The next 2 1/2 hours crawled by. The pain wasn’t really worse, but it wasn’t better either. Maybe I pinched a nerve with all the house projects I’d accomplished during the week. That would make sense. I did discover that the pain would let up when I sat down, not in a chair though, on the toilet. Just plopping down (with my clothes on of course) and sitting there took the pressure off. It didn’t work on the couch, or in the desk chair, just the toilet. Weird.
Stephen was on the computer researching labor identifiers while I rotated between walking around and sitting down. It was close to 6:00 now. Things weren’t feeling any better. I brought up the big question. “Do you think I’m having back labor?” Stephen quickly looked up the symptoms and asked me questions about where the pain was, then we would time how long it lasted and the length of the breaks in between.
How did people know what to look for before the internet? I had read several books, talked to all my friends with experience, but none of it prepared me for this strange feeling. We decided that if we went to the hospital and this was in fact false labor, or something stupid like gas or a pulled muscle, we would keep it quiet. I didn’t want the world to know that we rushed to the hospital because I had a gas bubble and was too dumb to recognize the pain. Plus, this way Stephen could drop me off at my mom and dads and head to the Bachelor Party and me be just a few minutes down the road, rather than 45 minutes across town.
It was time to decide what we were gonna do. The pain hadn’t subsided and it was raining cats and dogs outside. Either way I wasn’t staying home alone. If I started to feel better we would drop me off at my parents so I was in town and near Stephen in case things started up again. The guys were meeting at 7:00, that gives us 1 hour to go to the hospital to get checked out. That way Stephen could make it to the party in time when we found out I was just having back pain from all the extra weight I was carrying around.
We already had our hospital bag packed, along with the diaper bag and car seat. Stephen ran to and from the car, loading it up in the rain. Before we left I remembered to grab my pillow, just in case. We got on the road and avoided the highway, taking the city roads because of the weather. It made our trip longer, but was well worth the peace of mind. We arrived at the hospital and Stephen dropped me off at the entrance and went to park. I found a bench and sat down to wait. While I sat there waiting for him I was watching the rain pour down and drip off the overhang. It would be pretty funny if we were in labor. The bad weather reminded me of our wedding day. The day before it had been sunny and gorgeous, but we celebrated our union running to the car in freezing wind and rain. A lot like the weather at this moment.
While standing there time seemed to slow down. My brain started to process all the possibilities of what might be happening. Could we really be having our baby tonight? Would I finally get to hold her in my arms and see what she looks like? I’d dreamt of this day for years. I then saw Stephen walking towards me and we headed into the hospital. We stopped at the desk and asked the man where we go to check for labor. Apparently there is a place called ‘Triage’ and he directed us there. We walked to the elevators and pushed the button to the 2nd floor. While heading up Stephen stopped and gave me a kiss. I think we both had our hopes up, we were both ready to welcome our little girl into to the world and into our family. The doors opened and we headed down the empty hallway. When we opened the door there were 4 nurses at the front. I felt silly, suddenly unaware of what to say. They asked me how they could help and this is what I came up with: “Umm, I think I might be in labor, but I’m not sure?” Yes, you could actually hear the question mark in my voice. The nurses smiled at me and gave me a clipboard with a form to fill out. I quickly filled it out and we were taken to a room where they gave me a gown. I headed to the bathroom to change and empty my always-full bladder. I made my walk back to the room with my hands holding the opened-back outfit closed so I didn’t moon anyone on the way. When I got back Stephen was waiting for me and smiling.
The nurse came in and hooked me up to some monitors. After asking what felt like a million questions she did a check to see if I was in labor. We were excited to hear that I was 4 cm dilated, which is 2 more than I was at my appointment on Thursday. Could this really be it? Were we here for the long haul? The nurse left and said she’d be back in a while to check me again. We sat there not sure if we should be excited or nervous. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, I know some women that have sat at under 5 cm for weeks waiting to actually go into labor.
The nurse came back after about 45 minutes and discovered I had progressed to 5 cm! Stephen and I were both shocked and excited. I had increased 1 cm in under an hour. Our baby could be here in the matter of a few short hours! This was it. We were going to meet our daughter. Over 9 months of waiting and dreaming were finally here.
The nurse came back to let us know that my doctor, whom I love, was not on call that night. My heart sunk. I had such a great connection with my doctor. After we moved I searched and searched for a doctor I felt safe with and trusted. I know that the Lord led me to my doctor because it was by accident that I found her. She also happend to be the same doctor that many of my friends had with their pregnancies and births. I had been looking forward to sharing this experience with her. She answered all my crazy questions throughout those 9 months. I shared my birth plan with her and she was 100% behind my wants. She made me feel comfortable and relaxed, I trusted her. After all those months of relationship building I just found out that my life and my babies life were in the hands of a stranger… I wasn’t sure how to feel.
I looked at Stephen and he could tell what I was thinking. The next question from the nurse really threw me for a loop. The doctor on call wanted to know if I was ready to go on Pitocin to speed up the process. I lost my breath for a moment, I felt like I had just swallowed my tongue. I haven’t even met this doctor and she’s ready to pump me full of drugs to rush this process. This was not my plan. This was the complete opposite of my plan. I looked at Stephen for reassurance and answered with a firm, and possibly a bit aggressive, “No!”
The nurse left to talk to the doctor and I just stared at Stephen. He didn’t have to say anything, he could tell what I was thinking. He held my hand and let me process everything that was going on. I felt so lucky to have such a caring husband and partner. He reads me so well and knows that sometimes all I need is for him to be by my side for comfort, to let me think and digest all the information that was thrown at us.
The nurse came back and said it was time to move us to a labor & delivery room. We packed up our things and were ready to make the transition. This was it, we were here for the long haul. Wether it was my dream delivery plan or not, we were finally going to meet our baby girl.