Last time I wrote about the final weeks of my pregnancy. Those final weeks came a lot sooner than I had expected. As a matter of fact, I had no idea they were going to be my final weeks. I had been eagerly awaiting that last month, the month when every mom I’d known had said they gained the most weight. Having been stuck at well under 100lbs my entire life, I was really hoping this pregnancy would tip me over into triple digits. I fantasized about keeping the baby weight and being able to wear those lovely size 2 dresses and skirts that never, ever came in my tiny 00 size. We were even planning on doing a maternity photo shoot during the final weeks, the actual final weeks, somewhere around week 37 or 38. That was the one thing I really wanted to do.
My mother-in-law had just spent a few days in town with us. After chatting about the baby with her, I’d finally decided it was time to order a bassinet. The weekend approached, the order had been placed, and my husband had cooked because he wanted me off my feet. I wasn’t about to give birth yet, so his protectiveness and caution drove me nuts. I was still quite mobile. Had just spent half a day wandering the streets of Philadelphia, as a matter of fact!
It was the middle of the night, literally right around midnight between Saturday and Sunday, when I woke up with Braxton-Hicks that went on and on for about 5 minutes. Then they stopped and I went back to bed. Then I was up again 2 hours later for another 5 minutes. And then 2 hours after that. You’d think I would have told my husband. No, I was convinced it was just Braxton-Hicks. Felt like them.
The day passed just like that. Non-painful contractions for just a few minutes. Until my husband was doing the dinner dishes in the bathroom because the sink in the neighboring apartment was having problems, so the water for that wall had been shut off. Then they started to hurt. And it kept hurting. My husband called my doctor, who said to give me Tylenol and to take me to the hospital if it didn’t stop.
Well, it didn’t stop, so we spent the night at the hospital. In the morning, I was effacing, but not dilating despite being hunched over in pain, so we were sent home. I sent my husband off to work because I didn’t think there was any way I was in labor. I was only 34 weeks along. It couldn’t possibly be labor. Everyone said first babies are usually late. I myself am a first baby and was born only a day early. So, my husband went to work and I ate popsicles and took about 5 showers that day.
It was around 4 when my husband called to see how I was doing. I casually told him, through contractions, that I was having contractions about 5-7 minutes apart. Still, I was in denial about being in labor. 34 weeks, people, 34 weeks. He panicked. Called the doctor. Came home to get me. I threw a few things into a bag and walked out to the car. I even walked up to Labor and Delivery. In complete denial. I was certain they were going to give me something to stop the labor and then I’d be on my way home to twiddle my thumbs for another month. Hopefully not on bed rest because I had packing to do and my mom to pick up from the airport.
Early the next morning, I figured out I had been admitted and was having this baby 5 weeks early when I got an epidural. Yup, took me that long. Even though I have hazy memories of signing my name somewhere. I fell asleep right after because, having not really slept for the past 2 nights, I was exhausted.
The next morning, my friends were texting away, trying to set up a lunch date before one of them was going out of town. I oh so casually said it sounded like fun and I wanted to go, but I was in the hospital, fully effaced and dilating. Believe it or not but a part of me was still in denial I was having my baby. They figured it out much faster than I did.
I gave birth at a day shy of 35 weeks. I was in pain and just wanted it to end. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. I was scared silly about what was going to happen to my son, if he was going to be okay. Having studied child development and psychology for years, I knew he was going to be taken to the NICU. I was prepared for a separation. I knew it was the best thing for him.
I just remember I really, really, really needed to pee after he’d been whisked away from me.