Birth Story Part I - Early Labor

When I hit 40 weeks, I was pretty sure this baby wasn't going to come any time soon.  None of the signs they tell you to look for were present - the baby hadn't dropped, I wasn't nesting, I didn't have a burst of energy, and none of the other things they tell you to look for had happened.  I also hadn't felt a single contraction - Braxton Hicks or otherwise.  In fact I felt great and the exact same that I'd been feeling for the past month or so.  Also knowing that I was born 2 weeks late, I was ready to assume this baby would be late too. 

That was a Thursday. On Friday I had a half day, and spent the afternoon hanging out with a friend.  We went to Target, walked around a bit, and spent some time hanging out at her house.  While I was there I realized that I was feeling a bit uncomfortable.  Nothing really noticeable, just more that I couldn't find a good position on the couch.  Just feeling a bit unsettled.  I decided to head home a bit earlier than usual, and when I left she said she thought I'd be in labor soon.  I guess I had a "look."

I got home and had Tom move the car seat from my car to his (since we'd planned to take his car to the hospital) and a few other things that I'd been putting off, but it seemed like a good time to get done.  We headed to bed sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 and I was still feeling fine.  Around 9:30, before I had actually fallen asleep, I felt something gush.  I jumped up, with a feeling I knew what that was, and ran to the bathroom where I confirmed that my water had definitely broken!

I still wasn't feeling contractions, so I tried to go back to bed for a bit, but I soon realized that I'd just end up waking up Tom, so I moved downstairs and texted my doula Stacey.  I figured I'd wait until morning to call anyone else, but she encouraged me to call my doctor's office and just let them know, which I did. Since I still wasn't feeling any contractions, though, there wasn't much to do. 

When they did start up around 11:30 pm, they were all in my back and they were coming every 3 minutes.  The frequency was concerning, but I knew since they were only lasting 30 seconds and weren't very intense, that I still had a lot of time. I spent some time pacing around the house, and eventually they slowed to every 7 to 11 minutes.  I managed to get an hour of sleep around that time from 1:30 - 2:30 am.

The contractions started to get stronger and a bit closer together, so I got up and took a shower at 4:00 am.  Afterwards I woke Tom up and let him know that if he wanted to shower that day, he might want to do it now.  The next concern turned to our new couch - which was set to be delivered between 7 and 10 that morning.  When we ordered it originally, it wasn't supposed to be in stock until late June - way after baby would come.  Then when it came in early I was so sure that baby would be late, I had Tom schedule it for that Saturday. And now here we were - labor and couch on the same day!

Luckily the couch came quickly, but my back labor was picking up and was no joke.  The contractions were intense, and lasting well over a minute, but they still weren't coming regularly.  They'd come every 3-4 minutes for a little while, and then slow to 8 - 10 minutes.  They were jumping all over the place.  Still around 9:30 am we decided to head to the hospital and called Stacey to meet us there.

When we got to the hospital the doctors and Stacey were all happy with how far I'd progressed, but I was feeling like I had too long to go. I'd felt prepared for regular contractions, but the back pain was throwing me.  The only way I could get through contractions was to have Stacey pound on my back or put a ton of pressure on it, and I was pretty sure her hands wouldn't last all day doing that.  I took another shower, spent some time walking around, but by noon I was ready to request an epidural.  It's funny because between contractions I was absolutely sure that I'd be fine and could go all night.  During a contraction?  I was dying and wanted it to be over right then.

Getting the epidural was another thing.  First they told me I'd need to drain a full IV.  When I asked how long that would take, I was told 15 minutes.  Well an hour later it was still only half drained.  Thankfully they decided I could have the epidural then.  The doctor came in and immediately started giving a speech about the importance of me staying absolutely still or everything would be horrible, and how he was going to kick everyone out of the room - including my beloved Stacey!  I tried to ask him a question and got a very stern "No questions! Let me finish my speech!" which set the stage for what was to come. 

Here's where TV failed me.  I was under the impression that an epidural took approximately 5 minutes, and you got to hug a pillow and have someone hold you still.  And apparently it can be that, but I happened to get a very detail orientated and cautious doctor who averages 30-60 minutes for an epidural.  There is no pillow, only an impossible position to hold (curve your back but don't hunch it, be round but not bent, and keep your neck at an angle that makes it instantly ache), and stillness.  As Stacey was kicked out of the room I panicked and asked her how I was supposed to stay still during contractions... I was almost ready to back out.  She told me to breathe and told me she'd be back soon.  Both her and Tom went off to get food while they had a chance.

The epidural took about 45 minutes and was definitely the worst 45 minutes of the day.  I have cuts on my legs from digging my nails into them so hard, but once it was done, life was good.  As much as I didn't love that doctor (and the nurses all confided after that they don't either!) he did some good work.  I instantly had relief, and the nurses wrapped me in warm blankets - I was in heaven! It was time to put a movie on, take a nap, and rest up for what was to come!

To Be Continued...