*Warning: I’m sharing everything about the most incredible experience of my life … including detailed information on all things birth-related, unflattering photos, double chins and all. Don’t say you haven’t been warned! (Nothing nasty, I promise.)*
January 12, 2017 was just like any other Thursday. I got up in the morning, went to work and had a normal day, came home, and sat in the recliner for my daily chat with my friend Whitney (we talk every day on the way home from work, but she got off a little later that day). As we were talking, I started laughing and told her I thought I’d just tinkled my pants a little. She laughed and said, “Oh yeah, that’ll start happening around this point in your pregnancy.” She’s had two kids – I knew she’d understand. I cleaned myself up and changed into comfy clothes, just in time for Jimmy to get home. We were both starving, so we jumped in the car and headed to Little Caesar’s to grab a Hot ‘n Ready pizza. On the way back home, not quite an hour after the first time, it happened again. Jimmy picked on me for being too pregnant to control my bladder, and I called my mom laughing to tell her the funny story, which I knew she’d get a kick out of. Instead of laughing, though, she was dead silent and the finally spoke: “Um, I don’t think you peed your pants. I think your water may have broken. That same thing happened to me and I thought I peed my pants, too. I think you should go to the hospital.” UM, WHAT?! Your water doesn’t break at 35 weeks and two days pregnant! I was certain it was just lack of bladder control, but she finally convinced me to call my doctor just in case. Plus, I had just gone to my 35-week doctor’s appointment the day before and my doctor told me to call immediately if I started having frequent contractions or felt a big gush of water, and if I started going into labor from this point on they wouldn’t try to stop it. The on-call doctor finally called me back, and our conversation went a little something like this:
Doc: “Do you think your water broke, or do you think you wet your pants?”
Me: “Um, I’m not sure. That’s why I’m calling you.”
Doc: “Well, did it feel like you peed?”
Me: “I mean, I’d just gone about 10 minutes before it happened, but I really don’t know.”
Doc: “Well if you think it could have been your water breaking, you should go to the hospital and get them to check you. It’s the only way you’ll know.”
Me: “Is that what you would suggest I do?”
Doc: “If you think it was your water that broke, yes.”
Gee, thanks a lot on-call doctor. That helped. I still was certain my water hadn’t broken, but Jimmy was in a slight panic. We decided to take it easy and just monitor me, and go ahead and pack our hospital bags just in case. Thankfully I’d already made a packing list for our bags, and packing them up was on our to do list for that weekend. We scarfed down what we could of our pizza (I couldn’t even finish one slice – I was too nervous), then put on some music and calmly packed each of our bags and the diaper bag, did the dishes, took the trash out, and walked the dog. Jimmy decided he’d feel better if we went to the hospital just to be safe, and I gave in. We left a spare key, grabbed our bags and pillows, told the dog we’d be back in a few hours, and around 9:00, headed to the hospital, expecting to be back later that night.
Seriously – my water couldn’t have broken, could it? That would just be crazy. It didn’t happen anything like what you see in the movies!
After a 12-minute nerve-racking drive to the hospital, we made our way up to the Labor and Delivery floor. Fortunately we went on a hospital tour for expecting moms and dads that Monday, so everything from where to go to what to do if you’re in labor was fresh in our minds. When the lady at the desk asked my name, she replied, “Oh yes, we are expecting you!” Oh! You were? Weird. We signed in and were escorted to the Labor and Delivery wing. Jimmy snapped a quick picture of me, just in the crazy chance that this could be my last bump picture, and was ushered to the waiting room while I was escorted to a delivery room.
After dressing in a hospital gown, getting hooked up to machines and monitors, answering a million questions and being checked out, they brought Jimmy back in and told me that my water had, in fact, broken and they were admitting me. I asked what that meant, and the nurse said, “It means you’re not leaving here without a baby.” HOLY … WHAT?!?! It can’t be time! The house is a wreck. The nursery isn’t ready. The crib isn’t put together. I haven’t washed any of her clothes. Who’s going to let the dog out? I don’t have everything ready at work. We haven’t taken our birthing class yet. My mom and sister are coming to help me clean the house and put the nursery together in two days … this can’t happen yet. She’s not supposed to come until Valentine’s Day. Dang it, I’m starving and now I can’t eat – why didn’t I eat that pizza?!? Talk about panic, excitement and terror all at once! We called our parents and braced ourselves for the unknown.
So let’s recap.
5:45 p.m. – First time I thought I peed myself.
6:45 p.m. – Second time.
9:30 p.m. – Checked in to hospital.
11:30 p.m. – Got admitted. Baby is coming!
12:00 a.m. – Time to get poked and prodded. Looks like we are having a full moon, Friday the 13th baby!
Now time for the fun stuff. The IV hurt like hell and I legit almost passed out when they stuck me (I know … I have an extremely low pain tolerance). They gave me a steroid shot in the booty to help speed up baby girl’s lung development, since she would be coming five weeks early. My mom and sister showed up sometime around 3 a.m. (they packed up and drove down from Savannah as soon as we told them the news). I was wide awake and trying to get a grasp on reality. Everything seemed so surreal! OH! Did you know that when your water breaks it doesn’t stop until you deliver the baby? I had to wear a towel like a diaper each time I got up to pee. I’ll spare myself that embarrassing photo that my oh-so-sweet mother took. Speaking of getting up to pee, the nurse had to unhook my IV for me to go, and the first time she accidentally pulled too hard and blood spewed all over the place. Yep, almost passed out again.
5:00 a.m. and I got my first contraction – ouch! They quickly came on with a vengeance, lasting 45-60 seconds and 3 -4 minutes apart, and feeling like someone was wringing out my ovaries. I seriously had to squeeze the arm rail each time one came on.
I couldn’t stand the pain any longer – bring on the drugs! The next few hours were a blur … the pain meds made me feel crazy, drunk, relaxed, funny … I fell asleep at one point and woke up feeling like I’d had six tequila shots and I kind of forgot what was going on. But I couldn’t feel the pain anymore, thank goodness! We were all placing bets on when baby girl would make her debut, all guessing time, weight, hair color, eye color .. anything we could do to pass the time.
9:45 a.m. – Time for the epidural. I’ve heard so many terrifying stories about getting these and was terrified, but it honestly wasn’t that bad. Maybe the pain meds helped? The worst part was feeling the medicine going into my body and down my back. EEK. Creepy. At this point I was 4 cm. dilated and my contractions were consistent. It didn’t take long for it to kick in, and before I knew it I couldn’t feel anything from my belly button down, including the contractions, and could hardly wiggle my toes, let alone lift my own legs. Oh well – nap time! (Sort of. You can’t really sleep in hospitals.)
2:00 p.m. – They had to give me Pitocin to increase my contractions and speed things up. I was 5 cm. dilated and 100% effaced, but since my water had broken about 20 hours earlier my chance of infection was increasing. I was shaking uncontrollably. Not because I was cold, it was just some weirdo thing my body decided to do that I couldn’t do anything about. My legs felt heavy as bricks. I was starving and SO thirsty. Not being able to eat or drink is torture!
My dad arrived from Georgia, as did my sister-in-law and nieces shortly after, and we all played the waiting game. Poor Jimmy was a ball of nerves, trying to entertain himself (and the rest of us). We talked to Daisy, sang to her, told jokes … did everything we could to get her to come out to play. After so many hours of hanging out in a bed without being able to feel much, I almost forgot we were there to have a baby!
5:45 p.m. – Still no sign of baby, but ready for my second dosage of the epidural – ouch. I was having contractions like crazy and could feel them slightly on my right side and in my back. My doctor came to check on me and told me his shift ended at 7 p.m. and another doctor from his practice would be on-call should I not deliver before he leaves. Noooo I want my doctor to deliver my baby! Come one, baby girl.
My contractions were too close together and I wasn’t dilating fast enough, so they had to decrease the Pitocin. Ugh – she’s so stubbon.
7:00 p.m. Still no baby.
Up next … part two of this post: Daisy’s arrival, our delivery scare, and the details of our hospital stay. CLICK HERE to read it.