On July 6, the day before my due date, Lee and I were on our way to see my doula and yoga instructor (That makes it sound like I do tons of yoga, and you know, I’ll just go ahead and let you think that.) for a partner yoga session to go through different yoga positions to help me during labor and birth. It was just about 1 p.m. and I had a contraction. But one of those easy starter contractions where during it you’re not sure if it’s indigestion and you can carry on and no one would know anything was up. Except perhaps they might notice you pensively scrunching your face while you’re wondering if this is a contraction, or just a cramp, or indigestion, or the start of your appendix rupturing.
During yoga I had another contraction or two. We went home and they continued at the pace of a few an hour. I snuggled on the couch with E and got my last bump picture, but mostly I just wanted a picture of me and my girl while she was still my one-and-only.
My sister brought us Arby’s for dinner because I wasn’t about to make anything and Lee was busy installing the car seat and various other final tasks just in case this was it. The contractions were starting to cause me to pause a bit more, and after we ate it seemed time for me to track them a little more intently. Around 8 p.m. we had reached the point where if Lee asked me to do something and it was during a contraction (which he did), I would respond unkindly. (In his defense, I don’t think he realized they had reached that level.)
Around 8:30 p.m. I got in the bath to relax and had planned to get a shower and do my hair so I would look nice in all the pictures, but my contractions were reaching a place where I didn’t want to stand and do anything as intense as shampooing and rinsing, so I just got in bed and watched Emma Approved. When Lee was done getting E in bed, we finished packing via the system of me pointing and telling Lee what to do while I stayed in bed.
Around 10 p.m. I called my doula, to update her on my fairly-regular-but-not-too-horrible contractions and to discuss how likely we thought that this was it (With Elizabeth’s birth, there were a couple “I’m in labor!” calls that turned out to be a bit premature.). Albert’s birth had the minor complication that we would need to make sure someone was at the house before we left for the hospital, likely my sister who lives 5 minutes away, but my parents would also be coming up (from 2 hours away) to make sure my sister could go to work and I wasn’t sure what to tell them. I think we decided there wasn’t any need to have anyone come over right away, but I called my sister and parents anyway to give them the choice. Come now or maybe get a call to come at 2 a.m. or maybe this is nothing at all and I’ll have the baby later in the week. They all decided to wait.
I tried to go to sleep but that didn’t really happen. The contractions were getting worse and around midnight had reached toe-curling level. They also started to spread apart and get pretty irregular, anywhere from 11 to 17 minutes apart. By 2 a.m. I was becoming a bit of a mess. Contractions were back under 10 minutes apart, but still anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes apart, and I was VERY uncomfortable during them and trying to moan through them because according to Ina May, that helps. Between contractions I could not stop shaking and sweating. I called my midwife who said it sounded like I was transitioning so go on and head to the hospital. I reminded her that an hour before the contractions were over 10 minutes apart and they still weren’t regular, but she assured me that she had caught babies like this before and it was worth getting checked. We called my sister over and left as soon as she arrived.
And you’ll have to wait for the rest of the story because it was just getting too long. If you just can’t stand the wait, read Elizabeth’s birth story.
You can now read Part II.