"What are you doing here?"
I considered asking him the same thing. Nathan and I couldn't believe our luck; to get this doctor who was asleep on his feet. He was from Mexico and his accent was thick. He looked like he hadn't slept for a week, and I had to ask him again and again what he was saying.
"Well, I am pregnant with my fifth child and having regular contractions less than 5 minutes apart...." I patiently explained my condition. They found that I was 3 cm dilated and told me they would leave me on the monitors for 2 hours, then check and see if the contractions were dilating me further.
Meanwhile, they gave me a big hospital mug of water with instructions to chug; hoping to halt the labor until I was a little further along (I was 36 weeks and 2 days). So, I chugged, while my husband and I chatted and made goo-goo eyes at each other.
I wondered if maybe I had been "premature" to come to the hospital (hehe). My pregnancy complications put me at risk for preterm labor, and I had gone pretty fast with Josh, so I was anxious to avoid a homebirth which noone was prepared for, but I certainly wanted to avoid the circus of traveling to the hospital multiple times.
The water slowed my contractions, though they seemed to be slightly more intense. Soon they brought a young gal into the same room to monitor. This was her first pregnancy, and her water had broken (I was transported back to my first labor, to the "DOING" sound of my water breaking :-)). We hid behind our little curtain of the room and waited for the doctor to return. And found out that I was still three cm. So they sent us home.
I waddled painfully out to the car, following Nathan slowly. I wondered what all this was for and felt very insecure. After all, this is my fifth child. I should know when I'm in labor. We went and sat at Hardees for awhile, just to make sure that the contractions weren't getting stronger. We had bacon, egg and cheese biscuits. And shivered. It was very cold there. Then we went home and went to bed. We slept as well as we could while Grandma engaged the children in a housecleaning mission :-).
During the next two days, I continued to contract about four times an hour. And these were not Braxton Hicks, but serious, cervix-centered pains which were very similar to having a miscarriage.
On Thursday, I went in for my regular monitoring appointment. The baby looked great, but my amniotic fluid had decreased quite a bit from the prior week. They were not overly concerned, and the ultrasonagrapher thought they might order a recheck in a day or two. Who knows? Perhaps a leak was the cause for my early labor.
Thursday night Nathan and I sat down to watch Jeeves and Wooster. He brought me a bowl of ice cream. I lay on the couch and dozed through it. I had noticed that movement seemed to bring on more contractions so I did not want to move upstairs to go to bed. But I finally made myself trudge up the stairs. When I complained to Nathan that the pains were a little worse, my poor exhausted husband (who was fast becoming very sick with a cold) stated emphatically: "YOU ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE THIS BABY TONIGHT." Then he promptly rolled over and went to sleep. ;-)
Well, being the submissive wife that I am, I proceeded to fill up my water cup and chug it down. I was uncomfortably full of water and I lay down to wait for my contractions to go away, trying to sleep.
Unfortunately, it didn't work this time. I waited until I was almost in tears, and the contractions were less than five minutes apart. Then I woke him up, and we drove to the hospital as fast as we could. Nathan wanted to go right up the road to the Medical Center, but I persuaded him to drive a little further to the hospital. It was a bit nerve-wracking; the contractions were on top of each other and I tried to push away the thought of having the baby in the car.
We finally arrived around 12:30 am and they found that I was 7-8 cm, and moving fast. They called the doctor and we settled in to wait through the contractions.
They continued for another two hours. I was fully dilated, but my bag of waters hadn't broken yet and that was all that was holding back my little blessing from making his appearance. Then I began to feel very nauseous. They brought the bedpan and I lost my roast beef and icecream. The pressure of vomiting was enough to break my water, and then I was really in pain (that bag is a great cushion!).
Three contractions later he was here! I remember breathlessly reminding everyone that I wanted to see his first breath, and then that last push... He came out with a pain that caused me to yell as loud as I could. Nathan shushed me. :-) And then I saw him...
Not dressed, mind you, but our camera broke last week so we weren't able to get pictures of him right at birth :-(.
Why was I wrong? Well, if you've been reading my blog, you know that I was pretty sure that I was going to go all the way to (or near) March 27th. But my little peanut had other plans :-).