Birthing Story Pt I

November 4th, 2015

It's 0100 and I am awake.

I'm awake because I'm being gripped by another damn Braxton Hicks contraction.  Awesome.  I am super excited to be having another round of False Labor at o'dark-thirty.

(I'm not.  I'm annoyed as hell, actually.  False labor is, as I wrote in my journal the other day, "an enormous waste of time, energy, and back pain.")

I drift back off to sleep, only to be awoken ten minutes later by another one.  This repeats for hours: semi-sleep, wake long enough to groan with discomfort for thirty seconds, repeat.  It is not restful.

Fortunately the contractions peter out around 0600, just in time for me to wake up for real, and get ready for work.  Oh the joy of a workday on extremely-interrupted sleep.

The contractions reappear once I'm at work, causing me to waddle up and down the hallway, grunting, and my boss to eye me skeptically as he packs his briefcase for his out-of-office appointments.

"It's just more false labor," I say, waving him away.  "Like Monday afternoon.  I'll just be stopping to swear every once in a while, but it's fine."

"Okay," he says doubtfully, then adds, "Text if you need anything," before taking off.  So now I'm alone in the office, a fact I take full advantage of by leaning over my desk and breathing heavy (and yes, swearing) as needed.  In between the contractions I'm fine, but come noon they've increased enough in both intensity and frequency that I've decided I don't want to suffer at the office any longer.  I want to strip naked and get into my own tub and feel sorry for myself until they go away.

...but I don't want to leave before the stock market closes at one, just in case a client needs something.  I'm trying to be responsible with my playing-hooky.

I text Nathan and let him know to come get me, which he does.  By this point the contractions are coming about every 6-7 minutes apart, and I'm starting to think maybe this isn't false labor, after all.  I text my boss to let him know that I'm leaving, and that I'll keep him updated on whether it's real or not.

By the time I'm home and stripped the contractions are 5 minutes apart.

"Um, should we maybe go to the birthing center?" Nathan asks as I lower myself into blessedly hot and scented water.

"Nah," I wave him off as I did my boss earlier.  "The doctor said not until they've been five minutes apart for an hour."  I text my mother (who is flying cross-country to be with me for the birth next week) from the bath to let her know what's going on, and she instructs me to cross my legs until she gets there.  I laugh and text her back: "Mom, even if this is real labor I have at least eight hours before anything happens!"

Except that when I get out of the tub, fifteen minutes later, the contractions are coming 3 minutes apart.

"Maybe we'd better go to the birthing center, after all," I say through gritted teeth as I clutch the counter top.  Nathan agrees before I can finish my statement.

It's during the four-mile drive to the hospital that the pain starts to get... intense.  I bite the leather of my seat's headrest in protest.  Nathan jokingly attempts to coach my breathing; "Hee hee haaaah..." to which I growl "I... will... fucking... kill you."  He wisely stops.

But in between contractions everything is fine!  I feel great, actually, and cheerful that this might actually Be It.  We get to the birthing center and Nathan pulls into the patient drop-off, then helps me inside.  I hobble up to the reception desk and announce cheerfully, "We're here to see if I need to be here yet!" and then a contraction hits (they're 1 minute apart now).  The nurses eye me doubling over and say, "Yep, pretty sure you need to be here now," and escort Nathan and I to the intake room.  It's 2:20pm.

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