There are certain moments, certain parts of memories that stay with you. I think giving birth is like that. I want to tell the story of Carl’s birth so that I don’t forget it, and one day if he wants to know he can read about it from his mom’s perspective from way back when rather than how times colors our memories.
Thursday, April 23 I was in pain. I can remember when it really started to be notable. It was around 2pm in the afternoon and I was walking out of the Foodland. The pain progressed all day but I tried not the focus on it. I was walking around my house about 6pm debating whether or not to call my husband and tell him we needed to go to the hospital. I had been out and about all day in hopes that walking would help things progress in the right direction. The day before my doctor had told me that I was still at a centimeter dilated and women can sit at a centimeter for weeks. I had already been at a centimeter for a few weeks. I did not want to be one of those women that went past their due date. I only had so much maternity leave and I wanted to spend it with my baby. I made an induction appointment for my 39th week which was just a week after that day. I was ready to not be pregnant anymore. So I walked. And I might have tried spicy food. And I might have had a cup of coffee with pepper in it because that’s what my mother did before me when she couldn’t stand being pregnant any more.
I walked around the mall. I walked around Walmart, I bought Steven’s birthday present. I came home and made a grocery list for the next day. I even made dinner. Steaks and potatos. At about two that day I had started having painful contractions. Not debilitating, but definitely uncomfortable. Around four I started timing them just out of curiosity. I honestly figured they couldn’t be close enough together to be a big deal. And at the time I was under the extremely false impression that contractions came ten minutes apart, then nine minutes, then 8 minutes…etc. This is not the case, at least not for me. They were between 9 and 11 minutes apart which is not really close enough to do anything about. We headed home and I sat and drank a bottle of water like they recommend for false labor contractions…which didn’t help. Turns out the contractions were getting a little closer together. By nine my contractions were between 4 and 7 minutes apart. Steven and Faith made me go to the hospital even though I knew they would just send me home. That’s what I told them, that’s what I told the nice L & D nurse Erica, that’s what I said to the people in the elevator as Steven wheeled me to the fourth floor. That’s what I told anyone who would listen. I definitely was not in labor. I was however in an increasing amount of pain. When they tell you that your contractions will come in neat little time intervals just know that is bull and they wont be like that.
Steven wheeled me to the desk, while I fully protested the use of a wheelchair. I was fine. I was rather adamant in insisting that I was fine. Erica (the nice L&D nurse) took my information, sent me to a room and told me to put on one of those god awful gowns and she would be in a second to check on me. So Steven, Faith and I go the room, I put the stupid gown on and for some reason I thought I wouldn’t really need to take off my underwear. Luckilly Erica was a patient woman in explaining to me that I would indeed need to completely undress. So completely undress I did. I hopped rather ungracefully on the bed, at this point I was still having contractions and they were still pretty painful. Erica attached a series of monitors to my huge belly with this weird elastic belt thing and suddenly we could hear Carl’s little heartbeat. She checked me for dilation and I really could have cried when she told me I was still at a one. I honestly didn’t know at that point if I could handle contractions much more painful and in my head, from everything all those other women had been telling me it only got worse as labor progressed. Needless to say I was not a happy camper. True to form, Nurse Erica kindly told me that she would monitor me for an hour and then check me for dilation which would determine whether or not I would get checked into the hospital or sent home. She was at least really reassuring. I had been rather afraid all the nurses would have horns and breathe fire. If you are like me and you dread this part just know it probably wont be as bad as you think at least before the baby gets there. I found that the nurses were much more intrusive after he was born rather than before, but then again I had a different labor than most women.
Tune in next week for the next part of my exciting labor series.