In honor of my due date (it’s crazy that he’s already a week and a half old on my due date!), here’s John Quincy’s birth story. Apparently it was the type of labor that freaked out everyone except me. 33 hours of labor sounds long and grueling, but it really wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds (though Jared would probably tell you differently!).
Anyways, the saga begins on Friday, October 16, when everything seemed just as usual. I’d just had my 38 week check-up, where everything was normal, and was anticipating that little man would certainly wait until closer to his due date to join us. But just as Saturday morning was beginning, at 12:30 a.m., I was sleeping away when there was a small “pop” and I was drenched. I sat there in shock for a couple seconds before hurriedly getting out of bed so it wouldn’t get any wetter and shaking Jared awake (it took him awhile to wake up!). It was even more of a surprise since this was an entire week and a half before my due date and we were betting on having more time before baby came, since we’d moved only a few short weeks before. But this was an unmistakable sign that baby’s arrival was imminent.
We packed our bags, called the hospital, and were told to head in and be assessed. I was nearly certain we’d be sent home again, since I hadn’t had a single contraction yet and was obviously not in labor other than leaking copiously. We headed in anyways and they handed us a pamphlet on what to do if your waters break before labor starts, monitored the baby’s heartbeat for a while on a most uncomfortable bed in triage, and sent us home with instructions to come back either at 9:00 am on Sunday morning to be induced or when contractions were 3 minutes apart if labor started before then. So we went home to try to get some sleep before things started up.
As I was still leaking and my side of the bed was drenched, I tried to catch a few winks on the couch but was mostly unsuccessful. Even though I wasn’t having any regular contractions at this point, I did have a few that were mildly uncomfortable and kept me from ever really falling asleep again, though I tried. I don’t function well without my sleep. And who doesn’t want to take their last night of uninterrupted sleep if they can? Thankfully, Jared was able to get another six hours of sleep to make up for his rude awakening in the middle of the night.
The rest of the morning, we puttered around the house and took it easy, doing a few dishes and making sure all the water from the night before was mopped up, taking some walks, etc. I was still having pretty mild irregular contractions all morning, just slightly stronger than the Braxton Hicks contractions (somebody needs to change that name—I’m pretty sure Braxton Hicks, whoever he was, never had one in his life, and he has an ugly name on top of that!). It wasn’t until around 3 pm that they started getting stronger and more regular, starting off about ten minutes apart. After an hour, they’d sped up significantly and were 3-4 minutes apart and lasting about a minute each. Jared started getting antsy at this point, afraid he’d have to deliver the baby himself, but I was pretty sure they’d still send us home again as it hadn’t been that long and I could still (with an effort) walk and talk through them. So we waited about an hour till 5:00, and as they were still regular and getting stronger, we decided to go in. After all, they did tell us to come in when contractions were 3 minutes.
Unfortunately, I was right—I wasn’t anywhere near dilated, and was hardly even effaced. So back home we went to try to get things to progress a little. We climbed stairs until I was afraid of disturbing the neighbors (and of getting stuck on a stair in the middle of a contraction—not so nice when you’re afraid of heights), did some walking, and mostly just groaned over the dining room table while Jared pulled at my hips so they wouldn’t fall off and put pressure on my back so it wouldn’t split in two.
After another four hours of that, when there was no way I could do anything through contractions but moan on hands and knees, we decided to go in again as I wanted validation that I was progressing and wouldn’t just be in labor forever.
This time the news wasn’t much different: I’d dilated a centimeter—as a generous estimate. The midwife on call looked at me skeptically: “Is this your first baby?” I admitted that well, yes, he was.
“Well, go home and come back when the contractions are three minutes apart and you can’t walk or talk through them,” she said, with the air of one who knows when a woman’s in pain better than she does. I looked at her in despair—“That’s what they told us before! How I am supposed to know the difference from that and what’s happening now?”
She walked away, and told Jared, “More, more, more! She has to feel more of everything. But we can give her a paracetamol [British for Tylenol] for the pain right now.”
For the record, people, Tylenol does absolutely nothing for contractions. I told her I wasn’t interested in taking something that wasn’t going to do anything for me, but Jared insisted I take it anyways. It didn’t help.
As we prepared to go back home yet again, I lost it and started crying. It had been 24 hours since I had gotten any significant amount of sleep, I’d been in labor for six hours so far, and nothing was happening. And then this lady seemed to be insinuating that I was just some wimpy little first time mum who had no idea what real labor was like and would know it when it jumped on top of me.
And. . .now you’ll have to wait for part 2 to find out what happened, since this is already the longest post I’ve ever written. Stay tuned! (Spoiler: we had a baby. And he’s kinda cute.)