*Scrambling to write this as LG takes a nap. I think for the sake of my writing and trying to update this as often as I can from now on, I’m going to post (when it makes sense) what I am able to finish in one sitting, rather than wait for another day to complete the story. Nothing like being left in “suspense” in the middle of a birth story…
I woke up early on August 14 with some serious cramps. Like the kind where you want to stay on your side in bed curled up like a lima bean. Given that it couldn’t be menstrual cramps, I thought it was poop cramps. But the trouble was, despite a few trips to the toilet, nothing was coming out.
After a few hours of this game, and some pitiful whining to my husband and pets, I was able to finally go to the bathroom. Whew. I was relieved the pain subsided and I could continue with what was supposed to be another lazy Sunday waiting on Triscuit. At some point I reached out to WizMom via text. I shared my morning’s bowel movement with her since she was on 24/7 baby-watch, and she told me, “This could be it. Your system sometimes does a clearing out before…”
Harrison was due on August 15. Nobody has babies on their due dates. And if I was going early, this would’ve surely happened already. Now I just expected to be 1-2 weeks late like my mom was with me and my brother. The nursery was ready. I had my hospital bag packed, make that BAGS. I had three super-sized, over-the-shoulder tote bags that had all kinds of clothes and gadgets and reading material sticking out of them. I didn’t just follow one list of things to bring to the hospital, I followed 10. We were as ready as we could have ever been, but still not that ready.
For weeks I’d been doubting my future ability to know what a contraction would feel like.
“How will I know?” I asked my doctor, my mom and a few girlfriends repeatedly.
I always got the same response, “Oh, YOU’LL know.”
Contractions were described to me as menstrual cramps that come in short bursts and go away in intervals. The shorter the interval the more dire the situation, apparently.
Somewhere around 10 a.m. I got another cramp, and wondered, “Jesus, again!?” Thinking maybe this was more trouble in the no. 2 department. Then it went away a couple of minutes later.
Then cramp again. Then nothing. Again.
I didn’t want to freak anyone out, but I had downloaded an app that helped you time your contractions, and after a few minutes of uncertainty, I said screw it I’m timing these suckers. That’s the point where I believe I notified MainMan.
We came up with a plan. I was going to keep timing my contractions with the app. If after two or so hours of this and it was still happening, we would head to the hospital. My OB said typically after an hour of steady contractions you call and they advise you one way or another. We wanted to be sure so we stretched the tracking to two hours.
MainMan scurried around the house like an elf in the North Pole on Christmas Eve Eve. The guy was on fire and I’ve never been more proud. He got Triscuit’s bags, he got my bags, he packed his bags, he got Agnes’ bags, he prepped Bode’s food (our indoor cat), he got more of my bags. I was on the La-Z-Boy in the living room sitting calmly and checking my phone and barking things at him while he calmly and efficiently got us hospital-ready.
We aimed to leave the house around noon. I think we locked up at 12:30. Agnes was in the car wondering what tf was going on. We were going to drop her off at her local pet lodge and depending on when/if Triscuit came we’d go pick her up a day or two later. We had our dog-walker “on call” to take care of her if I went into labor in the middle of the night, but we were relieved we could just drop her off somewhere without worrying about her eating the couch at home. For the most part she’s outgrown eating stuff in our absence, but with all the commotion that morning she probably would have eaten something out of nerves.
I wasn’t super miz in the car a la Julianne Moore’s character in “Nine Months,” but I was definitely uncomfortable. As we turned onto the street where Agnes’ pooch hotel was, I blurted out an F bomb. Or five.
“THEY’RE CLOSED UNTIL 4!!!!!”
We’d been going to this pet place for 2.5 years and they’re closed on Sunday. Except for two hours in the evening for pick-ups. Son of a…
While I was busy shaking my head in disbelief and cursing the air how we could be so dumb, MainMan turned the car safely around and we headed back to the house where we dumped poor Agnes.
Forty-five minutes later, we finally made it to our hospital. I’d signed some preregistration form and getting into a room was as easy as saying, “Hello, the Fikes are here!”
My clothes were on the floor in two minutes and I was on the bed getting measured and describing our morning.
“So you’re about 3 centimeters dilated,” the nurse told me.
Not what I wanted to hear. I’d been 1-2 centimeters for a couple of weeks and 2-3 for the past week. This meant I was either going home or it was gonna be a long night.
“We’re going to hook you up to the fetal monitor before we make a decision on what to do with you.”
The thought of being sent home after all the trouble we’d just been through sounded not very fun. I really hoped they’d keep me so I could get this Triscuit party started.
Lucky for me, after about 10 minutes of being hooked up and seeing my contractions on the monitor next to my bed (sweet gratification this wasn’t just in my head), they said this was it. The nurses and doctor on call made it clear it might be another six hours or longer, but my contractions were steady and frequent enough they wanted us to stay.
*Harrison is up. ‘Til next time!