Birth in Numbers

0 – number of worries I had for most of my pregnancy (well… I lie. The number was higher at the beginning then lessened with each ice cream-filled evening.)
3 – the number of weeks I dealt with mysterious back pain and cramping while in my 6th and 7th months of pregnancy
29 – the number of weeks, plus 2 days gestation when I started to take those pains seriously
0 – number of emotions expressed by the male Telehealth nurse as I, so embarrassed I thought I might swallow my tongue, described the sticky details of the symptoms I had been experiencing for some time
1,346 – the number of worries that contributed to the ugly cry I launched into after learning from said emotionally derelict Telehealth nurse that I should go straight to the hospital
45 – the number of dollars I owe a musician I was meant to pay for an April gig – I used his envelope of undelivered cash for a cab to the hospital (never leave a pregnant woman with an envelope full of your cash)
3 – number of times I burst into tears trying to explain to staff at St. Mike’s that I needed to be checked for signs of – oh ma gah! - preterm labour
3 – number of sizes my heart grew when my husband arrived at the hospital, still in his work clothes and totally out of breath to be at my side
12 – amount of relief I felt (on a scale of 1 to 10) when my mother arrived as well – if 1 was “and you are…..?” and 10 was “Mommyyyyyyy!”
1 – number of centimeters that my cervix had dilated to by the time I was checked by doctors at St. Mike’s
3 – number of times I cracked the same “Aren’t you at least going to buy me dinner first?” joke for each suppository I endured
.5 – the number of times a nurse laughed at said joke
2 to 3 – number of centimeters my cervix had dilated to by later that same evening
0 – number of open beds for a 29 week preemie in Toronto should I deliver that night
5 – number of needles I had received by morning
1 – number of needles that sprayed blood all over the bed and myself
2 – number of horrified faces I saw while that happened as I looked at my mother and husband
65 – number of doubts I had in the nurse that administered that needle
2 – number of contractions I experienced when told by neonatal pediatricians about the terrifying potential risks of birthing a premature baby
1 – number of open spots for me and my potentially premature baby in London, Ontario
1 or 2 – times I had visited London, Ontario
0 – details I remembered of those visits
2 – number of hot paramedics that accompanied my husband and I on a Medevac helicopter ride to London’s St. Joseph’s hospital
6 – number of withering glares they got from my husband (still in his work clothes from the day before)
0 – my desire to fly (on a scale of 1 to 10), if 1 was “I’d rather swallow kitty litter than fly” and 10 was “hells, yes! Let me get my head set!”
900 – number of degrees it was under the heavy-duty blankets on the stretcher in the helicopter
3 – upon my arrival in London, number of days I had gone without a shower
1200 – level of personal stink-filth (on a scale of 1 to 10), if 1 was “hm, that’s unpleasant” and 10 was “good GOD, I’ve gone blind!”
7 – number of magazines I acquired from family and friends who were worried I’d have nothing to do while waiting in the hospital, hoping the baby would ‘stay in there’ until full term
1 – number of those magazines that I actually had a chance to read before the baby ‘got the hell outta there’
5 – number of days I hung out in a hospital bed, hoping for my contractions to settle
30 – minutes after 5 a.m. on the 5th day in hospital that I started timing my contractions
10 – minutes apart those contractions were
6 to 7 – minutes apart those contractions were when the nurse started timing them
0 – amount of cervix I had left by 10, later that morning
15 – minutes after 11 a.m. that they wheeled me, along with my hubby, into the birthing room
0 – amount I knew about labour and giving birth – ummmm… what does fully dilated mean?
0 – amount I knew about pain – epi-wha?
14.5 – hours I was able to hold off without asking for drugs to numb the pain
30 to 60 – minutes the anesthesiologists said it would be before they could come and administer the epidural I had decided I needed more than anything in the ever-lovin’ universe
3 – number of nurses that I made blush when I yelled “FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!” after hearing said news about the epidural delay
30-ish – minutes it actually took for the anesthesiologists to arrive… I think – there is no time when you feel like your back will split down the middle and a baby will come out your ass
1 – number of legs the epidural actually affected when finally administered
9 – hour of the evening that they finally broke my water so I could get the damn show on the road
1 to 2 – minutes I was able to full-on sleep between pushing
16.5 – in the end, the number of hours I was in labour
46 – the number of minutes after 9 o’clock in the evening that Coen George Ross-Barris was born
3 and 9 – the number of pounds and ounces that a little boy can weigh
A million – number of times a day I restrain myself from referring to Coen as an angel or miracle for fear of adding to the over-Anne-Geddied, drugstore-greeting-carded, stuffed-praying-dolled world of newborn rhetoric
Another million – the number of incredibly generous and caring friends and family members that it seemed were eager to jump in and support the three of us in this crazy adventure
A trillion – amount of luck I feel on a daily basis because of said friends and family members (on a scale of 1 to 10), if 1 was “hey, I just found a quarter!” and 10 was “hey, I just found a winning lottery ticket… under Brad Pitt…who’s in my bed!”
0 – number of regrets I feel when I smell the top of my little boy’s head while he sleeps soundly in my arms.

Coen, with his prison barber haircut - when he was born he had an IV in his scalp - ouchie.