On Thursday, June 24th I went in for my 39-week OB appointment. My doctor did the usual exam and told me that she was actually surprised I hadn’t gone into labor yet. I had been 3 centimeters dilated for a week, and little boy had been head down and pressing on my sciatic nerve for twice that long. I really, really wanted my OB to be the one to deliver my baby, and she told me she was working that night, and on Saturday. She also mentioned that Saturday was a full moon, and the maternity ward often gets hopping on those nights.
I laughed, put my pants back on and headed home knowing This Little Baby was staying put for another week.
The next day was just like the day before. I was feeling a lot of pressure in my pelvis, but nothing really different from any other day that week. I emailed with a friend periodically and told her nothing was happening, baby wasn’t coming today. I posted my 39-week Belly Friday post, 100% convinced I’d be posting week 40 the following Friday.
That evening, probably around 7 p.m., I felt the overwhelming desire to clean my house. My house — which I had cleaned top to bottom earlier in the week — suddenly seemed filthy to me. As Michael watched me quietly from the couch, I scrubbed the bathroom, cleaned counters, vacuumed and folded laundry. Occasionally, he’d mention as nicely as possible that all those things had just been done and I was essentially just redoing the chores, but I couldn’t stop. Nest. Nest, nest, nest, nest, nest.
By 9 p.m. I was finished and tried, so I took a relaxing shower and climbed into the recliner to watch some TV. A little while later I felt a pain. Sort of like a menstrual cramp, sort of like a diarrhea cramp. Not too bad, and brief enough to make me think it was probably gas. There had been a lot of gas up to this point, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to have more.
And then, I felt it again.
So…I tired to fart. Well, wouldn’t you? I mean, I thought it was gas.
The fart was unsuccessful.
I rotated a bit in the chair, got comfortable…and felt another one.
I started thinking to myself, “Could this be it? Is this what it feels like?”
Michael had worked very early that day and was almost asleep on the couch next to me. I didn’t want to set anything in motion until I was sure something was happening, so I quietly got a piece of paper and started writing down whenever I felt a cramp.
I didn’t feel them at regular intervals, but they were usually between 12 and 8 minutes apart. They lasted anywhere from 25 seconds to a minute long, and after about an hour I figured something was up.
“Michael, I think I’m having contractions.”
“Really?!” he answered, perking up instantly. “What do we do?”
I laughed. “Nothing,” I replied. “He’s not coming tonight. But, you might want to get some sleep.”
By midnight I knew that this was early labor. The contractions were strong, but manageable. They made me a little nauseous, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. I called my family and after the inital excitement, they jumped into action. Being three and a half hours away, my mom and sister decided to jump in the car and hit the road immediately. My dad planned on coming up a few hours later, which meant he was the only one who got to sleep!
Michael decided to take a shower just in case there wasn’t time in the morning, and we headed to bed to get some sleep. I know I was vaguely aware of the contractions during the night, but I was able to sleep through them pretty well. Until 4 a.m. when I woke up starving. I decided to get up and eat something, because I knew that if I went to the hospital soon, I wouldn’t be allowed to eat. I got up to make an English muffin with peanut butter and when I stood up, the contractions were gone.
Frustrated, I walked around the house trying to get them moving again. Nothing! I had read that you can be pretty sure you’re experiencing “false labor” when changing positions or walking around stops the contractions. As I chewed my breakfast, I wondered if I had cried wolf and set into motion a lot of fuss for nothing.
I called my mom to tell her what I thought. They were about a half hour away at this point, so there was no turning back for them. She assured me that this is what happens in early labor, and that I wasn’t wrong. It was just going to be awhile, that’s all.
To pass the time until their arrival, I flipped through various infomercials on TV, drank some water and walked around some more. Eventually I felt another contractions, but it was fairly mild. By 4:40 a.m. my family arrived, and after hugs and excitement all around, my mom decided to take a nap while she still had the time. My sister and I stayed up, talking in the living room and timing the mild contractions that were finally coming back.
I put a blanket on our leather couch because it was chilly from the AC, and lay down to get comfortable. After a particularly strong contraction, I mentioned to my sister that OW! That one kind of hurt!
And then I heard a pop.