*Note! This is going to be SUPER LONG. And NOTHING HAPPENS. Least eventful birth story EVER! And yet! SUPER LONG! Just a little heads up in case you have something better to do...*
Early Sunday morning, the last day of August, I woke up with contractions. Real ones. I thought, "This is probably it."
I got up and wandered downstairs. I wondered if I should go to church. I wrote a blog post. I thought about what it would be like to have a baby that night. After all, this was my second. Everyone says it goes faster.
(A Quick Review: There were forty-seven hours between my first contraction with Jack and his actual birth. I swear, I did actual math to come up with that number. Most of those hours would be characterized as Early Labor and while I managed them just fine, I ripped out and burned all the sections in the pregnancy books that recommend going shopping and getting a pedicure during Early Labor. Because WHAT ARE THEY SMOKING?)
The contractions went away, so I made it through church without having to hunch over and catch my breath in front of Strangers, but picked up again that afternoon. Big time. I worried about things going quickly. I worried about needing a babysitter for Jack. I called my sister and said I might need her to stay the night, we might be going to the hospital.
And around six o'clock that night I started to feel pretty rotten and we decided to go. But first, we took a picture.
At the hospital I could already tell the nurse wasn't impressed with me. She was talking about what would happen if I needed to go home before she even checked me. I really didn't want to go home. I REALLY REALLY didn't want to go home. Things were too painful and I'd already spent most of the day hunched over the arm of my couch, rocking through contractions. Surely I was far enough along to stay!
She checked me and I was at 1 cm.
THAT was humiliating.
She humored us and let us hang out another hour so she could see if I was making any progress. I spent that whole hour inspecting the monitor read outs, trying to figure out if I was laboring sufficiently. When the nurse came back nothing had changed. She offered me Ambien or morphine, saying, "Lots of people get this shot of morphine, sleep a few hours and come back to the hospital all ready to go! I bet you'll be back here in the middle of the night, morning at the latest." I opted for the morphine because I knew I wasn't going to sleep through contractions (seriously? Ambien?) and at least the morphine sounded like some good stuff.
And oh, it was.
Thinking we might be going back to the hospital in the middle of the night, my sister graciously agreed to keep sleeping on the couch, even though I was now home and camped out in the living room with my television and my laptop. Phillip went upstairs to sleep and suddenly that morphine was totally kicking in. I slept all right- in between every contraction I was completely zonked out on the couch. And every time a contraction started up I jolted awake, but not so awake as to lurch off the couch like I'd been doing. Instead I just sort of acknowledged the pain with a "Duuuude, this suuuucks", held my breath waiting for it to be over, and then fell back asleep. I think that's what they call "taking the edge off."
Completely chastened by my hospital rejection, I was absolutely determined not to have it happen again. I measured every contraction for some sign of Unbearableness, but every time I'd think to myself: oh, I can definitely last through another one. So there was no going to the hospital in the middle of the night, OR the morning, OR the afternoon. My sister went home and my parents showed up, which had been the plan the day before, only with all of us thinking they'd be going to the hospital to see the new baby.
I hadn't wanted Jack to stay overnight at the grandparents' house. I felt like he had enough change and drama happening in his little life- the least I could do was make sure he was sleeping in his own bed. (To read about how Jack is coping with the actual Change and Drama, check out The Parenting Post.) My dad suggested they just take Jack home and I was all, "No! Must stick to plan!" But then I started to actually use my brain. I was super preoccupied with what everyone was doing in my house, I didn't even know what to do with myself. And news flash: labor is not fun in front of other people. I mean, I know some people get all stoked about the blow up tub in the living room and inviting your nearest and dearest to witness the blessed event, but that is so not my style. My style is not even telling people what's going on until the baby has had her post-birth bath.
(Well, unless they are blog readers. I keep those people pretty on top of things.)
Eventually I sent my parents home with my boy. I didn't like it, but it was easier on everyone. And, wouldn't you know, the contractions totally got going after I wasn't thinking about everyone in my house. I was free to distract my own self.
Items of Distraction: Laptop, excellent sequel to one of my favorite books, work project, church committee project, list of thank you notes to write, stack of ancient Xbox games to
burn sell, peach milk bubble tea. MMMM.
My folks left after lunch and I still had no idea when I'd get to go back to the hospital and HAVE THE BABY ALREADY. I'd given up on the "babies come faster the second time" theory and also the "I won't get there in time for the blessed drugs" paranoia. At this point I was operating about where I'd been operating with Jack- stay home as long as I possibly can, then make my husband run all the red lights on the way to the hospital.
Around 3 things got decidedly more painful. I waited a little bit and then called the hospital. "Oh," they fretted, "we really like you to wait until the contractions are five minutes apart." Whatever, I thought, because with Jack my contractions were NEVER that consistent. I called the doctor on call and she was a little more helpful with the decision-making, while still making it clear that I was the only one who could decide. (I HATE THAT.) I decided to stick it out a bit longer, but around 5 things were not only getting excruciating, but five honest-to-God minutes apart. At which point I informed Phillip we were leaving NOW.
And look, Jack was doing just fine at my folks' house.
He has superb taste in blogs.