At 38 weeks pregnant, getting around was uncomfortable. I did just fine, but had to take it easy and not do too much in a day or else I’d be completely pooped. Two weeks before my due date, July 3, I started the day with a plan to do a few things but made sure not to go crazy with activity. I had a few errands to run plus I wanted to put the newborn clothes in the laundry. My hospital bag was packed. The car seat was in place. The birthing ball was pumped up.
I did a few things around the house and left about 12:30 to meet a friend for lunch. After lunch, I went to my haircut appointment, which was at two o’clock. After that, the “abdominal pain” started. Now, being pregnant, and especially toward the end when I was so huge, my body was feeling all sorts of weird things so I didn’t think much about it—I thought it was just part of the late pregnancy. It wasn’t noticeable at first, and for a while, I completely ignored it.
I was planning to stop at Babies R Us to get a cradle mattress pad and head support for the car seat…but since I was so close to church I decided to stop by to say hello and get a few addresses that I needed. When I was leaving, I remember feeling the pain come and go. Away I went to Babies R Us and while I was there, I had to sit down a few times. By the time I left that store, it was about 4:30. I remember feeling the pain while I was driving and glancing at the fuel gauge I noticed that the gas was quite low so I decided to stop at Costco to fuel up. While I was there I thought that I was so close to the grocery store I should stop to pick up some things, —stocking up the kitchen and pantry was on my to do list. But now the pain was really bothering me and I thought I should get going. So I skipped the grocery store and headed back home. I remember wondering if what I was feeling might be the Braxton-Hicks contractions that I had heard about…practice for the real thing. I thought that if this pain didn’t stop I needed to call the doctor and see what was really happening. By the time I got home, it was 5:30. I knew that David had a meeting then so I figured I would just check in with him a bit later so he could finish his meeting.
In retrospect, at this point in the day I was in denial that labor had begun. It was two weeks before the due date and David was supposed to officiate a wedding the coming weekend. I wanted him to be able to do that and for the baby to come the next week. But she was ready, little did I know…
I called my friend Amy, I had been with her when she went into labor about two years ago and thought I would get some answers. I just wanted someone to tell me if I was in labor or not. Now, the thing is, no one can tell you that unless you go to the hospital and get hooked up to a machine. Since I was in denial that this was all happening, I was not about to run off to the hospital to see. Amy and I talked on the phone for about an hour. I knew that if it was difficult to talk, then this was labor and it would have been progressing well. The whole time I never had trouble talking when the “pain” came. The contractions never seemed to come with any sort of regularity either. During our conversation, I came to the realization that if I was really in labor, this baby would share her birthday with our country’s. I was really nervous about it. Amy reassured me that would be fantastic; her birthday is St. Patrick’s Day and everyone always remembers! So it was a good thing. This was encouraging and I felt better about it. I hung up the phone about 6:30 and still wasn’t sure what was going on with my body (denial). I had been sitting for an hour and the pain was still coming. I put the baby laundry in the washing machine and cleaned a bit around the house.
At about 7 o’clock I finally sent David a text asking when he’d be home, if he finished his meeting yet. He called me back and I still didn’t tell him. I know, probably still in denial… He mentioned he needed gas and asked if it was okay if he stopped on the way. In my mind, absolutely he needed to get gas because that car had the car seat, and if I was actually in labor, we were headed to the hospital sooner than later and in that car, so it definitely needed to be filled up! We chatted about what to do for dinner and then I started cooking. The pain was coming more now. I did my best to ignore it. I threw together a salad and boiled some water for pasta. As I was chopping some mushrooms, David arrived home and I cut my finger. He shooed me out of the kitchen and told me to sit down and that he’d finish up. Then I told him about my so-called abdominal pain…and I finally called the doctor. My doctor was the one on call! Awesome. I told her that I was feeling a good amount of abdominal pain, which had started around three o’clock. She asked about my day, and then told me the possibilities. First, she said I had been pretty active during the day and it was also a warm day out, so I should drink a ton of water. Then she said I could be experiencing the early signs of labor or it could be Braxton-Hicks. She told me to pay close attention to the contractions and if they ever became consistent, I should know that it was labor pains and then to call again. In addition, she asked if I could feel the baby move. I said yes. She told me if that baby stopped moving I should go straight to the hospital. The baby was fine as long as she was moving.
We sat down to watch some TV while we ate dinner. I only ate my salad and about two bites of pasta. I just couldn’t eat. The contractions got more intense and more frequent. But they were still inconsistent. At the birthing class and in all the books it says to go to the hospital when it’s 5-1-5-contractions are five minutes apart and one minute long. All of the stuff that was supposed to happen for labor wasn’t happening, just the pain. They also tell you not to rush in to the hospital because labor is a long process and often people get sent home. So I was in no hurry. I went to sit on the exercise ball. That was a nice change. But the pain was getting worse. And I was feeling really hot. I went back to the couch. David was tired from his long day at work and by this point was googling on his phone about labor. I was having a difficult time sitting at the couch, and when a contraction would come, I would lay my forehead on the armrest and close my eyes. My back started hurting too. He got a text from Amy asking about what was happening. He called her back, handed the phone to me, and ran upstairs for something. I talked to Amy for a minute saying that I still wasn’t sure what it was (denial) and then said goodnight, she was headed to bed. There I was alone in the room. This horrible feeling came over me. I could not be alone!! I started to cry. WHERE WAS my husband, and why had he left me alone in this state!? Well, when he came down he was surprised at my reaction to him being out of the room for about three minutes. I stood up and hung my arms around his neck, closed my eyes, and rested my forehead onto his shoulder. Letting another contraction pass.
It was getting later, sometime after 10 o’clock. Now my whole body was feeling freezing all of a sudden. I went from hot to cold. He was tired and said okay, either we go to the hospital or we go to bed. Well there was no way I could sleep like this. I went to change into pants and got a sweatshirt, I even put on my warm slippers because I was so cold. He decided to run me a bath thinking that might help. Upstairs he went. I followed a minute later. I stepped into the bathroom and my water broke. Relief rushed over me as the fluid drenched my pants and slippers. Clarity. Finally! This was really happening. Now. We were about to meet our baby girl.