So, I think I may as well type this out, to get it out of my own head.
I had my second baby shower on Saturday afternoon. The first one was with friends, the second was family and family friends – a combo of aunts and cousins and old family friends. It ended around 5, and I hung out with my mother, my aunt and my cousin Kim for another couple of hours, chatting. I left my mom’s house at 7, and came home and ate a late dinner with David and then started going through the presents, entering them in to a spreadsheet so I could write the thank you cards. (What, I don’t like it to be a task that lingers… I’d already finished the ones from the first shower a week earlier.) Around 9:30, I jumped up because I suddenly had to go to the bathroom, and as I did, a little bit of liquid came out. Afterwards, I joked to David about how sexy late pregnancy is – incontinence and all. “Or, haha, my water just broke.” And then the water didn’t stop – just kept trickling out. And then I panicked. Hard. I was so totally unready for this. I had another week of work! I hadn’t packed my office. I hadn’t finished passing off my work. I hadn’t finished my Well Evaluations course. The nursery wasn’t done. The tidying I had planned to do on the week between leaving work and having a baby hadn’t even been started. Let alone the 5 lunch dates I’d lined up, or the emotional work I knew I needed to do to be ready to have the baby. I wasn’t ready yet in any way.
But there’s no arguing with leaking amniotic fluid. I kept soaking pads, and I kept crying. In the picture above, if you look closely, you can see my eyes and nose are red from the weeping. We quickly moved in to work mode. We packed a hospital bag, finished entering the presents in to the spreadsheet and tackled a few final nursery chores. Around 11:30, we called my doula, who recommended I have a relaxing bath and then try to get some sleep, as contractions hadn’t started yet.
So we dozed. My contractions started up around 3:00 am, and lasted for a couple of hours before tapering off again. We got out of bed around 10:00 and went for a long walk around the reservoir, stopping at McDonald’s so David could eat lunch and I could pee/leak some more. The walking helped the contractions, in that they were mildly happening. I knew that we’d already cheated by not going to the hospital to get it looked at as soon as the waters broke, and that as soon as we crossed hospital doors I’d be signing up for induction at the very least, and I Did Not Want That. Very VERY strongly. I’d been working hard for months to have a natural birth. I’d read the books – ALL the books. I’d done prenatal yoga for 6 months. I’d hired a doula. I’d read up on pain and hypnosis and relaxation and the stages of labour. I’d done the work, and I really, really wanted to have a natural birth. And I felt that history and my body were on my side. My mother was only in labour with me for 4 hours, and David’s mother for 6.5. I have breeding hips. I’d had a very easy pregnancy, heartburn aside. I was far more worried (and prepared) to have the baby late and fast. Honestly, early and slow didn’t really occur to me. I was convinced that the baby would be born on March 21 (3 days late), because that’s my late father’s birthday. Irrational? Sure. But we all like to believe that we can control the universe with our minds, right?
At any rate, the walking helped. We talked to the doula, and she suggested nipple stimulation. Which totally worked. Like, crazy worked. It took the contractions from intermittent to just about every 5 minutes quickly. Bodies are so weird. But, like before, the contractions eventually tapered off, only to reappear a few hours later. We had a timing app, and it showed that they really would come hard and fast for a while, and then slide right back. It was a little frustrating. Our doula came over and suggested poses and positions, and eventually made dinner. Labour started to hurt, and I worked through the yoga poses I’d learned, and bounced on the ball, and all the rest. Around 1 am, the doula suggested that David go have a nap and she and I chatted for a couple of hours until the contractions were mostly gone, and then she suggested I go to bed. Yes, for those keeping track, this was 29 hours after my water broke, and I was and am aware that I was potentially courting danger. Don’t be like me. But my amniotic fluid continued to be clear and just slightly salty, and have I said how much I did not want to be induced? I may have been panicking hard about having the baby, but I was panicking harder about the cascade of intervention that I knew would happen as soon as I walked in to the hospital.
Correctly worried, as it turns out.