Gah. Sorry to keep you hanging. For reals. I can’t speak for all newborns but Senór Frog is not wild about being anywhere other than on my boob/otherwise affixed to my person, so right now my life exists in the 4-7 minute blocks before he wakes up and wails because he realizes I momentarily placed him in the Pack and Play (which in his mind they might as well rename Abandon n’ Neglect). So those blocks I must reserve for things like putting on clothes, peeing, and quickly wolfing down Kashi bars to keep the dairy farm running. This mommy thing is bananas but I do love it so!
Insert harp playing/picture rippling into focus as we resume our tale…
At 1:45am I woke up to some true bad ass contractions. Schweet! Well, kinda schweet. These effers hurt. Enough that I knew this must be the real thing. And looking back it was odd that they went from very mild to rather strong so abruptly (my uterus was not the greatest contractor, as we have seen and will continue to explore… sigh).
I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep through them so I woke up and sort of puttered around the house thinking of what loose ends needed tied up. I was still having nice, luscious 6 or 7 minute breaks between them so during them I was able to do some last minute nesting, answer a few emails, sign off from work (I’ve been doing some freelancey stuff from home), and work on Frogson’s baby book (which I had saved as my “labor project”). I only got two stinking pages done before they were too intense for me to craft/type between, so around 5:00am I got back in bed and went off to Hypnobabies land. Maybe an hour or two later Jeff roused and I let him know today was definitely the day, so he got to work loading the car and then took Chooch over to my parents. (Which was super emotional for me… pathetic, I know).
At 7:00ish things started to feel stronger; I was still feeling really in control with my Hypnobabies tracks, but needed to start vocalizing through them when up till now I had been content doing realllly deep and forceful breathing. I spent an hour timing them, and sure enough they were now a consistent 60 seconds with 5 minutes between, which we were instructed was our cue to call the hospital. They gave us the clear to come in; we lingered for another hour or two and then headed over. By this time I was shaking slightly and also really nauseous during contractions (though I never did actually barf)– not fun, but reassuring because I felt like things must be progressing.
By the time we got in and settled (hospital headaches of course ensued), it was probably about noon and I was certain I’d made good progress and would have a little newborn nugget in my arms maybe by late afternoon or so. (Oh my poor, sweet, naive self). They came in for my very first cervix check (joy) and I asked to not be told what it was, since I knew I’d be discouraged if it didn’t meet my expectations and again, I was enjoying the ignorance and was happy just assuming I was doing well. And also because I’m a crazypants and I tend to fixate and analyze, and crazy emotions like that are NOT BUENO for cervixes. Cervixi? Cervices? Ahh cervices apparently. Anyway, I was working hard to keep the crazy in check. WELL moronic resident girl wasn’t interested in such details and blurts out “3, 75, +2″. I don’t know if she forgot or just thought I wouldn’t understand the numbers, but while I am dumb when it comes to most things (math, parking, athletics, putting shoes on the correct feet, etc), I’m no birth dunce and I knew what all that crap meant. And while I had hoped to be maybe a little bit more than 3, I wasn’t totally devastated.
Well I should really expedite this story because little did I know, Frogson wouldn’t be arriving till 3:00 am. So, let’s see. I forced myself to walk around, reminding myself that women who walked and stayed upright had shorter labors. I despised walking (or even just changing positions) because any movement sent my uterus into a tizzy and I would have contractions right on top of each other. I’m not sure if other chicks have this experience? But I could only walk in increments of like 15 feet before I’d be flopped against the wall clinging to my snazzy pink barf basin. Attractive. Most of all I preferred to be perfectly still and checked out from as many senses as possible. I didn’t even want touched. I spent many hours like this:
A few hours later they checked me again and again I asked to not be told, and again the resident remarked “same.” SRSLY I don’t know what these doctors’ problems were that they couldn’t keep their pie holes shut about my slow poke cervix. But while I wasn’t devastated by the 3 a few hours ago, I was not wild about it now. I reminded myself (over and over) that dilation doesn’t follow an exact formula and just because it had taken me forever just to get to 3, didn’t mean the rest would follow the same pace. Ina May has some terrific guidance on this that I was also reminding myself of:
Let’s say you want some guidance that might help you give birth, wherever that might be. My shortest answer is: let your monkey do it. Letting the primate in you do the work of labor is a short way of saying not to let your over-busy mind interfere with the ancient wisdom of your body. To give you an idea of what I mean, here are some things monkeys and apes don’t do in labor that many women do- and that interfere with labor. Monkeys don’t think of technology as necessary to birth-giving. Monkeys don’t obsess about their bodies being inadequate. Monkeys don’t do math about their dilation to speculate how long labor might take.
Oy. I labored on, although the wheels were gradually starting to come off the wagon as we got into the afternoon. My contractions which had been on a nice, regular pattern (well, when I was stationary) started to go wackadoo. I started having this extremely pleasant pattern wherein the strong part of the contraction would end but then a bit of it would linger for another 30 or 45 seconds, then it would go right into another. These will henceforth be referred to as the “demon contractions”. Sorry to be a whiner and feel all sorry for myself, but I was majorly indignant about these. I was prepared for this to be a trying experience but it was my WOMANLY RIGHT to have at least some kind of break between contractions. This meant they were like 2.5 or 3 minutes long, and even though there was a milder pseud0-break in the middle, it left me feeling like I was never really getting a true rest. I was sitting there growling “Stooppp…. Stooopppppp! GO AWAY!”. Jeff and my mom were all “Uhhh….” and I was like “SORRY I’M JUST TALKING TO THIS CONTRACTION.” The bright side (kinda) was that once the demon contraction did stop, I was back to having a 6 or 7 minute break until the next one. Which sort of balanced it out but also depressed me because I knew this was not a good direction to be progressing in.
They checked me again sometime in the 5:00 pm hour and I was… wait for it… 4. WOOT WOOT (not).
To be continued again…