(I've been procrastinating on writing my birth story, partly because every time I sit down to work on it, I feel guilty for not blogging and write a post instead. I'd originally wanted to write the whole birth story before posting it, but I'm starting to realize that will never happen, so instead I'm posting it one part at a time, even if that does make me seem unbelievably self-absorbed. Any flaws can totally be blamed on my new hobby of pacing the room with a fussing baby at 3:00 am.)
It's the week leading up to Saturday, October 14, and I'm not feeling great. Nothing in particular is specifically painful; I just feel achey and a little strange. I know many women who report having felt "off" before going into labor, and in the back of my mind I'm hoping my symptoms mean that labor is imminent. I'm trying not to count on it, though. No use in disappointing myself unnecessarily.
I've just hit thirty-eight weeks and although I'm not finding pregnancy unbearable yet, I'm big and uncomfortable and my instinct is to lie around as much as possible. Instead, I try to stay active with the hope of getting things going; I haven't heard any concrete medical evidence to suggest this, but I've got a secret hope that if I move around a lot, the baby will start moving too. I'm also hit with the urge to do some serious nesting. The junk drawer in our kitchen, which has never been tidied in any of the three places we've lived, becomes a picture of organization when I find myself suddenly unable to stand its messiness. What with the nesting and my attempts to move around as much as possible, I fall into bed every night exhausted.
But I'm also not sleeping well, thanks to the achiness. (Ding ding ding.) Along with the Pepcid which is my constant companion, by the latter half of the week I'm popping Tylenol to keep the general ickiness at bay.
Friday, as is not surprising in retrospect, is the worst. I babysit Daniel in the middle of the day so that my sister can go to the dentist, and I'm so sore that when he gets fussy and needs me to carry him, the effort has me in tears. After babysitting is over I take a warm bath to relax, which helps hardly at all. I've got the job of packing for Bryan and me so that we can hit the road as soon as he gets home from work and avoid being late for my friend's wedding rehearsal, and the packing which is usually a simple job takes me a long time because the pain around the bottom of my belly is intense enough that I'm forced to rest at regular intervals.
When Bryan gets home I'm still rushing around gathering things. He helps me get the stuff together, but once we're on the road he makes a mild comment about how I'd had all day to pack and should have been ready, and of course it makes me cry. (Don't blame him; there's no way he could have known I was about to go into labor.) Right there in the car we have our very last argument before the baby is born. (With a child, everything is a milestone!) Fortunately we make up quickly.
Now here is the part that really makes me look like an idiot: on the drive up, I have several painful contractions, painful enough that I have to stop talking to get through them. Its the first time I've had any like this, and it freaks Bryan out. He suggests turning around and going home, but I'm all "oh, you can have contractions for weeks, I'm totally not going into labor anytime soon," and insist that we keep going. Despite the fact that I've been in pain all day, despite the fact that we're heading at seventy miles per hour away from our hospital and our doctor and everything we've prepared for the birth of our child, I insist we keep going. I promise you that ten hours later, when I'm checking into a hospital a hundred miles from home, I remember that moment vividly.
We make it through the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner and finally get to bed around midnight. All week I've been tossing and turning but tonight I drop off immediately into a deep sleep - later I decide that God wanted to give me the gift of one good REM cycle before the big ordeal. (Dear Lord: I'm grateful for the one, but next time shoot for at least five or six.) Little do I know that two hours later, it all begins.