No one can accurately describe labor. Just like no one can truly explain or put into words any huge life changing event. Somehow the words are so finite that they mask the power of the moment and leave listeners insufficiently informed about the true nature of the event.
Still….I’m going to try.
On Monday, October 5, 2009 Andrew and I welcomed our first child, Clare Vienne, into the world.
But the path to this moment started almost 4 days earlier.
Thursday afternoon I had some strange leaking (sorry to the squeamish) with no cramps or contractions at all. I called Andrew and my mom and the doctor and then had a break down.
I had a dream for Clare’s labor – joyful and drug free. It was a gift I wanted to give her if I could. It was an experience I wanted to have. It was a goal I thought might be possible as long as I didn’t break my water and have to have pitocin administered.
And now induction seemed imminent.
But after a couple hours off my feet and a couple hundred soaked tissues I determined that I had not in fact broken my water and that everything would be ok.
Of course…then Andrew got home…
Thursday: Small contractions every 30 minutes.
Boom. There they were like a flash in the night. Clearly these were what I was looking for. We stayed up all night because the minute I laid down the contractions became so painful that I couldn’t stand it. So I sat up…
We thought for sure that Clare would be born the next day.
Friday: More intense contractions every 20 minutes.
We used this day to recover – Andrew from his coffee rot and me from my terrible attitude. Long walks and movies to distract us.
Saturday: More intense contractions every 10 minutes.
Not joking…the whole day Saturday I was having “take your breath away” contractions every 10 minutes.
So finally we decided that enough was enough. We were going to the hospital just to check and see that everything was ok.
When we arrived they had me change into a gown and pee in a cup.
I asked the nurse why she wanted me to pee in a cup, “Were you wondering if I was pregnant…just want to make sure? Huge belly not enough for you?”
She didn’t laugh.
Then she strapped me to the monitor. But couldn’t find Clare’s heart beat.
I was in hysterics. I thought, “I’ve waited too long. I should have come in Thursday. My water had broken and now I had killed my baby!”
But of course…it was the machine (a PC…) and eventually we did find her.
Needless to say the nurse and I were now on good terms. We were even.
When they examined me I was at “1 and a half…maybe 2” cm. I had been at 1 the last two weeks. What the heck!? That’s it?!
So they sent us home.
“Don’t worry honey. Everyone does this. You’re just in early labor.”
Early labor?….FOR THREE DAYS!?
Sunday: More intense contractions every 8…no 6…no 5…NO 3…NOOOO 2 minutes apart.
And we’re off!
“I’m not going to the hospital again until the baby is coming out.” I said to Andrew after a particularly intense contraction.
Andrew and I were in denial all day even as the contractions got closer and closer. So we thought we might take a walk (AGAIN) to hurry things along.
I made it up the street and by “made it” I mean I leaned on Andrew the whole way and then it happened…
A contraction and I felt I had to hold something in….cross my legs even.
From there mass hysteria broke out.
“Andrew, get this. Don’t forget the dog. Should I get a snack? I can make you a sandwich? Maybe I should take a nap. Should I take a nap?!”
“Ppppppppppfftttt!” said each contraction on the pock marked streets of Baltimore.
“Ppppppppppppffffffttttt!” to the hospital lobby.
“Do you need a wheelchair?”
“PPPPPPPPPFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTT! No…..thank you…..”
“Look honey. That lady is in labor.”
This lady is in LABOR!
“If they try to send me home today I’m going to sit my ass down on the hospital floor until they call security to remove me.”
And the hardest part was over – the waiting.