In the wee hours of Sunday, September 16th, at 39-1/2 weeks, I started waking up from contractions. This wasn’t the first time this pregnancy that I had felt contractions strong enough to bring me into consciousness. I had mild ones a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t felt them with regularity since. Sunday by about 5:30 am, I thought to start timing them. They were 15 minutes apart and took concentration and deep breathing to get through, so I texted the grandmas and my midwife, Liane, that it might be the day.
I got up at 6 am and took a shower. I had a couple of contractions while in there and leaned against the shower walls, moving my weight from one leg to the other. I realized it was much more tolerable to stand and move a little than to lay down. This was the best decision I could have made and it set the tone for the rest of the day. I was active, relaxed, and let gravity help move things along.
Sidenote: Two and a half years ago, I let myself get stuck in the bed laboring with Eebs, scared to move, and no matter how I laid down in the bed, I was tense. However, I found that I loved the feel of water on me when we went to the hospital for active labor, so I spent a lot of Sunday going in and out of the shower. I delivered EB on my back with no meds, but I wanted this time to be more like I dreamed: able to move and change positions, walking around to speed things up, and delivering with the help of gravity.
Sunday morning, my mom got to my house pretty quickly from her house in the hill country. Around 9:30 am, we all met Liane at the hospital. I knew I wasn’t very far along, but she warned me that second babies moved fast, and I could always go back home since my water hadn’t broken yet. I did some yoga on the floor with EB, who was very good at comforting me. She knew what was happening and Hubs showed her how to softly touch me to help me relax. She basically rubbed my butt for every contraction, and covered me in a blanket if I was on the ground.
I had a couple of intense contractions there, but after 2 hours, my labor had slowed to about 30 minutes between. We decided to go back home by noon because it was EB’s nap time and I got an Rx from my sweet midwife to drink a beer and take a Tylenol PM to nap as well.
I woke up from a decent nap at around 3 pm. My contractions spaced to almost an hour between them, but maybe it was because I slept through a couple. By now my house was full. Hubs’ cousin Jamie had made it to Austin from Denton and was keeping EB busy. My mom and Hubs’ mom were hanging in the living room, and Hubs’ dad was trying to stay out of the way. I think it made him nervous to see me moaning deeply against the bed or kitchen counter. There were also 3 dogs at the house.
I paced the loop of my house. I was trying to get in my head, but there were dogs in the way, lots of people around, and EB following me, trying to comfort me. It was raining outside, and I needed to get some space. Hubs went on a walk with me in the neighborhood, holding an umbrella over my head, so I could get centered. I explained that it was hard for me to concentrate with everyone talking and watching TV, asking about my contractions while I was having them, running into the dogs, and for EB to be right up on me. It just wasn’t the right atmosphere for getting relaxed because I was so aware of everyone. He said not to worry, that they hadn’t realized that I had made that jump yet, and he’d take care of it. We made another loop around our street and went back in the house.
I went to the bedroom to put on my Hypnobirthing track on my phone and sway while leaning against my bed. The actual mattress is pretty high up and it was soft enough to let my shoulders go. I heard Hubs giving the quick speech to the crew and I heard no more from anyone. The team got in shape immediately, Jamie somehow kept EB on the couch whispering and watching videos, and the dogs went outside. For every contraction, I felt two sets of hands on my back (the grandmas were giving great pressure against my hips and lower back, which was perfect), and Hubs got on the bed to rub my shoulders and tell me positive things.
I felt myself move from the labor that I could laugh in the interim, to ones where I needed to stay focused and know that I just had to make it through each contraction, and then that one was gone. I decided that since I was having to work on focusing much more to get in my head this time, that I would let the birth group be what it was, the grandmas and Hubs, and that I would leave EB at home when we went back to the hospital, and meet up with my gals after it was all said and done. I knew they wouldn’t be too sad since it was all about getting this baby out, but part of me still wished I could share the experience with Maru, SD, GS, and MR.
Next post: (Pt. 2): Active labor.