Waiting for Contractions
I started my drive home, heart rate definitely higher than normal. I was full of adrenaline and nervousness. First, I needed to actually make it home. Second, I was fearful, because this was exactly how I didn’t want labor to begin this time.
Julie graciously reminded me via text that just because my water broke before contractions, this was a new birth, a new beginning, and I didn’t need to think it would be the same as last time, because it wouldn’t. She recommended I start listening to the “Fear Cleansing” MP3, and I had already started pulling it up when her text arrived.
I prayed and listened. And I felt at peace, though my hands still trembling from the adrenaline.
Meanwhile, I continued to soak our driver’s seat as I drove. Traffic moved steadily, and I never got stuck, thankfully. Thirty minutes later, I arrived home to two excited girls and a happy husband. (Justus was happy, too, he just didn’t quite get it yet. ;)) The girls eagerly asked, “Are you having your baby!?” to which I said, “I think so.”
I felt the need to take a shower after riding home in my puddle, and so told Daniel to carry on as normal and then take the kids outside to get energy out, as we weren’t sure what the night would look like.
Still no contractions, so I took my time and took a shower to wash my hair, since it had been a couple of days. (I only wash my hair every two to three days. Don’t worry, I shower every night, with rare exceptions. ;)) Then, I tried to take a bath to relax, and Daniel brought up some yoghurt and a banana. Although I wasn’t feeling hungry, I ate them since I knew I needed energy.
I continued to listen to the Hypnobabies MP3, and tidied up our bathroom, bedroom, and closet as I continued to wait. Eventually, I started to feel more at peace and ease. At the same time, it was a little odd to venture into this part without Daniel at my side like he had been in past labors.
Waiting for Technology
Around 6:30p.m., I started to feel the first, mild pressure waves (contractions). Since I wanted to make sure they were coming frequently, I started to download a contraction timing app. (I had planned to do this over the weekend, thinking I still had plenty of time! :)) And exactly like last time, I had trouble with entering my password and credit card (even though the app was free). I kept reminding myself that even if my water broke like last time, and even if my app wouldn’t download like last time, this was still a new birth.
Eventually, I simply had to change my password, and was finally able to download the app. A few contractions later, I realized I was indeed into a pattern: minute-long contractions, and about three to four minutes apart.
Now to let everyone know! I tried to text Julie first, as I wanted her to come first, and have the others wait until it was more intense and/or my kids were in bed. But my text wouldn’t go through. I then tried Carrie and Megan, and those texts wouldn’t go through either! So, I tried to send Daniel a message to ask him to call the others, only to have his text come back as “could not send.” I tried calling. No success there, either. I tried to send Julie a message of Facebook, then e-mail. Facebook wouldn’t work, but eventually my e-mail went through.
In spite of these discouragements, my spirits were high and praying and listening to the Hypnobabies MP3 helped me work through each pressure wave, which remained quite, and surprisingly, manageable.
Daniel eventually brought the kids in for baths, and when he came to check on me, I told him what was going on and he contacted everyone with the plan: we asked Julie to come as soon as she could (she had a 45 minute drive), and Carrie (midwife) and Megan (photographer) should try to come closer to 8:30p.m. so that Daniel could help the kids get to bed (he lays down with Justus till he falls asleep) without making too much commotion and excitement. (Their normal bedtime is around 8:00p.m.)
I continued working through the pressure waves, and was honestly surprised at how smoothly things were going, and how my fear had faded away into only excitement and anticipation: a direct answer to prayer!
Julie eventually arrived, I think a little before 8:30p.m. Contractions slowed and shortened when she arrived, but they were definitely growing in intensity. We talked and laughed together, and as the contractions would begin, I’d turn my MP3 back on and relax through the contractions.
The kids took a little longer to get to sleep, as the girls knew a little of what was happening and were excited. Around 9p.m., first Megan, then Carrie arrived. (The kids were all still awake, but this actually allowed Megan to get some video of the girls. :)) I told Julie that my plan was to have Carrie check me for dilation, then I would try to take a shower, and then maybe a bath. At that point, I said I wanted Julie and Daniel in the bathroom with me, and Carrie and Megan could hang out in the bedroom. I had Julie fill the bath about halfway so that we could add hot or cold depending on how soon I would use it.
Julie knew the rough time I’d had with having an over-touched cervix last birth, so she encouraged me that I didn’t even need to get checked at all, that I could just labor on.
However, I’d done a self-exam earlier in the shower (before any pressure waves had started), and thought myself to be around 3-4cm, so I’m afraid I was just too curious. But I mentally prepared myself that I might not be as far along as I hoped, and reminded myself, “dilation doesn’t necessarily mean anything; the body can do a lot of work really fast or really slow.”
A few minutes later, Carrie checked me, and did so quite gently. She asked me if I wanted to know, and I said, “yes.” I was 6 centimeters at that point. Oh, was I relieved to hear that!
I worked through a couple more contractions, and then Daniel came in. (I have never labored to this point without him by my side.) I told him the plan (that I had told Julie), and moments later I started to feel a little “pushy” with my next contraction. I told Julie and Daniel I was going to head to the toilet and said something like, “I feel like I need to push, but I’m pretty sure this is just my body cleansing itself and getting ready.” And indeed it was. (Read: good thing I was on the toilet.)
I took another shower to clean off, and then headed to the bathtub. Once again, I was hit with some strong, pushing contractions. I told Julie that, again, “I’m afraid this is just my body cleansing again, not the baby.” She said, “Well, I think baby’s going to be here soon.” While I was excited at that, I proceeded to prove to her that I was correct, at least with the urge of the moment,…and left her and Daniel to clean up the mess. 😉 (Obviously, there wasn’t much else I could do.) I was a bit embarrassed, and asked if I should get out of the tub. She told me I was fine, but eventually it was too much for me to deal with mentally, so I began my toilet-shower-tub circuit again.
Although pushing was growing intense and tiring, I made mental note that I had made it through the entire non-pushing pressure waves quite easily and without feeling overwhelmed by them in the ways I had in my previous three births. This gave me a thrill of adrenaline. Which I definitely needed at the moment…
To Be Continued…