Labor of Love
Last Thursday, my youngest turned one. As many are when their baby’s first birthday approaches, I was too wrapped up in the festivities to find the time to write a post, but I wanted to share the story of his birth. Prepare yourselves, for this is not a sappy tale of love at first sight, nor is it a horror story of labor that never ends (ok maybe it’s kind of that).
Monday, August 12, 2013. I had a visit with my OB/GYN, and at this point I was being seen two to three times a week. However, it was coming to a close as we had scheduled a C-section for Saturday, August 17th. Being that I failed to progress with Rory, it was advised that I repeat a C-section. I agreed, but I wanted the same doctor who did my first one. He rearranged his entire schedule, and got special permission from the hospital to perform the surgery on a Saturday morning, as he was leaving to take his son to college cross country on Sunday and would be out a week.
The Dr. checked the baby’s heart rate and fetal movements, but since I only had five more day sof being pregnant, not much else was done. He prepped me with instructions for Saturday and sent me on my way. Later that evening, I began to feel light cramps in my stomach. I chalked it up to gas, as is ever so common during the third trimester, and settled in to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for a school assignment.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013. Something just felt off. Now I’m the type of person who is hyper aware of her body, evidenced by the fact that I was less than four weeks pregnant (both times) when I knew I needed to take a test.
It was hot. I was sick of being pregnant. I had come off a long exhausting weekend which landed my oldest in the ER for the first time (that’s a post for a different time). I laid on the couch for most of the day, but as the day progressed I felt worse. I told my sister: “I imagine that I feel like I would if I ate bad chicken.” I decided to go to bed immediately after Rory fell asleep, as I was feeling worse.
I sat at my computer, in the basement of my parent’s house. I tried to focus on writing critique for the film I had watched the night before, but the cramps were getting worse. As the night went on, the cramps became pain. I turned to the only resource I knew for diagnosing medical conditions: Google. I had all the signs of labor, but since my water hadn’t broken I figured it was just my imagination.
Around midnight, I knew something was definitely happening. As I paced around the tiny room, alone, I decided to download a contraction timer app. What else is there to do when you’re alone and don’t think of the stopwatch app already installed on your phone. Sure enough, the app was reporting that the contractions were between 8 and 6 minutes apart.
That is, if they were really contractions. How do I know? I never went into labor with Rory, technically, so I couldn’t be sure. I called Wally, who was home in Indiana and scheduled to fly into Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, to help me prepare for surgery on Saturday. He definitely believed it was labor, and advised me to go to the hospital. How can I be in labor? I only needed to make it four more days.
I texted my sister Robin, who was working late, and told her how I felt. She told me to relax, and wait til morning and see how I felt. It was crazy to think I all of a sudden went into labor. I tried to sleep, but the contractions kept me up. Around 3 am, the app reported that they were coming stronger and closer: 5 minutes apart.
My dad woke up for work at 4 am. I heard him walking around outside the room, and for a short moment considered seeking his advice. For a short minute. Then I realized, (and anyone who knows my father will understand) that he would probably only offer to drop me off on his way to work. So I let that thought leave as quickly as it came.
By 5, the contractions were 4 minutes apart, and I was pretty sure that’s what they were now. My mom had mentioned that if I felt the baby moving, I wasn’t in labor. The baby was moving like he was hosting a damn rave, so I still had my suspicions. However, there was nothing else to do but take a shower. The water helped relax me. For like two minutes.
Finally, at 7 am, I heard my mother wake up. Exhausted from a long night alone, I headed up the stairs to the kitchen, where my mom was preparing to go for bloodwork. By the look on my face, she knew something wasn’t right. I told her I really didn’t feel well, that I was up all night, and that the stomach pain was becoming hard to bear any longer.
I called the dr.’s office, and they advised me to head to labor and delivery immediately to get checked out. My mom called my other sister, Shelley, (since Robin had worked late) and asked if she would drive me to hospital.
…to be continued…
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