[It has been three weeks since Louis was born, and I am just now getting this written. For those of you who have parented a newborn, you understand, right?!]
June 1, 2013
7:00 p.m. – We decided to head to the mall in Springfield. I had been having stronger contractions, but they still weren’t consistent. Actually, I’d been having early labor contractions for three weeks, but the contractions this day just felt different.
Many of our friends had gone into labor by walking at the mall. We wanted to join the elite club, so Chance, Nasko and I powered up by grabbing dinner in the food court that Saturday night.
After dinner, Chance and Nasko alternated between “manly shopping” (Dicks and Sears) and riding the mall-cars. I spent all my time power walking and window shopping (ok, I did briefly stop to buy a skirt…)
June 2, 2013
1:00 a.m. – I started painful contractions (like keep-me-awake-at-night pain, but not I-want-to-punch-my-husband-for-his-involvement pain). I moved from our bed to the living room couch to finish the night. I didn’t sleep anymore, but I did watch a few episodes of Parenthood on my iPad (it has been my go-to show throughout the pregnancy, despite the fact that my over-active hormones have caused me to cry through every episode). At this point, I didn’t wake Chance up, as I wanted him to still get as much sleep as he could since it seemed our labor was progressing.
4:00 a.m. – I sent my parents a quick message asking them to come our way when they woke up. They have a two-hour drive and they are the people who are most familiar with Nasko’s daily routine. I was hoping the active labor could hold off until they arrived.
5:30 a.m. – Chance woke up to an empty bed. When he found me in the living room, I described my contractions to him. We decided that he should run to church and set things out in case others had to fill in for him later in the morning. We had to laugh at our baby’s impecable timing since it seemed he’d be arriving on a Sunday (which everyone knows is the only day of the week that the Reverend and all other ministers work…)
6:45 a.m. – Nasko’s stoplight alarm clock turned green, which meant a six-year-old with too much energy came bounding into the living room with way too many questions about Taty’s current location and whether or not he could eat a donut and how much longer until he could ride his bike…
7:00 a.m. – I called my doula (and I believe, woke her up) to tell her that I thought this was the real-deal. She agreed and set about the task of finding someone to fill-in for her at church, as she was supposed to be singing on the worship team. She promised to meet us at the hospital when we were ready to be admitted.
7:30 a.m. – We took this picture, assuming it would be the last photo taken before we had our baby! [Spoiler alert: We were right!]
7:45 a.m. – Chance and I decided to go to church and Sunday School. We decided that we might as well, since my parents weren’t here yet and Nasko would be able to stay within his normal routine.
We didn’t want to share with anyone that we were in labor though, since who knows how long it would be until our baby was actually born. I winced through the services and opted not to stand during the singing (sorry, Jesus), but we made it through.
My parents arrived during our Sunday School hour, so I quickly briefed them on Nasko’s last-minute details (you know, the important stuff – if he could have a donut and when he could ride his bike, etc.) and waited for 10:15 when Chance would be done teaching.
When he joined us in his office, he could tell this was becoming serious business, so he and I got into our van and made the drive to Springfield.
11:15 a.m. – We stopped at McDonald’s since it was the only open restaurant on the way, and every book says “Eat before going to the hospital.” When I write my book (I’m not writing a book…) I’m going to say, “Skip McDonald’s. Don’t eat. It’s not worth it…”
11:30 a.m. – We arrived at St. John’s Hospital. We were pretty sure we were going to be admitted and have to stay for the long-haul, so we grabbed all of our bags and headed inside. Another woman was being checked-in for the maternity floor, so we had to sit and wait for ten minutes in the lobby! At this point, my contractions were relatively painful (couldn’t necessarily talk through them) and were regularly 4-minutes apart. Chance was starting to get nervous and wasn’t too excited that we were waiting in the lobby. Thankfully a student from our church came in and was looking to deliver communion to some of the hospital patients, so Chance helped him on his way. That gave Chance purpose for at least a moment…
11:45 a.m. – We were taken to the examining room where the nurse asked me to change into a gown, provide her with a urine sample, and lie down while they monitored our baby’s heart rate and my contractions. The nurse checked me and said that I was three centimeters dilated and 60-70% effaced. I argued with her effacement estimation since my OBGYN had thought I was 80% for the last few weeks. I was pretty sure all these contractions weren’t making it move backwards!
The hospital won’t admit a woman until she is at least 4 cm dilated. Our doula, Nancy, who arrived around noon, explained that we needed to be prepared with a back-up plan. We might have to leave and go walk at the mall again, or spend some time in a park while things progressed.
The nurse said she was removing all the monitors and was giving us two hours to make progress. If I dilated to a four in two hours, then they’d admit us. If not, they were kicking us to the curb.
At that point in time, I didn’t want to be still. I wanted to get moving and press on through the contractions. I was done listening to all the options and just wanted to MOVE!
Chance, Nancy, and I began walking the halls. We made multiple laps throughout the labor/delivery and recovery wards. Now, I’ve been active throughout my entire pregnancy (I AM the mother of a crazy Bulgarian, after all) and throughout the third trimester, I’ve walked at least two miles every day. Chance and Nancy, apparently, have not been quite so active. I was zooming around the hospital like I was in a power-walking competition. We passed the nurses’ desk at least a million times before Nancy finally asked for a “Doula Break.” She suggested I do some stretches and allow her and Chance to catch their breath.
1:45 p.m. – The nurse returned to monitor the baby’s heart rate again. By this point in time, things were getting mighty uncomfortable. Lying still with the baby’s monitor around my belly was not something I really wanted to be doing.
While I was being monitored, another nurse came to the room with Nancy’s daughter trailing behind her. I swear it must have been that nurse’s first day, as she introduced Hope as our “douler” instead of doula. Hope is a doula-in-training and I had previously told Nancy that Hope was more than welcome to come to our delivery (the more the merrier?). Thanks to the uninformed nurse, Hope earned the permanent title of “douler.” So, we were fully prepared for our delivery at this point, armed with a doula and a douler.
2:00 p.m. – Our original nurse returned to check my progress. I had progressed to 4 centimeters and was being admitted! I was 100% effaced as well.
And then I started throwing up.
Again, don’t stop for McDonald’s. It’s not worth it.
2:20 p.m. – Things happened quickly, and I literally don’t remember how we got to the labor and delivery room, but I continued contracting and getting sick the whole time (karma was reacting to the fact that I had very little actual vomiting during my first trimester and the fact that I had bragged about it to all my friends.)
Once we were situated in our new room, a different nurse came in and wanted me to lie flat on my back for more monitoring, so I obliged, but not without lots of complaining.
A sonogram technician came into the room and told me that our baby was head-down and looked great. I was glad to hear that, but I was SO ready to be unhooked from the monitors in order to get in a more comfortable position (on my hands and knees). The technician informed me that his shift ended at 6:00 p.m., so he probably wouldn’t get to see our baby be born, but he wanted to congratulate me anyway. The nurse then made a bet with him saying that she thought I was progressing very quickly, and that our baby would be here before he got off of work…
[You, my blog friends, will have to wait for Chapter Two in order to find out who won the bet… I’ll try to get the next chapter written in a more timely fashion!]