions intensified. My head was pounding so much so, you could trace the veins in my forehead, they cast shadows they were working so hard. I was tired. I all of my life I hadn’t ever felt so tired. I wanted to go home. I wanted that woman to help me. I wanted to go home.
At around 10:30 PM, I approached her and suggested I go home and return when they are less busy. I was greeted with a lecture, a nasty, passive-aggressive lecture.
I calmly added, “I can’t take this anymore.” And left through the double doors that led to the hallway.
When I entered the hallway, I had a meltdown, an honest to God, no exaggeration, full-fledged meltdown. My entire body shook. My head filled with blood. I began to cry so hard I was making those uncontrollable sobbing sounds, the ones where tiny inhales penetrate one larger one. I could not catch my dying breath. I wasn’t going to have the baby. I was going to go home and see my cat. For some reason, I really, really wanted to see Murray. I was done with being pregnant, waiting. I would just stay pregnant for the rest of my life if that’s what I had to do to avoid that woman, that awful, no good, evil woman.
What I didn’t know was that after I left the room, TobyJoe had some words with her. He said, “When I get back, if you do not have a room for us, if you have not yet done your job, we are leaving. I don’t want to hear another word from you unless it’s positive. Do you understand me?”
Eventually, I regained my composure. TobyJoe was able to calm me down and we walked back into the birthing and labor unit to get my mother, collect our things, and leave. At that point, I was intercepted by an actual doctor, (the same doctor who would later hold my left leg). She talked me into staying. She apologized profusely for having not admitted me sooner. She said they actually thought I had already been admitted and induced. The woman behind the counter had accidentally crossed me off her list. I had been lost in the shuffle of paperwork.
I agreed to stay.
It was just after midnight when they finally inserted the Cervidil into my cervix.
We were going to have a baby.