Thursday, March 7, 2013

One year.

Disclaimer: Birth story ahead.

Charlotte was born a year and almost a month ago. I've debated pretty much since that day about posting the story of her entrance into the world. Ultimately, I decided to go for it; that said, I won't be offended if you don't read it. 

Background information: throughout the entire pregnancy, I strove to be as 'natural' as I could. With the exception of things like, um, nutella and antihistamines, I was good about it. I wanted to have a 'natural' birth, too, I thought, but I wasn't fully committed to it because, really, I'm a wimp when it comes to pain. Give me an easy way out and I'll take it, every time.

So, my labor.
Sunday: I worry I have a slow leak of amniotic fluid.  Matt and I went for a walk in the park in the morning, to see if I can get labor started. Here is what I was thinking: I am huge. My feet and ankles are ridiculously swollen. Walking in the snow will get things moving. It did not work, and since at that point I'd been leaking for over 24 hours, I called the OB. The guy on call was less than helpful, but eventually I got him to tell me I should go in to get checked.

At this point, I had a pretty good idea I wasn't in labor, but I'd read too much and was worried about leaking amniotic fluid for so long. So, we put Gus in his kennel out back and head to the hospital. The hospital, like most hospitals, is not particularly easy to navigate, and despite previously taking a tour of the Labor and Delivery ward, we still manage to take a fun ride on the elevator as we search for the floor with L&D. Cue laughter. We finally find the floor, and check in. I was in high spirits, joking and laughing with the nurses and midwives, and was not at all surprised when we got sent home. As a reward for not freaking out, I made Matt take me to Pizza Hut (don't judge). We ate linner around 3, then went to walk around the mall. We went to the Christmas Tree Shop, the stress of which should have been enough to send me into labor right then and there. It was not, however, so we headed back home.

We watched something on TV, then I settled in to watch the Grammys. I made it all the way to 10pm before giving in and going to bed. Foolishly, I did not bring any water upstairs with me.

At around 12:30, I woke up with the most absurd need to poo. I mean, seriously. Time for a little TMI, folks, but I've been through amoebic dysentery. I know the signs of diarrhea. I headed to the bathroom, but strangely, didn't poo. So I went back to bed. Then I woke up in an hour and went through the same thing. Then only half an hour went in between these sessions.

I know. At this point, every single mother out there is shaking her head, saying, honey, that's labor! But I was still convinced it was the Pizza Hut.

Finally, at 3:30, I decide I'm not going to keep going back in to the marital bed. Feeling somewhat certain that perhaps these are contractions, I got a little more sleep in the guest bed. At 5:30, I woke Matt up to tell him I was in labor and that contrary to my earlier statements, I was not doing this without pain meds (HAHAHA). He felt it prudent to go back to sleep, so I labored in bed for a few more hours. I thought I remembered the childbirth educator telling us that sometimes showers can help back labor (HAHAHA), so I told M I was going to take a shower. While the water was warming up, I sent my mom this email:
Date: February 13, 2012 7:40:17 AM EST
Subject: Ive decided
That really, I am not that invested in a drug-free birth.
Yes, contractions started last night around midnight.
And honestly, now that ive had a few, I can tell that I will definitely choose to not be man enough.
And since I never really allowed myself to think about the actual labor, I am not disappointed! Yay for not setting high expectations, hahaha.
About to get in shower. Dont anticipate heading to hosp anytime soon, will probably just go to my 2:30 drs appt and let them tell me what to do.

Re-reading that makes me laugh SO HARD. I got in the shower and really, that was probably about as bad as I felt the entire time. I did manage to wash and condition my hair, though, and I may have even shaved my lower legs. I definitely shaved my pits. Why? I can't tell you. After performing my ablutions, I exited the shower and went immediately to the toilet, where suddenly stuff was coming out of what felt like every orifice in my body.  Seriously, it felt like the worst case of gastroenteritis everrrrrrrrrr. In a stroke of genius, I started using the contraction timer app on my phone (yes, there's an app for that).

Somehow, I managed to get dressed and went downstairs. I continued to puke into various trash cans. At one point, I was squatting on the floor by the wood stove, hugging the bathroom trash can (which  I was carrying through the house), while Gus sat in front of me, worried and trying to lick my face. Matt showered and shaved his head, and asked me when I wanted to go to the hospital.

And here is where it all went wrong.

In childbirth class, they tell you: wait until you are having 5-1-1 contractions: 5 minutes apart, lasting for one minute, for the duration of an hour. They don't want you to get there and then get sent home.

So, I tell Matt: well, my contractions are definitely close together, and they're lasting at least a minute, but it hasn't been an hour. So take your time, take the dog up to the kennel, whatever. I called the doctor's office while he was transporting Gus, and told the nurse what the dilly was. And I swear, she said "why aren't you at the hospital?" She was chastising me! The nerve! I wanted to say to her "you people told me not to call 'til I was at that stupid $(*@^# 5-1-1 point, is why!" But I was raised better than that. And also I had a contraction and basically just hung up on her.

Matt packed the car (oh my god, why hadn't we packed it before?!) and I gingerly made my way out there. It was around 10:30 by now, and I'd been vomiting for 3 hours. Matt had repeatedly made me try to drink something, but nothing was staying down. The car ride was less awful than I thought it would be. I sat in the passenger seat with my eyes closed most of the way, making those lowing/mooing sounds I swore I'd never make. Finally, we pull up to the valet parking area at the hospital...


  1. Hey!!! You can't quit here!! LOL!! I spent several years as a doula and childbirth educator. I love these stories!

  2. I'm learning so much!

    My favorite highlights so far: Gus licking your face and your use of technology while in labor