**This is the first part of a two part series: Labor And Delivery. A lot of people have been asking me about my experiences so I thought I'd share. DISCLAIMER--if you have no interest in reading about labor or my labor, you can stop here. Things may get a little graphic** My due date fell in the middle of Thanksgiving week. At 39 weeks pregnant, I was exhausted and anxious. I had planned to work right up until the day I delivered. I dreaded going into labor while I was at work, and my boss was gracious enough to let me work remotely starting the week before my due date.
It was the first day that I was scheduled to work remotely. I felt horrible, which is pretty standard at 39weeks. I started the day with an early morning doctor's appointment. My OB could see that I was ready to get the show on the road. Her assurances that I was progressing "like a rock star" did nothing to make me feel less like a beached whale. She did her best to calm me. "Just hang in there, " she said, "any day now, you're doing great."
I headed back home to start my work day. By the time I got home, V was already on campus for his last day of final exams. I had minimal distractions so that I could get through the day-- just me and Ella.
I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions and they seemed to be getting stronger. By 5pm I could do little more than curl up in bed. I knew that I would feel better if I took a little nap...
The pain woke me up around 7pm. These weren't Braxton-Hicks. I had never felt anything like this before-- this was the real deal. V's last final was scheduled to end at 8pm. I carefully contemplated calling him. I waited for the next contraction. They were far enough apart that I decided not to call. He needed to focus on his exam--the baby wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. Plus I didn't need him speeding home and, heaven forbid, getting into an accident. I ran a bath and got in.
The warm bath definitely helped. My contractions still weren't in the danger zone yet, so I waited some more. V called at around 8:15 and he immediately knew something was going on. I told him that I was in labor, but not to rush because it wasn't "time" yet.
As I sat in the tub, I revisited my "birth plan", which was, up to this point: Step 1- go to hospital; Step 2-have baby. I kept going back and forth about the epidural during my pregnancy. A part of me wanted to experience the magic and wonder of "natural" childbirth, but my practical side wanted to be admitted with the anaesthesiologist waiting in my room. Though painful, I thought the contractions were bearable. I decided to hold off on the epidural until I thought I really needed it. That was the biggest decision I had left to make since I had already ruled out a water birth, birth ball, a "room with a view" (I didn't want to see anything that couldn't be unseen), mood lighting, and music. I figured I was having a baby, not going to a Cirque Du Soleil show.
V got home around 30minutes later. I transitioned from the tub to the bed. He helped me time contractions while he scarfed down his leftovers from the night before. We were in for a long night and he knew it. I got up to check my prepacked hospital bag one more time to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. As I rose from the bed, I felt warm fluid trickling down my legs.