I’ll go ahead and warn you on this one: don’t read this if you don’t want to hear about gross birth details. Seriously, if you don’t like reading words like cervix, amniotic fluid, or placenta, do yourself a favor and click on a different post! Maybe you’d rather hear about 35 Ridiculous Rules I’ve Had to Enforce or My Favorite Podcasts?
I went in for my 39 week appointment on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
I had been having the random contractions and pains for over a week. And had been 3 cm dilated and 40 % effaced for at least 6 days. When I woke up early to get to my 9 am appointment I felt crampy and nauseated, but not in any real pain. Joey tried to make it to as many prenatal appointments with me as possible with both girls, but he had to go into work early for a meeting this day. It was just me and Viv.
The midwife came in to talk to me first and asked how I was feeling. I told her about the random cramping I had been experiencing for the past week and the nausea and aching feeling I had woken up with. I assured her I still felt pretty good though. She asked if I wanted to be checked for dilation and effacement and I said that I did. I was too curious after knowing that I was already 3cm and 40% effaced the past week. She was glad to hear that considering she was curious as well.
Next she asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes during the exam since I had already made at least some progress.
She explained that this could speed up the labor process. According to her, labor usually happens within a few days to a week after the procedure. However, she did say it would be slightly uncomfortable to perform. I deferred to her opinion and said if she thought it was a good idea, I didn’t mind.
She left the room to leave me to get undressed for the exam and returned a few minutes later. She started the exam and looked up at me with wide eyes and said “Are you really not in pain?!” I laughed and repeated that I was just really crampy, like the first day of my period, and asked why. She smiled and replied “Well, you are 5cm dilated and 80% effaced. You are technically in active labor right now. Ok, get ready I am going to strip your membranes now.”
Now it was my turn to be wide-eyed.
How was I “in labor” and didn’t notice??
A moment later I sat up and the midwife explained what would happen next. She said that she should really recommend that I go straight to the hospital and be admitted. However, she understood that I wanted to have a natural birth. She would be fine with me laboring longer at home on the condition that I headed to the hospital as soon as I was in pain. Her advice was NOT to try to time contractions considering I had progressed this far without being able to tell. She explained that some women just don’t have a clear pattern of contractions and that labor can progress VERY quickly without you realizing in this case.
In other words, do not pass go, do not collect $200, JUST GO when you’re in pain.
She guessed it would be that night or early Wednesday at the latest. I left the office feeling a combination of excited, anxious, scared, and both extremely tired and extremely awake simultaneously. It was really happening!! I had planned to take Viv to story time at the library, but that idea went out the window. We headed straight home to prepare instead.
On the way home, I called Joey first, of course, and he began making arrangements to leave work early and to be out the next few days. Next I called my mother in law, Jennifer, at work. We had planned for her and my father in law, Mark, to come down to take care of Vivian. Then I called my parents to let them know as well.
The next few hours were spent busying myself around the house doing last minute loads of laundry, cleaning, and packing last minute items in my hospital bag.
Joey arrived home a little after noon with lunch for us. I enjoyed my Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich and we talked for a little while before I headed to take a nap.
I was beginning to feel stronger contractions and aches, but was still able nap for a little over an hour. When I got up, Joey was finishing up some emails and paperwork for work and Viv was playing. I was ready to spend some time cuddling for the last time as a family of three. We cuddled up on the couch and watched TV until Jennifer and Mark arrived at 4. After chatting with my in-laws a while, they played with Vivian while I distracted myself with painting my nails.
I suggested a family walk around 6 pm.
With a cup of raspberry cinnamon tea in my hand, we all set off to walk the neighborhood a few times. My back was aching pretty badly the whole time, so I had Joey put pressure on my lower back to help. After 4 trips around the block (which is not far, but has pretty steep hills,) 2 pit stops to pee, and 2 tea refills, I was not feeling much difference.
When we got back to the house, I did some stretches and deep breathing exercises while Joey made some dinner for everyone. By the time dinner was ready, however, I was left with no appetite. I was starting to feel it. Not quite pain territory, but I was pretty damn uncomfortable. I sat in the living room trying to focus while everyone else ate. After about half an hour with my eyes closed just trying to focus on my breathing, I felt a little better so I ate a light dinner.
My in-laws got Vivian ready for her bed while I sat on the couch and let Joey rub my back while we watched Fixer Upper.
A freshly bathed and pajamaed Vivian bopped down the stairs about 7:45. Jennifer was asking whether we were going to head to the hospital soon.
We discussed the pros and cons again for a few minutes. I was worried about being admitted too early because I knew my risk of intervention rose the longer I was there before giving birth. Another induction is not what I wanted. We also talked about the possibility of getting caught in rush hour traffic if we waited overnight. It was decided that maybe I should go ahead and get in bed for some rest and head in to be admitted around 4am.
Claire had another idea!!
Check back soon to hear part 2.