During pregnancy I read a lot of different birth stories, all the while wondering what mine would be like. The take home message I got from reading all of those accounts was pretty simple, even if you have a "birth plan," don't expect things to go the way you think they will. Babies have their own agenda.
So I tried to be very open minded about labor. Still, my birthing experience was absolutely NOT what I expected it to be. But as his birthday creeps closer, and I replay those last few weeks over and over in my mind, I've decided that I do want to write it down. Maybe one day he'll be interested in reading about it.
The only part of a "birth plan," I had in mind was to try to deliver without an epidural. I didn't want to be a hero or anything, it was just something I wanted to try and do. I'm kind of a control freak anyway, and the thought of having no control from the waist down bothered me. However, I was okay with having an epidural if needed.
Anyway, so Ian's birth story really starts on May 12, when I went in for a prenatal checkup. The last month of the pregnancy you go in weekly. My appointment was for 11:15 am, and I left work and made the drive over to the doctor's office. I sat in the waiting room for about an hour, unfortunately the doctors office doesn't get any brownie points from me regarding their wait time. It was awful, every visit.
At some point during my wait I was told by a receptionist that my doctor was in emergency surgery, and I would be seen by her associate. I got moved to an exam room, where I waited another half hour. The doctor came in, performed her exam, and glanced through my chart. She told me everything looked fine, I was still dilated to 1 cm (I had been for several weeks), and that a nurse would be in shortly to check the heart beat and measure my belly. Ian's heartbeat sounded great, but the nurse paused when she measured my belly. She looked back through the chart and frowned, "Have you been measuring small?" I told her not to my knowledge, she smiled and said she was sure everything was fine but she would let the doctor know.
My heart sank. Not good, I thought. So I waited another 15 minutes, alone and scared to death, until my regular doctor, now finished with her surgery, came in. She measured me herself and confirmed that I was measuring 2 weeks behind schedule, and that they would like to do an ultrasound to make sure everything looked okay.
Off to the ultrasound room, my stomach in knots while the sonographer made measurements. His heart rate, positioning, and activity all looked normal, but he was measuring around 5 lbs, which is considered small for 38 weeks.
I was sent back to the exam room, and the doctor appeared with the nurse. She gently told me that he was measuring small and that basically they had no idea why. She also said that the ultrasound is not very accurate at that stage because the baby is so low in the abdomen, meaning that even though he is measuring 5 pounds, he could be 8. To be on the safe side I was told to come back every 3 days until I went in to labor. She said that if I didn't go into labor they didn't want me to go past my due date of May 27. I was scheduled for an induction on May 26th.
I mentioned work, and was quickly told that I needed to be on bed rest. The doctor patted me on the shoulder and said, "This is the only time in your life a doctor is telling you to go home, sit on the couch, and eat as much as you want."
I felt numb at this point, and tongue tied. I was so freaked out by all of this I didn't even ask any questions. Everyone there seemed so calm about this, but I was not. Other than the typical first trimester nausea, I had had a relatively easy pregnancy.
I left and called J as I was walking to the car. I don't remember much of the conversation other than I was trying really hard to keep my composure together. Then I called work and dropped the bomb that I wouldn't be coming back. I was scheduled to work up until the 25th.
The next 2 weeks were a bit of a blur. I did as I was told, spending most of my time parked on the couch, either surfing the internet or watching Netflix. I watched the whole run of My So Called Life - oh, how Angela Chase was my idol when I was 14! But good grief, talk about hurry up and wait, it's not easy to suddenly go from standing on your feet all day to sitting down all the time.
Every member of our immediate family called me during that time frame. I never knew exactly what to tell them. Other than feeling like I was 9 months pregnant, I felt fine. Yes, my doctors visits were going okay. Yes, the baby is measuring small. No, they don't know why.
I kept hoping I would go into labor on my own, I really didn't want to be induced.
May 25th came and I went to Wal-Mart that morning, picking up the last few items we would need at the hospital. I remember walking by the pharmacy isle, well waddling would be more like. I felt like everyone was staring at how huge I was. I felt so, so tired and out of breath. I remember thinking that I could just lay down in the middle of the isle and take a nap. That was the most exhausting Wal-Mart visit ever.
I got home and anxiously waited for J to get off of work. He was planning on taking 2 weeks off, and I was so, so grateful he was able to do this. About 5 pm I had a real, honest to goodness contraction, not one of those Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been having for months. It's hard to describe how it felt, kind of like I was trying to do a sit up but then couldn't release it. It was hard to breath. It lasted almost 20 minutes. J got home from work about 5:30, and we went out to get a pizza. It was a ham and pineapple (I had read that pineapple might help to induce labor, I was still hoping to go into labor naturally). We finished watching the Deer Hunter, a movie from the 70's staring Christopher Walken. Good movie. After that I remember sitting on the back porch while J watered our plants. The highs for the next several days were to be in the low nineties. After we came back inside J took my picture.
I tried my hardest to go to sleep that night, knowing that there was likely to be very little sleep the next few days, potentially months. However, I slept very, very little. I was terrified, anxious, and excited all at the same time. It was surreal. I had a few more contractions, but they weren't consistent. The last time I looked at the clock it was 2:30 am. Our alarm was set to go off at 4 am.