* Disclosure: I may use words that may make readers squeamish...I gave birth, in a pool of water. You've been warned.
Emma was due March 6. I could tell she was not going to arrive that day. I tried to follow my own favorite advice "Babies are born on their birthday, not their due date." But I was anxious.
I had had some Braxton Hicks contractions, cramping, and other pre-labor feelings but still felt way too good for labor to be knocking on the door. I had kidded with my colleagues that I would be there on March 7. I could have gone...but opted not to. I declared my maternity leave as of March 7 and stayed home. The last thing I wanted to happen was to have labor start and be over an hour away from home.
I was okay on Monday not being in labor yet. We ran some errands, did a few things around the house and started reupholstering a chair. I figured if we began a big project that labor would of course start because we were onto other things. No dice. For three more days, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I waited-impatiently.
We tried a few "home remedies" - chicken Parmesan, acupressure, pineapple, black licorice, "what got you in, get's you out," raspberry leaf tea. Nothing seemed to be jump starting the process. I was really thinking I should have gone to work and I was wasting my maternity leave.
Wednesday afternoon Sophia came home from school with a cold. This turned out to be the perfect storm. We put her to bed that night and I told my mom and sister to be prepared. Now I'll go into labor because I have to focus on Sophie too.
Sophie was up around 11pm and needed her pull-up changed and was coughing and couldn't get comfortable. I changed her and settled her into her sleeping bag on the floor. Around 2am she was awake again coughing a lot and generally miserable. I needed to sleep so gave in and let her come to bed with us. I didn't want to catch her cold but sleep was a priority at that point. She tossed and turned and flopped and fussed. Sleep was a joke.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
At 3 or 3:15am I realized I was having contractions. They were manageable and about 20 minutes apart. I would wake with each one, check the clock, go back to bed. The alarm was supposed to go off around 4:30am but because I wasn't really sleeping I was able to preempt it and get Phillip up. He was supposed to travel to Gettysburg with his students for a two-day trip. I told him he wasn't going, I was having contractions. We talked about him heading to the the school to see the other chaperon and the students off. Within the hour I told him he couldn't do that either.
So at 4:30am I got up, told Sophie I would come back to bed in a bit, showered, had coffee, ate a bagel and checked the internet to confirm I could be having contractions without my water breaking or loosing my mucous plug.
I sat in the living room on my exercise ball, having contractions, watching the news, and cleaning out my Crackberry for about an hour. I was most certainly fully in labor-I wasn't going back to bed. I called the midwife around 5am to let her know I had been having contractions but my water was still intact. She said to call her when my water broke or 8am which ever came first.
Sophie continued to sleep-probably the most restful sleep she got that night. I continued to have contractions and just wrote down the timing on paper to gauge if they were getting closer and stronger. Phillip sprung into action cleaning, gathering, organizing. He got the bassinet down from the attic, did laundry and sundry other things to prepare for the birth. I was totally fine laboring through the contractions on my own at this point because they were manageable and I didn't really realize how strong or close together they were!
At 6:30am I had him wake up my mom and sister. They came into the living room, sat on the couch with their coffee, and stared at me. It was like they were watching television. "Hey, what's going on?" "I'm in labor. What are you doing?" I sent them to the grocery store for some last minute items I knew we needed. Milk, butter (salted and unsalted), apple juice, and ice cream. After all, if Emma was going to come we needed ice cream.