For about a week now, J has been at the ready. Just this past weekend, when I called to ask him if he wanted to grab lunch, he picked up the phone in a panic and proceeded to tell me that he now automatically assumes that every time I call its “go-time”. The infamous hospital bag is packed. I believe we have everything to keep baby alive for the first few weeks (but don’t quote me on that). I have been feeling sad about not having time to assemble the ultimate Spotify playlist to remedy and soothe the pains of labor.
It’s Wednesday morning (Jan 25th) and there are still some last minute errands I want to tackle so I get going and grab lunch and do some light shopping. I was hoping baby would come today. It’s my mom’s birthday.
While at Walmart on the hunt for Scotchgard (to protect the house for the inevitable disaster that future tornado baby will wreak) I text J to tell him this is probably the last day I feel up to running around. I’m starting to notice how slow I am and how heavy I feel. I am a bit crampy and guess that maybe this is finally Braxton Hicks (but I still don’t understand what Braxton Hicks are supposed to feel like)
5pm: I get home and go to lie down. My tummy feels achy but nothing unusual. The house is a mess due to my current endeavor to Scotchgard everything. All couch and chair covers are off. Thus, I resort to the bed.
6:30pm: We debate about what to get for dinner and settled on Japanese. I ordered an Udon in hopes that warm soup will soothe my aching tummy.
7:3opm: I text Katie (our fantastic doula) about my cramps, and she tells me to relax, and get a good night’s sleep in case baby decides to come tonight.
9:00pm: Post dinner, I go back to lie down and the cramps get a bit worse, but still nothing compared to my usual monthly pains. We pull out the reading we have on the stages of labor, and J and I spend about 2 hours trying to assess and diagnose the situation. I am not sure what a contraction is supposed to feel like and we don’t want to wake up Katie unless we are sure this was it. J guesses that it is early labor (which our reading says can last for days). Or maybe it’s Braxton Hicks. All I know is that they are coming in waves, and close together.
12:30am: After 15 minutes in the shower, I tell J to text Katie to try to get a better idea of what is happening. Everyone says “oh you’ll know” when your in labor. Thus, I keep assuming that this must not be it.
1:30AM: I finally cave and tell J to call Katie to come over. I begin to have a hard time with the pain of each contraction and simultaneously wonder if it is possible that this was early labor. I start to underestimate my ability to handle pain. (My plan is for an all natural birth, but I know my pain tolerance might have me resorting to an epidural along the way). My water has yet to break, so there isn’t a clear indication of active labor starting. I can’t pull myself out of the comfort of the shower.
2:00AM: The wonderful Katie shows up, feels my belly, and confirms that the contractions are strong. I get back in the shower and both J and Katie are helping me through each contraction like pros. I’m not sure what I would have done without either of them. We are still waiting for my water to break.
2:30AM: Katie warns me that if I feel increasing pelvic pressure during contractions to let her know, and I indeed was experiencing that. After a few minutes of her thinking it over, she suggests that we start getting ready to head to the hospital. And so begins the awkward process of trying to change clothes/prepare for the hospital in between contractions that were growing closer and closer together. At one point I hear Katie say “we should really go to the hospital” and I know it is time.
2:40-2:50AM: The worst 10 minutes of my life. I am crouching in the back seat and holding on for dear life. There are definitely curse words and screaming. J runs a red light. This alone is reason enough to want a home birth. Somehow, we make it to the hospital.
3:00AM: After being admitted to triage and checked, the nurse tells me I was 9.5 cm dilated! Woah. I guess it really is go-time.
3:15AM: Ok…what happens in the hospital when you get admitted is crazy-town. Maybe it is because I showed up so late in labor, but geez. While you feel like you are dying, people are trying to draw your blood, strap on monitors, and ask you silly questions like “what is your pre-pregnancy weight?”. Thank God to J for fielding those. And major kudos to my lovely team (J and Katie) for dodging my pleas for the epidural. I opted instead to have Dr. Ishimaru break my water to alleviate some of the pressure I was feeling and to speed up the process. Because if drugs weren’t happening, I needed this to be as quick as possible.
4:22AM: After about 20 mins of pushing, our baby was born into this world. It was so surreal to see him for the first time in the flesh and to know that somehow, magically, he was living and growing with me for the past 9 months. He is our little bug — Miles Roland Chen.
I don’t have any photos of this whole crazy whirlwind of a process. Like the Spotify playlist, it’s something I thought we would relish in that fell to the wayside in the heat of the moment. I had originally envisioned labor to be a long and quiet time spent in our living room with my soothing non-existant magical Spotify playlist and some candles burning. But things don’t always go to plan.
Thanks to Katie and J, I have some wonderful photographs of Miles’ first moments in this world.