When I was nearing the end of pregnancy, I started to get really anxious about when and where I would go into labor. And obsessed about where Reese would be - would she be at school? Would it be the middle of the night? It was a factor I obviously didn't have to worry about the first time around and it was making me super anxious. I didn't want to have to leave her in a dramatic way, or have her see me in pain, or be sad. When I went into labor with Reese, it all went really fast, and by the time we made it to the hospital, I was already 8 centimeters dilated and out of my mind with labor shakes and couldn't walk or speak a coherent sentence. I obviously wanted to get to the hospital a little sooner this time around. All that said, I started to read birth stories like crazy at the end, in hopes that it would mentally prepare me in some way for the the infinite and totally unpredictable labor scenarios. Of course, nothing can prepare you. But, before the sleepless nights rob me of more brain cells, here is Owen's birth story:
Friday, May 13th started just like any other Friday. I was already past 40 weeks and past our "due date" so had been feeling really anxious and antsy all week. I had an induction scheduled for the following Wednesday, so was really freaked out that it might come to that. I was getting annoyed with myself and my body too...Reese had arrived almost two weeks early, so I truly thought baby #2 would do the same, and definitely expected to be holding him or her by the due date. But the last few days of my pregnancy I felt stalled - my near constant Braxton-Hicks contractions became less frequent, and I even tried acupuncture to "induce labor" which was one of the most unexpectedly intense things ever! And my feet were starting to get next level puffy.
But despite all the uncertainty and anxiety, I didn't have a lot of time to sit around a dwell on it with Reese running all over the house and needing me. So that Friday we had a normal morning, and decided to head to the park where Nick was actually able to meet us during an unexpected break over lunchtime. We had a great time, and I was still lifting her to put her in the swing and up the ladders, etc. despite my huge belly. In hindsight now, even though it was something so normal and routine for us to go to the park, I realize that was our last outing together as a family of three. I'm happy we had that little bit of time all together that day.
After, Nick returned to work and Reese and I returned home for lunch and her nap time. After she woke up from nap around 3:00, I was feeling too tired to do much, so suggested we watch a movie, much to Reese's delight. We watched Peter Pan, which we had just rented from the library. Not having watched the movie myself since I was little, I remember getting teary when I heard Wendy sing the song about mothers to the lost boys. And then a few minutes later, I felt a random BH contraction out of no where and didn't think much of it...until it didn't end. I remember thinking - wow this contraction is lasting much longer than normal - and felt the pressure increasing until POP! My water broke. I was sitting on our brand new couch next to Reese. I immediately jumped up and ran to the bathroom. Reese was totally intrigued as to why I jumped up so fast and was acting so funny, and followed me to the toilet. I explained simply in the moment that "Mommy had an accident" as I was dealing with the aftermath of all the fluid. And just like that my labor started.
By some chance, not even a minute later, Nick walked through the door after getting done with work slightly early. I suspect he knew immediately that I was in labor since I was yelling his name from the bathroom when I heard him walk in. When I was able to get up after a few minutes, clean up and put on some new leggings, I immediately went into action. I called the OB on call since it was now after 5:00, and put in a message that my water broke and I would be headed in to the hospital soon. I made sure Reese was still content watching the movie, and then I immediately ran upstairs to finish the cleaning I had been procrastinating all day. Yup, that's me. In between contractions (which were probably 5-7 minutes apart at that point) I was vacuuming the entire upstairs floor of our house and putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Even though I knew I was being totally insane, I just had to do it. Nick evan asked in the midst of my crazy cleaning session "umm, are you sure you should be doing that now?" knowing full well that his protest wouldn't stop me.
After being satisfied by my cleaning efforts, I hopped in the shower, because of course I needed to wash and dry my hair before going to the hospital. #priorities. In between contractions, I flipped upside down to dry my hair and find something clean to wear to the hospital. Meanwhile, Nick was upstairs on the phone, calling all our friends trying to figure out what to do with Reese. Our "plan" to have our neighbors watch her fell through given the time of the day (5pm on a Friday) and we realized they would not be home for at least 2 hours. Suddenly my phone rang, and it was on of my best friends calling to say hi on her way home from work. I frantically picked up and started the conversation with "hi, um so my water just broke, what are you doing?" She immediately said she would drive over to us, and arrived within 30 minutes. Reese was thrilled to see her and have her there to play, so hardly noticed us racing around, trying to get things in order and my hospital bag packed and in the car.
All in all, even though things were moving fast, I felt calm. Happy. Not super emotional. I thought I would leave the house sobbing, sad about leaving Reese, and emotional about labor and the impending changes to our family. And I thought Reese would be sobbing too. But none of that happened. Instead, I helped make her mac and cheese for dinner, and sat down next to her to tell her that the baby was going to come today and that I was going to see the doctor now with daddy. She smiled, gave me a hug, and then turned her attention back to showing Allyson her new princess movies.
Nick and I drove to the hospital and made good time. Rush hour was ending and the traffic wasn't too bad. I definitely was feeling all the contractions in the car and had to close my eyes and breathe through each one. Being constrained in the passenger seat by the seatbelt was making me crazy uncomfortable. Nick and I talked nervously and he tried to find funny songs on his IPod to distract me. It was a relief to get to the hospital and be able to get out of the car and walk to the emergency waiting area. In between contractions I still felt good, and was able to talk and laugh. We didn't have to wait long until they brought us up to Labor and Delivery, and I was still able to walk up on my own - no dramatic wheelchair entrance this time!
The nurse met us at the entrance of L&D, and we followed her down the long hall to our room. And amazingly it was the same room where I had delivered Reese! I was so excited to be back in the same room. It felt like a good omen.
I got dressed in the lovely hospital gown, got into bed so the could check out how I was progressing and hook up the fetal monitor. I was already at 5cm, so already half way there and we had just arrived! I was so relieved. I was worried that since I arrived last time at 8cm with Reese, this time would go horribly wrong and they were going to tell me I wasn't even in labor.
Immediately after, the nurses ask me about me pain management plan and if I wanted an epidural or not. I had one before, at the very end of my labor with Reese, and then turned it off when it was time to push, and that had worked out amazingly well. So, I thought why not? The nurses were laughing saying I was doing well through each contraction they saw on the screen, so I could totally try to go without one this time. I considered it for a second, but then I decided I had nothing to prove. Nothing to prove to anyone. I was going to have this baby soon and if the epidural helped my progress then so be it.
But soon after my contractions started to slow and I started to panic. I was convinced that the epidural was slowing my labor and I started to tell Nick I was regretting it. I envisioned the nurses coming back to tell me they were going to hook me up to Pitocin and I was going to flip out, thinking it was the beginning of the cascade of interventions I had read about...
To be continued, next time!