#1 - I know what's going on
#2 - I don't know what's going on
I know what's going on...
I've done this before. I can imagine labor as if it's happening. I can practically feel baby's downy little head under my cheek following birth. I know the signs of labor. I remember what I sound like when I yell... the smells of the hospital... the view from the hospital bed of all those blue-scrubbed people down at the end.
I am not wondering much what it will be like because I have been there. It's like an athletic event in a gym. Maybe the gym is different. Maybe the uniforms have changed and the opponent unknown. And the fans different. And the outcome subject to variation...
But I've been on the court before... and I got this.
I don't know what's going on...
I know what's coming, more or less, but I don't know when or what the details will bring. The people in my little world are waiting for a word from me to get up and go. And the bald truth of the matter is that I don't know as much about it as they think I do.
I've had two false labor starts in the past week in spite of the fact that I've done this half a dozen times already. I have two major competing fears: the hospital, and delivering on the side of the road. Combined, they are making it pretty tough for me to discern when it is time to go because one shouts a decisive STOP and the other a very loud GO.
If I could, I would just deliver at home. But my husband is a first-responder and he knows what the precious minutes between the need for emergency assistance and the arrival of it can mean to an individual life. He's not willing to take that risk if we can get to the hospital and I very much agree. Even an amazing ambulance response time will run into minutes... and what does even one minute mean to someone who cannot breathe?
But, oh, how I hate the hospital and all of the ridiculous intervening and poking and recording. Give me a few hours and I will document all the stupid and yucky things I have encountered there. The invasiveness of the information they gather, the unnecessary tests the government demands they perform and then make the patient pay for, the splatters of blood from the previous occupant that the cleaning staff missed. And if you try to go home early, the head of the nursing staff comes in all tight lipped and demands to know what problem we have with their quality of care.
Dear Sincere Nurse Lady,
We have no problem with you or your staff specifically. Mom is healthy. Baby is healthy. We're tired. We're stressed out in this place. And we just want to go home and see our other children. No offense intended at all.
So this is where we are. I've already disrupted the days of my loved ones twice in order to try to get this right. No big deal. But I'm hyper-focused now and that is a bit uncomfortable.
My false labor log:
Day 1: I am awakened by sharp pains that I recognize all too-clearly. They are a little odd and non-traditional with regard to labor pains but for me, they mean "imminent" and they kept getting stronger. With my last labor, it was these pains which directly proceeded my water breakage and hasty delivery.
Intensity increases along with tremendous pressure. The pressure is so great that my body starts shaking violently and I am unable to control it even with breathing and prayer. I lay down on the bed and the entire bed is shaking with me. This has only ever happened to me during labor as I begin to enter transition. From that point, it is minutes before delivery.
Panic sets in. This is way too fast. There's no way I can make it to the hospital. I lay down in bed and use all the relaxation techniques I know, hoping to prepare well for the coming delivery. I haven't awakened the Chief yet because... well, I guess I don't know why. Perhaps I'm afraid he'll try to hustle me out the door to the hospital and I know we won't make it.
I continue to lay on the bed and breathe and shake and eventually, my body calms and I fall asleep. I wake up an hour later with no labor symptoms at all.
Day 2: It's been four days since my last false start. Contractions all day long. Not terrible but steady. I feel unwell and tired from the constant working of the muscles. My appetite decreases and all the details seem to point to pre-labor. I am cranky and having trouble focusing on conversations. I am barely able to eat throughout the day and the contractions are causing me to have to lay down a great deal. I keep thinking that there will be a break in the activity but there is none... only an increase.
The night is long. I sleep as much as I am able but the intensity builds and the contractions are strong enough to wake me up from a deep sleep. By morning, I am breathing deliberately through them and timing them by the clock. I fall asleep one last time and am awakened to real pain and pressure. I wait for more of these and am not disappointed. I get up and give the Chief the thumbs up sign and we begin to get ready.
At the last minute, I get nervous about showing up too early at the hospital and Chief encourages me to lay down for just a little longer to rest. We both know that there is no rest to be found in a hospital. I fall asleep and three hours later, I awaken to... nothing.
There are a lot harder things to deal with in life. I'm trying to keep that in perspective and not complain. But if things keep up like this, I suspect this is going to be a rather challenging two weeks! I know once it is time for the baby to be born that she's going to fly out in a hurry, just like all of her siblings. Super fast. But I wonder if hindsight will reveal that this is simply the longest labor ever!