I’ve broken labor/delivery down into three posts, and then there will be (eventually) additional posts about breastfeeding and my birthing reflections/plans for next time. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of me laboring or delivering so I’ll get creative eventually and add some images in. Also, we did not find out the gender of our baby, so I refer to her as “baby” often because that’s how I thought of her at the time. Here it is in all its glory. It’s long and detailed but it is our story.
I started having Braxton Hicks contractions around 30-31 weeks. At 32 weeks, we decided to go in and get monitored just to make sure baby was staying put. The women in my family tend to deliver babies early. After being monitored for about 2 hours, they could see I was contracting but baby was fine and I was diagnosed with an irritable uterus and sent home to wait for a “substantial change” in my contractions.
My due date came and went and I was definitely frustrated. Knowing the babies in my family always came before 37 weeks, it felt like my due date had passed weeks ago and I was convinced baby was never coming out. I tried to focus on relaxing and resting up, catching up on Netflix, and trying my best to ignore the twinges and contractions since the anxiety of waiting was making me irritable.
On October 21, five days past my due date, I was relaxing on the couch with my husband, helping him study for his midterms. Around 3 p.m. I got up to get a snack and was hit immediately by a really strong contraction. It wasn’t strong enough that i had to stop what I was doing or focus on breathing through it but it was much stronger than what I had been experiencing the last few weeks. I mentioned it to my husband but then continued on with my day, trying not to get my hopes up since this baby was never actually going to come out.
Around 6 p.m., my husband decided to go to bed (he works nights) and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try and grab a nap, just in case this was actually early labor. At this point, contractions were steadily about 10-12 minutes apart, but there had been several times over the last few weeks my contractions had been 3-5 minutes apart so I wasn’t too excited about it. I slept for about 30 minutes before a really strong contraction woke me up. It was so strong I knew I needed to get up but it hurt really bad to try to maneuver myself off the bed. This was the start of what I dubbed marathon contractions. They would peak and only come down halfway before peaking again. Most would only do this once and then I would get a short break, but they were painful enough I began to have to concentrate to get through them. It wasn’t enough to just sway my hips or bounce a little on the birthing ball to get through it. I got up and let J keep sleeping since he was currently running on about 2 hours of sleep, and decided to watch some TV and chill out on the birthing ball.
By 8:30 p.m., my contractions were between 4 and 7 minutes apart. I was having more and more marathon contractions and was definitely having to focus on each one, and I really didn’t want to be alone anymore. I decided to wake J up and call L&D. The nurse told me to wait another hour or two to see if they continue at this rate before calling back and coming in. J had started gathering the few loose odds and ends and came into the bedroom after I got off the phone to find me leaning on the bed crying because the baby was really never going to come out. Another contraction hit and I forgot about the nurse and focused on getting through it. J went back to sleep and I attempted to do dishes and clean up the house.
I decided not to call back until 11 since we live about 25 minutes from the hospital and more than anything I did not want to go in and get sent home. My contractions kept on keeping on and a little after 11, I called L&D again and pretty much begged to come in. I did not want to wait until contractions were even worse to make that long car ride. We finally got to the hospital at midnight, a new day that would become the craziest, most exhausting, amazing day we’ve had so far.
Read Pt. 2 of Genevieve’s birth story here.