Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh, What a Night.... (or Labor Begins)

Late September, the 27th to 28th to be exact.

I talked about my "practice" contractions in a previous post. The short version is that Tuesday I went to a friend's house. I started having them again, but they were a bit more painful. She told me that I was in labor. I denied it. It turns out denial is a great way to handle labor.

After leaving her house I went out to get some groceries. Then I came home and dealt with an exceptionally whiny toddler. Actually it was more a tantrum. Something about wanting me to "open" stickers. It was very frustrating, but provided an excellent distraction from the slightly less annoying contractions.

After Daddy came home the early night was pretty uneventful. Squiggle calmed down and went to bed. I had some cottage cheese. We watched an episode of SG1 on our projector. Then we decided to go to bed.

I was tired. Contractions, even or especially practice ones, are draining. So are upset toddlers. The contractions were slightly painful, but very irregular. Following advice that so many women don't. I decided to try to get some sleep. They'd either fade away or build momentum, and I had no say either way. If they were real I'd find out soon enough.

Around 1ish I gave up trying to sleep. They were still irregular, but painful enough that sleep wasn't going to happen. Knowing that labor can be a long process I decided to get things ready. Keeping busy is supposed to be helpful in early labor.

At this point I thought it was probably the real thing. But I still didn't want to call anyone. After all, labor has been known to stop. I didn't want to wake anyone in the middle of the night and then have it be a false alarm. This included my husband. I wanted him well-rested for when I needed him. I was regretting not having him set the birth tub up earlier. (Another reason to pay attention to your instincts. I almost suggested it, then didn't.)

I pulled the tub out and realized that I couldn't set it up myself. I decided to find birth tub info online. That's when I found the Internet connection was out. I sat around a while and decided to wake him up. You see, one of my fears was not having the tub ready for when I needed it. I knew I wanted to labor in the tub. (Other fears included having a short and consequently incredibly painful labor, that my midwife wouldn't make it in time, pooping or throwing up during labor (silly I know, but honest), giving birth on a toilet like those "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" women, having to transfer to the hospital and something happening to my baby.)

He stumbled downstairs and set it up while still half asleep. I guess my labor had picked up some. I managed to climb upstairs and get towels and my "barf" bin. It was painful enough that I decided not to do that again. From then on I sent Bug to collect the things I thought I'd need during labor.

While the tub was filling up I sat on my birth ball timing my contractions. They were still irregular, lasting anywhere from 45 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes, having as much as nine minutes between to coming with no break. I believe it was during the 2 o'clock hour that I broke down and called my midwife.

I described my contractions and said that I thought I was in labor. She said she agreed and said that I'd see my baby sometime "today or tomorrow." Inside I groaned at the thought of doing this through an entire day. I even told her that if early labor was this bad I didn't know if I could handle active labor and transition. She said that her alarm was set for 6am and that I should call her back then to check in. If anything changed, like my contractions settling into a pattern or water breaking or just needing to talk to her, I should call sooner. Finally, she told me to eat something light, in case my nausea during the peaks of the contractions caused me to revisit the meal.

Bug made me some consomme because I thought that I'd be able to keep it down. I never got the chance. During one particularly nasty contraction I lost everything I'd eaten in the past half day. After that food lost a bit of its appeal.

Time passed. The contractions were pretty horrible. Between them I thought that I was the biggest wimp in the world, during them I thought I'd die. I kept thinking of the dreaded transition and how I'd never survive it. After all, I was experiencing things in early labor that matched the description of transition. I started trying to walk, roll or squirm away from the contractions. The half-filled tub looked heavenly to me. Even though I knew that getting in the tub too early could cause problems, I decided I was getting in. Of course I knew that I shouldn't use my labor techniques until I had to, that I should try to keep up with normal activities until I couldn't anymore, but I didn't care. I was in pain!

So I decided that I'd go to the bathroom before getting in the tub. I intended to be in there for hours until my baby was born and I didn't want to pee or poo in the tub that I'd then have to sit in. As soon as I sat on the toilet my contractions came one on top of another. Needless to say I was not happy with my choice. I'm pretty sure I started crying. It was so intense that I knew I couldn't change position. I was stuck.

I felt like I had to go to poop. That's when I realized that I was further along in my labor than I thought, much further along. While I thought the irregularity of the contractions meant that I was in early labor I was wrong. That assumption caused me to ignore the signs of transition. Even when I thought that I felt like I was in transition I discounted it.

Once I felt the urge I realized that it wasn't poop that needed to come out, it was a baby. I screamed for my husband to come downstairs. I really can't say that I pushed, that implies a conscious effort. My body convulsed a couple of times and my baby's head was out. I was nervous because there was no sound or movement. Then a slight movement made me less worried.

That was about the time my husband got to me. He asked me, wide-eyed, what he should do. I shouted at him that he should call Corrine. He went to get the phone and the baby came out. I said, "Come in here and see your son."


As I've been writing this for over a week, I'll stop here and publish this. The rest will come later. Probably. I'm fairly tired and one-handed these days.

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