birth story, part 1: early labor

It’s so surreal to sit in our master bedroom with my chunk of a cutie sleeping soundly next to me in her bassinet as I type away on my computer trying to come with the right words to explain how her birth unfolded and what it meant to me. As a woman who struggled with coming to terms with my son’s c-section, with infertility, with loss, it was a great thing for me to put trust back into my body and know that it could do this. Then DO IT.

41 weeks pregnant!

41 weeks pregnant!

The story starts probably as early as Saturday night. Carlos, Leopold, and a very pregnant yours truly spent the day at the Arboretum (one of my fave places) looking at the scarecrows, glass blown pumpkins, and general autumn splendor. It was a lovely day and I wanted to enjoy it not stay home thinking about the looming deadline of 42 weeks and turning all the what ifs over in my head. And hey, adding in a bit of exercise couldn’t hurt, right? After the Arboretum, we went out for a yummy Mexican dinner, then walked along the river as a family. It was a perfect evening (until the toddler crapped his pants on our evening stroll, but eh that’s life). That evening, Carlos and I decided we should try once again doing the deed to see if would jump start anything. So, uncomfortable / unpleasant sex was had and then we went to sleep.

pumpkin painting

pumpkin painting

Sunday morning I woke up feeling pretty good, but noticed quite a bit of blood when I wiped. Not the mucousy stuff I thought went with a bloody show, but straight blood. I kept wiping and more kept coming and coming. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I was scared so we called L&D and they asked me to come in to get the bleeding checked out. It must have just been an irritated cervix from the sex and/or perhaps the start of the bloody show and I figured that, but I still had images of ruptured placentas and other scaring things due to lady baby’s decreased movement that morning. We called my mother in law, dropped Leopold at church with her, then checked in to L&D triage. They hooked me up to the heart rate monitor for the baby and the contraction monitor for me. Apparently I was contracting regularly but they were so tiny that I didn’t even notice them. They gave me a bag of IV fluids to see if the contractions stuck around and asked if I wanted to stay or be sent home if I wasn’t in labor. My doc came by and chatted with me and checked me, my cervix hadn’t changed since the Thursday’s appointment before, when my doc said I was 2 cm dilated (the nurse said she’d call it a 1). The contractions stopped after fluids and we went home. I was relieved they didn’t try to talk me into staying but a bit frustrated that things didn’t appear to be happening. Carlos and I stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for some spicy food (another desperate attempt, ha!), then picked up Leopold from his Grandma’s house and brought him home. We all went out for a 4 mile walk after that, Leopold sleeping in the stroller most of the way and contracting on and off. I spent the evening watching football on the birth ball trying to will some contractions to come on. I was having some somewhat painful ones every so often, but nothing regular enough to get excited about.

tired and bouncing on a birthing ball

tired and bouncing on a birthing ball

Sunday night I got ready and went to bed as usual, but woke up around midnight to some more contractions. They came every 10 minutes or so for an hour, just often enough to where I couldn’t get some sleep, then more often for an hour. I was getting pretty excited about this, nearly woke up my husband, but after an hour of solid contractions about 5-7 minutes apart, then they let up to every 10-15 minutes. They were still there, still painful, but not regular enough to call the hospital or doctor. I listened to my early labor hypnobabies track through them for a while and relaxed and breathed through them. Then I gave up on sleep altogether around 5 am and watched an episode of Parenthood while bouncing on a birthing ball. I hoped so much that this would bring us good news at that afternoon’s appointment. When Carlos woke, I told him about the contractions, he planned to go to work as planned. He kept getting ready and I kept contracting every 10-15 minutes. I started to panic I wouldn’t be able to drive myself to my appointment and asked him to work from home. Luckily, his boss was cool with that and even told him just to work from home until the baby came.

at the end of a 4 mile walk with my boys - operation walk the baby out!

at the end of a 4 mile walk with my boys – operation walk the baby out!

I continued to contract all day long, I would have to pause, close my eyes, and breathe/visualize for a moment until it passed. It made it difficult to care for Leopold or rest. I think Leopold could tell something was amiss. He was just off all day, fighting us more than normal, having accidents. He could tell I wasn’t paying attention to him like I normally did. Carlos drove the 3 of us to my appointment and we packed our bags like we were going to the hospital. I thought something had changed and things were really moving along.The NST went well, lady baby performed beautifully. Doc checked and was dilated to maybe 3 cm and 50% effaced. I was happy some progress was being made, but my doc was less than thrilled with the progress. He said I needed to come back the next morning for a re-check to see if I’d made any progress over night, then we needed to make a plan to either induce if my cervix was favorable or schedule a c-section for the end of the week. I left feeling deflated, frustrated, and not at all optimistic that the VBAC was going to work out, tears rolling down my cheeks.

We stopped at Chip.otle on our way home. I didn’t really feel like eating, but I got a burrito bowl and slowly munched on it in between contractions. I just didn’t understand why I was having these “fake” contractions if they weren’t progressing anywhere and just making me uncomfortable and unable to drive or take care of my kid. I didn’t know how much longer I could keep this up on no sleep. When we made it home later that night, I started researching VBAC-safe induction techniques and emailed my doula asking for information on induction techniques for VBAC and statistic on going past 42 weeks. I was feeling desperate and frustrated, anxious for the next morning’s appointment with my OB and a plan….


5 thoughts on “birth story, part 1: early labor

  1. Oh the uncertainty of early labor. As you know I was plagued with so many false starts in the month before my induction, I know how rough that is. I’m sorry you had to go through that but I’m so glad it ended up leading to real thing. I can’t wait to read the rest.

  2. Pingback: birth story, part 2: active labor | Mellow in the Midwest

  3. Pingback: birth story, part 3: PUSH | Mellow in the Midwest

  4. Pingback: birth story, part 4: reunited | Mellow in the Midwest

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