Woo-hoo. It is Wednesday and we are about to have a baby any day now in our Delivery Drama series. A baby, people!! If you are new to the blog or perhaps just this series, please take a moment to catch up on the previous posts in this mini-series. Each episode builds on the others, and reading the entire series will help today’s post make more sense. It’s completely up to you though. Here are the prior postings.
Season 5, Episode 1; (Pilot) Baby Five -The history behind it all
Season 5, Episode 2; Life Line -The famed purple box
Season 5, Episode 3: Big Mama -The nine month growth spurt
Season 5, Episode 4: Fair Plan -The pizza that failed
The alarm went off.
It was Wednesday, October 23, 2013, and I was still pregnant. To say that I was a bit discouraged over this fact would be putting it mildly. The dawning of my due date was 48 hours away and this thought alone heaped on tremendous anxiety. I needed to have this baby.
Yesterday’s adventure clearly did nothing for me. The thought of my failed attempt made me grumpy in spite of enjoying such a good night’s rest. The silver lining in this cloud would become clearer at a later time. For now, I was undeniably wallowing in self pity.
My frowny face is merely a result of nine months of accumulating hormones. I was thinking of a multitude of reasons and excuses for my blue mood as I lay there in the bed a few more moments.
I hefted myself into a sitting position and stood beside the bed a moment, just enjoying the darkness and quiet of our home.
My abdomen contracted. I rested a hand gently on my tummy as I waited for the tightening to pass.
Oh well, another day, another Braxton Hicks. I was markedly determined to continue my morning disheartened -which was wrong, I know. (Ever been that pessimistic? If so, then you know exactly how I felt.) I shrugged off the pain, certain that I’d be overdue with this little one. There’s a first for everything, I thought glumly.
I walked down the hall and woke Bunny and Fuzz for school. It was 6:52 am.
I turned on the overhead lights to their room, called their names and called their names again. I was was not in a coddling mood. Forgive me.
Breakfast needed to be set out and lunches needed to be packed, so I walked back down the hall to the kitchen.
I’m still shuffling around in my pajamas at this point. If I would have had a bathrobe that actually fit my swollen state, I would have wrapped myself in it. The temperatures had dropped during the night and it was now freezing.
My hand was on the kitchen light switch when the next contraction hit. Again I took a moment to breath through it and then shook off this second “Braxton Hicks” to set out cereal bowls. I didn’t even note the time.
It’s nothing, I told myself.
The girls sleepily walked into the kitchen and after a brief prayer of blessing on the food and the day before us, they both began scarfing down their bowls. I shook my head. Cereal is probably the one of the top meals at our house, if you could call it that. Nothing like some carbs and dairy to start your day.
Now was time for the task that I sort of dislike and was clearly avoiding -packing lunches. Although admittedly, I didn’t mind it as much as I used to since we now had an organized lunch drawer.
I began assembling their lunches at the kitchen counter. The girls were laughing, and conversing somewhat loudly for seven o’clock in the morning. Food had obviously lifted their spirits and chased away any lingering sleepiness. I smiled.
However, my smile turned more to a grimace as another strong contraction took over me. I was so, so glad that my back was to the table. I looked at the clock. 7:01.
My breath caught. Is this it? Am I really in labor?
With contractions already at approximately five minutes apart, it was not a good sign. As a precaution, I scooped up everything necessary for the stuffing of their lunch boxes and joined the girls at the kitchen table.
I never, ever sit to pack lunches, but I was hoping for two things.
First, that sitting down would reveal whether or not this was true labor. I have found that Braxton Hicks will disappear if I move around a bit, a combined effort of walking and resting. Was this labor? I really needed to know. Pronto.
Second, if this was real labor pains, sitting would hopefully stave off any rapid progression in my labor. It was, at the very least, worth my feeble attempt to try. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.
I continued to mask my pain as I worked my way through packing the lunch boxes. This normal morning distraction was both annoying and comforting. I couldn’t focus. Bunny had to tell me three times what she wanted for her morning snack. Gah.
Poor girls. Who knows what actually ended up in their lunch boxes that morning! I’d certainly not trust a woman in active labor to pack my lunch. But they didn’t know and it evidently didn’t hurt them either. Bless their hearts.
Thankfully, no one seemingly noticed or questioned my sitting in a chair. I said nothing about my contractions -not even to my husband when he entered the kitchen. No sense in scaring him until I was certain. I mean, really. I’d been having the occasional, yet strong Braxton Hicks for days. I wanted to be sure.
But what if I’m wrong though -and they’re not Braxton Hicks? What if the baby really is coming? Time alone would tell. And just to be sure, I kept a close eyeball on the clock and a mental list running in my mind. 7:06. 7:11. 7:15. 7:21. 7:26. You get the idea.
Trying to get two girls out the door for school, feeding two toddlers and attempting to sit as much as possible was not working out very well. I would gather and sign papers and then quickly sit back down. I stood back up to fix Fuzz’ hair, only to seek out my chair again as soon as I could. I’m not sure how I was even able to fix Bunny’s hair. In hindsight, headbands would have been so much faster. I could barely keep a straight face in front of my kids anymore. The pain and frequency was escalating faster than I thought possible.
I should have known at this point. And I probably should have told my husband. I have a lot of “probably should haves” from that morning.
However, my mind was totally zoned in on getting the older two settled safely at school. I would tell him later. Stupid plan, to be sure, but I was not thinking rationally at this point.
My mind was scrolling through a list of things that I needed to get done, things I needed to grab, and people I needed to call. Making sure our four older kids were where they needed to be was obviously at the top of our “we’re having the baby today” list. Sending Bunny and Fuzz off to school meant two down and only two more to go.
Relieved, I finally kissed the girls goodbye, planted a quick one on Hubs and closed the front door after them. It was 7:32 am.
My resolve to tell Hubs later went flying out the window, however, as the next contraction took over me. He needed to be told. Now. My fingers were shaking as I dialed his cell phone number.
“Hello.” (I love hearing his voice on the phone.)
“Hey,” I casually responded. “I just wanted to let you know that I think that I might be in labor. I wanted to let you know while you were out in case you wanted to swing by the church for any work that you might need later on today.”
I’m not sure why I felt like a disclaimer was warranted at this point. For crying out loud, the contractions were nearly bringing me to my knees. I guess that I didn’t want to shock him, after all this was news to him. Me, on the other hand, well, I’d already had over a half hour to adjust to the idea. Today really was the day.
Seriously, “I think I might be having a baby”?? That was the best you had?
Surely this little phone call was my “the time has come” moment if ever there was one -only I couldn’t quite muster the same theatrics as Desi Arnaz. My fumbling attempt came sputtering out much more in line with Lucille Ball’s – “Ricky, this is it” proclamation. (brownie points to everyone who has seen that episode of I Love Lucy)
“I might be in labor” was clearly the best that I could do at the moment. Sorry, Babe.
I had no sooner hung up the phone when I knew. There was no if, no maybe and no possibly. Strike that term “might” from the record-all doubt was gone.
Even though I didn’t call him back, I am so thankful for a husband who knows me better than I know myself. He wisely knew that stopping by the church would be a terrible mistake and instead raced back home to assess my labor for himself.
And let me tell you, it was not pretty sight.
I was vaguely aware when Hubs entered the house and walked into our bedroom. Zip and Pop were wandering around the house, fed but still in their jammies. I , however, was sitting like a statue on the side of our bed, afraid to move, afraid to sit still, afraid for the next contraction to sweep over me.
And I was still in my pjs myself…bed hair completed my look. I told you it wasn’t pretty.
During a lull, I tilted my head back and glanced up at my husband. The look on Hubs face said it all. His eyes were mirroring what my body was telling me. We were running out of time.
Hubs began dressing the little ones and changing diapers like a mad man.
“How far apart?” he called tersely.
I knew exactly what he meant. And my mental list was still going strong. I checked the time once more.
“Ummmm….like three – four minutes.”
Pure panic was what I was reading in Hubs’ eyes now.
“Babe, you’ve got to get dressed. I know that you don’t want to move nor do you feel like moving….but you have to. Now!”
A cattle prod may have been helpful.
But the desperation in his voice was enough to cajole me out of my stupor. I clumsily dressed at a snail’s pace. I just couldn’t move. The pressure from the baby was through the roof. It felt like my water could break at any moment and I certainly did not want that to happen, not here, not now.
I wanted greatly to be free to focus and manage my way through this natural pain called childbirth, but instead I was enduring the irritation of attempting to put clothes on and hunting down a hairbrush. Boy, was it slow going.
Every three to four minutes I was overwhelmed with agonizing contractions and during those delicious moments of relief between the waves of pain, I wanted to do nothing but to sit and bask in the reprieve, to steady myself for the next round. But time was not allowing me that luxury, the clock was not my friend.
Hubs, on the other hand, was working circles around me. He was hastily grabbing all of our last minute items from around the house and keeping an eye on the kiddos while making a few important phone calls.
I could hear Hubs’ voice calmly explaining my situation to our babysitter and telling him to just meet us at the exit off of I-85. I straightened my top and denim skirt and sat back down on the bed, dragging a brush through my hair. Make-up was a mere pipe dream at this point. Styled hair -well, that was downright laughable. (How I managed both with Zip’s birth I’ll never know.)
Only I wasn’t laughing. By now, I was softly moaning.
Hubs came hurrying back into the bedroom.
“Ok, we really need to leave, Hon. What can I do to help you? Can I get you some shoes?”
(He’s just the greatest, is he not?)
“I want my flip flops.”
Flip flops are easy to put on, it’s true. But in my heart, I was planning ahead. What if….?
What if I needed to kick my shoes off in a hurry? What if they needed to, ahem, be sanitized later? Yes, flip flops were the best choice all around.
Hubs brought me my shoes and then left to buckle our two little ones in their car seats. I awkwardly stuffed my feet in the flip flops and sat there looking at my feet. It was a surreal moment.
Nothing was going as planned. It seemed as if every fear that I’d ever dreamed possible was now playing a major role in the events of my morning. Unbelievable.
I needed to focus on the good thoughts. I was about to give birth to my fifth child. The details were still undecided, sure, but the chances were strong that I’d have a new baby in just a few hours -definitely by lunch. While I certainly didn’t need to be pinched to believe it, I was in awe. Five kids….soon.
Reflection time ended as another contraction knocked me over like a tidal wave. I felt more than saw my husband reenter the room.
“The kids are in the car. I have everything we need. We’re just waiting for you. Come on, Babe. I’ll help you to the car. You can do this.”
Bless his heart.
With Hubs’ hand on the small of my back, supporting me, I began tottering my way out of our house, swaying like a drunken sailor and grabbing the walls as I went. The pressure was just indescribable. With each step I took, the more I felt like the baby was going to just fall out on the floor in front of me. Cute waddling was a thing of the distant past. There was and is no term for the my promenade out the front door.
And I was still moving at the rate of an expiring turtle. (No, I’ve never seen one, but that pretty much sums up my speed. Trust me. If you ever see one, you’ll think of me and this moment.)
Ever so slow.
My heart was racing and I literally felt like I was going to be sick.
I stepped outside to an extremely cloudy and overcast morning. It looked like it could rain at any minute, and the wind was whipping at my skirt and pulling back my hair. The fact that I was freezing and probably needed a coat didn’t even register.
Somehow, I managed to make my way down the front steps. Hubs reached around me to open the car door to the passenger seat. From inside the open door, I could see Pop sitting directly behind my seat and Zip silently observing me from her perch on the back row. They were as quiet as mice -highly unusual. I’m sure that they sensed that something was about to happen.
I hesitated briefly, eyeing my chair. I hated to say it, but I had to.
“Hubs, ummm,…….we’re gonna need the emergency birth kit ready. Let’s cover my seat and the floor at my feet -just as precaution.”
Wordlessly, he spread out the necessary plastic and helped settle me on it. Then he shut the door.
It was 8:30 am. Had it really only been roughly an hour and a half since that first twinge?
Let me just stop right here and say that there really are no words to adequately describe the myriad of emotions that was threatening to overthrow me. I am speechless. Fear, pain, disbelief, excitement and more pain barely even scrape the surface.
I watched as Hubs ran around the car, opened his car door and climbed in. I could feel another contraction beginning to peak. Practically simultaneously, Hubs shut his door, started the van and put the gears in reverse.
He hadn’t even touched his foot to the gas pedal when I began gasping for air.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! No, no, no. Aw, Babe, my water’s breeeaking.” As a good southern girl, I can certainly belt out a rebel yell any ol’ day, but I was desperately trying to not scar my sweet children sitting behind me. Not that I’ve ever yelled during labor, but their presence was certainly cramping any possibilities. Instead my outburst was a somewhat of a cross between a stunned declaration and a helpless whimper.
We hadn’t even left our driveway, our DRIVEWAY, and we had a long stretch of interstate driving ahead of us. And morning work traffic.
45 minutes to be exact. Yes, that number had certainly returned to haunt us.
The van was still rolling backwards and I was already kicking off my wet shoes.
Forget the flip-flops. My heart was managing those just fine.
-to be continued-
Here are the links to the following episodes.
Season 5, Episode 6: Wild Ride -The 45 minute attempt
Season 5, Episode 7: News Baby -The drama of television
Thanks for reading.