So much has happened in the last two weeks, that it literally feels like a lifetime ago – and yet at the same time, a mere few hours – since I first realized I would be giving birth to a November baby.
Exactly two weeks ago, Jeremy and I arrived at the OB for our regular weekly visit. On this particular occasion, I had to be tested for Group B Strep – something all pregnant women must be checked for at around 34 weeks. I was weighed, the doctor answered some questions I had, and then she went to work testing me. It was exactly like a pap test, and took only a minute or two.
However, during the short amount of time she was checking me, my water broke.
The doctor quickly reacted with an, “Oh! Well that’s never happened before.”
“What? What’s going on? What is that?” Jeremy frantically asked as I lay on the table looking at both of them.
Suffice it to say, the doctor quickly went out to check a sample of the water, and came back confirming what we all thought. “There’s definitely amniotic fluid in the water, so it looks like you’ll be having your baby a little early!”
She went on to say that I must have been getting ready to go into labor for the past few days, and that while she hadn’t done anything too invasive, it was enough to break my water.
I was strangely calm about the entire thing, thinking only that I had not yet finished packing my hospital bag, although Jeremy’s had been waiting by the door for over a week.
We called and texted family and close friends on the way to the hospital. Luckily, it was only a two block drive. Suddenly we were parked right at the ER entrance, but neither of us seemed to be able to get out of the car. We continued to text.
I called my mom and calmly explained what I would need from the house. There was a list on the bedside table. She simply had to fill the bags that were waiting on the floor. My mother is nothing if not efficient at times like this – she gets the job done well, doing what needs to be done!
Finally we decided to make our way through the doors of Centennial Women’s Center. At the front desk, the receptionist immediately knew who I was and what my case was. After a few moments wrestling with her ancient computer, I was taken directly to a room that had already been cleaned for me.
Apparently I was a special case. Every nurse we encountered seemed to have heard the story about my water breaking in the OB office.
I was quickly put into a lovely green hospital gown and hooked up with various tubes and contraptions.
Jeremy and I had about 30 minutes of alone time before the family began to arrive. My brother was first, having been in the area already. The excitement of the moment had yet to die down – we hardly had time to realize that we were about to be parents. A month early.
After my brother came both sets of parents, all of them excited, yet not quite believing this was real. Nor could they believe how calm I was. I can only attribute that to God – he certainly knew that I had been fearing this day since I found out I was pregnant. It had just gotten very real, and he gave me peace about the entire thing.
It also helped that my contractions were nothing to speak of. The nurse wired me up with a device that could both check the babies heart rate, and at the same time monitor my contractions. It told us how strong they were and how often they were occurring – honestly, there were many times when the screen would tell us I was having one, yet I hadn’t realized it.
The contractions felt exactly like the Braxton Hicks version I had been having for the past month or so – overall just a tightening of my stomach muscles that felt like I was flexing my abs.
The hours wore on. Unfortunately, I hadn’t eaten much that day, having felt strangely hungover since I had woken (a sign I was going into labor, but I definitely didn’t know at the time). In fact, the day before I had some serious pain after lunch, which I attributed to Round Ligament pain. It only lasted about 3 minutes or so, but in that time frame I could hardly stand. I didn’t want to freak Jeremy out, so I only told him about it later on. Looking back, it might have been a good idea to let him know sooner!
But had I known I wouldn’t be able to eat in the hospital, I would have tried to swallow a bit more food for breakfast and lunch. It was too late now, though – I was limited to one grape popsicle and an unlimited supply of ice chips.
The family started leaving one by one, realizing that it could take awhile for the baby to get here. Finally it was just Jeremy and I once again. He attempted to sleep on the pull-out couch, while I listened to my baby’s heart rate throughout the night.
Morning crept its way through the slats in the blinds ever so slowly. I had gotten less than 10 minutes of sleep, and had a full day awaiting.
This day started much the same as the last had ended, even though as moms, dads, and brother showed back up they began making bets about the delivery time. 11am came and went, and one person was out of the running.
Also at about that time, my doctor showed up to examine me. She had done this a few times since I arrived at the hospital to see how much I was dilated. At 11am I was still about a 4-5, and she explained that they prefer to have the baby delivered within 24 of the water breaking for fear of infection to both mom and baby. I knew I didn’t want a C Section at that point (although it was debated until about a week prior to this). She seemed confident it wouldn’t take this long.
As the doctor was checking things out, she realized that there was still a pocket of water that had not broken. After explaining that this was the reason I wasn’t really feeling my contractions (his head was hitting that cushion of water instead of my pelvis), she then said she would have to go in and break the rest so that hard labor could begin.
The most painful moments of my life happened at this point.
It may have only lasted a minute or two, but the agony was all I needed to ask the nurse (who had been pushing the epidural for a few hours at that point) to go ahead and call in the anesthesiologist. 30 minutes later I received the shot that would ensure my labor was smooth sailing.
Let me just say that having your legs go completely numb is a strange experience. I couldn’t pull myself up in the bed, and had to get both Jeremy and my dad to assist.
The contractions became more frequent and stronger – even with the epidural, I could feel the pressure of each one. When the nurse came in to check if any progress had been made, she quickly declared that I was fully dilated and hard labor had begun.
Things got serious in that moment.
I realized I would be giving birth. I would be pushing a child into this world. I became scared.
Jeremy got the entire family into the room and we all prayed for a safe, quick delivery and a healthy child.