***apologies ahead of time for any typos…I think when it’s only been three weeks since giving birth, you’re still allowed to claim “pregnancy brain”, right?***
“They feel different today.”
“Yeah? Should I cancel on game night? And the movie tomorrow night?”
My husband’s voice was hopeful. Hopeful, I think, that the answer would be no. After all, our house was soon to be home to a newborn, so that was surely going to hamper his social calendar. I couldn’t blame him for wanting to make the most of his time before the arrival.
“Nah. I’m sure it’s fine. I mean, I’ve had contractions since halfway through this pregnancy. I’m just saying, they feel a little different today. I don’t think this kid is going to be here late.”
“Are you sure it’s okay?”
I nodded. “This is not a test. You are free to go.”
Looking pleased, he headed for work, after the customary hug and kiss and promise to wave goodbye to Jonas.
I went about my day, sending emails for work, including one letting HR and my boss know that I expected to be working until Friday, but I’d keep them posted as the week went on.
The house was clean, everything for baby in place, and the home birth baskets full of clean towels, sheets, and other necessary items.
And yet, I found myself bouncing on the exercise ball in my bedroom, organizing the wardrobes. The wardrobes from IKEA I had pieced together during my last pregnancy.
I paid little attention to the contractions that continued to come. They didn’t hurt, so I still had plenty of time, days, maybe more, before this kid was going to make his appearance. It was a good four days before I saw baby boy #1 from the start of the too-painful-to-sleep contractions the last time.
The afternoon past, and early evening came. The hubby made his way to game night, with the reminder to keep his phone on. As he left, I gave the midwife a call.
“I just wanted to let you know that the contractions have been feeling different all day today. Not painful, but I thought it would be best to give you a heads up, just in case you get a call from me in the middle of the night.”
“How often are the contractions coming?”
“Oh,” I thought, realizing I hadn’t bothered timing them. “Maybe every ten minutes?”
“Okay. Could you go ahead and time them and then text me the results? And try and get some rest. Just in case.”
I hung up and head to the bed, sure a nap wouldn’t happen this late in the evening, well after 7 PM, not to mention that it was just Jonas (the four year old) and I at home. But I could at least try to chill while I timed things.
The iPhone laid on the bed next to me as I used some random app to time the contractions. I stared at the little graph the app formed and took a moment to be sure that I was reading it right.
Four minutes apart. Consistently FOUR minutes.
And now they were coming along with a twinge of discomfort.
I sent a screenshot of the timing to the midwife, who let me know she would be on her way shortly. Then, I texted the husband.
Me: Contractions are coming every four minutes.
Me: Yes. And they are starting to get uncomfortable.
Him: Have you lost your mucus plug?
I waited for a bit, and when he didn’t show up at the door, I texted again.
Me: The midwife is coming over.
There was a pause.
Him: Do you need me to come home?
Me: That might be good.
In his defense, he DID ask about the mucus plug, which he had great fun grossing out the other guys at game night discussing, and when I was in labor with Jonas, I lost mine long before the kid made his appearance.
I finished making my calls – letting my parents and siblings know I was in labor – and noticed that each contraction was getting more uncomfortable.
Diane, my midwife, arrived, along with the nurse who talked me through the hardest contractions in my first labor, and a student midwife. My sister, brother-in-law, and parents also showed up to see how I was doing.
I bounced on the exercise ball, my back killing me with each contraction. Jonas was determined to get me through them – pushing on my lower back, patting me on the leg, holding my hand, and copying the moaning sounds I made while in the midst of a contraction.
The baby was turned slightly, so I’d have to try some different positions to move him, and hopefully lessen the pain. I did as I was told and was successful in getting him to turn, but the contractions didn’t seem any less painful.
By 12:30 AM, I was progressing, but a ways from fully dilated. I sent the family home, and the hubby and the kid to bed. Those who could get some rest should. In the meantime, I would lay in my tub, hoping the warm water would soothe some of the pain for the undetermined amount of time I had ahead of me.
I did this for days last time. No reason I couldn’t make it through again.
I curled and bent my body in every kind of position in that tub, hoping to find a sweet spot, a place where I felt the pain lessen in the slightest. I wasn’t expecting any kind of magic, just the tiniest bit of relief.
No matter how I turned, every contraction hurt that much more.
This wasn’t how it happened last time. I was in pain, but it wasn’t like this.
It wasn’t so intense.
It wasn’t so fast.
Last time there was relief in between. Now it seemed as if it took every second after a contraction to recover, to tell myself that I was okay and I could do this, and then BAM, I was back in pain again.
My moans had changed.
I asked for Shannon, the woman who talked me through endless hours of contractions last time.
I asked for my mom. I didn’t know that I had only sent her home an hour ago. It felt so much longer.
I sat on the exercise ball, squeezing Shannon’s hands and trying to keep the low moans steady. I could hear my voice changing, and I felt like crying as I tried to keep myself from tensing up.
Someone went to wake up the hubby (how he was even asleep is beyond me).
“Do you want to use the bathroom? Let’s empty the bladder. That will help.”
Shannon led me to the toilet. I sat there for a few contractions and felt the urge to push.
Wasn’t this baby just at zero station moments ago? I figured my body was just trying to get me to push him into the canal. So I started to push.
“Let’s get you back to the bed.”
I walked back to the bed and felt another contraction hit.
And the urge to push.
So I did.
And I couldn’t stop.
You know that moment when you are really sick? When your body takes over to make you throw up and you have no choice in the matter? Your body just keeps heaving until it’s done?
It was like that. My body had decided it wanted to keep pushing and wasn’t about to stop and ask my brain how it felt about the decision.
And then there was a pop.
My water broke.
And it was immediately followed by another sensation.
And the people around me trying to re-position me.
I heard something about the head.
That’s what I felt immediately following my water breaking.
But I’d just begun pushing!
The next thing I knew, I was pushing again.
And there he was.
At 2:12 AM, after a very intense couple of hours, there he was.
Eli Coulson West.
The hours that followed were the same as last time – “giving birth” to the placenta, getting stitched up, trying to pee, and showering as the midwifery team and my mother cleaned up.
It was after 5 AM when everyone left, leaving me to snuggle with the newest addition to the family. And within that hour, Jonas came in, after sleeping through the birth, to meet his new little brother.
Sorry for the long absence on the blog. I’d like to say “I’m back!” but we’ll see. Juggling a very active, almost five year old and a newborn is time consuming – and that’s without being back at work.
But I’ll do my best.
I avoid being in pictures like the plague. No, really. I’ve become rather irate with a person who insisted on taking my photo after I kindly asked them not to. Seeing myself in photos makes me too aware of all the things that aren’t perfect about my appearance. This “awareness” of my self started some […]
Summertime in Florida sometimes leaves me lost when it comes to making dinner. Sure, I’m hungry, but heavy casseroles or stews sound like a horrible idea when temps start crawling up into the 80s and 90s. The fact that I happen to be nearly 36 weeks pregnant certainly isn’t driving me into the kitchen. At […]
I like to do things for my friends. Not so strange, right? Sometimes, though, that desire can be a stress to the wallet, particularly if I’m looking to do something special for more than one person at a time. Recently, I was getting together with a group of great ladies and wanted to have gifts […]
I read an article on BlogHer the other day recommending “Video Games for Women” that had me going… And the more I thought about it, I just felt… So, I wrote a bit of a rant-y counter post over there. This morning, BlogHer informed me that they would be FEATURING my post all over the […]
It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about #GoWithout here on the blog. You all remember the concept, right? Stop and think of something that you could do without, whether it be for a day, a week, or a month, in order to give a little to someone else. Well, thanks to Katie Sluiter, I have […]
I don’t do a whole lot of sponsored posting or ads for products here on the blog, but occasionally, the opportunity presents itself and I go ahead and share. I’m never against talking about a product so long as I feel like I can give an honest opinion. It’s even better when I can give […]