Unless you're one of the rare individuals who happens upon this blog and doesn't actually know us in real life, you are probably well-aware that Baby - Abby - was born a few weeks ago. When my last post talked about my days of pregnancy being numbered, I really didn't believe they were as numbered as they were - I was actually in labor at the time, but in complete denial. More on that in a moment.
I've been wanting to write Abby's birth story for weeks - approximately four weeks, to be exact - but the last four weeks have been...challenging. And time has escaped me completely. But more on that in another post. I can actually type this now because our electric breast pump came on Tuesday, so I can have both hands free at once...for a few minutes, anyway. I know this is a little long and drawn out, so I understand if you want to skip it. It's more for me, anyway.
So, on December 12th, the evening I wrote, "...since my pregnant days are numbered..." I should have known I was in labor, but didn't. Or was in denial, at any rate. I had been so worried about Baby coming early. I had so much to do. So many loose ends at work, so many preparations at home. Errands to run, gifts to buy, etc, etc. I wanted to be READY when Baby came. I spent Wednesday, December 12th, knocking out what I could. I drove to Catonsville to pick up glasses and contacts, stopped by Trader Joe's for Candy Cane Joe Joe cookies, and took Snuffles to the vet for a pre-baby check up. When I felt cramping in my abdomen in the Trader Joe's parking lot, I chalked it up to gas. My tummy had been feeling a litle bloaty and uncomfortable, anyway. And, I was 38 weeks pregnant. Abdominal discomfort was the norm.
Throughout the rest of the afternoon, the cramping came and went. Not in any regular fashion, but I figured out that this wasn't just gas. However, just the previous week I had had cramping that was continuous for an entire day, and I figured this was the same thing - my body preparing for labor. I expected that labor contractions would feel like, you know, contractions - like my abdomen contracting - not like menstrual cramps. So, at dinner that night, I told Kevin, "Just so you know, I'm having some pains that I'll probably mention at our midwife appointment tomorrow.
As I was cleaning up after dinner, though, I noticed that the pains were starting and stopping...not quite regularly, but enough that I decided to record there start and stop times. They still weren't regular at all. Sometimes they lasted 20 seconds; sometimes a minute. Sometimes they were three minutes apart, sometimes 15. I was sure that, if these were indeed contractions, they were probably just Braxton Hicks.
Around 10 PM, I decided to call our doula. She confirmed that it indeed sounded like something was going on, but at this point, it could be hours, or days. Ah, the unpredictability of labor! She said to wait until they were more organized, then to call her back.
So, writing that blog post, I really believed that these were early signs, but that they did not mean labor was imminent. I had too much to do on Thursday! Gifts to put in the mail, shopping to do, nursery decorations to make! Baby needed to give me a few more days. Nonetheless, I suggested that now might be a good time to pack our hospital bags and fill out our pre-paperwork. Like the contractions, we were a little disorganized, and didn't get to bed until almost 1AM.
I couldn't sleep. At all. Because the cramps, a.k.a. CONTRACTIONS, were becoming regular. Although our doula had warned against it, laying in bed, I downloaded an app to time the contractions. I tried to sleep, but it was like being kicked every 4-6 minutes, so I figured I might as well keep track of these things. So, I did that until around 3:30 AM, when it seemed like the timing was more frequently at the four-minute frequency than the six. I woke Kevin up and said, "I think I'd better call the midwives."
The midwife on-call was pretty laissez-faire about things, telling me that I could come in if I wanted, but since it was my first, I could probably labor at home for awhile longer, if I wanted. I knew I had a better chance of having the kind of labor and delivery I wanted if I hung at home a bit, so I did.
There was no going back to sleep, so I figured I should eat something. Kevin made me some chicken broth and noodles, which I had with crackers. I actually did a little light cleaning after that - our families would be coming, and I didn't want them to think we lived like slobs in the weeks before the baby came! Then, I decided to lay down and try to doze, or at least get some kind of rest. I had been laying on the couch for maybe 10 minutes when I felt what I assumed was the baby move deep in the womb - kind of two wiggles or bounces - and felt a burst of fluid. Now, they tell you that your water breaking can come in either a trickle or a gush. I had been paranoid for weeks that my amniotic fluid was trickling and I wasn't noticing, but there was no mistaking this. I ran - or rather, waddled purposely to the bathroom, and got cleaned up. I then vomited three times in a row.
I called our doula and midwives again. The midwife again told me that there was no rush, but I was starting to feel pretty anxious. Soon, I felt pressure like I had to poop, and thought that this must be it, right? We'd better get going!
To be continued...