This isn't going to be your typical election day post. You see, election day holds a very special place in my heart. I can't think about it without going all misty eyed and sappy. It marks the day I became a mom. I went into labor with Sam the morning of November 7th 2000. George W Bush was running against Al Gore. I woke up about 5:30 and felt kind of crampy and had a slight backache. Of course I called my parents and described what was going on. My Dad, an ob/gyn, said it certainly sounded like the start of labor. Joe and I were so giddy with excitement. I didn't feel bad at all so I decided to go into work since I only worked until 11:15. Dad said chances are I would still be in early labor at that time and it may help to pass the time. He also remarked "I wonder whether we'll have a new president or a new baby first?" I hoped to God it would be a baby.
Packed my bags and threw in a change of clothes and some towels (Mom's recommendation) and headed off first to our local high school to vote. I waddled in to do my civic duty but by the time I left I was feeling a bit more sluggish. I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the morning with twenty 5 year olds anymore. My doctor's office was in the same town as my school so I headed over to school anyways and put a call in to the doctor's office. They told me to come in at 9:00. The cramps at this point were stronger and I had trouble bending down. Thank goodness my aide came in to take over as the kids arrived. I started showing her around and going over my plans when I felt this strong urge to use the bathroom. And that's when I had a moment. You know, when all of a sudden you have a huge "AHA!" I realized I wasn't in early labor anymore...I was having the baby. And I must have said that out loud because my students started jumping and clapping and hollering "hooray!!!" I just wanted to cry, because CHILDBIRTH was definitely NOT on the curriculum.
My aide rushed to get the school nurse and I called the doctor's office back to say I was going straight to the hospital. I then called my husband and told him to meet me at the hospital. My school nurse escorted me to her car and I stopped. I could not get in. It was her brand spanking new red Volvo. What if my water broke all over her pristine leather seats. Not just mortifying but really kind of gross. She insisted it was fine but I whipped the towels out of my bag and lined her seat just in case. The hospital was a short five minute ride from school and it passed in a blur since the cramps were now contractions and coming practically one on top of the other.
I was wheeled straight up to maternity and into a hospital gown so the nurses could examine me. I think I was their star pupil because my labor nurse proudly announced I was 10 centimeters to everyone that walked by and my water broke as soon as I lay down in the delivery bed. I never planned on having a natural birth so I asked about meds but they just laughed. My labor nurse told me something I actually already knew. This baby was nearly birthed...no point for meds now. At that point, I really really wanted my husband and couldn't understand where he was. I also couldn't help notice the whispering between the nurses as they came in to check on my progress. In between two contractions I asked my nurse where my husband was (I have no idea why I thought she'd know) and where my doctor was. She looked me in the eye and said "There's a real possibility you will have this baby before either your husband AND your doctor get here."
Okay, I would hate for Joe to miss the birth of his first child but could live with it. The doctor you ask...apparently there was quite the drama unfolding behind the scenes. Unbeknownst to me, there was a little snafu concerning the doctor. They couldn't find her. No husband I could handle but NO DOCTOR! I was in a freaking hospital! It was full of doctors! Couldn't one of them be pulled in for a side job for crying out loud? A few minutes later Joe strolled in and had the shock of his life. There I was, legs up and the nurses cheering his arrival and exclaiming over how much hair they could see on the baby's head. Which, he too could see very well for himself. He had the nerve to scold me saying "You told me having a baby takes hours and hours!" Oh, sorry...I guess I forgot to tell you I signed up for express birth. By then I was begging to be allowed to push and was finally given the go ahead. A midwife was brought in to make the catch and Samuel Robert entered the world a mere 25 minutes after I entered the hospital. The doctor...she actually arrived about 10 minutes after Sam did. Ah, yeah, thanks but we're good...see baby in my arms, not abdomen.
As I basked in new Mom bliss I watched the election results coming in all over the country. And realized I was watching history unfold before my eyes. Not just our personal family history but history for the textbooks kind of history. The weeks after Sam's birth were full of chads of all kinds, last minute court rulings and counting and recounting of votes and diapers...lots and lots of diapers. I was reminded how very important it is to cast my vote. I watched, along with the rest of America, the drama that was the 2000 election. It didn't matter whether you were rooting for George W or Al Gore, the message was loud and clear. Every vote counts. So, make sure you get to your local polling place today and vote. If I can get in and vote while in the middle of such a life altering moment like giving birth, you can get there too.