3:00 am I woke up and laid in bed, trying to figure out whether I needed to get up for one of my tri-nightly trips to the bathroom. I dozed off, was roused by a contraction, and decided to get up. When I returned to bed, I had another contraction, and while I wouldn't call it painful, it packed some heat. I was scheduled for an induction in the morning either way, so I continued to lie in bed for a while, trying to rest my bones for a few more hours before giving birth. Blood sugar: 106.
4:00 am I was still awake and having spicy contractions, so I timed a few. The intervals were variable, some being 5 minutes apart, some 10, some 8. Some contractions lasted a little longer than a minute, but most were less. I elected not to wake my husband, because the first time I did this, we were both awake for a full 24 hours BEFORE the baby was even born. That was a huge mistake. So I played it cool, and pretended that it was false labor.
But just in case, I got up and got dressed.
And (because, my husband says, I'm addicted) I checked Facebook and read blogs.
I laid back down again. Blood sugar: 99.
I prayed a few decades of the rosary for Christian unity, and committed my impending days' work and pain for the reunification of the Church. Don't ask me how that works, because I'm not totally sure.
6:30 am I was dozing off when my husband's alarm went off. I got up and had a few contractions that made me stop for a few deep breaths. I conceded that I was definitely in labor now, but I was still not convinced that I would have a baby before lunch. I was happy to say good-bye to the prospect of being hooked up to pitocin (which didn't really work last time), having my water broken (which makes the contractions even more intense), and generally experiencing labor poked and prodded along by someone else.
7:20 am The boys woke up and I decided to go downstairs to say good-bye. While I was down there, I changed diapers and got them dressed to save my father the trouble.
At one point, my 3-year-old was lying on the changing table and I stopped working at his diaper, grabbed the changing table rail, and exhaled deeply a few times. My son, looking at me quizzically and mixing up his pronouns, asked, "Do you know why Mommy is blowing on you?" My 1-year-old, considering the same behavior, looked at me with a bright smile and started happily blowing back at me ("Isn't this a fun game?").
7:40 am We got in the car to leave and, as far as I was concerned, not a minute too soon. I think getting up out of bed and moving around made the contractions come on faster and stronger. If we're still talking spice, then at this point I was close to the 5-star chili variety, or perhaps "Native Thai." Rush-hour would be well underway at this point, and it would take close to an hour to get to the hospital. Blood sugar: 68 (drank some Gatorade). My husband and I laughed and joked in the car that we had scooped our scheduled induction, and we'd have a baby by lunch! I also became fearful and choked back a few tears at the thought of my impending pain.
8:45 am I'm in the hospital lobby, on my hands and knees, exhaling deeply, waiting for my husband to park the car and come collect me, and somehow no one noticed for several minutes. Blood sugar: 73 (drank some more Gatorade).
8:47 am Most memorable elevator ride ever, having a contraction that I could tell was pushing the baby's head into the wheelchair seat.
8:50 am Check-in for the induction that never happened (whoooooo....). Reminded of the wonderful nurse we had for Braveheart's delivery (shoooowee...). Shed some tears because she wasn't there (of all the things to cry about on the day you have a baby!). Intake procedures that the nurse pared down as much as she could for the sake of the contractions (aaaaaaaaah....!). Contractions burned...if I could just...lie down on this bed...and stop answering questions...
9:15ish? The doctor had not yet arrived. The nurse-midwife checked my dilation, muttered something about +2 station, and actually almost left the room before telling me that I was fully dilated. "Oh, yeah. You're ready to have a baby," she said casually as she walked away. Blood sugar: 108.
Wait a minute. Fully dilated? Sure, it's fine to put that fetal monitor on. This was a little bit of a shock to my system. Please bring that vomit bucket back! I was still having contractions, and trying to find a comfortable position to lie down in. Yes, I'd like to hold the baby as soon as possible after birth. I was absolutely unprepared for this! There's meconium? Go ahead and break my water. I somehow avoided panic mode. Whatever he needs for his blood sugar is fine. Wait, what comes next? Oh yeah, push the baby out.
9:30 am I made a lot of noise, but if the word "gentle" can be appropriated to describe the moment that you push a small person out of you, I will go ahead use it. I was calm and, despite the rush, everyone in the room was basically pretty relaxed.
Our little man laid on the bed and cried within seconds of being born. He was so pink and perfect and squeaky, just like a newborn should be. The nurse called out, "9:31." No stirrups, thank goodness, so I collapsed on the bed. The placenta didn't take forever this time, so we wrapped things up quickly. Blood sugar: 139. His blood sugar was fine (60s) and stayed fine (50s-60s) during the next 24 hours. He nursed right away.
The nurse-midwife seemed pleased to have the opportunity to attend a labor and delivery like the ones she probably hoped to attend when she signed up for her job, and the L&D nurse rolled beautifully with the quick pace. At some point, she said cheerfully, "You might be my fastest ever!" My doctor, despite his late arrival, was concentrated and composed but not concerned. And my husband held my hand at all the right moments.
One of the blog posts from my early morning, early labor internet surfing was called "I Suck at Suffering." Throughout my labor, I chuckled periodically as I remembered her reflections (and those in the comment box) on the attempt to "offer it up," and how prayers when you're in pain often end with, "Oh dear God please just take it away," or "THERE'S A CHAINSAW IN MY UTERUS."
This time around, I didn't have time to think or whine about anything except physically getting myself to the hospital and through intake. Hopefully my attempt to offer my work and pain for the reunification of Christians will be credited to the cause...somehow.
In any case, we're home, we're happy, and we're so appreciative for all your prayers. I posted on Facebook the day before the scheduled induction: "Last pre-baby date tonight, the worst pain of my life tomorrow, and we'll be holding the everlasting fruits of my labor in our arms by the end of the day. Please pray for us!" and we certainly attained the benefits you sought on our behalf. Thank you!