As great as our childbirth classes at the hospital were, I think one of the best ways I prepared for childbirth was by reading other bloggers’ labor and delivery stories. Each one was different, and mine was nothing like any of the blog posts I read, but reading first person accounts of every detail during labor made me feel more comfortable with what was to come.
So in the hopes that maybe by sharing my story I’ll help another new mom feel more comfortable about childbirth, here’s the story of Corban’s birth.
Thursday, Dec. 8, started like any other Thursday. I went to work, continued training the two people who would take on my responsibilities while I was on maternity leave, sat through a pretty boring meeting (and enjoyed baby kicks throughout to keep me entertained) and by 5:35 started to wrap up. The newsroom holiday party was starting at a bar across the street, and I planned to stop by for some food before heading to a church women’s ministry meeting at 7. I finished my work and began to check my personal email and Facebook.
Suddenly I simultaneously heard a dull, but distinct, popping noise and felt what seemed like a hard baby kick to the cervix.
For a second I didn’t think much of it aside from it being quite the kick, but then I started to feel like I was leaking. My heart raced as I grabbed my phone, checked the time (5:40) and rushed to the bathroom. In the stall I Googled “popping sound water break,” and my suspicions were validated by numerous message board postings from women describing what I had just experienced. I texted Peter, quickly gathered my things, checked on the status of my trainee who was finishing up a photo gallery and raced out the door. “See you tomorrow!” I said, hoping that this was a false alarm and I was just like all those other first time moms who rush to the hospital only to be sent home.
I called Peter on my walk to the parking garage. He was calm, as always, and was skeptical about this being the real deal. I told him to start packing his things and find the phone number for the hospital. The wind seemed so icy as it whipped tears right out of my eyes, making the walk seem ultra dramatic.
My mind raced on the 20-minute drive home. This could be it. Are we ready? What do we have left to do? Fortunately, I was comforted by the sudden realization that we were ready. True, the nursery wasn’t done being set up, but just earlier that day a friend who had just had a baby told me in a Facebook message not to stress about finishing the nursery because the baby won’t even be sleeping in it for a while after birth. That message popped into my mind and comforted me. As far as material things went, we were pretty much set, but what about the baby? I was 36.5 weeks pregnant, which is close to full term, but still early. Suddenly the only thing I worried about was whether the baby would be okay.
I arrived home to Peter nonchalantly reading the news on his computer. Are you packed? Should we go to the hospital? What’s the phone number? What should we do? I began to panic slightly while he remained in denial. I called my doctor, who happened to be on call that night. “Alison! Didn’t I just see you?” she said, referring to my checkup two days prior, when I was 1.5 centimeters dilated and 85% effaced, which meant “nothing,” according to her at the time. I described what happened and she said I’d better come in just to see if it really was my water that broke. “Don’t rush, but come now,” she said.
My hospital bag had been packed since before Thanksgiving, when I was paranoid that I’d go into labor while traveling. I had also, thankfully, written out a list of things I wouldn’t want to forget – phone charger, toiletries, Gatorade, popsicles, etc. “I should probably eat something, right?” I asked Peter. I opened the fridge, my stomach a ball of nerves. It was nearly empty, as was the norm during the past several months with my lack of appetite and ridiculously busy schedule. Leftover beef tenderloin from when my mom visited the weekend before stared at me and I closed the door in disgust. After we got to the hospital surely I’d have time to eat some of the many snacks I had packed weeks ago.
At 6:45 p.m. we walked out the front door. I stopped and looked at Peter. “The next time we come through this door there might be three of us,” I said.
Once on the road, I called my mom, told her not to freak out, but filled her in on the situation. She, of course, did freak out somewhat, as was to be expected. I texted a vague message saying I couldn’t make it to the women’s ministry meeting. Peter and I briefly discussed our disbelief at the situation, then spent the rest of the car ride debating middle names, which we hadn’t been 100% settled on.
Leaving our bags in the car, I gripped Peter’s hand tightly as we walked into the hospital and checked in to the childbirth center. I was sent to a tiny room in triage, where a young-looking blonde nurse introduced herself as Kate and began to question me. She too seemed skeptical that this was it, but sent me into the bathroom to change into a hospital gown and give her a urine sample.
Back on the bed, I met the resident on call, who looked eerily like a guy I knew in college, and he explained the different ways of determining whether I really was in labor. By this point I had started noticing contractions, but was having a hard time telling when they would start and stop. They put a monitor around my stomach so we could see the contractions on a screen. He took a sample of the amniotic fluid and used a color-changing test strip to see if it indeed was amniotic fluid.
It certainly was. And I was two-and-a-half, “almost three,” centimeters dilated. That meant I was already entering the second stage of labor. Baby’s coming!
Kate and the resident postulated that the baby’s birthday would probably be December 9, since it was already almost 8 p.m. on December 8. I looked at Peter and smiled as he pressed his hands to his forehead in disbelief. December 9 seemed like a wonderful birthday! Peter shook his head; he clearly wasn’t ready for this.
TO BE CONTINUED… read part 2
[I figured since Corban is already almost 4 weeks old I’d better at least get the story started even if I’m not done typing the whole thing up! Stay tuned for Part 2.]