Monday, May 11, 2009

My detailed Birthing Story: Part I – From Home to Hospital

So I will post my detailed birthing story in a few parts. If you would like to read a shorter version, check this post out instead.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009:

Today, I diligently work at my “to do” list and finally feel that I have completed the majority of “necessary” tasks. I then meet with my friend for lunch at Cosi. We have been trying to get together for a while, but have been unable to make our schedules work. We decide we must get together soon, as I only have one week before my due date! Mike also calls me from work to tell me his coworkers have thrown him a surprise Baby Shower! We are both touched by this, and think it good timing, although cutting it close a week before my due date (we don't know how close we really come...).

When Mike comes home from work Tuesday night, he takes my 39 week belly shots (and I finally take one of him!). Then we meet with our agent from H & R Block to finalize our taxes (it has been a saga with them, as we’ve visited their office 2 other times prior to this). When we arrive home, it is almost 10pm. There is one piece we must put out in the mail, but everything else has been filed electronically. I am so relieved to have completed our taxes, albeit last minute.

Mike also informs me that he no longer feels sick. On Easter Sunday evening (my birthday this year), Mike starts feeling like he is coming down with a cold. He and I are both very upset about this, as we don’t know when I’ll go into labor and do not want him to be sick when we have our newborn. On Monday, he definitely has a cold. He takes airborne and we pray hard. So we are both ecstatic when he says he feels his cold is gone already Tuesday evening. We thank God and feel another sense of relief!

The rest of my week is fairly planned out. I have a hair appointment on Wednesday morning, and a lunch date with a friend in the afternoon. On Thursday, I am meeting with two more friends, then have an informal photo-shoot with an artist friend on Friday (photos of me pregnant, but also of Mike and me, which we don’t have yet). Then comes our weekend. We have no plans for the first time in as long as I can remember, so we will spend quality time together, as it may be the last weekend we have as a family of two. Even though my doctor has told me he doesn’t think I will make my next appointment with him on Monday, I feel I will at least wait until Sunday to go into labor.

However, I also know that if I were to go into labor tonight, Mike and I are about as ready as we will be. At long last, there is nothing else left that we have to do, only things that we want to do. We are both healthy, our taxes are done, the baby room is ready, shelves are fairly organized, carseat bases are in, we just got the cosleeper set up…We could have this baby now…

Which is good to know, because something unusual is going on with this baby now…

All evening, the baby has been kicking and moving like never before. It feels as though he is hurling himself against the sides of my uterus. He is banging with full force, and not just a leg or a shoulder, but his whole body seems to be shifting and moving. I also am experiencing a lot of cervical pain as he bangs around. I still have what I think are Braxton Hicks contractions, but they are more intense now. It is hard to walk around when I am having them, and before I go to bed, I notice another medical clue that my labor may be coming. Something is definitely up…

Then at 12:30am, I head to bed. Around 1:15am, I get up to go to the bathroom. I go back to bed. Then around 2am, I wake up again, feeling as though I need to go to the bathroom. It is dark and I step out of bed and…

My water breaks…!

Now, a few weeks ago, at the advice of one friend, I put a small waterproof mattress pad under the sheets on my side of the bed. And after I receive my “I don’t think you’ll make it to your appointment next week” news from my OB, Monday and this night, I also put a towel on top of my sheets—again at the advice of a friend whose water broke in the middle of the night.

So when I stand up and realize my water has broken, I grab the towel and head to the bathroom. I turn on the light, turn off the background noise fan, and call to Mike.

“Mike. Mike—get up. I think my water broke,” I say in weary voice.

He gets up and appears at the bathroom door. “Really? Are you sure?” It is dark in the apartment, cool.

“I think so.”

I can tell Mike is getting that giddy-middle-of-the-night excitement. I have a controlled adrenaline pumping through my tired veins also.

I get into the shower and tell him to call the doctor’s office to leave a message for him to call us back. “When he calls back, let me know and I’ll talk to him.”

I stand in the shower and hear Mike on the phone. “She thinks her water just broke…39 weeks…Our number is 914…”

While I am standing in the shower, my mind is pacing. It is not racing. It is slow; it is alert, but it is tired. I tell Mike this is not how I wanted it to happen. I did not want to have my water break so early on. I wanted to labor at home for a while first (my OB said to go to the hospital if my water broke and they would evaluate me then). I did not want to go into labor in the middle of the night on less than 90 minutes sleep. I did not want to go into labor a week early. I wanted to savor one more week of being pregnant…one final quiet weekend with my husband…

But our baby knows what he is doing, and this is the time. So whether it fits my plan or not, this is the night.

My OB calls back quickly, and I tell him I think my water broke.

“You think your water broke?”

“Yeah. I think so...”

“What is it like? Is it a gush or a trickle?”

“Um…I guess both…” I give him some details.

He sounds sleepy and tells me I need to go to the hospital.

“Okay,” I say disappointed, but knowing this is what he will say. We’ve been over this before.

I hang up and tell Mike what the OB says. Earlier on Tuesday, I had called Mike at work on his cell phone and he did not pick up. He called me back a bit later, and I reminded him, “You know, you really should pick up your cell phone if I call you. The doctor said I could go into labor any time, and I’m only a week until my due date.”

“You’re right!” he had said. “I was in a meeting before, but I should pick up anyway. Everyone understands. I’ll definitely pick up if you call no matter what I’m doing.”

But he will never need to receive this call from me! I tell him to get his things together for the hospital. He has not packed anything yet, so he quickly gathers a change of clothes, his toothbrush. I only have one or two things to pack last minute from my list, so after doing that, I turn on my laptop. I email my friends to cancel plans for this week, as well as my family to cancel my hair appointment for me (they don’t have an answering machine at the salon). I grab the envelope for our taxes and put way too many stamps on the outside (I am not sure how many the thick envelope will need), so we can safely drop it in the mailbox on our way. I tell Mike to give our bird extra food and water in additional dishes. I update this blog and my facebook status with a sentence or two, and take another shower and get dressed.

I am feeling more of what, again, I think must be Braxton Hicks contractions. They are mildly painful, but not enough for me to think I might actually be in labor already.

It is now 3:30am, and we are ready to leave. We walk out of our apartment and lock the door. It is dark outside. And raining. The street is quiet and peaceful. It reminds me of when we must catch a 5am flight to go on a vacation. The world is sleeping, and while we are sleepy ourselves, we are excited. The excitement of knowing something very very big and unfamiliar is about to occur.

On the way to the hospital, I call my mother and tell her the news. I am uncertain of when I should call her, as just that night, around 10pm, she sends me this email after I ask her when I should call if I go into labor:

So call our home phone and leave a message. Don't leave a message, but you can call our cell if we don't answer at home. We would get that as a missed call with your number so we'd call you when we found it or when we got home and got the message. Call during the nite if it's that fast, but I'd think it'd be a daytime call first that you are in labor or an early morning one that you're in labor and then sometime that you are going to or are at the hospital. And of course the news! whenever!

When I read the email Tuesday night, I am tired and rushing through it and don’t entirely understand what she is saying. So I decide I will call at 3:45am and tell her regardless. She sounds alert and excited on the phone. At this point, I am having real contractions, but they are erratic—happening every three minutes, then every minute, then barely subsiding before merging into another one, then five minutes of break…

We arrive at the maternity building of the hospital, park, and walk in the rain to the front door. It opens and the security officer asks no questions as he usually does, but simply says, “Second floor,” and pushes the elevator button for us.

We step in and take the ride to the Labor & Delivery Floor, where we will remain for the next ten hours or so, where I will experience pain and exhaustion and elation and incredulity, where the real adventure begins...where our lives really will change forever...


Monsoon Mama said...

omg, i got SO excited just reading that bit, and the best part is yet to come!! can't wait to read the rest. i love the way you write and really put us RIGHT THERE with you. what a fabulous journey!

Mike said...

Oh man. I feel just like I did after seeing the first Lord of the Rings movie -- even though I knew what happened next, I wanted the story to continue. :)

What an awesome night. Tara was definitely a bit bummed by the fact that her water broke...mostly due to fears of that 'complication' potentially leading to a C-Section. That was about the only thing that kept me from singing all opera-style at the top of my lungs on the way to the hospital...I was PUMPED. :D

Anonymous said...

Dear Tara,

I just found your lovely diary by looking for baby movements. I cannot say what a pleasure it is to be reading your journal. Thank you ever so much for being so open about everything! This is more "help" than the odd comments of some people I am getting (27 weeks tomorrow, also a "thinny")

All the best!

grandma berta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grandma berta said...

What!? Mike! Lord of the Rings! Come on! This is YOUR LIFE! (just kidding, Mike!) Yes, you know what comes next... and the journey really has begun! Love to you 3!

Mary said...

Tara, What a wonderful account. I love the way you have written it, and found that while reading it I was sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering if your one minute apart contractions would lead to a very fast delivery. I can't wait for the next instalment, and would love to hear how things are going now with little Dylan, and to see some photos. I am truly so very happy for all three of you, and can't wait to meet him!

michelmoba said...

i just found your blog & I'm thoroughly enjoying this post with a big cheesy smile & fat blobs of hormonal tears running down my face like i'm reading some intense novel (I'm 23 weeks preggie) to chapter II!

Tara M said...

Thanks so much, guys! I have been so blessed to have such a great support network--live and online! And thanks especially to Jo and Michel--it is very cool that a blog can make such connections with others! Your next half of pregnancy, Michel, is a really exciting ride--where all the "big" things start to happen! I'm excited for you! :)