The Beginning of the Beginning: The Birth Story, Part I

by tinysneakers

The past week has been the best of my life.

I melt when I see this face.

birth story

I miss him when he’s asleep.

sleeping newborn baby

My heart aches when he’s not in my arms.

baby birth story

I can’t imagine having had to wait any longer to meet this little heart stealer.

newborn baby boy

You could easily say the last thing I was expecting Saturday evening was to be standing in the kitchen at 36 weeks, home alone for the weekend, with a constant stream of water running down my leg.

“That’s odd,” I thought as I felt a small cramp in my lower abdomen. “I wonder what that is… Is this a different kind of contraction?” No sooner did the thought enter my head did I feel a barely discernable pop and a gush of wetness. A trip to the bathroom revealed what I wasn’t quite ready to comprehend yet- my water had broken as I stood alone in the middle of the kitchen, dinner in the microwave, the husband out of town, and getting ready for a girls’ night. Either that or this was world’s longest never-ending pee.

While I knew my water had broken, it would be hours before I understood exactly what that meant. It meant I was headed to the hospital. It meant I was coming home with a baby. It meant pregnancy was over, and a whole new life was about to begin, in more ways than one…

A call to my midwife revealed I’d have to come in to the hospital to get antibiotics; I’d only had my group b strep test the afternoon before and the results weren’t in. Though I’d need to come in relatively soon, we wouldn’t talk about induction until the next day. “Take your time though,” she said. I wondered if “take your time” included cleaning the house and finishing the nursery.

When it was clear there was no mistaking what was happening, I called the husband who was away on a last before-baby-boys’-weekend. No answer. I slowly made the round of friends he was with, dialing one number after the other, pausing briefly in between waiting for a return call. I could only imagine what went through his mind when his friend handed him the phone and uttered the words, “It’s your wife.”

We’d joked only hours earlier about him knowing I was ok and not in labor because none of his friends had missed calls from me even though he and I had been playing phone tag all day. Little did we know…

I quickly relayed the plan to the husband. I sounded calm, but inside I’d started shaking, like I’d just thrown back a quadruple shot of espresso after 9 months nearly caffeine free.

While he was making his way home- it’d be a few hours- I haphazardly threw together a hospital bag. One that I wouldn’t end up touching once.

Between packing a bag and coming up with a list of things for the husband to do and bring later {#1: shower, #2: bring more food}, I grabbed bites of dinner, took a shower, and baked some chocolate chip cookies. {That’s what everyone does when their water breaks, right? I had to make sure the nurses were on my side- I was in for a long haul!}

I was pretty impressed with myself for all the things I managed to think of to bring under pressure: a bathing suit for laboring in the tub, magazines & books for entertaining myself until the husband arrived, headbands and hair ties to keep my hair out of my face when things got serious. PJs, sweats, t-shirts, toiletries. Granola bars, flavored water, gum. I was set. I could practically go on vacation.

I couldn’t put off heading to the hospital any longer. Following strict instructions from the husband “not to be a hero” {aka not drive myself to the hospital}, I called my friend Emily to cancel our plans for the evening and to instead give me a ride. I started noticing mild contractions on the 10 minute drive to the local women’s hospital.

The triage nurse chuckled to herself when she overheard me tell the husband I’d call him back with an update when I found out if I’d be staying or not. “Of course you’re staying.” she laughed. I guess I was a little bit in denial still.

I changed into the delightful hospital gown with plans to change into my own pjs later, and dutifully crawled into the unforgiving hospital bed. I felt a little silly lying in bed not in labor, but I obliged none the less. It was going to be a long night; I didn’t need to cause trouble. Plus I was still gushing like a waterfall. Not so comfortable.

It wasn’t long before the midwife came in to chat. I’d have to stay because I needed the antibiotics every four hours until I delivered, but she’d give me some meds and let me sleep through the night. We’d talk about the dreaded “I” word {induction} the next day. She’d give me til 6pm. Her shift ended at 7am, so she told me who was coming to replace her and said she’d let them know the plan. Before she left to get some sleep in the call room she checked my progress so we’d have a starting point. 2 cm. It was probably around 9pm at this point and I was barely having mild contractions. More like cramps.

The husband arrived shortly after they got my IV antibiotics started, slightly jittery and in shock that he’d just walked into the hospital where his wife was lying in bed at 36 weeks pregnant, water broken.The midwife came back to update him. When he was reassured there was no baby popping out in the next few minutes, he headed home to collect both himself and a few forgotten items. It was 10:15. I vaguely remember Emily telling him sometime before she left that the contractions had started to get stronger, but I wasn’t admitting it yet.

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The first course of antibiotics finished up while the husband was gone and the nurse set me free from the IV and monitors. I was eager to get up and roam the halls and to see if we could get things moving. I was starting to get pretty uncomfortable, but I had an upset stomach and figured it just wasn’t playing well with the contractions. I was surprised to find myself leaning on the wall periodically for support. I started counting down the minutes until the husband would return; the support I really needed.

The husband wasn’t gone long- he made it back about 11pm, sauntering in calm, cool, and collected, expecting to find things exactly as they were when he left.

Boy was he wrong