Quick Summary: Due Dec. 19th, delivered at 41 weeks, 4 days on Dec. 30th.
Long Version, Part 1: Having gone through labor and delivery successfully three times previously, I became confident that I had control over this process and could prefect it, like one does with an English essay or casserole recipe. This labor was beyond my scale of reference, was I in someone else’s body? Surely I would gradually go into labor before my due date, in an easy, gradual manner?
My due had had come and gone. During these excruciating last weeks of waiting, I had 4 false labors and prodromal labor lasting days. Every time it would start the contractions would get stronger, coming about 4 minutes apart and staying there. This would last a while and eventually I would become exhausted and fall asleep. Labor would diminish and I was left at square one. Nothing worked, birthing ball, stimulation, even, God forgive me, Castor Oil. It was like my uterus was an engine that just wouldn’t kick over. I honestly attribute this to my prescribed Trebutiline that I took so long to stop contractions.
On the night of the 29th, my stomach began hurting a bit. Brian warmed up a chicken pot pie I made but I barely ate any, choosing instead to leave the table early and take a nap. At 7:30pm, I woke up while laying on my left side, my back on the left had excruciating pain, such as the worlds worse Charlie-horse that just wouldn’t ease. Brian used the B&B works Vanilla Jasmine oil and massaged the area which felt good! I was relaxed knowing that I had made the decision, so this got me up and, knowing I was supposed to call St Joe’s Labor and Delivery at 6am to find out when I could be induced that day, decided to spend the night vegging in front of the TV. I didn’t go to bed again until 12:30am, but never entered a deep sleep. I woke up at 2:30 am with that same pain and contractions, coming every 6-10 minutes. This is when it occurred to me that this could be early stages of REAL labor, and what I felt was the infamous back labor. Wondering? It DOES suck! At 2:50am I finally woke up Brian, and he began to keep track of contractions, most of which were stronger, like my last false labor. Here they are…
So I finally called the Pearl Place emergency line. While waiting for a return call, I got excited, Bernie was on call Thursday (starting at 8am), and though before delivering at the Birthing inn was out because she would not break my water unless I was in labor. Here I was in actual labor and I dared to dream once again that the Birthing Inn would be it! Kay Jackson returned my call. She was at St Joe’s with 3 other patients from Pearl Place and could not get away. She’d call the manager of Pearl Place, who’d let me in and I could labor there until she arrived. Well after she spoke to the manager, I was disappointed to find out that the Birthing Inn could not be opened until 4:45am, as the manager was an hour away. Now all of my previous active labors have be subsequently shorter, 19, 12 and 8, but for some reason I knew I wouldn’t have enough time. Dashed again! So I decided to go to St Joseph’s Hospital instead where Kay was already with those other moms-to-be.
This particular morning, there happened to be snow on the ground and lots of black ice on the roads. Brian’s acquired Michigan driving skills came in handy, as he navigated smoothly, yet speedily, to the ER. I walked slowly in my slippers across an icy parking lot into the ER, where they, thankfully, didn’t ask me to sit down and admitted me quickly. I was appreciative that some good came out of my pre-term labor scare a few months ago, we knew where to go in the ER and where already in the system, making the whole process stress free and quick.
After being escorted to the 14th floor, I was surprised when they placed me and Brian in the waiting room. It felt like a millennium, but really only 30 minutes. At this point, Brian found the MP3 player. This quick, intense and chaotic labor experience would not of been survivable expect for two things. My MP3 programmed with my Hypnobirthing recording, and my Doula Jessie Keating, who arrived while in the waiting room. During this time I went from being able to talk freely to having to guide myself into the exercises for relief. Jessie was amazing; I totally recommend doulas in general and her specifically. She has a soothing voice and is very intuitive to what the mom needs, guiding me through contractions with a gentle touch of affirmation and guiding Brian in light massage and assistance. We both felt more empowered! I can’t thank her enough or stop singing her praises!