Last Friday, we attended the school's Monster Mash. A dance where the kids get to wear their costumes, go through the haunted hallway, and dance in the gym. It was a delightful family affair. Actually, it was quite charming to see the girls coming up to T and waving at him or shyly saying hi and commenting about his Ninja Turtle costume. There are about 4 girls for every boy in T's class. It warmed both Hubby's and my hearts that he seems genuinely well liked by his peers. Plus, his glasses seem to make him really popular. Lil Sister totally got in on the action too wearing her Rapunzal costume. Both kids tore it up on the dance floor, me, too actually. I'm sure that was quite the sight. I'll include a photo of them right before we left. Hubby and I had worked the whole day and the kids had also been at school the whole day. We were all very tired but still went for an hour and had a blast.
That night I started to get some contractions - must have been all that dancing. The kids were so exhausted, Hubby and I actually had some time alone. We sat and just talked. It was so nice to talk uninterrupted. We haven't done that in a while. Then we were so exhausted we went to bed. I woke at about 1:00 with stronger contractions. These persisted and I would actually doze off in between but either dream about them or wake up about every 10-15 minutes. I did not sleep well. In the morning, everyone slept in but I got up because I just felt like I HAD to finish these baby booties and pumpkin hat. Cute, huh? Things were continuing. Actually, the contractions were coming about every 5-6 minutes at this point. I was also starting to get uncomfortable if I sat still so I continued doing chores and at 9:00 woke Hubby up saying, "I think we're going to have a baby today or tomorrow."
We spent the day getting the house organized, the kids lined up to go to Aunt T's and Uncle Doc's place, went to lunch and took the kids to the school to play. While they played I walked in an attempt to get the contractions to get a bit stronger and more frequent. Actually, they were starting to get so strong that riding in the car was becoming quite uncomfortable, particularly if we went over a bump. We came home and went on another walk. Actually, a hike and I made them run sprints up the hill. I wanted tired kids if they were going to spend the night away from us (they do not do well staying in their bed).
Back at home we had dinner, gave bathes, and packed a few last minute items. Still, as uncomfortable as I was getting, things were still pretty spaced at 5-6 minutes but consistent. At 8:00 we took the kids to their aunt and uncle's. It's a 30 minute drive. After we dropped them I insisted we come back home so I could labor at home until I felt it was urgent to get to the hospital. I asked Hubby to come with me on a walk in the neighborhood. We took a 45 minute walk and by the end things were definitely getting stronger. We went in and started watching my current favorite movie, The Avengers. We watched for almost two hours and I just could not take the discomfort anymore and the contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes. Then I started to shake. When Hubby said it was actually quite warm in our room and I was shivering he insisted we head to the hospital.
We went in at about 12:15. When I got there, I was having pretty consistent and strong contractions about every 3-4 minutes. The nurse checked my status and I was barely progressed from my appointment 2 weeks prior with the nurse practitioner. (I've been seeing the NP because 1 - I love NPs for obvious reasons, 2 - I only have to wait 15 minutes to see her instead of the minimum 45 to see the doctor, and 3 - she spends more time with me and just makes me feel better; don't get me wrong, I love our doctor, he's just over-stretched). Oh, and I don't get my cervix checked at all these end appointments. I find it does little to help my sanity. When she checked at that appointment, I was at 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced and baby was at 0 station. When the hospital nurse checked, after a day of laboring, I was at 2 cm dilated, 70% effaced, and 0 station. WOW! All that work for so little. I explained I've never been able to dilate without medication, hence, my hesitation for even coming in but with all the discomfort, frequency of contractions, and the shakes, I thought I better. She concurred. In fact, she started getting things ready to admit me but said she wanted me to walk and see if things progressed and then she would call the doctor.
So, we walked from 1:00 to 2:00. By that time I was so exhausted. Hubby, too. He would actually just lay down in the hall way at times when I took a rest during a contraction. At 2:30 there was no change but we hung around and were monitored to see what would happen for the next 30-45 minutes. At the 45 minute mark, everything just stopped. Period. I have no idea why. Maybe my body was just exhausted. Maybe my body knew I was getting a cold and that virus put a hault to everything. Who knows. But since then, nothing.
At my appointment yesterday I was once again scheduled to see the NP but the doctor insisted I see him instead. So, the kids and I waited for over an hour to see him. His concern is that I wait too long to get to the hospital because I am concerned about "crying wolf" again, which I am and explained that I had yet to make it to 4 cm without drug intervention. He says I could still do it on my own as every labor is different so he does not want me to chance it. Still, though, I don't want a repeat performance of this weekend. I was exhausted after all that. So our compromise, which is a compromise since I really had my heart set on all natural birth. The plan, if I have a repeat performance with regular contractions every 2-3 minutes, I go back to the hospital. If I am dilating, they admit me. If not and the hospital is not busy, they will induce. If nothing by 40+ weeks, we induce. It's a good compromise. I don't need 4th degree tearing again from a giant baby nor a c-section from a baby that cannot come out. But I also want to try to do the hypnobirthing if I can, even if I need to get a little pitocin, I'll decline on the epidural (if I can) and move around doing my positions as best as I can while being continuously monitored. My body just does not seem to be made to birth babies without help. We already know that had I given birth to T in a non-modern medicine age I would have died. So, some folks can do all that natural stuff in their homes and I am so happy for you that you can do this. But please don't look down on those of us who need a little push to get things going.
I am still hopeful things will work out in accordance to my ultimate birth plan. I spend many moments during the day visualizing it and hoping it will come to pass. However, I am also trying to be flexible as it is the ultimate lesson parenthood has taught me and if I can master this lesson maybe I can move onto the next!
Oh, and the kids did wonderfully at their Aunt and Uncle's. They even went to a different church and had a blast. And they stayed in bed all night.
I am including some profile photos from 37, 38, and 39 weeks. The 39 week ones are not the best as the "official ones" were taken very early in the morning via camera timer with the camera being balanced on a chair right as we were walking out the door to drop the kids off for school. The shadow picture from that day was pretty cool, though. Also included is Lil Sister snuggling and talking with Baby Sister about coming out and joining us. That blanket on my tummy we are snuggling with is the one my Aunt gave me before she died.
Here's hoping Baby Sister makes her appearance soon. I thought for sure it would happen today as our doctor told us he would not be available between 4:30 and 6:30. Alas, it would not appear to be the case. We'll see. Sometimes we are surprised. I'd be fine with that. Now I'm off to eat spicy Vietnamese food...