During my 9 months of being pregnant I found that most people love to share their negative experiences with their labor(s) and delivery(ies), which is really a bummer because no pregnant lady wants to hear about all of the things that could go wrong! I promise that you won't read anything negative about labor and delivery here. ;)
I spent my pregnancy trying not to think about the actual labor and delivery part of it all and instead focused on being pregnant and also what I thought motherhood would be like. Unfortunately, as I got closer to the end of my pregnancy I started to panic a teeny, tiny bit as reality set in and I realized that A) baby was coming out one way or another, and B) I couldn't plan any of it! I hadn't taken any birthing classes, I didn't read up on breastfeeding, I hadn't done any research on controversial parenting decisions, my birth plan merely consisted of getting an epidural if there was time, and I didn't even know what being effaced meant until my doctor explained it to me at 38 weeks pregnant. I was totally and completely "winging it." And to be honest, it was actually really great, minus those few moments of panic.
I figured that women have been giving birth for thousands of years without having first taken a birthing class and they definitely figured out how to feed their babies without first meeting with a lactation consultant. I was 100% banking on the fact that maternal instincts would kick in. . . or that my nurses would tell/show me what to do.
Going into the whole labor and delivery experience with zero expectations and no concrete birth plan was fabulous; I didn't get hung up on things that were "going wrong" because there was no right or wrong in my mind. . .
(Birth story below. Read at your own risk. :))
After going to my 39 week appointment on Monday and hearing from the doctor that I hadn't progressed any in the last week, I was beginning to feel like baby was never going to make her way out. Completely unrealistic, but you know, pregnancy hormones and emotions and whatnot. ;) That whole last week was full of bad heartburn, moments of intense and irregular cramping followed by hours of nothing, and lots of consoling foot rubs from Ben.
I woke up Friday morning to find that I had begun to lose my mucus plug. I had heard from friends and from strangers on the internet that it can still take baby days or weeks to come, so as a result, I didn't share with anyone that things could possibly be moving along. I joked with each of my coworkers that day as they headed home that I would see them on Monday but I felt pretty confident that baby would be coming that weekend. Around 5:30pm I wrapped things up at work, dusted and sanitized my desk planning on not returning for a few months, ran to the campus pharmacy next door to pick up my heartburn prescription, and met up with Ben to go home. We decided en route that neither of us wanted to make dinner and that trying a local BBQ joint that had been highly recommended sounded way better.
After dinner we swung by our friends' to pick up something they were lending us for baby. While we sat and chatted with them for an hour I had two or three strong contractions- they were a little more intense than the cramps I'd been feeling all week long and I suggested to Ben that we head home. Our ride home consisted of Ben asking me every 30 seconds if I was going into labor, and me reassuring him that I was nowhere close to being in labor and that she was probably going to continue cooking for another week.
Upon arriving home we did what any normal couple wondering if labor was around the corner would do:
we finished packing the hospital bags. We watched Mission Impossible.
Around midnight and towards the end of the movie I felt like I had peed my pants a tiny bit. (So glamorous, haha.) I jumped up and ran to the bathroom, of course causing Ben to freak out a little. After a minute or two of nothing else happening, I returned to the living room, we finished our movie, and again I felt like I had peed my pants a little. For the second time, I ran to the bathroom and nothing else happened. Unsure over whether or not it was my water breaking, Ben suggested I call L&D at the hospital. The nurse I spoke with suggested that I come in and get checked out to see if it really was my water, but being the stubborn person that I am, I convinced myself that it wasn't my water breaking and that I'd just get sent home if we went in. Ben was a little hesitant to not head to the hospital but he was supportive of doing what I wanted. We knelt in prayer, Ben gave me a blessing, and we headed to bed around 1am both exhausted from the long day we had had. My contractions had been fairly sporadic and inconsistent all evening long.
I woke up at 3:30am to water just. . .gushing. There's really no way to describe it besides feeling like you're peeing your pants and can't stop! Fortunately, I had laid a towel on the bed before going to sleep. :) I rolled out of bed as fast as I could while grabbing the towel and headed to the bathroom. Not knowing quite what to do, I stood in the tub while trying to wake up and think clearly. Not thinking clearly, I decided I should take a quick shower before waking up Ben. Within 5 minutes my contractions picked up and began to get rather intense- intense to the point where I couldn't walk or talk. I finished showering as quickly as I could, woke poor Ben up and told him to jump in the shower and get ready as fast as he could because baby was on her way, grabbed another towel because water was still coming somehow, threw on some clothes, finished packing my hospital bag, got grumpy with Ben for showering and doing exactly what I had asked him to do because the pain was getting more and more intense, and tried to rush us out the door. After stopping to (quickly!) take one last bump photo, of course. ;)
. . . to be continued!
^^Please notice the towel in my hand. . .haha.^^