It was the day before I was 37 weeks (considered, for medical purposes, full term) and I started having the odd contraction here and there.
This was it! I would finally get to hold my little monster rather than just push his little elbows back through my ribs. I would get to check that yes, the three ultrasound techs were right, he was a he!
Yeah, right. Like *my* child would be that considerate to accept his eviction notice I gave him earlier that morning.
At 38w2d I began early labour. Finally! NOW it was time. He’d be out soon. I could enjoy stomach sleeping after nine months of not being able to.
Early labour lasted a wonderful, amazing, exciting (can you detect the sarcasm?) nine. flipping. days.
Then, four days after my due date, I had my first contraction. My mom was in town and staying with us so Jason went to work and I promised to time the contractions and let him know if they picked up. (I don’t think I ever timed them, aside from rough estimates)
Around noon I called in to the labour and delivery ward, which is what you’re recommended to do so they can do a phone assessment and see if it’s worth going in or staying home still. The nurse I reached didn’t speak English clearly. And being in labour, you’re slightly distracted. After ten minutes of answering her questions and her listening to me having contractions, she said it wasn’t time to go to the hospital yet.
An hour later we were walking the two blocks uphill from Jason’s work to the hospital (hey, it’s expensive to park there and I wasn’t in that much pain) The nurse, who I had talked to on the phone earlier, commented on how I shouldn’t have come in yet. Until she checked how dilated I was. Then she handed me a gown and gave me a room.
Fast forward another two hours. I was pacing the hospital with my mom and Jason. I probably drove the nurses crazy because we’d disappear and come back half hour or so later. I couldn’t sit still. While passing the ER, I ducked into the bathroom really quick and as I was standing up – no better place, honestly – my water broke.
We (read : I) were on lockdown. I wasn’t allowed to leave the L&D ward. My mother-in-law arrived and the four-point-five of us sat around in my room. Not that I minded. Ever had contractions after your water breaks? Awkward. You gush. And not in a “oh-em-gee-he’s-so-cute” while looking at a Teeny-Bopper with your friends at a sleepover kind of way.
If I was asked before labour started what my birth plan would be, I would have said that I didn’t really care if I ended up having to have a c-section or vacuum or an epidural. I was open to whatever had to be done. But I had a preference of medication free.
At 7cm, and ten hours after labour started, I caved and had them put in an IV so I could have some short-acting pain relief. On the bright side, the IV definitely muted the pain of contractions. On the not-so-bright side, there was never a break from pain. The IV hurt more than the contractions. And the shot they gave me wore off after fifteen minutes. And then they wouldn’t take out the IV in case I needed anything. It just really wasn’t worth it.
At one point the nurses were looking at the fetal heart rate monitor. They told me to roll on my side with a slight panic in their voice. My doctor walked in at that point and they told her that the baby was going into recovery. You know how people say you should watch what you say around pregnant women? Well, you should really watch what you say around a pregnant woman in labour. I started to get nervous but my doctor was great. After feeling the pulse on the baby’s head, she (basically) called the nurse stupid and said that she can feel the heart rate and it was fine but that the monitor had shifted and was reading my heart rate.
Finally, after 12 hours of active labour, I felt the need to push. Thirty minutes of pushing and D arrived! Our healthy, screaming little ball of rage was 7lbs, 9oz. He nursed right away and was very alert and curious for the first few hours after birth.
We were lucky to have a smooth and quick delivery. And we were even luckier to be discharged the next day, just over 24 hours after D was born. Actually, we’ve been really lucky overall. He’s really a gem! Now let’s hope he stays this easy and lovable when he hits the teenage years!