Sitting on my desk is a print-out from a baby and contraction monitoring thing. You’ve seen them. This one is over nine hours long, with contractions in the 2-3 minute range for most of it. It’s mine. From last night. And I’m still pregnant.
Oh, yes, people. Just when I think it can’t get any worse, *BAM!* smack down! Yesterday my contractions had been irregular but noticeable, all day. Around 5 p.m., we started timing them- and they were about 5 minutes apart. Being a veteran mom, I knew better than to run off to the hospital yet- so I waited. At about 8:30, still regular and getting stronger, I called my doctor- and he said to go in to get checked. But no, I still waited. I wanted to be darn sure if I went in, it was the real thing. I waited until 10:30, with more than five hours of timeable contractions, when they were coming closer and much stronger, before I told the DH “Hey, maybe we should go”. DH’s auntie comes over, kids stay asleep, we head off to the hospital.
At 11, we are checked into our room, hooked to the monitor and having some serious pain. In the consideration of TMI, several other things were also pointing us towards ‘this is the real thing’ including the mucus-plug thingy surprising me (grooooossssss) and diarrhea with the crazy strong contraction. Oh, and of course, since it is me, more vomiting. TMI over.
At 2 a.m, the contractions were just over 2 minutes apart, and were hard enough that I couldn’t talk or move through them anymore. Nurse comes in to check me again, and if you can believe this, I have made no progress. Whatsoever. None. Still dilated to exactly where I was.
Nice Nurse suggests she unhook the monitors for a while and give me something to help me sleep. I’m not wild about the idea, how ’bout we get the baby out instead? But no, she insists sleep is a good idea, and I capitulate. From 2:30 to 5:30, I lay in a semi-sleepy state, and whatever she gave me made me dopey, and took the edge off the contractions, but they were still big enough to keep me from falling asleep. Now I have been up all night, too.
At 6 a.m., she checks me again. No change. I start to cry. Lets hook the monitors back up and see what’s happening. Shifts change, Nice Nurse leaves. I am exhausted, in pain, and they are talking about sending me home if things don’t get moving. This makes me cry more. How, I wonder aloud, was my last baby two days old by now, but you wont help things get rolling with this one? I get lame excuses and am told my doctor is on vacation all week, and the on-call will come see me and explain things.
At 8 a.m. guess who walks in? The Drug Nazi! And it just keeps getting better. She tries to explain to me, through the gagging cloud of her perfume, that “Dear, there is a difference between real contractions and braxton hicks…” I glare daggers at her. “DUH! DO you think this is my first baby? DO YOU THINK I DON”T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?? Why do you think I stayed home for FIVE hours? THESE babies have been BIG! THESE babies have not been BRAXTON HICKS- I KNOW WHAT A REAL CONTRACTION FEELS LIKE!!!” It was pretty.
She says that she sees she isn’t helping me ( maybe the fact that I was looking at the wall instead of acknowledging her in any way was a clue?) and that we should go home, and come back when it’s the real thing. Incredulously I gape at her- “What exactly shall I look for to know it’s the real thing? Contractions strong and close together? Check! Contractions sustained over a period of hours? Check! Loosing of mucus and bloody show? Check! Emptying of bowels? Check! Uh, what, exactly, should I look for instead of what I did? AND WHY CAN”T I HAVE THIS BABY NOW???
She looks at me like I am a big ugly bug, and offers to send me home with some sedatives to help me sleep. ARE YOU NUTS? I have a 2 and 4 year old! I don’t need narcotics- I need this pregnancy to be over, and I completely DO NOT understand why it is not. Eric was two days old now, and my labor was not as long nor the contractions as big as last night, and my water was broken and the pit started. Bingo, out came baby.
So at 8:30, we clean up, get dressed and leave. I have not eaten since yesterday afternoon, and am hungry, so we stop in the cafeteria (for some reason, I like hospital cafeterias). My breakfast is yummy, but half way through, I realize it’s not going to stay down- and I don’t want to loose it in the middle of the dining room and ruin other peoples’ breakfasts… I run (waddle- still contracting, about 5 min. apart, now) to the hallway with my hands over my mouth. There is nowhere, but there is the window where people put their used dishes and trays- and I grab a used tray full of dirty dishes and loose my cookies. And I have a contraction at the same time. And I pee myself. So I stand in the hallway of the hospital, cramping stomach, cramping uterus, pee running down my legs into my socks, and tears running down my face. The cafeteria lady looks at my DH and asks if we need a wheelchair to help getting to Labor and Delivery. The irony… ah, the irony.
So, here I sit. Boing…boing…boing… Having contractions about every 5 minutes. They are not bombers, and I can mostly function with them. But what do I do next? What do I look for? When do I go back and not have another nightmare, but a baby? I’m thinking right about as the head is crowning. I’m going to go upstairs, lay back down, and cry some more. How much can one woman take?