Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Birth Story Part I

When I went to bed on Wednesday night (July 22nd), I was really hoping we'd be going to the hospital the next day. My induction was scheduled for 6am on Friday, and I really, really did not want to be induced.

I woke up at 4am. I had been having contractions off and on since the 10th, but the contractions were finally starting to feel uncomfortable. I decided to time them. I dozed off and on while sort of timing contractions until 4:30. By then, the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart. I got up for water and to see if changing position slowed them down. It didn’t. I got back into bed with the Bradley method book to check out the signs of labor. Mr. X half woke up and we had the following conversation:

Mr. X: Are you OK?
Me: I think this might be it. The contractions are uncomfortable, and they're three or four minutes apart.
Mr. X: OK (rolls over and goes back to sleep).

Hmm. Clearly not really awake.

I kept on reading the Bradley manual and timing contractions. Then, at 5:05 I felt a sharp pain. It felt--really--like the baby had punched me in the cervix. Then I felt the water come rushing out.
This time, I woke up Mr. X for real and told him “this is it—contractions are 3 or 4 minutes apart and my water just broke.” I managed to scoot myself out of bed and walked like a penguin (with my knees together, that is) to the bathroom and into the tub. I managed not to ruin the mattress or the carpet, thank you very much.

Once I was in the tub, I was a bit concerned because the water was light brown, like weak tea, and there was a lot of it. It really broke with a gush. Mr. X called the doula to let her know what was up. I talked to her, too, and called back a few minutes later because I was concerned about whether there was too much pink in the fluid—she told me it was normal and that we should wait for a good pattern of active labor before going to the hospital. In spite of all my reading, I wasn't sure what that actually meant. She told me that, at that point, I wouldn’t be able to talk to her while I was having a contraction.

I hung up and got back in the tub. I was a bit worried because I hadn’t felt the baby move in a little while, and I wasn’t sure if she had moved since my water broke, so I started drinking a root beer in hopes that the sugar would make her move around. I started to feel her move pretty soon, so that calmed me down a lot. Mr. X brought me a stool to sit on in the tub. After each contraction, more fluid came out. I realized that my fears that my water would break and I would think I only had wet my pants were groundless, since there seemed to be tons of it. (Apparently, the body keeps producing amniotic fluid until the baby's actually born--I didn't know that before.)

Mr. X brought me a chicken sandwich and a sports drink so I’d have some energy, and I ate them in the tub. After a little while, I showered and put on the clothes I had put aside for labor—yoga pants and a t-shirt—and got back in bed. Mr. X started timing contractions. The contractions got to be stronger and more uncomfortable, but not closer together. During the relaxation practice we did for our Bradley classes, back rubs and guided relaxation/massage (where he would say “you’re in a hot shower and the water’s running down your arms . . .” while massaging my arms, and that sort of thing) were what I liked best. Mr. X did some of that in between contractions, but during contractions I was OK with him just keeping a hand on me, not doing anything that would jostle me at all. Between 9 and 10, we decided to get ready to go to the hospital. Mr. X loaded the car and called the doctor and the doula. The hospital’s about half an hour away. My parents were all excited and decided to follow us to the hospital after a little while, expecting there would be a baby by afternoon. It turned out to be quite a bit longer than they expected . . .

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