On my way to the bathroom I had to stop and lean against the wall. Suddenly I realized that I looked just like women who were in labor. I mustn’t do that – wouldn’t want to look silly or anything. But no more time to think. Must focus. Breathe. That one was a bit painful. It hurt enough that, even with my high pain tolerance, I decided that this was not a fun party anymore! And maybe he could stay in forever.
* * * * * * *
Thursday (the day before) I had contractions every 15 minutes. The. Entire. Day. Semi-normal for me because I just had consistent contractions like this randomly. But now it was finally in the time frame when he could be safely born and I was a bundle of excited nerves all day. They weren’t getting stronger and there weren’t any other signs, but I still hoped. Maybe I would have my baby that evening! Maybe in the night… This would be a good day! So I finalized my birth plan. I bounced on my ball and counted contractions and waited. And tried to keep myself distracted. But just like every other time, nothing changed and there was no progression. By the time evening rolled around, I was disappointed, because, well, there weren’t that many hours left in the day, so probably it wasn’t going to happen that day. Or anytime soon. My father-in-law would probably be right – I would be chaffing at 42 weeks when still pregnant! When Ben got home he thought (especially after hearing about my day!) that we should finish getting the house and birth stuff ready. We moved furniture and he ran hoses to the pool. I got out candles and set the medical supply box and baby basket just so. This way, everything would be ready and we could go about our weekend as planned.
This week was the first week of our new schedule. Ben would work four 10-hour days, then have Friday and Saturday to work on the house. By Thursday night he’d already put in 43 hours. I awoke Friday with my body feeling tired, probably because it had been having contractions all night. And not very far into the morning I noticed – MUCH to my annoyance – that I was still having contractions every 15 minutes or so. Ugh! Like the day before, they were just bad enough that it was hard to concentrate on what I was trying to do. I was sick and tired of being bothered. Unfortunately this wasn’t explained eloquently to my dear husband; I was just a grouch. But I was determined to go about the day as planned (and not even think that baby could come this day, so I wouldn’t be disappointed). I so badly wanted for us to (finally!) be able to get some work done, now that the crisis part of the pregnancy was over and I was able to do stuff! We WERE going to get over to the house! And baby was NOT going to come today! I would take the push-mower and with grit and sheer willpower push through the contractions as I mowed up and down the driveway. Maybe all the walking would progress the contractions into something productive, but if not, at least I had been productive!
We had to run into town first to mail a package at the post office. I stayed in the car because with my solemn face and grumpiness and having to focus on contractions, I did not feel like seeing people. We got home about 10:00am or maybe slightly before. I was desperate to get over to the house because I could tell my condition (including emotional) was only deteriorating and I was certainly not getting more comfortable. Ben seemed to be stalling – on purpose! – which only made me more annoyed. I was… emotional. Having a rough morning, to put it kindly. Confused, irritated, crying for no reason, worried, shaky, and so ticked off… and the next moment I was fine. I made a conscious effort to not snap at Ben but I’m not sure that helped much as I was a basket case riding a roller-coaster of emotions and feeling totally out of control of my mental state. By this time Ben had made an executive decision that we were staying home because his wife was being WEIRD.
It was about this time that I decided the “Birth-Day Party” I had planned – complete with ice cream, balloons and streamers – was not fun for me anymore. But then it passed and I was pretty fine, though a little shook up. I decided maybe it would be a good idea to call Diane and give her a head’s up that my contractions seemed stronger today. So I nonchalantly mentioned to Ben that I was going to update her on how I was feeling, but no need to get excited, nothing was happening. So I called around 10:15am. See how this is going? OUT OF CONTROL OF MY EMOTIONS!!!!!, to calm and collected, to…
Ben sat at his desk and fiddled around and every so often asked me how I was doing. He probably didn’t know what to do with me. He was concerned because I wasn’t talking during the contractions and didn’t that mean they were getting worse? And shouldn’t we call the midwife? Out of breath I panted, “I can talk through them; I just don’t want to!” In between contractions I felt fine! Great, in fact, and very much NOT in labor! The pain was only down low, like where his head was and that wasn’t what I had learned I should expect. I had no lower back pain, no tightness around the top of my belly, no crazed nesting instinct recently, no consistent contractions – since some were 15 and now some down to 5 minutes apart – and NO, I AM NOT IN LABOR!!!! And anyway, I was waiting for my Big Sign.
Such inner turmoil, this not knowing if I was in labor! A lot of women say, “Oh, you will know.” But no, I didn’t. (I find it strange people say that because so many ladies end up going in on a false alarm.) Every time I had a contraction I thought what if it’s the real thing, will I get everyone called in time? But in between I felt fine and thought how silly I was. I DID NOT want to call people too early! And what if these were just Braxton Hicks? It would be SO EMBARRASSING to get everyone here and it is a false alarm! And then another one would hit and there I was, freaked out that the midwife wouldn’t arrive in time because I wouldn’t have alerted people soon enough! (She lives 45 min. to an hour away.)
I think Ben sensed it was the real thing before I did. (How is it that husbands can do that??!) I was in denial. Around 11:30am he said that if I didn’t call Diane and tell her she better get on the road, HE would. So I did. She said something to the tune of, “I thought so…” and said to have Ben start filling the birth pool.
And then everything calmed down and it was going to be ok because we had figured out that I was in labor.