I generally get really stubborn when someone tells me what to do, so it shouldn’t really surprise me that I went into labour the night before my scheduled induction…twice. It was like my body said “You don’t get to tell me when I’m having this baby, I’m doing this my own way.”
I have a strong family history of overdue babies so I knew I was highly unlikely to go into labour early or even on time. I still threw every trick in the book into the mix; acupuncture, long walks, pineapple, bouncing on a yoga ball. Nothing worked, and so I found myself packing my hospital bag the day before my induction feeling cranky that my body wasn’t cooperating with my best laid plans.
I had been grumpy and crampy all day, but I’d also had false labour three times already so I didn’t take it seriously. Around 11:00 I laid down to go to sleep and couldn’t get comfortable. As I tossed and turned I suddenly realized “Wait…these pains are getting really…contraction-y.”
So I started timing them and trying to get some sleep (ha, yeah right). They were definitely getting stronger but they weren’t settling into a pattern and were totally sporadic. 8 minutes apart, 12 minutes apart, 6…4…9. It was exactly the same as my first birth, when we thought it wasn’t real because the contractions weren’t regular and I was terrified thinking “oh my god, if this is Braxton Hicks what is real labour going to feel like!?”.
Around 2 am I decided it was definitely labour, but it was impossible to tell how much longer I had when the contractions were all over the place. Should we wake up my in-laws and have them come now, when they were scheduled to arrive at 6 am? Or ride it out?
After a few hours of indecision it was 5 am anyway so we just waited until they arrived and hopped in the car. As we drove to the hospital I realized that my contractions had slowed down, and by the time we arrived at the hospital labour had pretty much stalled.
We checked into the hospital and got settled in our room. A chipper nurse walked in and said “Okay, how are we feeling?” I burst into tears and said “I’ve been in labour all night and I don’t do very well without sleep so can I please have your largest epidural as soon as possible?”
I had progressed to 5 cm on my own, so luckily all they had to do was break my water and labour started again. I got my sweet, sweet epidural and spent the morning napping and letting my body do its thing. It was an unbelievably peaceful vibe. I requested Taylor Swift’s Folklore album on the speaker we brought and turned the lights down low. My first birth experience was complicated and a bit traumatic (more on that another time), so I never would have imagined what a beautiful and positive experience it could be.
At 6:37 that evening (yup, 19 hours or so) Sam made his appearance after a mercifully short amount of pushing. My first thought when I saw him was that he looked so much like his brother, and as soon as he was laying on my chest I felt like I had known him all my life.
There are more chapters to this story, including a confusing 6 day NICU experience I’ll explain another time. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sharing in my recollection of one of the biggest days of my life.