I'll start by saying that Thursday is my favourite day of the week. For real. Partly due to that lovely Montréal tradition of the Thursday 5 à 7, partly because it's almost Friday and the whole weekend is stretched out in front of you, just one more day of work. I love that.
So it was a Thursday, July 21st, 5 days after my due date. It was about eight thousand degrees outside and ridiculously humid and I had my weekly appointment scheduled at noon with my OB. I took this picture as I was heading out the door. You may remember that I was sporting a hideously bruised left leg so I actually wore a cute dress and put on some jewelry and even a little makeup to distract myself from the OVERDUE OVERDUE OVERDUE I'M SO OVER BEING SO HUGE feeling.
I have had my membranes stripped before. With Liliane, the experience was so awful that I was plunged into dark self doubt about my ability to survive childbirth. Ha! Turns out poking around your very closed and unprepared cervix is more painful than actually squeezing a baby out of there but who knew?
ANYWAY, by this time I had already been swept twice (I grit my teeth and gripped the table and told them to GO FOR IT and surprisingly, it wasn't half as bad as I remembered. Go figure.) Since I was overdue and really so ready to be please be not pregnant anymore, Dr. Johnson went in for another sweep and TA DA! Broke my water.
In case you haven't had the pleasure, let me clarify that it's nothing like you've seen in the movies or anything. Oopsie, my water broke! (*dainty chuckle*) No way man, it's like a warm ocean of liquid. AN OCEAN. The good news was I didn't have to clean it up. The other good news was that the fluid was all clear so we were officially on our way. I didn't immediately have any contractions (thankfully) so once my wave of nausea had passed I was able to clean myself off, wad up a bunch of sanitary products, put my dress back on (hallelujah, I wasn't wearing shorts) and waddle back to the car without leaving a trail of "is that lady peeing?" behind me.
My doctor told me to head to the hospital. I negotiated a stop at home to get my stuff and organize for Liliane to be picked up but after that, we were hospital bound.
I got to the car and called Stéphane who went immediately into panic mode. I tried to reassure him that I wasn't having contractions yet so don't worry but I don't think he heard me over the hyperventilating. I called the doula and my family from the car and went through every emotion on the drive home from elation to dread to BRING IT.
Stéphane went to pick up Liliane from daycare and I got into the shower (what a relief). Still no contractions so I calmly finished packing up Liliane's stuff and we got her out the door with Grandmaman and Grandpapa. She was so excited to go off and be spoiled for a few days. Stéphane had started to breathe normally again by this point.
It was around 3PM when I started to feel the first telltale twinges. I knew that the official plan was to go to the hospital, but since things were moving so slowly, we thought, why rush? See how cocky you get when you've already done it once?
By 5PM contractions were maybe 10 minutes apart. I kept busy, walking around and making phonecalls and psyching myself up. We ate some dinner around 6, then took a walk to keep things moving plus I thought a frozen lemonade from DQ would make me happy. Do I get a discount for being in labour?
Johanne the doula arrived around 8PM and although my contractions were clocking in steadily at every 8 or 10 minutes, they would almost disappear as soon as I sat down. She checked the baby's heartbeat (all good) and we talked about our next move. Since going to the hospital would mean hanging around and waiting there (me in a bed but my team in very uncomfortable chairs) or possibly being induced to speed up the process (no thanks), we decided to stay at home a little longer. In fact, we were all pretty worn out and knowing that sleep was going to soon be hard to come by, we actually went to bed.
Oh, it was blissful. Stéphane fell asleep immediately and Johanne stretched out on the sofa. We kept a few lights on low and it was so calm and so quiet. I dozed and occasionally breathed through some of the more intense pain but it was mostly just peaceful. I'll never forget it, the best decision we could have made.
At about 2AM I woke up, shivering. Not cold, but my teeth were chattering. I got up and walked around a little, took a lot of deep breaths and wrapped myself in my old cat comforter, a blanket I've had since I was about 10. Contractions were coming stronger but still at least 5 minutes apart and not more than 30 seconds long. I went back to bed all curled up in my blanket and dozed off again but by 3 the contractions were a solid 3 minutes apart. Time to go.
I was so dreading that ride to the hospital, positive that I would be sick in the car. Stéphane was all prepared with plastic bags and towels. And although contractions were fast and furious, I was totally lucid in those minutes between. Which was good when I had to explain the best route to get there. Jean Talon (gasp, gasp), all the way to Cote des neiges (aaarrrrrrragggg).
Labouring in the car was completely unpleasant but I didn't barf (yay!) and we had the road to ourselves so it only took about 10 minutes to get there. By the time we got to Emergency I was that lady from the movies, huffing and puffing and stopping every couple of minutes to yowl through another contraction.
When we got upstairs to the birthing centre, (no thanks wheelchair, gotta keep moving) the nurses were not only totally unfazed by my contractions, (speak up dear, I can't hear you) they were irritated that we waited so long to come in. (Your water broke WHEN?)
It was 3:45 AM and I was 7 centimeters dilated.
Stay tuned for Part 2!