Here I am on the night shift and trying to set aside some time to write this story down. I'm struggling right now with what to call him in this space and how much anonymity to maintain. Maybe by the end of the post I will have decided.
So let's go back to Wednesday. I had an appt Wed morning at which I was still just 1 cm but was showing other signs of progress that labor might be on its way. I finished out that day with more hope than anytime in the past month that this might actually happen on its own. This was also Ash Wednesday, a fairly important day in Max's job and one of my favorite church services in the Christian liturgical calendar. I have a full post of thoughts about the Lenten season and the juxtaposition of this season of life for me. Needless to say, I had a Wednesday full of reflection and deep thought. I went to bed Wednesday night after responding to the only real "nesting" urges I felt strongly this pregnancy.
Thursday morning I woke up at 4:15 to the immediate realization that I was having contractions. From the very beginning, they were about 8 minutes apart and lasted about 30-40 seconds. Honestly, those first moments were exactly how I imagined them. I laid in bed with Max sleeping beside me and concentrated on the work my body was doing to bring my child into the world.
My plan that day was to work until lunch. I decided to go ahead and move forward with that unless it got to the point that I was too uncomfortable. Contractions continued like clockwork through the early morning. My only concern was feeling confident that I made the right decision about when to stop my heparin. When I got into the office I let my boss know what was happening and called to leave a message for my dr about not doing my morning injection. The nurse called back about 9 with instructions for me to come on in to be checked so we could make an educated decision about the meds. They wanted me in at 10:30. The nurse mentioned that depending on how things looked she might just send me on to the hospital. As soon as I heard that word I felt a sense that things might fall apart. I officially finished up some emails and had a last minute convo with several coworkers and Max came to pick me up. In the meantime we had let our parents know what was happening and they decided to start the process of leaving TN and starting the drive down.
At about 9:45 I got three texts from a cousin and two sisters in law that said they heard I was in "labor" and they were so excited I was going to have a valentines baby. I immediately thought, "noooo! I'm not in labor...I'm having contractions that could stop any minute!! Don't jinx me!!!!" And NO JOKE....they stopped cold. We still gathered our stuff and got to the office at 10:30. When I told the nurse that I hadn't felt anything in 45 minutes she suggested we go walk around the parking lot and come back in an hour. We did that and...still nothing!! She went ahead and checked me and I had progressed to 2 cm. geez. So we decided to strip membranes and see how the day went.
Max and I decided to go grab lunch and take in a movie. During lunch, at about 12:30, contractions restarted pretty much where they left off; 8 minutes apart for about 30-40 seconds. The movie started at 1:45 and, again, they were pretty predictable. By the time we got to the end of the movie, the average timing for the previous hour and a half was 4.5 minutes apart lasting 50 seconds each. For about the last 30 minutes of the movie, they were approaching what I might call intense. To the point that I was gripping Max's hand and I was worried the people around me could hear me breathing. The dr had told us to call back if the action started again so we did and she said to come on in.
As I climbed up on the table, hoping and praying for good news, my water broke. Sure enough, she confirmed that I hadn't just peed on myself and that I was between 3 and 4 centimeters. Because my water broke, she wanted us to go straight over to the hospital. Ideally, we would have stayed at home a little longer, but she didn't really give us that option. She also let us know who was on call that day, who just so happened to be the only dr in the practice that I didn't want to deliver with. Bummer.
We still took our time a little bit. We sat in the car for a bit making calls, sending texts, and eating some snacks. We finally walked in (painfully for me!) and got settled into the room at about 5:30.