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The Birth Story (aka Really Long and Boring)

January 22, 2010
I need to write this down somewhere because I don’t want to forget. If it’s TMI, don’t feel obligated to read 🙂
December 13 was my 37 week mark. I remember telling my Dad that 37 weeks is considered term, so any time from here on out the baby could come. Of course, I knew that first time moms generally go past due, so I was positive I’d have time to wrap up work before Christmas, enjoy the holidays, then go have a baby,
As it was, I woke up on Monday, December 14 at about 3 am with b
loody show. Funnily enough, my dear husband had stayed up all night so I rushed to the other room to tell him I was bleeding. I knew about bloody show being a precursor to delicery, but I also knew that you could bleed from less pleasant things like placental tears and abruption. Because I lacked experience in discerning the two events I phoned the on-call OB. She suggested I go get checked out at L and D. I had been planning that weekend to pack my hospital bag, but as it was, I had never gotten around to it. HH jumped into overdrive and packed a bag for me that included— well, pretty much the contents of our entire apartment. He was a bit enthusiastic.
We flew to triage and found it relatively empty. I was promptly h
ooked up to monitors. Baby looked fine and lo and behold, I was having fairly regular contractions. After sitting there for about an hour (watching Holiday Inn) the doctor came in and did a brief internal exam, determined it was naught but bloody show, I was only 1 cm dilated, and she sent us home.
There are a lot of false calls at L and D and I wasn’t really expecting to deliver that day, but it was still a bit hmm embarrassing? disheartening? o walk out of maternity as pregnant as I came in (and lacking that rushh of excitement).
By the time we got home it was almost seven and we were exhausted. I was still having fairly mild, but regular contractions, so we filled our bosses in and asked for t
he day off. We slept for a few hours, my contractions disappeared, and the day was uneventful.
At about 2 am Tuesday, December 15 I woke up with contractions again and this time they were *gasp* painful. My discharge instructions from the day before had said to call my doctor if the contractions got worse and came every 3-5 minutes. I timed myself and realized they were coming every 7 minutes. They were uncomforrtable enough that I couldn’t sleep…I had to walk around the apartment. A few hours later they were coming at just about every 5 minutes. I woke up my husband, called the doctor and headed to triage ag
ain.
Now that I have been through this whole process I know that even though those were painful, hard to talk through contractions, they were no where near powerful enough to be real labor. And that was confirmed by the nurse. I was 1.5 cm dilated and -1 position. Watching my regular pointed contractions on the monitor, she kindly suggested that we try walking the halls to see if that would help dilation. So we walked. And walked. And walked. For four hours. On little to no sleep. And I made zero progress. Zero. So they sent us home.
At this point I was dead tired and I realized I was making a mou
ntain out of a molehill. There was no way this little guy was coming before his due date. He was just fooling with me. I had already informed my boss that I wouldn’t be in that day (right after having emailed him that Monday had been a false alarm) so I slept the day away and found when I woke up that my contractions had greatly decreased. My boss suggested that I start maternitty leave, so I stayed home Wednesday as well. But my contractions were basically gone and I was going stir-crazy so I decided to go back to work.
Lo and behold I started getting contractions again Wednesday night. I tossed and turned (very awkwardly with my huge belly…heck, it takes so much effort to tos
s and turn while pregnant), but there were no comfortable positions. I dreaded going back to L and D (I was sure we were the laughingstock there) so I decided to not mention my contractions until my water broke. Then they’d have to admit me.
I made it through Thursday (having to inform my co-workers that no, there was no baby yet) and random strong contractions. I wrote my family telling them not to change holiday plans on the baby’s account because there was no way he was coming any
time soon. I also depressed myself be reading stories of women who had this sort of labor for weeks straight before delivering.
Thursday night I couldn’t sleep in bed. I finally told my husband I was having bad contractions and he fixed me up with warm blankets on the recliner. I think he thought I was the boy who cried wolf at that point, but he lovingly brought out the sleeping bag and slept by my feet. I dozed here and there and was up at five getting ready for work.
Once I got in to the lab, my contractions got even stronger. I found
I literally could not do anything. IfI tried to pipette, a contraction would strike and my hands would shake, squirting chemicals everywhere. I decided this was ridiculous. The baby obviously wasn’t coming, so I would have to learn to deal. I developed a routine whereby when a contraction came I would creep into the hallway and while hugging the wall, try to walk it off. As soon as it dissipated I would rush (but not too fast for fear of bringing about another contraction) back to my bench, grab my pipette and work o
n my cell line cramming in as much as possible before the next contraction.
After about an hour of that, I no longer had time between contractions to do any work. I circled the hallway (it was a large square) pitifully and drank a full glass of water every time I passed the cooler (in case I was just dehydrated). By 10:30 the contractions were actually bringing me to my knees and giving up on the whole pride thing I called HH.
“Pain. Scale of 1 to 10?” He asked bluntly. I had never put myself over a five before because my ten was ectopic pregnancy pain and that seemed unbeatable.
“8,” I said without thinking. All I wanted to do was curl up with him and wait for these to blow over.
“Ok we’re going to the hospital,” my take-charge guy replied. “I’m coming to pick you up.” I no longer cared how embarrassing it would be to be sent home from L and D again, I just wanted to get off my feet and into a warm shower. I went to my boss’ office and tried to simply state the fact that I had to go– but all that came out were little squeaks mixed with tears, but he got the point. He helped me gather my stuff and escorted me to the lobby. He then waited with me for HH while making small talk about Boston as I nearly crumpled up under the waves of contractions.
We got to the hospital about 12:30 and I was fast-tracked at triage. The nurse who examined me exclaimed right away, “Oh, you’re the woman who walked for like four hours a couple days ago, right?” I could barely nod as she examined me and I prayed that I was at least at a 2. 4 cm was the verdict, 90% effaced and stage 0. I started crying from relief. “Don’t worry,” said the nurse, “I’m going to make the doctor break your water– we won’t send you away again.”
I was taken up to the delivery ward, had a resident break my water
(ps…really weird feeling) and right away my contractions got worse– something I did not think possible. I had been hoping to make it without an epidural, but after so many days of contractions, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Wow, medicine is amazing. I felt like a wimp for choosing that route, but it did give me about three hours of down time. I tried to sleep, but was suddenly too excited so I watched TV. Weirdly, almost every sho
w I turned on was about pregnancy or giving birth in some form or fashion. My husband took a quick breather to run home and walk the dogs. Just as he got back the contractions were becoming rapidly unbearable again. I was 8 cm. An hour later I was 10 cm and almost ready too push.
Friends was playing on the tv and Phoebe was giving birth to triplets. She was doing it was little grunts, witty remarks, and perfect makeup. Triplets!! The tv stayed off after that.
I was dying to push for about half and hour after I got the go ahead.
Pushing was such a relief. But such hard work. I was drenched in sweat in seconds and the fact that I hadn’t really slept in 48 hours was catching up with me. HH was helping by holding my leg, but he kept letting it fall. I realized after the fact that it was because he was much more interested in catching peeks of our baby then remembering to hold my leg.
After pushing for about half an hour I was ready to die. I tried to take a break, but instinct is powerful and I still had to push with every contraction. The doctors and nurses were rallying me, but all I really remember was HH smiling and telling me that I could do it. My original delivery nurse left about now and bluntly told me that most women push for hours. I was ready to give up. But the new nurse was chipper and helpful. She pulled out a freestanding mirror and told me to watch. She said it would help me focus. She was right– thr
ee more pushes and he crowned.
I was so nervous the entire delivery because I had heard that crowning was the worst part. So no matter how painful the contractions got, or how exhausting the pushing was, I was (literally) shaking in my shoes because the worst was yet to come. It wasn’t bad at all. I had no tearing and no real pain. And as soon as his head was out, the re
st followed in one swift movement.
At the time he crowned I closed my eyes in concentration and I didn’t reopen them. I heard the doctor help my husband cut the cord. I think I heard crying? Really the next thing I know was having my son put in my arms.
I was shaking all over. The doctor was massaging my belly to expel the placenta. (I might have pushed it out, but I don’t remember at all). Mostly I remember being high. Yep, I was definitely strung out on an overload of every good hormone I make. I couldn’t stop looking at and touching my son. There were so many strange feelings.
I am so so grateful because my husband grabbed the camera and
started taking pictures the second LPK was laid in my arms. Those were the most precious moments I have ever had. And I can’t wait to go through it all over again.

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