For the 4th time, I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. But this time was different. After several weeks of praying “when?”, I finally heard a subtle hint. As I walked to the restroom, God let me know, in His own way, that my labor would start on that Wednesday. Therefore, on Tuesday night, I waited in anticipation for our newest arrival. I figured labor would be quick and easy and that the baby would be arriving within hours. Oh, what an assumption!
Around 11:30 PM on Tuesday night, I suddenly woke up in discomfort. It felt like something was sliding down my birth canal. I didn’t think it felt like a contraction. Instead, I thought that it was simply an uncomfortable sleeping position that I found myself in. However, after laying back down for another 30 minutes, I woke up again in discomfort. This time, I got up to use the restroom. I soon discovered that my mucus plug had fallen out. How I wish you could've seen my excitement! While in the restroom, I sent a quick text to one of my best friends to begin praying. I subtly alluded to her that I was in the beginnings of labor. I then took my birthing ball to the living room and began attempting to open up my hips, while distracting myself with a documentary on the history channel. After about an hour of doing that, my adrenaline kicked in when considering that I could potentially see our son in the coming hours. I really wanted to get labor going. By this time, my husband had awakened and his face was priceless when seeing me in the living room bouncing on a birthing ball at 1AM in the morning. I didn’t want to wake him, because I figured that he would need all the rest he could get in case I was actually in labor.
“I think we should climb stairs,” I said in response to his contemplative expression.
After little convincing, regarding the benefits of climbing stairs to kickstart labor, Evan put his tennis shoes on. I think Evan's sudden sense of urgency had less to do with wanting to start labor and more to do do with not wanting to hear another wave of incessant convincing proceeding from my lips. With that, Evan and I went to the lower level of our condominium and climbed 19 flights of stairs. Sounds crazy, I know, but didn't I tell you that I was running on adrenaline with the thought that we could soon be seeing our son?!
While climbing stairs, I soon realized that the discomfort that I was feeling earlier were actually subtle contractions. I came to this realization after seeing that the discomfort only came every 10-15 minutes. Well by 2:00AM, after climbing19 flights of stairs, Evan and I went back to sleep. With each contraction, I woke up to record the duration of the contraction on my app “contractions.” By 6:00 AM, the contractions were still 10-15 minutes apart. Because I was still running on adrenaline, I woke up, cleaned up, showered, shaved my legs (yes, I wanted to look like a woman during labor), and placed our suitcases by the door. By 7:00AM, I woke up Evan to take me to Whole Foods for my last meal before heading to the hospital (so I thought). With that, we left for Whole Foods with our suitcases, stroller, and carseat in tow.
At Whole Foods I purchased my favorite frozen pizza (yasssss Table 5 cornmeal crust pizza) and purple grapes. I’d been planning for weeks to eat this before heading to the hospital, where I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat once I was admitted. Well after returning home and consuming my last supper, by 12:00PM, the contractions were growing more intense. Yet, they were still 10-15 minutes apart. By late afternoon, my contractions had stopped all together and didn’t resume until later that evening. This birth experience was already not going according to plan.
Like I said, by Wednesday night, the contractions started back up again. This time, they were consistently 10 minutes apart and much more intense. Around 5:30 AM on Thursday morning, Evan and I took several laps in the lobby of our condominium and climbed a few stairs. I hadn’t gotten much sleep from the night before, and by this time, I just wanted our baby to come. As the day progressed, my contractions didn’t cease but remained steady by being 10 minutes apart.
Let me pause by stating that at this point, the contractions were...painful but NOT unbearable. When they’d come, I would pause, concentrate, and breathe/moan throughout them. I would become so irritated if Evan asked me any questions or made any noise/comments when I was contracting. It was as if I needed all the concentration to focus throughout each wave of intensity.
Okay back to the order of events. As Thursday morning went on, I became accustomed to hearing my own moans every 10 minutes. With each contraction, I told myself the baby was that much closer to being seen. But by 3:00 PM on Thursday afternoon, I had had enough. I was riding in the car with Evan, after letting him know, pretty sternly, that I needed some Nana Moo coconut milk ice cream from Mariano’s... because Whole Foods, which was around the corner, didn’t have the flavor that I wanted. So there we were, driving to the store. After purchasing it, we called the midwife. What I wanted to say to the midwife was,
“I’m in pain! I’m ready to have this baby. Be ready cause we about to show up at this hospital!”
But, I didn’t.
Instead, I politely answered the coming questions.
“No, my contractions aren’t 3-5 minutes apart. No, my water hasn’t broken. (And no, I don’'t want to just wait it out!).”
We weren’t going to the hospital after all. Because I requested to have a natural labor, my midwives suggested that I labor at home as long as possible until I was in active labor (which supposedly would occur when contractions were 3-5 minutes apart).
So after leaving the store, Evan and I headed back home. By 4:30PM, my friend came over to help me do some more walking in order to hopefully get labor going. We walked...and walked..and walked. Every 8-12 minutes, we’d pause, I’d lean against the wall, and inwardly yelp.
By 6:00pm, my contractions were still just as intense but not consistent.
By 8:00PM, with my friend and her husband over keeping us company, I let Evan know that I wanted to go to the hospital. Because I was planning on having the baby naturally, we knew that this didn’t make much sense considering our plan was to only go to the hospital once I began active labor (i.e. at least 6 cm dilated) so that I wouldn’t be laboring at the hospital for so long. Despite these reminders, I wanted to go to the hospital.
Evan, using his better judgment, suggested that we wait a couple of hours to see what would happen. Well around 10:30 PM I went to bed. Actually, I pulled out a sleeping bag to sleep on the floor, because at this point, I needed to be able to lift myself up easily whenever a contraction came. But upon laying down and enduring the next contraction, I yelled with so much intensity that I shocked myself. (There's something about laying down, versus sitting up/walking during a contraction, that made contractions worse) I ran to the restroom and yelled for Evan. With the next contraction, I told Evan to take me to the hospital. I’m not usually so forceful (well, during pregnancy, such force would come about when a craving overcame me hence the scenario with the NanaMoo ice cream) but I got up, grabbed my coat, my keys, my phone, and headed towards the door. I wasn't playing lol. Thankfully, our friends were still over. My best friend and her husband had actually decided to spend the night, just in case something like this were to happen. I’m so happy they did, because my friend’s support proved most pivotal in the coming hours!!
We called the midwife, and after letting us aware of our options, the midwife left it up to us to decide whether we wanted go to the hospital. My mind was made up. And thankfully, Evan didn’t object (I didn’t leave him much of a choice). Therefore, we all rushed to the hospital.