To the faint of heart – this is a birth story. I’ll use icky birth related words and mention things you may not want to know about me. You’ve been warned.
Vivian’s due date was December 31, 2011 – our little New Year’s Eve baby. I constantly worried that she would be born on Christmas Day and that her birthday would forever play second fiddle to the holiday. Brad worried that she would be born in 2012 and that we wouldn’t get the tax rebate. 😉
On Christmas Eve, Brad sat down and had a chat with Vivi, Daddy-to-belly style. He let her know that she needed to stay where she was until at least Wednesday the 28th. Reason being, Mommy didn’t want a Christmas Day baby, and Mommy needed a few days of vacation before the big delivery (I worked until December 23rd).
Of course, around 3AM on Christmas morning, I woke up with contractions and couldn’t help but chuckle. These were my first contractions, so I suspected that they were Braxton Hicks. They were steady but unpredictable – coming 3 minutes apart, then 7 minutes apart… up and down… until they finally faded away. I breathed a sigh of relief, let me tell you. Brad and I spent Christmas morning together – just the two of us – opening gifts, eating cinnamon rolls, and relaxing. It was a quiet and lovely day – I’m sure the last quiet Christmas we’ll have for a long time.
Brad went back to work on Monday the 26th, and I spent my time at the house… waiting. As the hours passed, I started to have more signs (those that shall not be named in this blog… hint: rhymes with lug) that my body was getting ready for the big day, so ever cautious, I avoided going out by myself just in case. However, I needed some nursing bras before the baby arrived, and my need to check bra-shopping off my “to-do list” overpowered my need to be cautious. I finally made the trek out of the house on Tuesday morning. I remember having contractions on and off the entire trip downtown and imagining giving birth on the side of the road. I called Brad and asked him if I should turn back. He laughed and told me I was fine (his calm approach was right, like usual – I made it there and back with no problems. Mini panic attack averted). The contractions weren’t particularly painful – mostly just crampy and uncomfortable.
On Tuesday night, I really started to have stronger contractions. Most doctors recommend that you wait to go to the hospital until contractions are about 5 minutes apart for an hour. I timed my contractions again and again, but as I approached the one-hour time mark, the pattern would change or drop off completely. I assumed I was still in false labor because I could easily talk through the pain. Brad and I settled into bed to watch a movie; we made it about half way through before Brad drifted off to sleep. I turned off the movie and sat up in the dark timing myself. From 11PM to 1AM or so, I timed. Now my contractions were intense enough that I needed to breathe through them. However, they were coming 2-3 minutes apart, so I thought, “surely this isn’t the real thing. Where is the 5 minute spacing I’ve been waiting for all day?”
Finally, after pacing the bathroom for 20 minutes trying to decide what to do, I woke up Brad. I explained to him that I was having contractions 2-3 minutes apart, that I really didn’t think I was in labor, but that I wanted to go in to the hospital just in case. He dragged himself out of bed in a daze. I was already mostly dressed, and my bag was packed.
To this day, the memory of this next moment makes us both laugh out loud. As I finished getting ready, I turned and looked into the closet doorway to see Brad standing in a pair of longjohns, staring off into space… scratching himself… no bag packed and nowhere near ready to go. “Stop scratching your balls and MOVE”, I screamed. The Pregnancy Monster shocked him into action. He quickly packed his bag and dressed while I called my other birthing coach, my mom.
I told Mom that I probably wasn’t in labor so don’t come to the hospital yet but be on the ready (she, of course, got dressed and in the car immediately). Then we hopped in the car…