At 2 a.m. on a Friday evening, I woke up with labor pains. My husband, Greg, and I started timing them, and by morning they were five minutes apart. We raced to the hospital only to be told that my cervix had dilated just half a centimeter! My options, according to the doctor, were to suffer through the labor while my cervix dilated naturally, a process that could last up to seven days, or he could insert a catheter and balloon into my cervix to soften and open it. This procedure could last six hours. While the thought of a catheter didn't thrill me, the idea of labor for a whole week made my decision abundantly clear: I chose the balloon.
I immediately regretted my decision after not one but two nurses failed to get the IV tube inserted into my arm. I couldn't tell which pain was worse: the cramps or being punctured with needles over and over again. While I winced in pain, Greg, who I know to be squeamish about needles and blood, squeezed my hand. I looked up to thank my husband for his support and was surprised to see that his face had turned pale. "I don't feel very well," he mumbled just before his eyes rolled back and he passed out!
I screamed at the nurses, who were still fiddling with my IV. Doctors and nurses came running from all directions with smelling salts. Once Greg came to, they carted him off to the emergency room to make sure he didn't have a concussion from hitting his head on the hard floor.