When I first started drafting this post a couple months ago, it was all because my best friend from decades and decades ago (Hi, E!) was in labor with her first child, all the way across the country in California, and all I could do was WAIT to hear anything...I was so anxious for news and sitting around on pins and needles was driving me crazy, so I decided that I really ought to write up Peanut's birth story. I didn't finish it then because it turns out she had a blessed and quick labor (read: lucky!), but as Peanut's birthday is coming up very, very soon I figured I had better finish it.
I did share Bug's birth story a while back (if you missed it, all I will say is that it was a DOOZY, and you can read about it here) but as they say, each child is completely different...
Bug was born almost a week late, and so I was sort of expecting the same with Peanut. Early on I decided I should assume I'd be late again so I wouldn't get so upset and frustrated as I did the first time, if I did in fact go overdue. For a couple weeks leading up to the day, each time I saw my OB, I was another centimeter dilated. But again, that can happen for weeks and weeks without any progress. So when I went to my 39 week appointment and was 3cm, I still figured I'd be seeing her again a week later. I even asked her how late she'd let me go before inducing me, to which she replied, 'I'm sure you'll have this baby before your next appointment.' Yeah, yeah.
My parents were watching Bug for me while I had that appointment. I was driving back through a major shopping area and all of a sudden found myself randomly stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond, hunting up some organizing odds and ends that had been on my list for ages - drawer organizers and the sort - for whatever reason it seemed absolutely critical that I get these right at this moment... I went back to my parents' house, stayed for lunch and played with Bug for a bit, all the while having pretty tight Braxton Hicks. I had had those for weeks and weeks before Bug was born, and during my pregnancy with Peanut, they started so early and just continued to become more intense and frequent that again, I thought absolutely nothing of these ones. Early afternoon I popped her back in the car and we drove home so she could nap there.
Did I mention that this day was Bug's actual birthday? Yeah...we had her party over the weekend a few days earlier, since M was going to be traveling that week, so we had no big plans for that day but it was officially Bug's birthday when this started....
So. Bug's birthday, 3cm dilated, intense Braxton Hicks, and me oblivious and focused on helping her color a picture at the kitchen table, all whilst emptying out the kitchen drawers and weeding through everything, tossing items in the bin and deciding on the best possible way to store everything else in my new organizers. (Something I had in mind to do sooooo many times in the three months we'd been living in the house but just hadn't gotten around to it.) It was as if an organizing fire had been stoked under my butt, for lack of better explanation!
It's around 2:30pm at this point. My OB check had been at 10am and we'd just gotten home a short while ago. Oh, and my husband had just gotten home from his work trip very early that morning! So he's in his office, working away, and we're in the kitchen - me madly organizing and Bug chattering away to me when I start to realize that my Braxton Hicks are really getting intense...like, whooo take your breath away, intense. I finally start paying attention and it becomes apparent very quickly that they've changed from Braxton Hicks to The Real Deal. But they're not that frequent and not lasting too long, so I truck along. By the time half an hour passes, I discover that it's actually a bit of a challenge to entertain toddlers whilst in the middle of contractions ("What's wrong mommy? Are you ok?") and I note that they've gotten a bit more frequent but I've never been great at timing these things. I send a text to my mom and say it's possible they'll have to come and get Bug that night, on the off chance that we need to go to the hospital (clearly still in denial that this is going to happen - my 1st labor having scarred me for life on the duration of time it would be!!). In the meantime, M pops up from his office to grab a coffee and says he's having a horrible day, to which I reply, "I don't mean to add to your stress, but I am having contractions, and it's possible we might have to go to the hospital tonight..." He gets the wide eyed look on his face and I reassure him it's not imminent (!!) and I'll call him when I need him. He heads back to his office to get through a few more conference calls.
I forget that I've got my phone on silent and start puttering around upstairs, getting Bug's overnight bag together and checking a few things around the house, just in case. I go back downstairs to find 2 missed calls from my mom and a questioning text so I call her - as we're talking, I have a contraction, and in her infinite wisdom she calmly suggests they come over now and hang out for a bit - better to just come now rather than us needing to rush around later. (Thanks Mom!!!!)
They arrive around 4pm and immediately I sit on the exercise ball as it's the only comfortable position for me during contractions and my parents start timing away while distracting Bug. They're with me for about 20 minutes when they tell me that they're about 6 minutes apart and lasting at least 30 seconds so perhaps they should go ahead and take Bug home with them now, since it's strange for her to watch, and hey maybe I want to consider heading into the hospital sooner rather than later? It's snowing pretty hard, after all, and the contractions are definitely regular. I still debated that as they weren't as close together as they tell you they need to be for subsequent births - and since the hospital is 30+ minutes away, the last thing I wanted to do was drive there in the snow and be turned around to go home. (That scenario, I felt, would definitely result in a baby being born in this house...!) While we're discussing all of this and having the 'go now or give it another hour' debate, M pops up again and sees that things have progressed, I tell him we're definitely going in tonight, possibly soonish - to which he asks if he has time to take a shower (??) and I just shoot him a look. Ha! He decides it's best to just wrap up the work day as he's got one last call, my parents collect Bug's things and head off with lots of good lucks and let us know how things go, and I start scouring the kitchen like a madwoman. (Apparently at this point, the potential to be coming home from the hospital in 2 days to a filthy house was the last thing I wanted to do!! Dude, nesting is for real.)
I finally get my bag together amidst all of the now-fairly-frequent contractions and M notes the heaviness of the snowfall outside, and my inability to breathe properly with the contractions, and he calls the out-of-hours number for my OB-GYN to say I'm in labor and we're coming in. We head off! I cannot find a comfortable way to sit in the car for the life of me, especially with the seatbelt across my body, and every time a contraction hits I am freaking out at M, telling him to drive faster because I am in so much pain, and despite all this he's doing his best to focus on the road and drive safely in the snowstorm (not a weather phenomenon common in Ireland). I start hollering that I do NOT want to have this baby in the car on the side of the expressway in a snowstorm and end up a sensational blurb on the evening news, and to his credit, he does not laugh...
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this story - it gets pretty good... ;)
I'm linking up with Emily for Grateful Heart again - despite the pain and drama and turmoil of childbirth, one of the overwhelming feelings to come out of the whole experience is sheer gratitude. Gratitude that our bodies were made to handle this experience, gratitude for a calm, understanding, and loving husband who supported me through this process twice, and gratitude for all the love that makes you forget just how bad it feels to physically have the baby. (Well, mostly). ;) I'm so grateful for the experience of Peanut's birth - and I haven't even gotten to the best part yet!
What are you grateful for this week??