This week my guest bartender is none other than my Muse–a part time blogger and full time fountain of ideas and knowledge. Each month there is a new theme and I let the bartender concoct their own signature “drink”. April’s theme is Spring Break. Want to know what Happy Hour is all about? CLICK HERE
Spring Break in NYC
I was in my 3rd year of a bachelors program majoring in nursing. The semester had been a breeze thanks to the wonderful friends/classmates I had. We were a big group, all in the same classes, who helped each other out. Even though the work wasn’t difficult, the amount we had to do was a bit overwhelming and we were truly in need of our spring break. Because we were broke college students, and one of the group was 36 weeks pregnant with her first child, we decided to stick close to home and take an overnight trip to New York City.
The first day was a blast. Although I had been there many times before, it was the first trip for everyone else and I enjoyed my role as tour guide. We took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, walked through the Ellis Island museum, and took pictures in “Liberty stance”. We went to Chinatown, Little Italy, walked the Brooklyn Bridge. We found the “Seinfeld restaurant”, went to Times Square, had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, toured Rockefeller Center, and ended our day with a relaxing walk through Central park.
By the time we got ourselves back to the hotel, we were all completely spent. And as tired as I was, my friend Carissa was ready to pop out a kid and barely able to move. None of us had stopped to realize how sore she would be, not that we would know… She was the first among us to ever be pregnant.
At about 10:30 that night, we all decided to meet at the hotel restaurant for dinner and drinks. It had been a long day and we were all beyond exhausted. The thought of leaving the hotel was one none of us entertained. While awaiting our food order, we sat around exchanging stories and laughing. Everything was just great until Carissa shouted “Ow! What the hell was that?”
Now, let me give you a little bit of background. Even though we were all in a medical program at one of the countries most prestigious medical schools, AND none of us were idiots, we also had not done a prenatal rotation and knew absolutely squat about pregnancy.
Her husband Matt said “You’re tired. You overdid it. It’s just muscle strain probably.” Then we all went back to laughing and carrying on. Until our meal came about 10 minutes ater and Carissa said “Mother Fucker! That hurts!”
I remember staring at her and watching her face turn bright red, her pupils getting really big. I looked over at my friend Tracey who said “Maybe we should start timing these pains… I mean, it’s probably not labor, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.” I was thinking the very same thing, but too afraid to say something. I didn’t want to scare the preggo.
As we sat through dinner we timed the pains but they were not very consistent. Matt, bless his heart, remembered something from Lamaze class and suddenly exclaimed “HEY! I know what it is!! It’s the Toni Braxton contractions! They are supposed to prepare you for the real thing. See? It’s not labor.”
Carissa began laughing so hard, tears were coming out of her eyes! We all stared at her, bewildered. I was trying to figure out what Toni Braxton had to do with contractions, while the rest of the group waited for Carissa to finally say something. Once she calmed down, she said “Matt, honey, they are called Braxton Hicks contractions. Toni Braxton is a singer!” We all, finally understanding, joined in on the laugh. Everything was great until I noticed Carissa’s face getting very red again and she was suddenly not talking. It lasted almost a minute that time. I knew something was up. We all agreed that she should go to bed and see how she felt after some sleep. Saying our good nights, we went back to our rooms.
At about 2:20 am, I received a frantic knock on my hotel room door. It was Matt freaking out about Carissa. I vividly remember that moment. He was sweating, shaky, and whispering “Either she pissed the bed, or the water broke. I’m pretty sure she’d never piss on me. What do we do?” I’m not one to just jump to my feet right away upon waking up. It
took me a minute to process what he was actually saying. Finally, I told him to go back to the room with her and the rest of us would figure out something.
I woke everyone up. They were angry at me, but they were awake. Then we went to the front desk to explain the situation. The clerk behind the desk was this annoying older man who spoke very little English. We were pretty much getting nowhere after our fourth explanation, when this woman walking by said to us “The closest hospital is about 10 blocks. Call her a cab and get her there.”
*side note- say what you will about New Yorkers, but every single time I’ve been there, they have been the sweetest and most helpful people. New York city has some amazing citizens.
We took her advice and an hour later were sitting in a waiting room outside of the labor and delivery department while our dear Carissa was getting checked out. After about 30 minutes, Matt came out to say they weren’t leaving that hospital without a babe in arms. The next several hours consisted of us all sitting with Carissa as she went through labor. She had decided “epidurals are for the weak” and we watched (some of us in horror) as she writhed in pain. We all got a serious lesson in Lamaze coaching that night, as well as the RN’s role in the birthing process. I personally found the entire experience amazing and vowed that, if I ever had children of my own, I would also experience it naturally if I could (luckily for me, I did… a couple of times!).
Matt ran around calling family members and trying to get everyone up to NYC as quickly as they could. The grandparents to be all piled in a car and drove the 2.75 hour trek into the city and were there in plenty of time. Finally, at about 1:15 pm, we were ushered out of the room. Carissa was 10 cm dilated and that kid was ready to come. We sat and waited again, having no clue what was going on. It took her a little over an hour to push, but she did an amazing job! Ryan Matthew was born at 2:40 pm on March 22, 1998. He was 7 lbs even, 19 inches long, and full of scream! Holding him at under an hour old, the most amazing feelings came over me. I could have spent my spring break anywhere… getting drunk in Cancun, clubbing in Miami, but none of those could hold a candle to sitting in a Labor and Delivery room holding a healthy little baby boy and watching my friend transform from a college student to a beaming new mom.
Ryan just had his 14th birthday. Although the clan (plus the addition of Maddie in 2001) moved to Denver a few years ago, I always remember to send a card and a little note to the family who gave me a Spring Break I will always remember.
Anyone can go “Girls Gone Wild” in Cancun…. but how many of you can say you got an up close experience of the miracle of life?
Don’t bogart all the fun. Call, text, e-mail or Tweet your friends and invite them to Happy Hour. Hell, why not post it on Facebook or Google+
In case you’re too young to know who Frank Sinatra is, please watch the video and enjoy some old school culture.