birth: part 1

It’s Thursday, August 18, 11 pm.

I have a feeling.

Tomorrow is it.

I say as much to Luke.

“I feel like I’m going to have him tomorrow. So if I do, I’m sorry for ruining your plans.”

Luke is supposed to be part of the Saber Arch for a friend’s wedding on August 19th. We were expecting to have the baby by then.

We hadn’t.

Luke laughs and says that I’ve felt like every day is going to be the day, but that if our son is born it’s not ruining anything.

*****************************************

It’s Friday, August 19th, 1 am.

My feeling is confirmed. With a contraction.

I lay in bed silently, listening to the storm brewing outside and thinking that my contractions are coming much more quickly than all the books tell you they should. And they hurt too.

My dog hears the thunder and curls up on my shoulder for comfort as another contraction begins. I laugh to myself as I imagine what I must look like. Comforting my pet over a silly fear while I’m the one in pain. Oh well.

By 1:30 I decide that I shouldn’t be the only one awake.

“Luke, I think I’m in labor. But my contractions are really close together, should I call my mom?”

“Yes. Call your mom.”

“Mom, I think I’m in labor….”

I explain the feeling, and that they seem to be coming really close together.

“Have Luke write down the time on a piece of paper every time you have a contraction, that way you’ll know how close together they’re coming in an hour.”

This is why I called my mom.

We timed them for an hour. Every 2-3 to 3-4 minutes apart. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a load of crap.

Because I don’t want to be “that girl” – you know the one, she shows up to the hospital only to be sent home with Braxton Hicks – I call the hospital and tell them what’s going on. The nurse I talk to consults with the other nurses.

“You should come in.”

I shower, get my bags together, call my family, and head to the hospital.

“I better be, like, 5 centimeters dilated or something, as quickly as these things are coming” I say.

We get to the emergency room, are sent up to Triage where they make me get out of my comfy, somewhat fashionable attire into a hospital robe that I’m sure was “designed” in the late 70s.

The nurse checks me.

“You’re about 1-2 centimeters” she says.

I want to punch her in the face, but she’s pretty nice, and so I decide to just listen to what she says.

“…so I’m just going to let you walk around the floor for 2 hours and then you can come back and I’ll check you again.”

So I walk around for 2 hours.

My family is in the waiting room and I spend most of my time laboring with them. Where my brother Jacob takes my picture several times during contractions. I’m too amused by him to kill him. Those are the only two options; laugh or kill.

Two hours pass relatively quickly, and I’m back in the Triage room being checked by the nurse.

1-2 centimeters.

This time I just exhale loudly.

How can my contractions be coming this close together and be this intense without progress? I think of the daunting task ahead of me and then think better of thinking that way.

The nurse calls my doctor who says that since I want to do this naturally, I should just go home and labor there until my labor intensifies. If they admit me and break my water and nothing happens, they’ll have to give Pitocin to speed labor up which will make me miserable.

I agree. So we decide to go home.

But Luke doesn’t want to go home unless we know when we should come back. A different nurse who tells us she’s “…been doing this for 23 years….” gives Luke a sneak preview of what I’ll look like when my contractions intensify and I should come back. She acts out a happy-go-lucky me walking with a cup of tea {because I can imagine fixing myself a cup of tea in this condition} and then a contraction hits and I have to bend over and pant intensely to handle the pain.

“Um, but she’s doing that now” Luke says.

The nurse assures us that we’ll know what she’s talking about. They send me home with an Ambien so that I can get some sleep, and tell me that I won’t be able to sleep through the real contractions.

Gee. Thanks.

*****************************************

At home, I lay down to sleep and wake up a half hour later with contractions slightly more intense than what I had been experiencing. I jump in the shower to try to relax, but I can’t, they hurt too much, and I tell Luke that I think we should go back to the hospital.

So we do.

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