I don't know what it is, but I love reading people's birth stories. Maybe it's because everyone has a completely different experience, yet the outcome is the same: A cute little baby amid a torrent of various body fluids after so many hours of ridiculous pain. Anyway, here is the first part of my birth story and I'll try to keep the details about my various body fluids to a minimum.
So, the Thursday before I went into labor, I woke up at 5am to pee. Nothing new there, being 38 weeks pregnant and all. I rolled over to get up and OH HOLY CRAP the abdominal pain was incredible. I stayed half-slumped over the bed, feet on the floor, not sure if I should continue standing up or yell across the bed at my husband to wake up. But my bladder screamed, "HELLO, IT'S PEE TIME NOW NOW NOW" and I managed to quickly waddle across the apartment to the bathroom with no accidents happening.
I had quit work at 37 weeks because of bad pelvic pain. This was way worse and I wondered if I was in labor, but it was a super constant pain, not pain that came and went like I figured contractions would. I have a fairly high pain tolerance, so the thought that this might just be the beginning and I had somewhere between 12 and 24 hours of labor to go sent me into a ceiling-staring panic coma until my husband, R, woke up a couple of hours later.
R: Morning, honey.
Me: I'M IN TERRIBLE PELVIC PAIN
R: Oh god where is the hospital bag should we go to the birth center now?
Me: ............Nah, I don't think it's labor.
R: THEN WHY
I had thought the baby had "dropped" (that is, moved further down in my pelvis in preparation for birth) a few days earlier because I could suddenly breathe much better and my tummy sagged lower. But NOW she had really dropped, and the terrible pain was her head chilling out as low as possible without me being in labor. Thanks, baby. I spent the next couple of days in bed with my Kindle, with my husband bringing me meals (woot!), and by Sunday morning I felt well enough to be up and at my computer and got my own breakfast while my husband headed off to work.
At this point, I assumed labor was "near," but I wasn't sure how "near." Both my husband and I had a feeling that the baby would come early, but now we were only 4 days away from her due date and I was beginning to doubt she'd be early and figured she'd be two weeks late, just to piss me off and prove my instincts wrong. Around 2:30pm, I yanked out a half-square triangle quilt in progress, sat down at my computer, and plugged my camera battery into its charger for some super happy quilt progress picture time.
And then there it was again, the familiar pregnant urge to pee. Now, every single website and pregnancy book out there had a little passage about water breaking, and they all said pretty much the same thing as this article from whattoexpect.com:
"Only a very small percentage of women experience the rupture of the amniotic sac before they go into labor, so chances are good you'll have plenty of warning (or that you'll already be in the hospital). If your water does break in public, it probably won't come as an embarrassing flood but rather a slow trickle (or a small gush) of colorless and odorless amniotic fluid. "
So I was completely unprepared for raising my butt an inch off my chair and having a huge GUSH of fluid suddenly blow up all over my pants, my robe, my legs, my chair, and the carpet. The lazy cats glanced up from their nap and blinked confusingly at me as I waddle-ran past them, screaming, "Oh no oh no what the hell, those FREAKING LIARS IT IS GUSHING EVERYWHERE."
In the bathroom I sat on the toilet, panicking and cursing every single pregnancy book and blog out there for lying to me. After a moment I crammed some towels between my legs and hobbled back to my desk to call the birth center. Somehow they managed to decipher my babbles of "Water broke GUSH GUSH yes I'm Natalie GBS-positive HELP" and calmly instructed me to come in within the next hour or so to get my IV antibiotics started due to me being Group B Strep+. I thanked them, slammed the phone down, then immediately picked it up again and dialed my husband at work.
R: Hello, Interlibary Loan Department, this is R spe-
Me: YEAH YOU NEED TO COME HOME NOW
R: .....Um, ok???
Me: MY WATER BROKE AND WE HAVE TO GO IN NOW
R: ..............!!! All right, I'll be back shortl-
Me: THANKS *slams down phone*
After hanging up on R, as I started wildly throwing last-minute necessities into my hospital bag, like my Nintendo DS and a canister of mixed nuts, a contraction hit me. It was unmistakable. Things were getting real.
R rushed home and, having not taken his lunch break, crammed half a rotisserie chicken down his throat as I continued to toss completely useless things into my hospital bag. I dumped about half a bag of cat food on the floor for the cats, not knowing entirely how long we'd be gone (they were very happy about this). As I started to head out the door, I paused for a moment; there was a thought deep in my mind that I simply could not put into words: "This is it. When you come back to this apartment, it will be with a baby. YOUR baby." I didn't let myself think it, but it was there. I knew my life was about to change tremendously, and I simply couldn't quite handle thinking about it at the moment. Also, my contractions were getting stronger, and feeling biting pain down near your nether regions kind of distracts you from momentary deep, philosophical tangents. We closed the door to the sounds of cats happily munching and headed down the hallway.
To be continued in, unsurprisingly, part two...