Monday, November 17, 2008

Benjamin's Birth Story-- Part 1 of 4

When I sat down to write my birth story, I decided I wanted to include as much (ungraphic!) detail as possible. As a result, this ended up quite long so I am going to publish it in parts. If birth stories aren't your thing, you may want to find another blog to read this week! :-) Enjoy!
My due date throughout my pregnancy was sketchy. I was still nursing Owen when I got pregnant so my cycles were on the long side. My due date ranged anywhere from October 18 to October 23, but my midwife settled on October 18 as the “official” date. Since Owen had come 2½ weeks early, this was a reasonable choice. She also assured me that she would not be quick to induce if I did happen to go overdue. That was a relief to me because even though no very pregnant woman wants to stay pregnant a day longer than she has to (!), I didn’t want my labor to be forced just because I was outside of the medical timeline. This left the whole month of October open as a possibility to have this baby!

I started having Braxton Hicks contractions at 4 months—not altogether unusual for a fourth baby. However, as my ninth month approached, they became quite frequent. I’m sure I was overly anxious, but there were many nights that I sat on the couch feeling my tightening belly and wondering if this could be “the night.” Every morning I would wake up still pregnant and a little grumpy about it, too!

I visited my midwife on a Wednesday morning 10 days before my due date and mentioned that though my baby was still wiggling around, he seemed to be quieter that particular morning. She told me not to get excited but that babies often settle down right before labor begins. The next morning, I felt the first “real one.” When “real” contractions hit, it’s an “ah-ha!” moment—the experience of labor comes rushing back and you feel silly for mistaking those Braxton Hicks for the real things. The problem was those “real” contractions continued through the morning and afternoon but stayed about 30 minutes apart. I was uncomfortable but not in regular, active labor. I puttered around all day—reading, taking the kids out to play (while I sat in a chair!), making pizza. My friend, Raya, called to see if the baby had been born yet, but I was too uncertain to tell her I thought I might be in labor.

I was really glad to see Brian come home from work! He was emotional support and another set of hands. The night was full of ambivalence. We kept saying things like, “If the baby is born tonight…,” and, “If I go to work tomorrow…,” and, “If we go out this weekend…”

After we put the kids to bed for the night, Brian and I decided to relax and play word games on the computer together. My sister-in-law, Sarah, and my friend, Lu, both instant messaged me to see if I had started having any signs of labor. I told them I was having painful contractions, but they were still far apart. They both told me they would be praying. Still not sure what to expect the rest of the night, I headed off to bed at 11:30.

I had a difficult time sleeping. Part of it was excitement. Part of it was fear that if I allowed myself to drift off I may wake up in the morning still pregnant! Part of it was Brian’s noisy snoring. (He was having no trouble sleeping!) Part of it was the fact that the contractions I had been having all day were quickly getting closer together. Around 1 am, I became wide awake and started timing them. They were 5-10 minutes apart! After visiting the bathroom for the 100th time that night, I decided to go downstairs to read. I figured if it was labor, I wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway. And if it wasn’t labor, I could catch up with a nap the next day.

I decided not to wake Brian. I figured I could labor on my own for awhile before getting him excited. I wanted him to be well rested before we made the hour trek to the hospital’s birthing center. I set a goal for myself to wait until 3 o’clock to wake him and to call my mom to come sleep-sit for the kids. Three o’clock came and went and the contractions were still 5-10 minutes apart! Then it was four o’clock and four thirty… Sometime in the night, I let Brian know there was no question I was in labor now, but that he should sleep until I needed him. At five o’clock, the contractions had slowed (ugh!) so I put down my book and decided to try to doze. As soon as I lay down, I had a whopper contraction grip me. I knew if they continued with such intensity, I would be back up within minutes, but the next thing I knew, I was waking up at 6 o’clock, having slept without one contraction! Talk about discouraging.

Part 2


  1. Oh, my! Contractions like that would have driven me crazy.

  2. Isn't it interesting how labor can take so many different paths? I enjoyed Part 1, and look forward to the next installment! (birth stories are definitely my thing :)


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