Warning: This blog entry will not be edited for gross-factor. It's a down and dirty look at labor and delivery, so please don't read if you are squeamish. I have found that as the days pass, my memories of these moments are starting to fade, so I want to make certain that I have them written down for posterity.
Prior to Will's birth, I had last written in my blog that nothing was happening. But what I didn't know (and a few of you smart readers out there had suspected) is that the NP at my last OB appointment had stripped my membranes and a lot was going on. . .
I felt very restless as I went to bed on Tuesday night. I was tired, but I couldn't fall asleep, as I mindlessly flipped through the channels on the tv. I planned out a busy day for myself the next morning, wanting to get the last minute things done. My lovely neighbors had just installed his closet organizer, so I wanted to get going on hanging up clothes and putting things away. I wanted to do a few things around the house so that it would be more company-ready. Little Man had other plans for me.
I finally drifted off around 11:00, but woke up several times during the night. I just could not get comfortable and the restless feelings continued. At 3:24 AM, I woke up and felt this gentle pulsing wetness. I thought to myself, I think my water has broken, but of course, I couldn't be sure. I quietly got up, went to the bathroom, and found a lot of pink staining and very wet underpants. The toilet bowl was filled with more pinkish water. I did smell it, and it definitely lacked the amonia smell of urine. It didn't smell sweet, as some had said, it really lacked any odor at all.
I put on a pad, a new set of pants, and went downstairs to call the triage nurse. I explained what happened and that I thought my water had broken. After taking me through a set of questions, the nurse said that it probably had, but to see if I soaked two pads with the clear fluid before coming in. I had a vague back ache, but nothing that I could call a contraction, so I wondered if it was a false alarm. I lay down on the couch to watch more t.v. and to wait and see what happened.
At 4:00 AM on the dot, I felt my first contraction. It felt just like a period cramp, down a bit lower, and definitely coming from my back. I got up, changed my first soaked pad, and started writing the time of the contractions down. They started at 12 minutes apart, but rapidly went to 6 minutes apart. Just around 5:00 AM, a few came at 5 minutes apart and I went to wake my husband.
WHAT? Yep, I had let my husband sleep til this point. I was worried that it was all a false alarm and that we would get sent home from the hospital and he would have to go to work that day. I wanted him to have as much sleep as possible. Now that the contractions seemed to be getting stronger and closer together, I figured it was time to get him up.
I crawled into bed and gently tapped him on the shoulder. When he opened his eyes, I told him, "Honey, I think I am in labor."
His response? "How far apart are the contractions?"
I told him, "Five minutes." (This being the threshold that my OB had told us we should come in to the L&D).
I've never seen a man jump out of bed so fast!
He was actually a bit irritated at me for waiting to wake him, but with the day that we had ahead of us, I am still glad that he got that extra sleep.
After that, things got a bit rushed. We already had a hospital bag "packed," but once you realize that you are actually heading in, it becomes essential to review the contents and add a few more things. We both took quick showers and cleaned up a bit around the house. We were able to get our dogs situated at the boarding kennel where we normally keep them so that we wouldn't have to worry about them while we were in the hospital. Since the place doesn't open until 7:00, we had to wait a bit once we were actually ready.
By this point, the contractions were still about five minutes apart, but becoming much more intense. I was getting distracted by them and would start doing something only to have to pause for one and then forget what I had been doing. At one point, I went to the bathroom and felt something slide out. I looked in the toilet and there was a small, dark red lump, that looked exactly like a plug - my mucous plug! I was a little concerned because it was so dark and bloody looking. I guess I had been expecting something clear. All of a sudden, I started to get worried. Was that really my plug or a clot? And in a weird way, the little plug sliding out felt like when I had lost one of my seven-week pregnancies. It brought back some strange memories, that this cramping and discharge could equal something good and not bad. After that happened, I was pretty much ready to get to the hospital and be around professionals that could tell me that the baby was okay.
The drive to get the dogs to their boarding place and then the time to get to the hospital seemed to take forever and mere seconds all at once. I felt perfectly fine in between contractions, but once a new one hit, I was pretty speechless. They were starting to come closer, more like every three to four minutes apart, and were pretty intense. I remember telling M that if this wasn't labor, I was in big trouble.
There were a lot of things that I wanted to do in that drive, like take video and pictures, but when it was actually labor time, I found that I needed my concentration to get through the pains. And though I had thought that I would never need the cheesy breathing exercises that we had learned in our birthing class, I found myself using them to focus and breathe. In between contractions, M and I held hands and tried to get our minds around the fact that this was actually happening. I kept saying to him, "Can you believe this?! We're going to have a baby today or tomorrow!"
When we got to the hospital, M had to park the car. They do have valet parking at the birthing center, but it is set up kind of funky where you have to drop your car off and then walk to the building. . . seems to kind of defeat the purpose. So M dropped me off with my pregnancy pillow and bottle of water. I was going to wait downstairs for him, but the contractions were getting worse, and I knew admission could take awhile.
I texted M . . . "Going upstairs to get started. . ."