graham’s birth story part 1 – the last to know
i’m sharing the story of my son’s birth this week. if you missed yesterday’s preface to this story, you might want to read it for the background on my bizarre start to labor.
the day before graham arrived, ten days before his due date, i decided to drive to my hometown to work one final day with an author there who was thisclose to finishing her book. my hunch was that baby boy was going to hang out in there a few days longer than calculated, anyway, and i wanted to finish up this editing job.
i spent the evening visiting my amazing titu and enjoying a late-nite chat with my dad. i finally went to bed around midnight, not even sorry that i would be probably be tired at work the next day.
i woke at 3:00 am with a full bladder, cursing myself for forgetting to set my pee alarm. my bladder was bulging, again, but this was the first time that i could not urinate no matter how i positioned or pressed. i was freaking out, running through worst-case scenarios in my head as i did acrobatics around the bedroom, trying desperately to make the baby move.
after practicing every prenatal yoga inversion i could remember and pleading out loud with graham to please move, i was finally successful. relieved (in more ways than one), i went back to bed about 4:00 am hoping to at least doze in an upright position for a few hours.
but every time i shifted a bit, i felt a little gush down there. my thoughts immediately associated this with my crazy condition and the previous scary incident. great, i broke my bladder. now i’m peeing myself.
and then i realized that every time i felt a little leak, i also felt kinda crampy. hmmmm, were the gushes and cramps coinciding with my movements or coming periodically? i gave up on sleep and got up to evaluate.
after about half an hour of occasional cramping and padding my underwear with tissues to determine if it smelled like urine (pregnancy is so glamorous), i texted our doula an “is this anything?” message, not wanting to alert too many people if i was just gassy and incontinent. i didn’t know.
when a response didn’t come quickly, i decided to called my midwife. she recommended that i at least come to the hospital and get checked out. she knew. when she said to bring my bags just in case, i didn’t tell her i was actually an hour and a half away.
i delayed calling lee until around 5:30, when i knew his alarm would be going off, anyway. still not sure i was experiencing the real thing, i told him to go on in to work and just be on standby. he knew. when he seemed shocked that i hadn’t yet woken my dad, i didn’t tell him i was thinking about going to work for an hour or two before heading back.
uncertainty played around in my mind as i gathered my things. everyone says you’ll know a real contraction when you feel one, right? if my water had broken, wouldn’t contractions be more intense? this has to be a symptom of my weird bladder issue. but the gushiness and crampiness continued, so i put on a huge pad (that i’m sure had been in the bathroom drawer for at least a decade) and prepared to head back to okc.
my early-bird dad was already awake when i went downstairs. (little did i know, he had been up for awhile wondering about all the movement he heard upstairs.) i told him about my change in plans, assuring him it was probably a false alarm. he knew. when he told me to let him know what they said at the hospital, i didn’t tell him that i was thinking about just heading home and waiting it out there.
even as i pulled onto the highway,* i still wasn’t convinced i was in labor. that would soon change.
check back tomorrow for part 2 of graham’s birth story. it gets better.
*i’m still surprised that my dad let me leave and didn’t insist on driving me himself. way to play it cool, dad.