Welcome to Laborland

On Friday, August 4th, I woke up to my last day of work before maternity leave. I knew it would be my last day because against my every hope and prayer I was scheduled to be induced on Sunday August 6th at 4:00pm (41 weeks and 5 days). I started work pretty early because I knew I would have to step away to go to my last appointment with my midwife later that morning. I only had a few things on my work schedule including a some calls, checking in with coworkers, and finalizing last minute projects and tasks all from the comfort of my living room. I decided to set up shop that morning from the kitchen so I could stand at the counter… or sit on the yoga ball at the table. It was hot so I put the fans on full blast. My last appointment with my midwife was scheduled for 9:15 am. Leading up to this final appointment I had a few exams that left me feeling discouraged about our progress. My midwife told me for weeks leading up to birth that Maryn would be late because my body was stubborn. I couldn’t understand how she knew, or could make that prediction, although she explained it to me many times. “Your cervix is thick, closed, and high..The good news is, you’ll never have to worry about going into early labor!” I kept asking for natural methods for induction to ensure I wasn’t going to go past term. She would give me recommendations for preparing my body… always followed with discussion of induction. She knew my heart was hoping for an intervention free birth but needed my mind prepared for what was to come. While the looming thought of pending induction had me on edge I was convinced I wouldn’t need it. For weeks, every day, I prepared my body. We’re talking taking 5000mg evening primrose oil and eating 8+ dates a day, and lots of sex to soften and ripen my cervix… raspberry leaf tea by the cup full to strengthen my uterus….using the breast pump for many hours to encourage contractions and get baby to drop. Spinning babies exercises, every other day trips to the chiropractor, bouncing on the yoga ball, walking, and squats (ALLLLL of the squats) to prepare my pelvis for labor and get baby to drop lower. Massages to relax, pedicures to feel pretty, and acupressure to get things going. We also caved into some of the old wives tales such as spicy food, pineapple by the pound, Clary Sage and Lavendar essential oils infused in our room at night as well as rubbed all over my skin each day. There was no lack of effort to get things going. The one thing I was unwilling to try was castor oil. I know better than to mess with that stuff! Each appointment I was graced with more and more talk of induction. I remained determined that my body would do its thing. As the date approached I felt less and less panicked about Pitocin and more and more aware and ready for the journey we were on. Inducing labor never had anything to do with not wanting to be pregnant, being “over it”, feeling “miserable”, or even “too hot” to be pregnant. I would get frustrated when people would say these things but afraid to voice my true feelings because it would expose my fear of the reality we were walking down. I felt as if admitting my fear of induction outside of my close knit circle was almost a sure fire way to send me into Pitocin-land or even worse the OR. I learned as soon as you express fear in pregnancy every Tom, Dick and Harry finds it necessary to let you know you have nothing to be worried about followed by an example of how much worse it could be, their nightmare story, or by simply just saying that my fears are irrational and that it’s “not that bad to be induced” …or that “C-Sections are easier anyway!”

At 9:00 Michael and I headed out the door to visit our Midwife. Compared to Monday’s appointment I was feeling much more at peace with everything that was happening. I was looking forward to knowing that this was without a doubt our last weekend as a family of 3 (yes we include Georgia). As we drove I documented a little video to commemorate the event. I told Michael, in all of the uncertainty, I was CERTAIN of one thing and that is the next time I see my midwife, it’s because were having a baby. That simple truth gave me all the positive vibes I needed to make it until Sunday.

During our appointment my midwife did a few test including a NST and cervical exam. The exam felt quite aggressive for lack of better words. Honestly, it hurt! We watched Maryns heart rate on the monitor and watched a few contractions come and go. I remember looking at Michael as the contraction number on the monitor started to skyrocket. I told him, wow that was the biggest one I’ve felt yet! When she was finished monitoring baby and doing the exam she sat me up and walked us through the induction process. She confidently said, “I’ll see you Monday morning to check on your progress.” We left with instructions to call the hospital around 2:00pm Sunday afternoon with an arrival time of 4:00pm. Leaving the office I told Michael that she was really aggressive with the exam and I was feeling a little sore and crampy. While my midwife was not able to strip my membranes as I was only dilated to a 1, -3 station, and 0% effaced she definitely tried. Induction was the name of the game.

I came home ate some breakfast and started back to work. As I was bouncing on the yoga ball and I started noticing the cramping in my lower abdomen started getting stronger. It wasn’t comfortable almost as if I was having period cramps, which I normally don’t get so I’m not sure I’m describing it right. As the day went on all I could think about was our weekend and spending time together before Maryn made her debut. I was so excited it was my last day at work especially since the last few weeks were so difficult. I am such a diligent, prepared, intentional person, I made it a point to have my back fill fully immersed in my role by July 4th. Meaning, for almost a month before I left the business he was doing my job. That left me with a frustrating and challenging task of finding productive things to fill my time with, while being on constant baby watch. I was afraid to venture too far from home as my due date got closer and closer. Work days felt longer than ever and my level of commitment to my employer had me stressed out. I was constantly fearful I was not pulling my weight. A burden I only put on myself. The struggle was real.

Back at home between lots of raspberry leaf tea and bouncing on the yoga ball while listening to calls, I went to the restroom and noticed a slimy mucus discharge. It was slightly tinged a dark blood color. While it was more mucus than I had seen before, it wasn’t something that surprised me. What did surprise me on the other hand, my midwife told me a few days back that she thought I had already lost my mucus plug because she couldn’t feel it. I attributed my discomfort and my mucus discharge to the “aggressive” cervical exam my midwife preformed. I was texting one of my girlfriends and said that I felt like the boy who cried wolf but I thought there was a chance labor could be starting. She reassured me that I am not being dramatic and what I was experiencing was normal, all good signs, and likely early labor. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I explained my mucus plug discharge and the contractions I was feeling. She urged me to contact my midwife to give her the heads up. I was hesitant and kept saying I feel like the boy who cried wolf. I wanted to badly to go into labor on my own. I thought it was all in my head.

I used the restroom again later that afternoon and noticed even more mucus. This time, a significant amount more than the first passing. I was confident this was my mucus plug… or one of my mucus plugs. I decided to give my midwife a call. I left a message with the receptionist. My midwife returned my call but I happened to be in the restroom when she called. She told me over voicemail she would call me back in a few minutes. When she rang again I answered. She explained she was quite vigorous during the exam and it’s possible she stated my labor but she was still certain it would be a long process. She said if my water breaks, or if I start having contractions that take my breath away that I would need to go straight to the hospital. The reason for a rush to get to the hospital was due to a positive GBS test, as well as visible Meconium in my amniotic fluid during an ultrasound a few days before. She joked with me and said, “see you on Monday after you’re induced!” She was certain I wasn’t in labor. I was starting to downplay what I was feeling.

Time went by and I stopped noticing the cramping, not because it stopped but because I put it out of my mind. Michael asked if I planned on going to the gym. While I knew I wouldn’t do the workout I definitely needed to move a bit, get some social interaction, and take my mind off this possible labor boy who cried wolf situation… and celebrate being done with work. I also got a message from the gym owner and friend saying she made more treats for me and she left them at the gym for me to pick up. She had been amazing over the last few weeks knowing my frustration with wanting labor to start. She kept saying her way of helping me was to bake for me. Almost daily she had some sort of treat be it homemade or something she picked up while out and about. It made me feel so loved!

I drove down to the gym a little after the 5:30 class started. Michael was already there and was finished with his workout. Everyone greeted me with sweet sentiments as I walked in with my head hanging. “STILL PREGNANT” I announced. Everyone got a good chuckle. I tootled around the gym for a bit stretching and chatting with some of my best pals. I finally grabbed a 10lb medicine ball and set up a station with water and my ball committed to 150 wall balls before I left. I did them in chunks of 10 stopping and chatting between sets. A few of my friends from the 6:30 class came in and stopped to chat with me. One of my friends is a nurse at the hospital we delivered at. I gave her all of the details on my induction and told her to come by and see us. She explained she was heading out of town for the week and wouldn’t be around. We were both bummed!

About halfway through my 150 wall balls Michael interrupted me to ask what I wanted for dinner and to see if he should take his work vehicle back that evening or the next morning. I was exhausted and just wanted to spend a quiet evening at home with my man and begged him to put it off for the morning. He looked suspiciously at me and explained he really felt like he should do it tonight. I reluctantly agreed with his responsibility and said I would meet him at home after I finished my exercise. I finished my wall balls, grabbed my Smores Bars, and started scarfing down on the way to my car. As soon as I sat down in my car I felt a small but noticeable gush of fluid in my undies. I thought to myself, that did not feel normal! I started getting really excited wondering if I was experiencing my water breaking. I threw a puppy pee pee pad (I had them stashed all over the place.. in the car, under my mattress, in my work bag etc) underneath my rear end just in case it was indeed my water! On my way home I called Michael to get his status. He said he would be home in about 20 minutes. I didn’t mention that my water might have broken because I was again scared of being the boy who cried wolf! By the time I pulled in my driveway I was more than just “sweaty” down below and was fairly certain something exciting was in the works. I called my girlfriend that I talked to earlier in the day (she had a baby the month before) from my garage and told her I thought I was in labor and my water broke. I had to tell someone and I didn’t want to tell Michael over the phone. When I stood up out of the car the puppy pee pee pad had moisture on it. I was certain this was my bag of waters that had ruptured!

I came inside, threw my dirty clothes in the hamper and hopped in the shower. When I got out of the shower I heard Michael was home. I called for him to come upstairs as I was sitting on the toilet. I explained to him that I was pretty sure my water broke… but it wasn’t yet enough liquid to confirm. He wanted me to explain everything to him. It was at that moment that I really stated experiencing a rush of liquid. I put a giant pad in my undies and started packing my hospital bag and getting all of our belongings ready. Yes, we waited to pack until this moment. I knew we would have time. I had a list of things to being including phone chargers, an outfit to wear home from the hospital, the boppy, a nursing bra, and a few other luxuries from home such as the Mega Boom to play music, the iPad to pass time, and lanolin for sore nipples. I was not the kind of person that would take a ton of things with us. On our way out the door I threw together a bag with snacks and set it by the back door to grab on our way out of the house. Michael loaded up the car and hooked up our brand new air conditioning unit straight out of the box so Georgia wouldn’t fry by the time we were home. We took our time gathering our belongings and making sure we had what we needed. I started leaking quite heavily. It was unable to be contained with a pad. I changed the pad multiple times before we left. It felt like a movie. I had NO idea how much fluid came out. I got dressed threw on a bit of makeup and we headed out the door. I wore my black dress because I could hike it up around my waist in the car and it wouldn’t get ruined from the amniotic fluid. Michael drove us to the hospital as I gave him directions. By this time, I had soaked two puppy pee pee pads and asked Michael for more. I was worried I was going to ruin the car seat. He told me I had the only two there were (I knew I had more in the back seat… he said he couldn’t find them! Later I learned they were just in the side pocket of the back seat door he couldn’t see them while driving). On the way to the hospital Michael said he was hungry and wanted to stop for some food. He grabbed McDonalds while I sat in the car. I made him park away from the crowd and go in, rather than the drive through because my dress was hiked up around my waist and I was covered in amniotic fluid, puppy pee pee pads, and a pad. It was a sight to see! At this point I wasn’t experiencing frequent or strong contractions, but I certainly was ready to get checked in at the hospital. While Michael was inside McDonald’s getting his food I gave our back up Doula a call. Our original doula was on vacation for the weekend with her family. She set us up with her substitute who we had never met. I gave her a call to let her know I was in labor. She asked me a few questions and we chatted for a few minutes. She explained to me that it might be smart to labor at home for a while instead of head straight to the hospital because they wouldn’t let me leave if I go in after my water breaks. When I told her my midwife asked me to go straight to the hospital if my water broke because I’m GBS positive and needed to get on anabiotic’s right away on top of the meconium present she immediately agreed and said I was making the right decision. She asked what my preferences were on having her come down to the hospital I told her we would get checked in and give her an update. I was mostly excited to meet her and wanted her to come down at least to get the introductions out-of-the-way before she coaches us through my labor. At this point I had no idea what my progress was or how long it would be until the baby was born.

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