At around 1:30ish my mom and I left Inanna Birth Center and headed home. As I stepped out of my car taking a few steps towards my house, I had a light contraction. I didn’t think much about it because it knew it was normal to experience cramping as a result of having your membranes swept, but it was strong enough to give me pause. I stopped for a few seconds and simply breathed through it and then headed inside.
By 2pm the cramping intensified and they were coming in waves fairly regularly. I had my mom begin to time them for me. Three minutes apart and anywhere from a minute to 90 seconds long. The pain was tolerable. It wasn’t enough to make me feel that I was in real or active labor yet. I actually considered that this was possibly another false start and tried to focus on other things, like putting my daughter, Zoe, down for her afternoon nap.
Once Zoe was asleep, I decided that I should help things along since it was the middle of the afternoon, after all. I pulled out the ball and began to rock through the contractions on all fours while leaning over on the ball. The contractions were still coming every 2 to 3 minutes and continued to keep a momentum of a minute to 90 seconds long. Really things weren’t changing too much, however, it did seem like they were getting just a touch stronger (or was that my imagination?).
At around 3pm, my mom asked me if I wanted to call my sister in Austin and tell her to come. The plan was to contact her once I knew I was in labor and she would make the four hour road trip from Austin to Denton so that she could be present for Noah’s birth. I told my mom to wait, because I still wasn’t convinced this was the real deal. I had experienced so much practice labor the last few days, that I didn’t want to have Alysa come all this way for a false alarm. I suggested that we wait and see what was happening around 4pm before we made any phone calls.
My contractions stayed at the same pace, and remained tolerable on the pain scale, meaning I could talk in between them and cope through them without having to give much thought to it. I knew it wasn’t anything serious yet. In fact, at this stage, when I wasn’t contracting, I was cleaning the living room, sweeping the floor and singing along to music. I remember thinking that if I was going to have a baby today then at least I could come home to a clean house.
Around 3:45 I went to use the rest room. It was then that I knew I was indeed in labor. I had obvious bloody show. Bloody show is light bleeding that occurs as a result of a woman’s cervix dilating in labor. I came out of the bathroom, pulled out the bag I was planning on bringing to the birth center, changed into my “birthing outfit” and put on a pair of depends. There, I thought to myself. Let’s do this….I am in labor.
Here’s a fun Facebook interaction that happened right around that exact time that I realized I was in labor:
The Mommypotamus: Dear Joy, please have your baby soon so I can host another birth story bash. There are so many breathtaking stories to share, but I’m waiting for you. :)
April 13 at 3:49pm: Joy: pretty sure I am in labor right now.
April 13 at 4:50pm: The Mommypotamus: SERIOUSLY??? Oh that is amazing Joy! Praying for beautiful birth and perfect positioning for your little one! Does this mean I get to be in your birth story???
However, in between contractions I was still fine…texting and updating Facebook even. I even decided that the dining room floor needed to be swept and did so in between contractions. Obviously, there was a part of me that wasn’t 100% committed to being in labor. Which is why by 4:30 my contractions slowed down to five minutes apart and the intensity of the contractions lessened as well. I think this was a sign that I wasn’t allowing myself to really let go and surrender to the work of birth. Zoe had also woke up from her nap and was wondering what was going on with mommy. Around that time, our friend Lindy texted to see if she had time to go home and grab a few things before coming over to watch Zoe. I told her sure, she mentioned she would come by the house around six.
I remember going into my room to get some space, when all of a sudden the next contraction I had knocked me in the gut and took me apart from end to end. I leaned over my bed and pushed out the pain with my breath. The contraction had a nice bell curve to it, starting out small and peaking at the middle with lots of pressure in my lady garden and then slowly fading out. Oh yes, this is it. I stepped out of my room and my mom looked at me and said, “I heard that, sounds like you’re picking up.” I nodded my head, and was still trying to catch my breath.
The next few contractions were following suite. I now knew without question we needed to leave for the birth center ASAP. The pressure I experienced with these contractions was very intense, to say the least, and I began to wonder if I was in transition. I needed help getting through these contractions. It felt like a mac truck was barreling down through my body and trying to make its exit between my legs. Peter was right by my side. I held on to him for dear life and I vocalized as we slow danced together through each contraction. After the contractions ended, I asked Peter to call Lindy and tell her to come right away, we needed to leave NOW – this baby was coming quick. That was approximatively 5: 15 pm.
Just then, Jean, my midwife, called to check on me. I could NOT answer or talk on the phone, so Peter answered. She didn’t even need to ask what was going on, because she could hear me in the back ground bellowing through my contractions, as I leaned over the dining room table. She told him to get me to the birth center right away. He let her know we were leaving just as soon as Lindy arrived. The next contraction the pressure intensified and I told Peter, “We have to leave RIGHT NOW!” My mom agreed to stay at the house with Zoe and wait for Lindy to arrive. According to my phone we called Lindy, at 5:20pm to tell her to come ASAP. The plan was to have Lindy drop my mom off at the birth center, which is about a 7-10 minute drive from our house. Good. Shortly after that we were out the door and on our way.