One week ago I lay on the bed watching Dancing With the Stars. My contractions were about 4 minutes apart and increasingly uncomfortable. I'd been having contractions since Sunday morning, but now they were really starting to hurt. Dave lay with me. I would breathe my way through and Dave would wipe my forehead with a Lightning McQueen washcloth. I found an Emery board that I would tap/poke into my forehead with each contraction. Somehow I figured out that if I focused on this sensation I could distract myself from the discomfort.
I called my sister to let her know we were thinking of leaving for the hospital soon. We decided to see if we could wait until 11pm when Kate (one of the nurses) started her shift. Lisa was going to meet us there and stay with us to support both of us through the labor since she works there as an L&D nurse. My mother stayed at our house with Auggie.
We arrived at the hospital around 11:30 pm. Lisa was waiting out front. I remember walking in with my soft purple towel and my emery board. We made our way upstairs while Dave got our things from the car and took care of the Valet parking. I stopped to lean against the wall with my face against the soft towel and breathed through another contraction while Lisa waited.
As we went to the elevators I veered off to go in the restroom because having a full bladder made the contractions hurt worse.
Lisa: "You might want to wait, they are gonna want a sample when you get up there"
Me: " Yeah, well they can SUCK IT- it hurts worse when I have to go! Besides, I can tell them, the pregnancy test will be positive"
Upstairs we got in a small room while we waited for a larger birthing room (with a shower) to be cleaned. With each contraction I would lean on the wall with my face against that towel, tap my forehead with the emery board and breathe. The car ride made me really sick to my stomach so I complained about that to whoever would listen. Dave arrived, and the midwife (Jenny) arrived as well. She checked me and said I was dilated almost 5 cm. "THAT'S IT??!!!!"
I couldn't believe it after all these hours of contractions!! CRAP!
The midwife was in and out, offering suggestions for managing pain.
Kate was a fantastic nurse. She monitored me without keeping me constantly attached
to a machine so I was able to get up an move around. She was quiet, but present. Lisa, Jenny, and Kate were reassuring because they all have a true understanding that labor is not a crisis, not an emergency, but a process.
Dave was fantastic- attune to the contractions, gentle, soothing, the perfect partner
Lisa was steady and helpful- reminding me that I was managing the pain and that I could do this.
The next hours brought a move to the larger room
a warm shower
lots of standing and rocking while leaning against my purple towel
Sips of cola and ginger ale
constant pats with the cool cloth on my forehead
many registered complaints- just so nobody would forget that I was hurting.