Nine months ago, when I found out I was pregnant, I figured that this birth story would be fairly simple: “We picked the date, I had major surgery, and baby came into our lives.” At this point, I should know better than to think that I have it all figured out. And my mom seemed to predict from the beginning that God would give our baby his very own birth date.
It all started last Thursday (December 30th) with excruciating back pain and some morning contractions that were generally painless. After timing for a bit and calling the doctor, we decided to lay low, stay home and Mimi came over for some freezer cooking. The contractions stopped and we decided it was probably nothing. I headed to work on Friday, finished a short day and we stayed in for New Year’s Eve. No baby yet!
On New Year’s Day, we spent time with my parents and I began to have some more contractions. We walked the mall and the contractions were generally ten minutes apart. Again, once we went home, they seemed to calm down and while I remained (somewhat) calm, my mother really wanted me to call the doctor. Rather than look like the anxious mom, I opted to just relax and keep aiming for January 5th (our previously scheduled date).
On Sunday (January 2nd), we celebrated my sister-in-law, Jessica’s 30th birthday (actually born on January 3rd) at her brother’s house. I felt wonderful and experienced no contractions or back pain trhoughout the day. I was active and most people seemed surprised that I was set to give birth THAT week! Jessica’s friend, Theresa, kept joking that my water would break that night. Don’t worry, I stayed away from the eggplant…which didn’t ultimately help me!
That night, we headed home, put Charlie to bed, and I began to experience excruciating pain down there I could hardly walk. This continued for a while and I called the doctor (again) after consulting with Jim and my mom. He again agreed it *could* be labor, but felt that the contractions should be consistent and timeable before wasting my time to send me in. He said to call if I began contracting regularly and they’d send me in to be monitored. Little did any of us know…(except perhaps my mother who had been insistent all weekend and my boss who AGAIN predicted his eventual birthday!)
Around 2 a.m. on January 3rd, I woke up with some pretty bad menstrual-like cramps. After shifting around for a while and half-heartedly timing, I eventually woke Jim up to talk about the pain. I decided to jump in the shower to alleviate it a bit and when I climbed back into bed, Jim decided to start timing (around 4 a.m.). This went on for about an hour and half with contractions between 8-12 minutes apart, not all together consistent on the timing. Around 5:25 a.m., I called the doctor again, who agreed that I should probably now come in to be monitored and see if I was in actual labor. He told me I had some time before I HAD to be at the hospital, so we went around the house getting the last of our bags together and getting Charlie (who had thankfully woken up on his own) ready “just in case.” We called my parents and my mom agreed to meet us at the hospital until we knew what was actually happening. My dad headed into work and instructed us to call as soon as we knew what was going on.
While getting the last things ready, I began to experience pretty intense and more frequent contractions. Charlie wanted to be held & snuggled of which I only did about twice because the pain was too intense. We got into the car at about 6 a.m. and were ready to head out! (Jim also was able to snag a cup of coffee before we headed on our way).
On the way to the hospital (approx. 15-20 minutes away), I started to have some pretty heavy contractions. Jim finally said to me, “With the contractions about 8-10 minutes apart, you should only have about one left before we get there and then we’ll get you some relief!” In the mean time, I went on to have THREE (!!!!) more and we quickly realized that my previous contractions were now five minutes apart. We walked into the hospital, I left Jim in the waiting room with Charlie to wait for my mom and I headed upstairs to be checked in.
With no bloodwork or history having been done or prepared because of my unexpected arrival (and no warning call from the doctor), they went through all the preliminaries before examining me. My mom arrived, snagged Charlie (THANK GOODNESS for a portable DVD player) and we waited. I asked the nurse about the likelihood of my delivering today and she said that they would check me – if I was in labor, they would likely monitor me for a time and then “fit me in” as the surgery schedule permitted. If I wasn’t, it was likely that they may still do it on that day since I was 39 weeks and scheduled to go in two days anyways.
After a few moments of checking me, she quickly stood up and proceeded to say she was calling the doctor right then. I was 5 cm (!!!!!!!) dilated, fully effaced and my water bag was bulging (HENCE those horrific contractions). Around 7:15 a.m., she came back in, said, “We’re going to have this baby soon,” talked briefly about the possibility of VBAC, said that the doctors would arrive within 30 minutes and that there would be a flurry of activity. I began sobbing, hardly able to believe that this was ACTUALLY happening. Jim ran to tell my mom and my mom called my dad, “It’s happening SOON!”
They poked, prodded, drew blood, started an IV and we waited for the doctors. Once Dr. Doah arrived, he just looked at me, laughed, and said, “You weren’t kidding”! By 8:00 a.m., I was walking back to surgery (HAVING contractions), got prepped, and received my spinal (THANK THE LORD). The atmosphere was light and airy, much unlike Charlie’s birth which came at the end of a LONG and tiring day for most involved. Dr. Flosi explained that they were “poking me with a sharp instrument” and the medication was obviously working. After much pulling and tugging, they were finally able to take out my precious beautiful baby boy – from my side of the curtain I heard, “It’s a boy!” (Dr. Doah brought him over to show us) “Look at all that hair!” and “He has HUMOUNGOUS feet!” I just began to sob thinking that he had finally made it at 8:37 a.m. – less than two hours after we had first checked into the hospital.