Waaaaaay back, earlier this spring:
|On my due date, having a sit in the nursery-to-be|
My due date came and went with baby seemingly content to stay inside. That was fine with me. My pregnancy had been relatively smooth up to that point, and I knew this was the easiest part of parenting. Fetuses are so darn portable, you know? I loved my belly. I loved being pregnant. I was in no rush. All my hippie-crunchy birthing books told me baby would come when he or she was ready. Waiting was not a problem, and I had no inclination to try all those home induction tricks that the desperate mommies on the pregnancy [web] forum were stressing over. Sitting over a steaming cup of coffee? No thank you. Eating 5 pounds of fresh pineapple? My tongue hurt thinking about it. I was relaxed letting things be.
I was scheduled to work Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. Monday morning Ryan picked me up from work. It was pouring rain and I had a routine fetal non-stress test scheduled. Those are kinda nice. You lay back and relax for 10-20 minutes and they monitor baby's heart rhythm and any contractions you may have.
Baby checked out just fine. I was about 3 days "overdue" and dilated 2cm. Random, painless contractions had been coming and going over the weekend. I guess those were Braxton-hicks. They weren't achy; just a noticeable tightening over my abdomen.
I was prepared to wait it out another week or so if need be. But apparently my ob was not. "The baby needs to come by 41 weeks," he said, adding that the risks of post term delivery outweighed the risks of induction. "You don't want to wind up with a c-section if we can avoid it."
Whaaat? I told him that everyone in my family delivered late. I said that I was born a full two weeks late. "You were lucky," he replied. He added that my [slightly] elevated blood pressure and borderline glucose challenge test necessitated delivery before the week was out.
I argued about it for a bit, feeling very disinfranchised, but got nowhere. I reluctantly signed the consent for an induction via pitocin.
From there on out, all the wind was sucked out of my sails. People always ask "when is that baby coming?" It never bothered me before, now it hit a nerve. I felt all this pressure to deliver ASAP; my peaceful pregnancy was over.
At home I read up on all the risks of pitocin use--which were at least as awful as I already knew--just to justify my feelings. To be fair, I also reviewed a study which supported my ob's position, finding that moms with pregnancy induced hypertension tended to fare better with induction versus a watch and wait plan. BUT, I didn't have full blown HTN, so I'm not sure how those findings related to my particular situation.
I was supposed to work the next two nights, but couldn't sleep at all, dreading an induction. I called out and started my FMLA. Everyone at work knew I had already past my due date, so no one was really surprised.
I know women get induced all the time, and many even request it. But this was my first pregnancy. I really wanted the experience of a natural labor, especially the beginning. What does the process feel like? What will my body do? Some things you just can't learn on a pit drip.
For the rest of the day following my Dr's appointment I just sulked. I wasn't excited about the baby anymore. The pregnancy felt wasted. I started wondering how soon I could have a second child and get another chance to do it "right." Those feelings weren't rational. I'm certainly not proud of them. But that's how badly I was dreading medical intervention.
Tuesday I figured I'd start walking, which Ryan had been encouraging me to do (though all the walking at work hadn't made a difference so far). So we went up and down the neighborhood with Kip on a leash. In the afternoon we went to that 4winds grocery place. I had never been there before, but quickly understood why everyone raves about it. We picked up gyro meat for dinner and a box of Jordanian almonds. The grocer, after trying to sell us every item in the deli, told me I'd be having a boy since the baby favored my right side.
That evening I knew things were beginning to happen--but would they happen in time? I was having lots of Braxton Hicks, and I think I lost my mucous plug ( it looked like a little jellyfish swimming to the bottom of the toilet . . . because you just had to know that). Also, my bowels were, uh, cleaning house. I knew these were all [possible] preparatory signs, but I didn't get my hopes up too high. I knew some women lost their plugs weeks or days before delivery and sometimes just regenerated new ones. And maybe something I ate just wasn't agreeing with me.
We spent the early evening at our new house. My father in law was working on installing the dry wall for the living room. I avoided the dust by staying outside and took out my frustrations on all the virginia creeper and scuppernon vines choking the azaleas. Maybe in the back of my mind I was hoping I'd break my water with all the yanking and pulling.
Later that night, around one in the morning, the contractions felt different than Braxton hicks. They felt like period cramps and were coming every three to five minutes. At two am they were still coming in regular intervals. My doc had said to come in to the hospital if they were every five minutes for an hour (check) even if they didn't feel strong (check). At this point I was getting a little excited and woke Ryan up. I really didn't think the contractions were bad at all, but I was afraid of delivering quickly like my sister and decided to play it safe. Besides, two thirty in the morning was a perfect time to slip out of the house. We were staying with my inlaws and I didn't want to cause any you're-gonna-have-a-baby! commotion.
We checked into the ER and were sent upstairs to L&D. One of my coworkers said "I'm supposed to wheel you up there, you know." I declined. I could walk just fine and I really didn't want to sit in a gross wheelchair. I mean, I sanitize wheelchairs when I'm through with them, but I don't know if everyone else does.
The labor and delivery unit was pretty quiet. A nurse called "Barb" took us to a room where I took a whiz quiz, changed into a hospital gown, and had the fetal monitors strapped onto me. I had brought my own sheets and gown, but had left them in the car. We weren't sure if we'd be staying.
Barb verified that I was having contractions regularly, but I was only dilated 3cm. An hour later I was still at 3cm. Another hour later--about 6am--I hadn't budged so they sent me home. The contractions were pretty uncomfortable but they were short lived and not debilitating. I was still scared of having a precipitous birth, and the contractions remained frequent. Barb told me to come back when they were "too strong to talk or walk through." Ok. Home we went. But first I stopped in the cardiac unit to say hey to my coworkers and pick up my spare keys that I had left in my locker. I took an alternate route out of the building. I didn't want the ER folks seeing me leave--I felt like a phony now.
Neither of us had slept much, so I went back to bed while Ryan ran to Tom Thumb for his cancer sticks. He brought back Snickers and gummy sours for me. I ate a few pieces and slept until about 0800 when the contractions were too uncomfortable to sleep through. I was still, uh, leaking some, and had been since about 1am. At the time I presumed it was the remnants of the cervical plug coming out. In retrospect I should have suspected my water had broken.
Ryan was sleeping so I got up and walked around a bit. His parents had already left for work, which was nice because I didn't want an audience. I had a strong feeling this baby was coming today and figured I should get as many calories in as possible. I took two bites of a banana and promptly vomited into the kitchen sink.
It was about 0900 and I had to pause for the contractions now. They were getting pretty strong. I started to get fixated on riding in a car and getting in and out of a car. In between contractions I was fine. But I was starting to get paranoid thoughts, like what if another contraction came--and it stayed? And then I wouldn't be able to move, and how well would Ryan drag me in and out of the car? I woke him up and told him we were leaving. Again.
"Are you sure?" He was afraid of getting turned away again and looking like silly first timers. I was afraid of having the baby at home. Off we went.