September 19, 2011

a birth story (part one)...

On August 13th, five days before my due date, I woke at 2:00AM.

I lay there in bed, feeling remarkably calm as I tried to wake myself enough to start timing what I thought to be contractions. They were very, very weak and not painful at all—but I knew they had to be something, considering I hadn't experienced any cramping at all since the very beginning of my pregnancy (which had been one of the first symptoms of pregnancy that I'd experienced). After keeping track of the contractions for about thirty minutes, it was very clear. Yes, these were real. Seven minutes apart. One minute long.


Eisley was on her way.

I decided not to wake Jay, knowing he had to be up for work fairly soon—and there was nothing we could do at that point, anyway. It was kind of nice to hold the secret to myself for the next couple hours as I drifted in and out of sleep, wondering what the day ahead would hold. I knew I needed to get as much rest for what was ahead of me, but my mind was spinning. Is this really happening? What is Eisley feeling right now? How painful is this going to get? Will I be in labor for days? Is it too late to hire a doula? What if I need Jay while he's at work? WHY DID I NOT GO TO THE LAUNDROMAT YESTERDAY?

At 4:30AM, Jay's alarm went off. I was already awake and as he got out of bed, I quietly gave him the news.

"So, I'm having contractions."
"WHAT."
"Yeah, they're real."
"Are you sure?"
"Definitely. Yes. I think so."

Since the contractions were so faint (and far apart), I didn't have an issue with Jay going to work. He would be home by 3PM that afternoon, and I had relatives to drive me to the hospital if something crazy happened before then. Truth be told, I was looking forward to having some time by myself that morning…I knew that I wanted to labor as long as I could at home before heading to the hospital, so I prepared myself for the day—not knowing exactly what it was going to look like.

I never shared much about my "birth plan" with anyone except family and close friends, mostly because I had what I like to call the "anti-plan". I knew if I spent too much time focusing on exactly how I wanted things to go, that I'd be crushed if anything didn't go as I'd hoped. Knowing how awful I am when it comes to building things up in my head, I decided to just try and let it go. To have hopes, but not plans. To prepare for the ideal, as well as the unexpected. Surprisingly, I was able to do just that. For the most part, I think.

But I'm getting ahead of myself…

Throughout the morning I kept track of my contractions, and they slowly gained strength and became more frequent. I spent most of the day on the couch, calling my mom and sister, watching (but not really watching) anything that was on TV, lamenting the fact that I hadn't washed any of the baby clothes, feeling surprisingly okay with the way my body was handling labor at that point, texting Jay updates here and there.

It was kind of ridiculous, how calm I was. All day I was waiting for something crazy to happen—for my water to break as I made my second frozen waffle of the day, or for my contractions to go from mild to excruciating within minutes. However, even once Jay arrived home that afternoon, I knew I wasn't even close to being ready to go to the hospital. I wanted to stay home as long as possible (at the recommendation of so many people, and because I was so worried I'd be sent home because I hadn't progressed enough). And as the day wore on (and the contractions grew stronger) I decided I was going to stick it out for as long as humanly possible. Or until I started to feel like a crazy person. And, in hindsight, I'm very glad I stayed at home as long as I did. It was nice to have the day to be somewhere cozy, calm and familiar.

The afternoon continued on and soon it was evening. Five o'clock? Contractions were about five minutes apart. Six o'clock? Contractions were closer to four minutes apart. Seven o'clock? Contractions were getting painful (yet still tolerable, somehow). However, they were to the point where I had to blow out a steady stream of air for the duration, as well as pause where I was and act all ultra-dramatic like they do in the movies (except way more awesome, obviously).

We decided to head to the hospital at 7:00PM. We gathered what we needed, freaked out our neighbor by telling him we were going to go have a baby (I'm pretty sure he didn't believe I was in labor), and we were on our way. I kept thinking, This is so not the way I expected this to happen. Why is everything so calm? Why aren't we running around and screaming our heads off? Why am I not ready to stab things after being in labor since 2AM? OH, MY GOSH, I'M HAVING AN ACTUAL BABY.

On our way there, I asked Jay if he was ready for this. He just nodded and smiled. We didn't talk for much of the ride there. We just sort of sat in this quiet anticipation and excitement of what was ahead of us. It was so odd not knowing how it would happen, when it would happen, what it would take to get there.

I just couldn't stop thinking about how it was finally time to meet my little girl.

[To read part two, click here!]

25 comments :

  1. Wow, you make it sound so easy! I know it probably wasn't and you're a tough lady for having to be in labor for so long before going to the hospital. Can't wait to read part 2! By the way, Eisley is soo pretty!! :)

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  2. Eeee! So fantastic. I love how long you held out, way to go, miss!!! I can totally understand, especially being in the comfort of your own home. I love the mini convo between you and Jay, haha.

    I can't wait to read more! <3

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  3. Very sweet! Can't wait to read the rest and I'm very impressed with your state of calm!

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  4. Love reading your story! Thanks for sharing, can't wait to read the rest :)

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  5. I love reading birth stories. It reminds of the fact that giving birth is SO DIFFERENT for every person. It sounds like you had a relaxing lead-up, which is really nice! I hope I'm able to remain that calm whenever I'm having my first baby. :)

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  6. I love how relaxed and go with the flow you are! Thank you for sharing your birth story. I wish that I had documented more of Ian's birth story before the details began to slip away in my mind.

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  7. I love the way you write! You had such a good outlook about everything and I love how you stayed so calm, simply amazing!
    Thank you for sharing and I cannot wait to hear the rest!

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  8. Seriously, birth stories make my life.
    I can't wait to read the rest.

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  9. this is so sweet! i am happy for you that you got to spend so much of your labor at home...looking forward to part two!

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  10. Ahhh! Can't wait to read the rest! I'm so glad you're documenting- selfishly so I can hear about it... but also so you can go back years later when Eisley is having her first child and remember exactly what that day was like for you :)

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  11. This is wonderful! Can't wait to read the rest. I think it is awesome that you had the "anti-plan" - best plan to go with.
    And thank YOU for your comment on my blog. I can't tell you how excited I was to see that you had commented!! YIPEE!! Love your blog. I feel like you are me about 7 years ago, only cuter and a much better writer.

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  12. You are amazing. I'm freaking out just reading about how calm you were lol. Can't wait to read the rest.

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  13. Beautiful blog! Your baby is precious!
    www.saraandluke.blogspot.com

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  14. PART TWO PART TWO PART TWO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I got a little teary eyed reading this so I'll probably be a complete mess for part two. Oy.

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  15. Beautiful! I can't wait for part two!!!!

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  16. You are such a beautiful writer.

    I cannot *wait* to read the rest of it! Eee!

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  17. OMG! You really make labor sounds so calm and peaceful.... can't wait for part II :)

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  18. You remind me of my friend (another fellow Washingtonian) who remained insanely calm during labor. In fact, we were right there floating the river with her on her DUE DATE. After her water broke, her husband made dinner for us. It wasn't until hours later before we all headed to the hospital together. :)

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  19. i seriously remember seeing your twitter stream that day and thinking "she is so calm!" and "wait, contractions last that long!?". clearly i know nothing about baby having, haha.

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  20. I hope I am this calm when my time comes! Love this so far and can't wait for part 2!

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  21. I love hearing these types of stories. can't wait to hear more!!

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  22. Thanks for sharing this - can't wait to hear the rest!

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  23. OK, so confession... I have had to come back and write this comment the day after I read this post as I had tears streaming after reading. Your calmness and tranquil attitude on the day is exactly what I am hoping for when my big day arrives very soon. I too plan on staying at home as long as possible and hope I can be as calm and collected as you were. Thank you for the inspiration and I can't wait to read part II.
    xx

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  24. This is the sweetest, ever! I cannot wait to hear the rest of Eisley's birth story.

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  25. EEK! Excited for part two, especially even more so now that I have one of my own and know what people are actually saying when they throw out all the terminology!

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