Thomas was born at 36.5 weeks, according to official records. I have always had doubts about his due date for various reasons, but since 36.5 made him a preemie, it was more important to agree to that than argue, because that was significant information for future pregnancies if it was accurate. Though, him being a preemie (by 3 days) did mean there was extra staff in the room, they were never needed because he was just fine.
I was at work when I went into labor with Thomas. I had just finished putting together something I probably shouldn’t have been putting together for my department. While there was no heavy lifting, it was slight physical labor. Not long after, the Braxton Hicks contractions I’d been having FOREVER, became regular and I took notice. I timed for awhile and then gave my boss a heads up right before I phoned my doc. My doc did agree it was time to head in, so I called my hubby and away we went.
Once I got to the hospital, it was decided I was dehydrated and that’s why I was feeling contractions like I was. By that point they were headed towards intense, but I shouldn’t have been feeling them yet. However, I was far enough dilated that I warranted a room and they weren’t sending me home. So I got situated, was given an IV to hydrate, the contractions stopped being noticeable, and I slept through the night.
By morning, I was at the point where I was feeling them again and the doctor broke my water to speed things up, but it was still hours before it was time to push.
When pushing started, I literally pushed about 3 times and he flew out. No exaggeration. My first born, at 8 solid pounds, wanted out and once he had that little extra help from momma, out he came. There was no stopping him.
Nothing has changed, btw.
Luke was born at 37.5 weeks. Again, like his brother, I had Braxton Hicks for weeks before his appearance. The final few days before he was born, while they were no where near regular, they were pretty intense and I was getting no sleep. So despite my plan to work until labor, I showed up to work one Monday and told my boss I could finish the day but then I had to stop. I couldn’t do it anymore. She never even hesitated in agreeing with me. She had from day one had been the protective momma bear type and she knew I was at my breaking point. And we all knew it was a matter of days before I was in labor anyway, so what difference did a few days early make? I think it also helped, that it lessened the chance of a dramatic water break at work. (Though once again my water was broken by a doctor.)
Sure enough, the day after I went on leave, I spent the day knowing this was it. The contractions were regular, but not yet close enough for most of the day. That evening, mom and I took a last minute trip to target. I think I finally settled on a diaper bag and I’m sure we picked up a few other odds and ends. Not really sure.
That evening, the contractions brought me to my knees and had finally reached that goal of 5 minutes apart or less, so to the hospital I went.
Just to be told I wasn’t dilating.
So I walked the hospital halls for hours. Walked and walked and walked. Every few minutes having a contraction that had me grabbing the closest whatever and making it impossible to breath.
But I still was not dilating. Not even a little. I was stuck at 2.
So I was sent home at around midnight, maybe, with a sleeping pill and was told the contractions would stop or they would see me in the morning. At that point, they couldn’t confirm I was even in labor. We just knew no progress was being made.
Let me tell you, there are some things even the strongest sleeping pill won’t let you sleep through. I spent most the night on my hands and knees half dozing, half wishing a speedy death (to me, not the baby). Finally by morning I had enough and went back. Thank god I was dilating and was quickly taken to a room.
It was still a few hours before it was time to push, and I did my best to rest while I waited since by that point I had my epidural, but I didn’t accomplish much sleep even then.
When the time came to push, I pushed and pushed and pushed, but I couldn’t give it my all. I was too exhausted. It doesn’t help that Luke, very much being my child, did not want to come out. (You should hear what I did to my poor mother 2.5 decade prior, for reference.)
Thankfully, he was just far enough along that they could vacuum him out instead of me having a c-section. Either way, it became obvious my pushing wasn’t going to get us anywhere.
He was finally literally pulled out and declared a healthy 6 pounds. To this day, I find it hysterical that my first born an 8 pounder flew out while my second born a 6 pounder refused to budge.
So now, my darling daughter.
Sammy dropped out of the blue at 36 weeks. Right in time to follow the 37 week average, her brothers had established. Not long after, the Braxton Hicks which had been amazingly missing, started up.
Almost a week after she dropped I had this appointment. That night I literally timed contractions for 6 hours straight. Here are those results. The following day, last Saturday, I had contractions off and on through the day, but nothing like the day before. By Sunday, they had full on stopped. It wasn’t until, I believe Tuesday, that they started up again, though just like Saturday they were random with hours in between.
Thursday at my 38 weeks appointment, it was still blatantly obvious that I was damn close, just not quite there. I was, thankfully, dilated just enough though at a 3.5, that my midwife offered to strip my membranes. While painful, it is harmless and can about half the time trigger labor for those who are close.
Thursday night, I was self confined to my bed by about 7PM. I was in some amount of pain. Membrane stripping can cause cramping and when added in with the baby being right there (which is painful… Whoever named it “lightening” needs kicked in the teeth because nothing feels heavier than the baby dropping.) and the occasional contractions, I was pretty miserable. I was also not in the mood to play “guess that pain” which makes timing things hard, so I decided it was in my best interest to sleep.
I slept for a few hours and then found myself awake. So I still mostly confined myself to my bed, and read for hours. Then I went back to sleep and dozed off and on until about 1PM Friday afternoon. Thank God I’m officially pregnant enough that my husband does not fault me for a day spent in bed. I think it helps that if I’m there, he doesn’t have to put up with my moody ass. Which is only getting worse as this pregnancy lingers.
At about 4AM, btw, the bloody show, showed up. Now, having had 3 episodes of bleeding prior in this pregnancy, my first reaction was , “Yeah right” but then considering the membrane stripping 12 hours prior, I decided I should take it seriously. I consulted the holy book of pregnant women and it confirmed what I thought: While it wasn’t time to call the doctor or head in, it was a sign things were happening. I went ahead and sent my mom and Pat (he was upstairs and I was hoping he’d sleep through it and find it in the morning since it could still be hours and I wanted him to sleep) a text to give them a heads up. Then went on about my business.
Friday at about 2-2:30PM the occasional contractions suddenly turned into every 4 minutes someone tried to both rip out my spine and tare apart my uterus contractions and they were lasting a solid minute. I went ahead and lay down for a short while to see if they continued, and they did. With them coming out of nowhere like that, I wasn’t wasting time. For weeks I’ve had it drilled into me that the 3rd comes fast. My midwife had said when the time comes, don’t waste time confirming with the office, just go. So I went.
When I got there I was dilated to 4. And showing signs that this wasn’t false, I was in labor. But I was not yet to the point where they could keep me. Labors can be long, and they do try to encourage mothers to do the part they can, at home. Better comfort and well, less time occupying a bed. I totally understand, really. Not thrilled, but understand. That said, with this being my third, they didn’t want to just send me home after the first check. I was sent out to walk the halls for an hour, and I did. To the point that my back still hasn’t forgiven me, I walked those damn halls that I had walked 3.5 years prior.
I was told when that hour was up, they were looking for any progress at all. More dilating would be nice, but thinning would work too. Or any sign at all that things were progressing and not lulled.
So they had me hang out for a bit so they could monitor contractions and present the full picture to the person making the decision. I was obviously in labor. There was no denying that. And this was my third which means things could go from slow to pushing, fast, so they didn’t want to send me home if they could avoid it.
But finally they had to give up, and home I went. With everyone knowing I’d be back in the morning, if not sooner.
I’ve been home for 5 hours now. And while the contractions haven’t stopped by any means, they aren’t progressing either. So I’ve been resting. Mostly to conserve energy, so that this isn’t a total Luke repeat. However, while contractions are take my breath away, though not quite drop me to my knees, intense when I’m sitting, they are still pretty mild when I’m lying down. They by no means stop, but they aren’t much of anything intensity wise. So I’m going to use my lying down contractions to gauge when it’s time to go back. At a 4 I only have to dilate a little further to nab my bed. Or thin some more. So not much progress is needed. Just something. Anything.
Of course, a good old fashioned water break would work too.
Meanwhile, I just need to keep telling myself, this is real. This is it. Slow and painful as it may be, the end is near. I just have to get to that point.
And finally, I leave you with this for humor’s sake:
Important life lesson: When your hubby is rushing speed bumps asking, “Are you in labor yet?” the correct answer is NOT, “No but you are welcome to try.” He will. And while yes, if it works, kick-ass you’ll be grateful… One should never have to ask, “Was that a back contraction or a spine relocation?”
And back to bed I go.