I was sitting in the midwife’s office for my weekly checkup. She feels my stomach. She pokes. She prods. She tells me that I’m about 75% effaced, but she quite tell how dilated I am. I tell her it’s my husband’s birthday on Monday and we plan to celebrate over the weekend. She assures me that although she can’t be 100% positive, she’s sure I won’t go this weekend. She calls me a '40 plus weeker', and says she’s sure I’ll go a few weeks over my April 1st due date.
With my first time mom naivety, I ask if I can travel. How far? About two and a half hours away. She tells me “No problem, have fun.” But that I should prepare for an uncomfortable car ride.
March 21st, 2014.
We’re on the road. We overshoot the exit to my dad’s house by roughly 45 minutes. By the time we finally arrive, it’s 9:00pm. We talk for the rest of the night and come up with birthday plans for the following days. We got to bed around 1:00am.
March 22nd, 2014.
3:16am. I have a dream that my water breaks. I jolt awake with a feeling of wetness. I stumble into the bathroom. It’s nothing. As I begin to get up, I lose my plug. What is this? I frantically call my hospital that’s two and a half hours away. The night nurse calms me down. She asks me if I’m having contractions, but at this point I’m not. She tells me if I start to feel like I’m having contractions it could be Braxton Hicks (which I never had). They should go away if I take a shower and go back to sleep. I sink to the couch in relief, tell her thank you, and hang up the phone.
Then my first contraction begins.
5:00am. My husband is on his fifth cup of coffee. We’re following my dad and stepmom to an emergency room near their house. I’m timing my contractions which are seven minutes apart, and lasting for almost a minute a piece. It seems to take forever, but it’s soon determined that I’m completely effaced and dilated to a four. I’m in labor. The nurse tells me that they’re preparing me a birthing room.
Not here. I can’t have my baby here. Our family is two and a half hours away. My husband and I suggest we should get on the road. The nurse starts to lecture me about why I can’t leave. I could have the baby on the side of the road! It’s mostly farmland, with no hospital along the way. There’s also the added risk that I’m Group B Strep positive and I need at least four hours in order to get the required antibiotics in my system. But we insist. She stalls us for twenty minutes and asks if we can wait another twenty. We tell her no. I’ve already gotten dressed, and quickly sign us out.
8:15am. We’re on the road, close to home. Contractions are five minutes apart, even dipping down into four minute intervals. Dad and stepmom are tailing behind us. The rest of our families are frantic back in town, two anxious to call for an update. My husband has been asking me if I need to stop and pee at every off ramp since we got on the road, but he finally admits that he is the one that has to go. Too much coffee.
The two minute stop on the side of the road sparks a handful of “What’s going on? Are you having the baby? UPDATE!?!” texts from my worried stepmother, but before they can stop we’re back on the road.
9:00am. I stumble into the hospital. My husband parks the car, while I do the pregnant squat-walk inside. There’s the emergency room to my left and an admittance desk to my right. I head for the admittance desk, but am redirected to the emergency room. The 100 yards to the ER desk is difficult, but I made it. As I sit down my mom and grandfather come rushing into the room, followed by my husband.
9:10am. As they wheel my into the triage room, I tell them I’m ready for my epidural. The nurse tells me that I don’t get that until I’m in the birthing room. This room is just to check to make sure I’m actually in labor. I insist that I am, but she has to ask me the questions – “Name? Date of Birth? Address? Do you smoke? Allergies?” She tells me she’ll go ahead and check me. I’m dilated to a seven. They begin to move quicker, and within five minutes I’m in the birthing room.
In the next ten minutes, I’m hooked up to an IV. They’ve started me on my Group B antibiotics. I sign off for an epidural, which provides an almost immediate relief. They check my dilation and discover that I’m at a nine. I got it just in time.
1:30pm. It has been four hours. I’ve gotten all my antibiotics in. I’ve spent the time chatting with family. My young stepson has arrived and is eagerly awaiting his baby sister. My little sister is crying over the fact that she’ll soon be an aunt. Six sets of grandparents file in to tell me what a great job I’m doing. My husband and I have snagged a few minutes of alone time and he asks, “How do your legs feel? Can you lift them?” I laugh, lift a leg to show him that the epidural hasn’t paralyzed me and my water finally breaks. I later learn that the look of shock on my husband’s face was panic and guilt that he’d caused my water to break.
4:04pm. After pushing for over two hours, the doctor finally used forceps to help guide my beautiful, 8lb .014oz, daughter into the world.
We came home from the hospital on March 24th, 2014 – my husband’s birthday. As of today, my daughter is 100 days old. She’s the light of my life.
Recently, friends of mine have been having their first children. When they ask me for advice, the first thing I tell them (with a laugh and a smile) is, “Don’t leave town.”