a birth story, part 1
February 21, 2011 by stephanie
I had imagined and hoped that I would labor and give birth to our daughter at night, and that’s exactly the way it happened.
Friday night, February 11, Hubby and I were just hanging out at home, watching episodes of Dexter on DVD and planning to bake some dark chocolate peanut butter cookies. Around 7:15 after an episode of Dexter had ended, I ducked into the bathroom to pee. When I sat down on the toilet I felt a POP and a small rush of liquid. I continued to pee, wondering — was that my water just breaking?!?
“Hubby,” I called through the open doorway to the restroom. “I don’t want to get too excited but I think my water might just have broken.”
“Let’s just wait and see. Maybe we should just go ahead and make those cookies.”
“Wait and see” happened as soon as I got off the toilet and clear liquid continued to run down my legs. We knew then that we at least needed to give the midwife on call a heads up, especially since I had tested positive for Group B strep about a month prior. When we called her, we were excited to learn that the midwife on call was Anjli, our favorite. Anjli told us that I had actually tested negative when they re-ran my Group B strep test at my 40-week appointment a couple days prior (they had to re-run the test because of my allergy to penicillin; they’d forgotten to see what antibiotics I could safely take for it.) Since I tested negative this time, the Group B strep wasn’t as much of a concern, but as a precaution they still wanted to give me an antibiotic prior to delivery if possible. Anjli asked us to plan on calling her around 8 the following morning and heading to the hospital sometime around then, unless something changed beforehand.
We then called our doula, Charlotte Scott with Labor of Love, and gave her the heads up that it looked like we were going to have a baby sometime in the next day! Charlotte told us she was on the ready but that we should all try to get some rest. We heard from both her and Anjli that it was possible things could progress faster now that my water had broke, as that is often the case when your water breaking begins labor.
For the past two weeks I’d had very mild, non-rhythmic, period-like cramping. By about an hour after my water breaking, I noticed that they were beginning to fall into a rhythm, and they already felt like about 10 minutes apart, although I wasn’t timing them. I felt the need to pass a bowel movement, and then hopped into the shower. While in the shower the contractions started feeling more uncomfortable, and I called out to Hubby that while I could be wrong I thought things might happen sooner than the morning. Meanwhile, he started to load up our car, put out extra food and water for the cats, and take care of any last-minute items we needed to pack.
After my shower at around 9:30 (I’m guessing), we dimmed the lights in the bedroom and I put on my guided meditation CD. Hubby tried to videotape a clip of me laboring at that point, and he asked me through the camera if I had anything to say. My only comment was, “Will you come lay down with me please?” And so he did, or kneeled by the bed at least. I was doing a deep cleansing breath at the beginning and end of each contraction, and I also soon told Hubby that I wasn’t able to focus on the guided meditation CD. In fact, I don’t know if I was ever able to truly follow the meditation at all. I was already descending into what felt like this kind of parallel universe of labor. Hubby could tell by my cleansing breaths that the contractions were becoming very close — in fact, he said “I think they’re about two to three minutes apart. I think we should call the midwife again.”
I felt silly — what if we were calling too soon? Was the fact that they seemed (were) so close together just a fluke? Was I an overreacting first-time laboring mom? Still, Hubby knew I was experiencing something more intense as I started my slow-paced breathing, and he called Anjli, who told us to go to the hospital where they would check me and let her know if she should come in, and then Charlotte, who said she would meet us there.