For some reason, I've had a really hard time sitting down to write this. I knew I wanted to do it, I just ....I don't know. But. Now that Little E is almost four. weeks. old. (how did that happen??), I figure it's now or never. (And yes, this is long and is going to take two entries. Sorry to those who aren't here for the childbirth stuff....I'll try to have some more recipes soon!!)
The place to start seems to be the week she was born. My dear friend Elise was here visiting from Boston, hoping to be here for the birth. She was supposed to go home Tuesday of that week, and we hastily extended her stay for a few more days to give the baby a little longer. On Thursday, Elise and I went for my check-up and there was "no progress." A little disappointing, but that's why the "theys" of the world tell you to not even get those sort of checks. I was especially disappointed because my doctor was on call that day and evening and it would have been perfect timing....
That evening, Elise and B and I sat around chatting, watching TV a bit. I went to bed before them because I was especially tired (and, truth be told, I didn't feel like watching Spinal Tap with them!!). At 1:45 a.m. I woke up to pee (as I did every night for months at least 3 or 4 or 5 times). Right after, I felt a little gush of water. Now. My labor started both times before with my water breaking. I had been told that it was almost certain my labor this time would start the same way. But my first thought is "Did I just....???" (I think that is every woman's first thought when her water breaks, right??) So, I went back to bed thinking that was that. Nope. More gushing. The reality started settling in and my heart started racing a little. I looked over at B sleeping soundly and decided I didn't want to wake him as he surely needed his rest since this was the real deal. He woke up maybe 15 minutes later as I'm sure he sensed my wide-eyed anxiousness and excitement. I told him my water broke and his first comment was "Wow. On your due date!" It hadn't occurred to me before then. C-Man almost two weeks late, JuJu three weeks early, and this one right on time. Third time's a charm, I guess.
B tried to go back to sleep and what did I do? Why, go into further nesting mode but of course! Making sandwiches and snacks for the kids, cleaning off my desk, folding laundry, writing more lists and instructions for my dad (who would be taking care of the older kids when we went to the hospital). Stuff, that in the end, didn't matter at all, but I couldn't do enough.
I hadn't started contracting, but this didn't surprise me as it took awhile for the other two labors to get going as well. I called my doctor (who was still on call at this point) and she told me I could stay home until the contractions came a few minutes apart. I went downstairs to tell Elise (who didn't believe me when I told her my water broke!). I texted my doula Ann to let her know what was going on but told her to sleep too. I didn't expect anything to get going for awhile. I called my parents a few times and no answer. I figured they were sleeping soundly, so it didn't really matter.
Finally, at 4 a.m. I talked to my mom and told her I was feeling some very, very mild contractions, but they weren't regular and I could have easily slept through them. I told her to stay put too. At 5 I started to get tired, so I went to lay down. Then the contractions started coming. Regular -- maybe 5 minutes apart, and starting to get strong quickly. They were long too. Some were a minute and a half, which definitely made me pay attention. By 5:30, I couldn't lay there anymore and got up to tell my parents to come over. B was up too, getting ready for what was ahead (whatever guys do for it, anyway).
Ann told me to eat, eat, eat so I went to make myself some fried eggs and toast. When I sat down, it was still dark and I had a quiet minute or two to really think about what I was going to be going through in the next hours and how all our lives were about to change. Just then, a little head poked around the corner. "Hi Mama." C-Man. H sat down with me and helped me finish the eggs. We didn't talk much. It was so nice to be there, just him and me. I was flooded with memories of my labor with him. It was so long and difficult, so fulfilling and life-changing.
When my mom arrived, I was contracting fairly hard. For some reason, I counted out loud through the contractions, sort of as a timing thing and sort of as a distraction thing. (Funny how each labor is different. I didn't count or walk through my contractions with the others.) I marched up and down the hallway and up and down the stairs. I walked from the living room to the kitchen and back again. It was the only thing that helped. I was very soon at the point of not being able to talk through them.
I kissed my babies goodbye and we got in the car. It was 7 a.m. I was really dreading that drive. The hospital is about 20 minutes away without traffic and there we were in the middle of morning commute time.