The Birth Story of Linnea Joy – June 27th, 2012 - “Is This For Real?”
38 weeks - just 3 days before I went into Labor
Part 1: Early Labor
Monday night (June 25th) when I got home from work I was feeling really anxious, like I had some sort of cabin fever. I was also ravenous that evening; I ate an entire box of macaroni and cheese, fruit, Nutella on toast, and was still starving. I tried to nap, but it wasn't restful. I organized things around the house and Linnea’s room, putting away all the onsies that we tie dyed the other day. But I was still unsettled. I paced the house waiting for Ross to bike home after his shift ended at 10pm. The moment he walked in the door, sweaty from his bike commute, I asked if we could go to the late night happy hour at Tiffany’s since it was wing night. He was all about it, so he locked up his bike, put some deodorant on and we made the 3 block walk (downhill) to the bar. We each ordered Buffalo wings, which were perfectly spicy for me and made Ross sweat. I enjoyed and O’doul’s Amber while Ross had a couple Shocktops. We joked about how spicy food can induce labor, but it better not work that fast seeing as Ross was in no state to drive. We really enjoyed the evening, savoring the ability to just go to happy hour on a whim.
Tuesday afternoon (June 26th) when Ross got home from the morning shift at the pool we had gallo pinto (a typical Costa Rican dish) for lunch and got ready to head to our midwife appointment at Morning Star that afternoon. At the appointment we got good news that I was GBS negative, that I wasn’t anemic anymore, and that baby was in a good position. I mentioned to Myriah that I have been noticing lots of Braxton Hicks contractions but nothing painful, to which she replied, “good, your body is getting ready.” She also recommended that we pick up evening primrose oil capsules, and start taking them 3 times a day to encourage labor gently. I mentioned to Myriah that my last day of work was Friday and we were going to go grocery shopping later in the week and make some freezer meals ahead of time. Later that evening we stopped over at my friend Cathy’s to BBQ and enjoy the weather. I went to bed really early that night to rest before a job interview at 7:45am the next morning.
Tuesday night into Wednesday (June27th) throughout the night I noticed that I kept waking up to contractions, but it was easy to fall back asleep and I didn’t take them very seriously. I woke up bright and early to a text from my friend Janean that said “any day now!” and then I showered and got ready for my interview. (I should have known then that I was going to have her that day because back in October Janean texted me the day we conceived asking if I was pregnant because she had dreamed I was… though I didn’t know until two weeks later. Also, Brad (my stepdad) totally called it – he said she would come between the 22nd and 29th!) I kept noticing contractions, and I decided to start timing them, even though I was convinced they were more Braxton Hicks. As I drove to the interview I definitely had to breathe through one while on the highway. I just kept thinking they were more Braxton Hicks and had a really great interview. I did count four contractions during the interview, but mercifully the interviewers were talking during them. On the drive home I called Ross and asked him to make me a lunch for work because I was running late. However, I noticed a slight increase in intensity, probably because I was finally paying more attention to them and not the interview.
When I walked in the door I told Ross what was going on, and that I wasn’t sure if I could effectively do my job. I decided to call in and tell the team lead that I was either going to be late or not come in at all, and that I would call them back after I had talked to my midwife. I asked Ross, the first of many times, “Is this for real?” I texted my sister and told her that I was having contractions but I didn’t want her to tell anyone until we were leaving for the Birth Center. Meanwhile, Ross started to time my contractions with an app on our smart phones. After timing a few we called our doula Katie from Birthing Wellness, to see what to do, we explained to her what was going on, and I asked if this was for real or not. She said that it definitely sounded like it could be early labor, and that she was in Blaine today and we should keep her updated.
After we knew we wouldn’t sound stupid we called Morning Star and got connected to Myriah, who was the midwife on call that week. I told her what was going on. At first they were about 4-5 minutes apart and about 20-35 seconds in length. Myriah told me that they could continue and this could be the beginning of labor, or they could fizzle out. She did tell me that I was not to go to work today, “by order of your midwife.” She left the decision whether Ross should go to work up to us. She said that if they were Braxton Hicks contractions they might fizzle if we went for a walk or if I lay down to take a nap. Ross installed the car seat while I called Katie back and let her know what the midwife said, and that we were going to go for a walk and we would keep her updated. Despite the heat we went for a walk, down the alley instead of the busy street we live on. I remembered reading in Ina May’s book how some couples would walk in the woods for hours while in labor, pausing to hug their husbands and sway their hips during contractions, and that’s exactly what we did, but only for about 20 minutes… it was hot, and there were no private woods to walk through, just quite residential streets.
We came back inside turned on the AC and I drank lots of water. I started to labor in child’s pose on the bed during contractions and Ross continued to squeeze my hips to open my pelvis. Sometimes he was messing with the contraction timer app on his phone instead of holding my hips, and I might have yelled at him once. Or twice. And I may have used some colorful language too. Around noon we called Katie and told her that we were ready for her to come and needed her support. While we were waiting for Katie, Ross read me birth stories from Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I continued to ask Ross the same question, “Is this for real?”
Once Katie got to our house she suggested that instead of child’s pose I use hands and knees so that I could rock my hips more, and it definitely felt better. I asked Ross for some apples and peanut butter, and Ross realized that he had not eaten anything and told me he was going to eat the sandwich he made me for lunch. For the next few hours we continued to monitor contractions, read more stories from the book, and more hands and knees with Katie stepping in to squeeze my hips. By around 2:00pm I had really started vocalizing and when I went to the bathroom I noticed some blood tinged mucus. So we called Morning Star and they said that we could come in but didn’t have to yet. But since it was getting close to rush hour we decided to leave at 3:00pm.
We heated up the rice bag for my belly and brought the water proof mat for the seat just in case. Traffic wasn’t too bad and we arrived about 20 minutes later. When we walked into the lobby I paused to lean over the table and work through a contraction. Then they directed us to the exam room. Mryiah, our midwife, asked if we were comfortable with Rachel, the student midwife, taking the lead on our delivery with Mryiah assisting. We said sure, ok, so Rachel came in she checked my cervix. I said that I didn’t want to know any objective numbers, and instead I told them to tell Ross and Katie. As it turns out I wasn’t quite far enough along, and it turns out I did want to know the number. I was at 3 ½ and stretched to 4cm while she checked me. It was close, but they suggested that we go home and labor some more because it would be more comfortable and they didn’t know how long it would take to progress to active labor as a first time mom. I went to the bathroom before the car ride home and I cried and told Ross that I didn’t want to leave. It wasn’t the contractions I was worried about, it was the car in rush hour! But we did indeed have to go back home.
Read On: Part 2