Labor Contractions by the Book

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Baby in wombMy due date for my second child came and went (October 17, 2004 was the estimated due date).  For those who don’t know, pregnancy is an average of 40 weeks, but anywhere between 37-42 is pretty normal. So, in reality, you have more of a “due month” than a specific date.  I tried very, very hard to convince myself of this while I was pregnant with Micah so I wouldn’t be disappointed when he wasn’t a few weeks “early”.  However, by October 17, I was ready!

I had been to the doctor on Friday and had a pelvic exam.  That night, I lost my mucous plug (which is essentially what it sounds like and I am grateful I didn’t see it in this form with any of my others because it was the size of a half dollar and mucous and gross!) and some fluid came out with it.  To this day, I would swear I didn’t pee myself (but I probably did – shhh….).  I thought for sure it was fluid.  But, I didn’t keep leaking and no contractions started, so, hmmm…. Maybe not.

On Monday, the 18th, my in laws (pretty much the whole crew minus my oldest sister in law) stopped by on their way back from a family trip.  They weren’t planning to spend the night, but decided last minute to get a hotel room (Thank GOD they didn’t decide to stay with us. Those poor teenage  boys would have been traumatized for life!).  We went out for Chinese (see a theme here from last time???) and went home to get some sleep.

Labor Contractions in The middle of the night, again???

I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep.  This was nothing unusual.  Sleep is HARD to come by those last few weeks when rolling over is a 5 minute process.  I decided around 1:00 am to get up and go downstairs to play some computer games.  I think I was having light contractions, but my uterus likes to play games with me, so I didn’t think MUCH of it.  I was still on the computer and was actually chatting it up with a friend for a while.

Around 3:00 am, I tried to lay down again and, wham, laying there trying to sleep made me focus on what was happening and, well, I hurt!  LOL  And, I hurt in waves… Hmmm… What could that be?  I went upstairs and told David I thought I might be in labor and I tried to take a shower.  The shower was miserable (Thanks Rose boys – David included- for helping to clean our gutters just before my baby was born, but I could have done without you leaving the hose on for two days without us knowing.  Showers in a house built in 1928 while a hose is running are NOT fun!)  While getting out of the shower, I had a really heavy contraction that I had to breathe to get through.  Yep!  This was it!

The Phone Calls – The Baby is Coming!

After my crazy contraction when I got out of the shower, I decided I better wake up David (who had been in bed since about midnight, so he got a decent amount of sleep) and call my doula, Belinda.  She talked to me about my pain level and then listened to me have to put the phone down to focus and breathe through a contraction. She determined she should probably head over right after making herself some coffee (this is probably somewhere around 4:00 am).

My second phone call was to my sister, Michelle.  She was supposed to be at my first birth, but didn’t make it.  We then planned for her to be at my second birth.  After all, she was only 2.5 hours away now, what could go wrong?  I called her around 5:00 am. I don’t know the whole story, but knowing my adorable, but slow, brother in law, Alex, it involved a shower and probably stopping to get something to eat.  My first labor took 16 hours. Surely this one would not go quickly, right?

No Rest for the Weary Mom

Belinda arrived somewhere around 5:00 am (I think. It was all a blur to me..).  By then, I was in pretty serious labor.  What works the best for ME during labor is leaning on the back of the couch and squatting.  I was lucky in that while they were strong, my contractions were never longer than 45 seconds.  At the time, this worried me. In fact, it is the reason I had questioned whether I was actually in labor or not.  Now I know it’s just how my body did “it” with Micah.  But, even with short contractions, I was getting pretty tired.  I hadn’t slept all night.  I was convinced to eat something even though my stomach wasn’t feeling great.  I had some yogurt and, I’ll tell you, that little bit of protein (and sugar) really helped to give me the strength to keep going when I was starting to doubt myself.  I never felt like the PAIN was overwhelming me.  I had a good handle on that.  I just felt like I couldn’t do it much longer due to exhaustion.

Calming a Baby When in Labor with the Second – Thanks to The Wiggles

Baby with nurse MarthaAround 7:15 am, David’s sister, Martha (remember her??? She was in normal clothes this time!) showed up to take care of Jonathan.  He woke up literally minutes before (or was it after?) she got there.  He saw me and freaked out!  He didn’t understand what was going on and all he knew is that there were people in his house he didn’t know well (my doula and her assistant/intern were there) and Mommy is leaning on a huge ball (that he couldn’t play with) moaning in pain.

He started crying hysterically.  We put on the Disney Channel to try to calm him (I’m not sure that worked.  I don’t remember much other than his screaming and then Martha trying to feed him breakfast).  His crying must have pushed me into overdrive because suddenly my contractions were one on top of the other with no break in between.  The “in between” ones weren’t as strong as the “regular” ones, but they were still constant with no breaks.  This is what is known as “transition”.  I told my doula I thought maybe we better head to the hospital.  She did a quick cervical check and announced we needed to get in the cars “NOW!” because I was 7-8 centimeters dilated and the baby’s head was right there.  The last thing I remember as we grabbed bags and ran out the door was The Wiggles theme song coming on, signaling that it was 8:00 am, on the nose!

Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990’s moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy’s personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.

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