The birth of Vivian begins one chilly October night… oh wait. You don’t need to know about that!
The real story begins a few days before her birthday.
On Friday June 29th (Lacey’s birthday), I had a really terrible day at work. It was just all around a hectic, unproductive, frustrating day. As I left, I went to say goodbye to Jessica, because she would be on vacation the following week. We chatted about my expectation that I would go into labor as late as humanly possible. She instead said “I think you’ll go on Sunday”. I replied: “THIS Sunday?! I don’t think so! I hope so, but I doubt it!” On my way out, I said goodbye to Steve, who would also be on vacation. He would be returning to the office on 7/9, the day after my due date, and I predicted that I would be grumbling into the office that morning too.
The Man and I we went to Target and Hannaford to pick up some labor supplies like snacks – and anticipated a very busy weekend. Oh how right we were…
The next morning (Saturday 6/30) The Man’s alarm went off pretty early so he could go to basketball at 7am. I didn’t sleep well the prior night, so I slept a little later. I had to be up and showered by 9am. We were having some work done in the house, and Ed would be arriving to finish the plumbing for the washer and get started on the insulation. Up until then, the 10 rolls of insulation was piled up in the baby’s room, so I couldn’t get in the room to wash any baby clothes. I had told The Man earlier that Ed MUST at the very least put the insulation in the attic. I had an arbitrary end of June deadline for the major things to be done. Although that was far from true, I at least needed the baby’s room to be clear! Ed ran into some problems during the day (a broken pipe, fixing our kitchen sink) in addition to hooking up the washer, so it took him longer than expected. He left around 3pm, but without touching the insulation. It was extraordinarily hot, so he wanted to wait until it was cooler to go up in the attic. The Man could tell I was upset about it, and knew that the clothes had to be washed, so he actually went up and put half the insulation up in the attic himself! It was probably close to 120 degrees up there, and it took a while, but he cleared out enough so I could get to the closet, and so the room wasn’t so crowded. What a great Husband!
While he was clearing it out, I started making dinner—baked chicken, risotto, broccoli, and baked red potatoes—the most extravagant dinner I had made in months. We then settled in and watched a few episodes of True Blood and went to bed. After dinner I started feeling kind of gassy, which I attributed to all the food I ate at dinner. I double checked to make sure gas-x was ok to take during pregnancy, and took one right before bed.
I slept terrible once again. Since I had a poor night’s sleep the prior night, I didn’t think much of it. I woke up a few times, but most notably at 3am with terrible gas. I tried going to the bathroom, but noting was really happening. When I went to lie down again, I started to panic. I couldn’t remember when the last time I felt the baby move. I went downstairs, drank a glass of orange juice, and lied down for some kick counts. Normally the baby would be kicking up a storm within a few minutes—this time it took the baby 40 minutes to kick 10 times! Ahh! And during that time, I kept having this uncomfortable gas!
I finally convinced myself to go back upstairs to go to sleep, but wasn’t having any success. Over the course of the next few hours, I constantly was moving (quietly) around the bedroom. I was starting to suspect that something with my uterus may be happening, but couldn’t find ANSWERS! Finally I found a message board with a woman asking if her symptoms (my symptoms!) was labor—to which the respondents yelled an unequivocal YES!
Around 5:15, while I was standing with my arms and head leaning over the bed, the dogs finally woke up asking to be let out. The Man woke up too. After a brief discussion about how the internet told me I might be in labor, The Man suggested I drink a glass of water and try to go back to sleep. It was almost laughable though by no fault of his! I could hardly sit, let alone thing about going to sleep! The Man suggested to start timing the pains.
I had a handy app on my iPhone for tracking labor, which was idiot proof. I don’t think either of us expected to see that the first three pains were about a minute long and three minutes apart. In Lamaze class, they told us about the 5-1-1 rule: call the doctor when you are having contractions 5 minutes apart, that last 1 minute each, for an hour. We were absolutely past that point!
The next few hours were surprisingly casual. We decided it was best to probably think about going to the hospital. I ate an excessive amount of honey nut Cheerios, finished packing the hospital bags, took a shower, and most importantly, shaved my legs and blow-dried my hair. While I was in the shower, I would just yell to The Man “OK!” when a contraction was starting, and sigh “ok” when it was over.
I remember thinking it was strange to really live my life in few minute increments. It is amazing how quickly time passes when you’re just thinking “a few more seconds until this contraction is over.” That hoo-ha about concentrating on THIS contraction and not anticipating the next is really brilliant.
I started to feel overwhelmed by the pain close to 8am. I could no longer walk or talk through them, and was started to get a little scared. Scared of what was happening, but also scared that I was going to go to the hospital and they would say “you crazy lady! You’re making this up!”
We called the doctor, who (obviously) told us to go to the hospital. And after some puppy cuddles, off we went at 8:45am.
The 20 or so minute ride in was pretty funny- well in between contractions. We kept laughing about the fact that we could become parents sometime soon. And until that point, we had barely discussed middle names for the hypothetical first names. We threw some around, but didn’t come to any hard conclusions. C’mon folks. I was still in denial.
We parked in the garage and walked into the hospital. Of course Bob and I decided to leave the hospital overnight bags and just bring the labor bags (because they would be sending us home. Right? RIGHT?!) Literally JUST as we were walking in the door, my friend Jess texted me:
Naturally we got lost on the way to labor and delivery. When we eventually arrived, we were immediately brought into an admission room. Now, I had these grand plans of wearing my own clothes and not the hospital gown during labor and delivery. When the nurse told me to put on the gown, I was conflicted. See, I wasn’t expecting a separate admission room, and my labor clothes consisted of a bra and a skirt. Not exactly what I wanted to walk around in. So I grudgingly changed into the hospital gown, figuring I could change if I actually was admitted (because they would be sending us home. Right? RIGHT?!)
Of course they had my pre-registration, but that didn’t include the MILLION and one questions they insisted I answer- While lying on my back on the bed. For me, that was the worst position I could be in. They hooked me up to monitors to check out the contractions and the baby’s heart beat. After a while, the nurse Jen (who I would later learn to be the most wonderful human being in the world) told me my contractions were 15 minutes apart!! NO NO NO! Thankfully I spoke up, they moved the monitors around, and discovered they were about 4 minutes apart. That’s more like it!
After what seemed like an eternity (or like an hour later, at 10:30am), the moment of truth came. The midwife on duty came to check to see how much I was dilated (if at all. Because they because they would be sending us home. Right? RIGHT?!). First, Ouch. I’m really glad I opted out of the cervix checks at the doctor’s office. Second, 4-5 cm HOLLA! Pushing starts when you are at 10, so getting to the hospital when I was about halfway there was a secret goal.
I should mention I had a lot of secret goals. Goals that when people would ask, I would give a wishy washy response, totally non-committal. I didn’t want to fail to meet the secret goals, and then have a lot of told you so’s. So I was really psyched that I was able to stay home a long time, and get this far without going to the hospital. But with 4-5 cm, This thing was ON.