I woke up on March 22nd still pregnant and disappointed I hadn’t gone into labor during the middle of the night. I felt slightly crampy, but I associated it with the membrane sweep I had the doctor perform the day before (a natural inducing method). So I showered then proceeded to eat breakfast.
Around 10:30am I realized the cramps were getting worse and somewhat segmented. Thankfully, my husband’s work plans that day had fallen through, so he was at home. I called out for him to come over and nervously told him the cramps were turning into contractions… “But I’m not 100% sure. It could just still be cramps…” As I spoke, I began getting emotional. The idea of what could finally be happening overwhelmed me with a rush of tears. To my surprise, I suddenly felt very scared.
Like the incredible man he is, my best friend leaned his face closer to mine, looked me square in the eyes, and told me that I was ready, I was strong, and that he was going to be right beside me the whole time. Then he put his arm around me and surrendered it all the Lord, thanking our Father that this day had come, praying for protection and for a safe delivery.
Knowing this could be it, we got busy cleaning the house. I was on my knees washing the kitchen floor when the contractions got a little too intense for me to be able to continue. So I decided to focus on packing my “just in case” hospital bag instead. Pausing for contractions, I finished packing. Whew. It felt good to cross that off the check-list.
Then the girls came over for bible study around 1pm, shocked that I still wanted to meet! Honestly, having them over was a good distraction, it was just the encouragement I needed and I got 2 hours of contractions out of the way….
I FaceTimed my mom– wishing she could be here with me!
When I had imagined going into labor I always envisioned going on a walk, and then making a cheesecake to celebrate and enjoy once the babe was born. I laid down on the couch to time my contractions before going out on the walk, and my husband got our “birthing corner” ready. He put a mattress cover and tarp over the designated futon, moved the kitchen table out of the way, and set up all the random towels and buckets and plastic bags. It was almost 4pm.
As he was setting up, the contractions got a little more unbearable. But according to the timer app on my phone, they weren’t close enough together. I felt like a wimp– if I couldn’t handle these early contractions, how would I do later on? Being that I didn’t want to get off the couch, we X-ed the walk and I moved over to the futon. Jesse helped me to relax using the massage technique we learned in the Bradley Method book…
I really struggled to relax, but what helped me the most during this time was focusing on the sound of his voice. As they progressed, all I wanted was for him to apply pressure on my lower back.
And then I threw up. 3 times.
Jesse had asked me earlier why we had needed to buy 2 buckets. That’s why, hunnie.
A friend stopped by around 6pm to help with some massage reflexology that’s said to speed the process up. She worked on my feet while Jesse ate dinner, coming to my aid when I needed him to push on my back. Suddenly it seemed like he barely got a bite in before I was yelling out a contraction was starting again.
It was then we realized we had been timing the contractions wrong, and I was further along than we thought.
Around 7:00pm we called give my doula an update, and since she lives close she decided to swing by and check-in on me. Seeing where I was at, she called the other friend whom I wanted attending the birth, and then we called the doctor. He arrived around 8:30pm.
I attempted to stay relaxed and in control by taking deep breaths and letting them out with constant, low moans, riding the contraction like a wave, breathing out until I reached the shore.
I was so focused that later I found out my birthing team had been laughing and making fun of my bossy, controlling attitude. They were taking turns applying pressure on my back, and apparently whenever they paused even to scratch an itch or weren’t pressing hard enough nor in the right spot I let them know very quickly!
The transition happened fast…