Friday April 12th, technically my due date, I started feeling dull, deep contractions. There isn’t a lot of information out there for the first-time mom to understand what labor feels like, and maybe that’s intentional. Everyone knows it feels shitty and painful. I googled it a lot. I think just try to picture your muscles all tearing. And period cramps times a million.
I started feeling contractions a week before Luna actually arrived, and it started a long and painful, annoying process. Super-nesting, wanting the house to be in order in preparation for being gone. I think that’s why pregnant women want it all to be over at the end - you’re excited to meet the baby, but also ready to get over the extra-nesting urges.
I had saved up a lot of my reading to do at the very end. I read Ina May’s natural birthing book, and her breastfeeding book. I skimmed a lot of the other books. Florence and I went on walks. I think, looking back, I was really lucky to have a few weeks alone, to center myself. Even though the whole time I was thinking the baby would be early and quick, and I’d have to run home post water-breaking with fluid everywhere and a terrified dog. It was a relatively peaceful time, and I walked through all the constant cramps.
That saturday, we skipped a friend’s wedding...we decided it was too far from the hospital, and I was emotionally tied to my sweatpants. We sat at home, ate pizza and watched a movie. I lost my mucous plug, or I thought I did. I bounced on a giant pink exercise ball that I had borrowed from my sister-in-law. It helped distract my brain, I think. And it’s supposed to loosen the birthing muscles.
The next Tuesday, I went to see my OBGYN. He did a test, listened for the heartbeat, and said I was 2 cm dilated. My OB is a great dude, very funny, and not excitable in any way. He said we would probably see a baby ‘soon,’ and sent me home with some casual instructions to call him if anything happened. I went back Thursday for the stress test where they hook you up to monitors and watch the heartbeat over time. Mr OB looked at the results, said ‘great.’ He asked if I wanted to induce midnight that night, and I accepted.
We were scheduled to induce two nights in a row, denied twice because of crowding, and then finally went in because I had painful contractions.
The receptionist was annoyed and barely noticed us while we stood in the hallway at LB Memorial. The rest of the staff was even worse, and barely looked up. Since we were marked for an ‘Induction,’ that was written on our intake papers, and we could hear everyone who read it give us a huge sigh and ‘INDUCTION, WE DON’T HAVE ROOM FOR THAT.’ We waited in the waiting room, which smelled like old sandwiches, and had flickering fluorescent lighting. It added to my uncomfortable weepiness. The contractions were getting too painful to consider going home. We spent a few hours in that waiting room, and wondered what our dog was doing. I asked Ben to tell the intake nurse the pain that I was in, thinking she wasn’t taking my labor seriously. I finally went up and cried to her myself. She repeated again that they didn’t have room. Finally, my contractions reached 3 minutes apart/ 1 min long. One of the overnight nurses took pity on me and found us a triage room. They hooked me up to monitors and told me to rest. The contractions got stronger, we could see them on the monitor. The room was cold and small, and there was a couple next to us. It was a crazy maze of curtains that always seemed to be getting pulled back and twisted. I was hooked up to fluids. It was miserable but still really exciting to be in a bed, and getting closer to having a baby.