Where do I start?! Let’s go back a few weeks.
I had been preparing for our baby shower and the pressure was increasing by the day…no, not social pressure…pressure below. While I was still working out, it was at a much lower intensity and with many breaks because Bean felt so much lower than before (I didn’t think it was possible). Fast forward to the Tuesday morning (May 30th)…I got out of bed and immediately said to Bean’s Dad, “Oooo, this feels different. There’s so much pressure and a little bit of pain.” He responded calmly with something to the tune of…you’ll be fine, we’re just getting closer. Thanks babe…At 36 weeks and 5 days, I kept it moving.
I go on with my day at work and while the pain and pressure weren’t constant, I couldn’t definitely feel it when sitting and standing. All I could think about was making it to Saturday, our baby shower date. When I left work, I felt fine so it was business as usual.
Somewhere around 7:45pm, I felt strange pressure that was uncomfortable and somewhat painful. I was driving around and it didn’t occur to me that I was having contractions…until about 30 minutes later when I realized there was a pattern. The pain/pressure sensation would occur every 10 minutes. I was still in disbelief so I continued doing what I was doing. After another 30 minutes, the pain was undeniable and I knew these had to be contractions. I decide to head home and I called Bean’s dad and told him to go home and work on getting the car seat in the car. Per usual, he responded calmly and said he would meet me at home.
When I arrived home, Bean’s dad had the car seat installed and I was in serious pain. On the last few miles home, I encountered some traffic (typical DC). I called my mom to help me get through the last couple miles home. I had her searching all the differences between Braxton Hicks and actual labor. All I could remember was my doctor saying…you’ll know contractions when you feel them. After hearing more from my mom’s google search, we confirmed I was indeed in labor. Bean’s Dad wasn’t so convinced. What’s next? Food of course.
I was feeling the pain during the contractions, but the breaks were fine. I continued to track my contractions on one of my handy dandy mom apps and decided to cook some spinach and mushrooms. Then I wanted ground beef with spaghetti sauce so I put Bean’s dad to work. Somewhere between eating spinach and watching him cook (around 11pm), I decided the pain was getting out of hand. Then I realized I hadn’t really discussed this moment with my doctor. I had no idea how the on-call process worked but I was hoping there would be a message on the doctor’s office messaging system that would walk me through it. I had Bean’s Dad call because I was in the middle of an awful contraction and it required all of my focus and deep breathing. He left a message and within 30 minutes, we received a call back from the on call doctor.
I calmly gave him the spacing of my contractions for the last hour and said…so what now? The doctor said, “well you sounds like you’re managing well. Don’t eat anything, clear fluids only and go to bed. Make an appointment in the morning to see your doctor.” I was baffled at his directives and felt the need to plead my case. I recall something to the effect of…no, you don’t understand…followed by, so I’ll call you back tonight. He told me to only call if I couldn’t sleep through the contractions. Sleep and contractions…right.
Nevertheless I followed directives. I didn’t eat my ground beef nor did I finish my spinach and mushrooms. I went to bed and while the length of time between contractions slowed…the pain intensified. Somewhere around 2am, I called the doctor back and told him I was going to the hospital. I began to throw things into my bag…no, we weren’t prepared for this. Bean’s Dad was half asleep and with each contraction I yelled…let’s go!
We made it to the hospital around 3am (Wednesday morning) and we signed papers and saw the doctor by 4am. I measured at 2cm and he told me that they wanted to slow down my contractions with magnesium sulfate. He essentially wanted to delay delivery until 37 weeks which would be Thursday. After 8 hours of labor, I couldn’t fathom 24 hours. He assured me the magnesium sulfate would help with the contractions/pain. I agreed with the plan. I was then told that I would need a steroid as a precaution for Bean’s lungs. Here comes the bump in the road…
The magnesium sulfate did NOT help with the pain. I couldn’t understand the point of delaying labor if the pain of contractions remained. Then there was the steroid. I stupidly asked when they would incorporate the steroid into my IV. The nurse looked at me and said, oh that’s an injection. Where? In my butt…I turned over and the next part was by far the worst part of labor. It was pain and stinging…and it seemingly lasted forever. I was literally and figuratively butt hurt. From there, it was me…and my contractions.
Hours passed and the doctor finally came back to check on me. I asked if there was something he could give me for the pain and he offered a narcotic injection. Clearly I declined because nothing about a narcotic and a pregnant woman seemed safe and I feared another butt injection. I begged him to increase the magnesium sulfate to see if that would help the pain. It just made me groggy…until the next contraction came.
At 8am…a wonderful thing happened. Shift change…new doctor. She measured me again and I was 6cm. She spoke magical words… “There’s no turning back, we’re having a baby today. Do you want an epidural?” The angels sang from on high…YES PLEASE! The anesthesiologist arrived within 15 minutes. I eagerly signed every consent form and waited in anticipation. I was numbed during one of my contractions so I felt nothing and the rest was pain-free. Within 2 hours, I was fully dilated and it was go time. I pushed for about 45 minutes but only during my contractions (that were slowed down due to the magnesium sulfate). At 11:02 am, we welcomed Emory Thomas to our family. He’s absolutely beautiful…Bean has arrived!