After dinner Fred convinced me a swim would be good. I grumpily agreed and put my extra large self in the hot (warm) tub. I remember saying then that I didn’t know how to explain why I felt this way but, I felt like it was going to happen the next day. I don’t remember how Justin responded but I’m sure something kind even though he probably didn’t believe me. I’d been saying for awhile at this point that I felt like he was coming early even though everyone always warned me the first doesn’t come early.
Also, since he was due August 1st he was due to be a Leo and I had been calling him Ryan the Lion for most of my pregnancy. So we chatted then about how he had six more days to go to be a Leo, otherwise he would be Ryan the Crab... which is fine but just doesn’t rhyme as well. We got out of the tub, I took a shower and changed into my pjs. I was wearing ones that weren’t that comfy because I was doing laundry of the 4 things that fit.
We were lounging on the couch and I don’t remember what we were watching. Probably something I had DVR’d or some sports. It was the baseball all-star week so maybe that was on. I got up to get something sweet in the pantry. I grabbed for two chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s and then grabbed for two more because I knew I’d be back for them anyways.
With 4 peanut butter cups in my hand I heard a little pop and felt a little gush. I’d been googling signs of labor for at least a week and I was pretty sure this meant my water broke. But when I went to the bathroom it was more mucusy than it was a flood of water. I called to Fred that I thought maybe my water broke. He actually showed up in the bathroom out of nowhere and thus began the loss of any dignity I had left.
I cleaned up and took my wet shorts to the laundry. I can been seen on the nest cam footage leaving the laundry room and going upstairs bare bottomed and saying “I told you he was coming”. We both weren’t sure it was my water breaking but when I got upstairs and changed into sweats there was another, more watery gush. I decided to call the doctor even though she had told me at my appointment two weeks earlier not to call if I thought I was in labor and to just go to the hospital... I didn’t want to be a false labor girl and I wanted to ask if it was my water or not. She called back about thirty minutes later and says to just go to the hospital. Yikes!
We finished packing our bags and I lose it saying goodbye to Franklin. I know he’s confused and doesn’t like that we have bags packed. I have an overwhelming sense that I will miss him and it destroys me.
We get into the car and I am feeling like okay, maybe it’s a false alarm... try not to panic. We had music playing, we held hands. I had the sense that it was all a little too calm. We get to the valet (hospital valet is the best) and it’s all very friendly. Then at security we have laughs and I hang out and chat.
We get checked in and into triage. The nurse checks me and I’m 1cm dilated and she says she’s pretty sure my water broke. So I’m like holllly shit. Is this really happening? How come I don’t feel any pain? Should we call my dad and get him on the plane (he wanted to be there ASAP and it was a constant conversation with him... when to book his flight, how to change it, etc)? What about Franky? Do we need someone to go get him.
But then she says she wants to test it. So she takes her little sample and we wait. She comes back. Test says nope. She runs two more and they both say no. Whhhattt? I remember asking her how many people come in for false labor. She said at least 50%. Now I’m one of the 50% because since I’m not really contracting she sends us home. As we’re walking out a nurse in the hallways says something like “oh you’ll be back in a couple hours”. We have a laugh and say it was a good dry run.
We get back home sometime around 10:30. I head up to bed. Justin makes a G&T and watches the end of the all-star game downstairs. I can’t really sleep and I had started a book so I’m just reading away when Fred comes to bed and falls asleep pretty quick as per usual. The guy sleeps like he’s dead. Anyways, then it starts happening. They say you will know when it’s a contraction. Well, they aren’t kidding. I used to joke that I was playing a game before. I called it “gas or contraction”. Anyways, this wasn’t like that. This was like a superrrr intense period cramp. And then another one. And then another one. And then another one. I decided to time them with my trusty pregnancy app and I started to freak out a little. They were coming pretty quick and getting more intense. I got up and went to the bathroom when this time there was a massive gush, lots of water that was kind of green. Yikes. My water broke, I knew it this time and I was pretty sure the green meant he poo’d. I couldn’t remember exactly what that meant but I knew it meant it might be more complicated.
At this point I head downstairs with a towel between my legs and my book and my app. I haven’t woken up Justin because I really don’t want to be the false alarm girl twice in one night. I threw my laundry from earlier in the drier because I knew there were a few things I wanted in my bag if this was real. So now I’m bouncing on the exercise ball, kind of reading a book and timing the contractions.
And the contractions keep coming, like so close together and keep getting worse and closer so after about an hour of these fast and increasingly painful contractions I wake Justin up. He’s impossible to wake so I’m shaking him pretty hard and when he’s finally awake he’s out of it a bit at and he doesn’t realize that I’ve already been suffering an hour so when I tell him we have to go back to the hospital he mutters “okay, 5 more minutes.” A contraction hits then and he realizes this is for real and he’s up. Bags are back in the car. I tell him I have stuff in the drier and he’s shocked I did laundry. I’m really feeling it now, I’m getting maybe 3 minutes between each contraction and I don’t have the ability to feel sad about Frank this time. Poor guy was probably so confused.
It’s thankfully only a 10 minute drive to the hospital but I’m somewhere between drive fast but drive gentle as every bump kills. He drives with the flashers on and we pull back into the valet. This time I’m not friendly chatting with anyone. We get back to check in and I have to fill out the paperwork again. My contractions just keep getting worse and I’m feeling them intensely in my back and it’s beyond uncomfortable to sit. All I want to do is lean over. And then I get nauseated during a contraction and I puke in the waiting room trash can. A wheelchair comes for me this time and we’re back in the same triage room. I know the drill. Change into gown, pee into the cup. Well, my pee into the cup is more of my water and it’s green. Cool.
A new nurse comes in. She takes one look at that cup and says, yep your water broke and it has meconium in it (he poo’d). I still don’t remember what this means but my contractions just keep getting more uncomfortable. She checks me and I’m somewhere between 1-2 cm dilated which is underwhelming since I left the hospital that far just a couple hours ago.
Justin calls my dad in Portland. It’s 3am here so midnight back home. He will have just missed the red eye. He’s asleep when he answers but I later learn he and my step mom spring into action packing bags and don’t get any sleep before their 6am flights they just booked. While Justin’s on the phone I have to ask him to step out because I’m in some real pain and their chatter isn’t helping. Then they start to move me to labor and delivery without him and I get pretty nervous. But he’s around the corner and he joins us.
We’re now in labor and delivery and I am fucking miserable. They hook me up to the contraction and heart beat monitors and it all feels so tight and constrictive. I’m sure it wasn’t but it was just the beginning of all the uncomfortable pressure.
The nurse asks if I’ll be getting an epidural and without hesitation I say yes and I want it now. She gets the IV and a bag of fluids going and tells me that it’s a slow night so hopefully the lab won’t take long and it should be 15 minutes. Okay, 15 minutes I can do. The contractions are coming quick and they just keep getting stronger. They are deep in my back. I’m not very quiet about them either. Every so often I try to find a quiet mental place to suffer and breathe through them but without much relief between each one I find myself sobbing loudly that I can’t do another one. Time is dragging on and it’s well over 15 minutes and I am pleading with the nurse, Justin, whoever will listen for the epidural. I tell the nurse that she lied about the 15 minutes as I’m being super dramatic about the pain.
I had said going into this I wasn’t set on an epidural one way or the other. If I needed one, I would, otherwise I would try without it. Well, fuck all of that. I NEEDED one. I also had said out loud at one point in my pregnancy to Justin that I had a high pain tolerance and that I thought maybe I wouldn’t need an epidural. So while he was incredibly supportive and kind during my misery, he would later tease me about my smug “high pain tolerance”.
Finally, the epidural arrives sometime around 4:30. They get me all prepped and I’m asked to hold still which is really freaking hard because the contractions just keep coming. They put me on the edge of the bed, feet dangling and Justin holds my hands. He keeps reminding me not to move as I’m sure he could see what was happening. He was beyond calm and I honestly didn’t feel a thing while they were doing the epidural. Although I was scared, I managed to use all the mental strength I had to hold still. I knew if I found a way to dig deep there would be relief on the other side. Lots of mental games in this process.
The epidural kicked in pretty quick and contractions are coming but I don’t feel them. Thank god. Bliss! Except I start shaking and am freezing. I’m not sure how much of this was the epidural or nerves or the room was cold but it was pretty rough! Justin gives me my sweatshirt I had packed to drape on top of me to keep me warm and also props me up with my comfy pillow. I try to mentally embrace the shaking rather than trying to fight it in hopes it might subside and it does a little.
It feels like it’s not long until they check me again and I’m already at 10cm around 5:30am. Everyone seems to think he will be coming pretty quick! Okay, yay! The nurse, Jordan, says it’s time to labor down. I hadn’t heard of this (I didn’t take a labor class) but basically my body will start pushing him out by itself for a bit. Cool, this works for me! I remember it was still dark outside but there was lots of lightning, which is typical for summer in Florida, but it hadn’t actually been all that stormy yet in July so it seemed significant in my mind.