I should have been expecting it. I had nearly nine months to prepare, yet I somehow had myself convinced that I had all the time in the world before our world changed for good. Ready or not, though, two weeks before her due date, our little Bean decided she was ready to face the world.
At about 2 am on a Saturday night, I woke up feeling wet and uncomfortable. I took a trip to the bathroom, where I discovered that my sweatpants were soaked through. Chalking it up to my shrunken bladder, I climbed back into bed. I’ll admit, broken water did cross my mind… I just didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t be in labor, particularly since I wasn’t having contractions – just waves of cramping. (Note for future reference – waves of cramping = contractions.)
After a few minutes of tossing and turning and several more bathroom breaks, Paul asked, “What’s going on right now?” I explained my “situation,” and we made a phone call to the hospital. The on call doctor told us to come into the hospital. “Right now?” I asked. I thought we’d be laboring at home for a while, but instead we were racing around, gathering our bags and shooting off e-mails to work. By about 3:30 in the morning, we were on our way to the hospital.
After checking in, we were ushered up to the BirthPlace. I changed into a gown, and a few minutes later a young doctor walked in. He took one look at us, and I saw a spark of recognition. Not what I wanted to see. “Hey, Paul!,” he cheerily quipped. Paul responded, “It’s Zach, right?” Apparently it was time for a college reunion. The doctor had gone to school with us and was now a resident at the hospital. I had never met him (luckily!), but I knew his wife. It was the end of his shift, so he only took care of us for about an hour before another doctor took over. After my initial annoyance, I figured a doctor’s a doctor, and was just glad that he would only see me in early labor. He confirmed that my water had broken. So much for our guess that Bean would be born after her due date! She was on her way.
Zach told us Ruth was at a -3 station, meaning she hadn’t “dropped.” He said that if my labor didn’t progress quickly, they’d put me on Pitocin. I did not like that idea one bit (I’d only been in labor for two hours!), but didn’t say anything – I figured we’d cross that bridge when we came to it. We never had to, though, as Bean was in a hurry to come out and meet us.
Around 7:30 or 8:00, my contractions were painful but manageable. I was using the breathing methods they had taught us in our child birth class, but didn’t feel like I needed to use the birthing ball or whirlpool tub yet. I told Paul to go get some breakfast and make a few phone calls to family and work. The last thing I wanted was for him to be famished when push came to shove. He reluctantly agreed and told me he’d hurry back.
Immediately after Paul left, Bean decided to really start moving and my labor went into full gear. The contractions started getting much, much worse. The labor and delivery nurse chose that time try to put an IV into the back of my arm. It was as though she waited for Paul to leave and then swooped in with her torture device. As I was having a really difficult contraction, she dug the needle into my right arm and searched for a vein – with no luck. I swear, that the needle hurt as much as my contraction did! She then moved over to the left arm (again, she thoughtfully timed it to coincide with a contraction) and started searching with the needle. After a painfully long minute, she gave up. At that point, the doctor came in. I told him I didn’t want the IV, and he simply said, “OK, not a problem.” Saved!
After a VERY long 20 minutes, Paul returned to a moaning and groaning wife. I felt as though I could finally relax (relax being a relative term) and that I could concentrate on my labor, which was intensifying by the minute. At that point they said it was too late to use the birthing ball or tub, but I was able to move over to the shower for a while, then back to the bed – where it was time to push!
At this point, I was thinking twice about my decision against an epidural. All in all, I’m very glad we held firm and didn’t have it, but at the time, I was REALLY wishing for a little relief! I wanted to go home, I wanted the baby to stay in, and I wanted to sleep. No rest for the weary, though – Bean was coming, and she was coming fast!
After pushing for maybe half an hour (we were too busy to watch the clock), our little Bean made her debut into the world at 9:58 am, eight hours after labor had started. The doctors let me hold her right away, and we marveled over how perfect she was.
After snuggling her for a few minutes, the nurses weighed, measured, and bundled her up. Her official stats were 5 pounds 12 ounces, 19 inches long, and she scored a 9 out of 10 on her Apgar test. What a peanut! We are absolutely thrilled to welcome our little Bean into the family.