Exactly one month ago today, I went into labor. My how time flies! I was 39 weeks and 2 days along. There's some dispute about when my labor began--I prefer to clock it from when I started timing my contractions at 20 minutes apart which was around 1:00 p.m. My husband insists, and is probably correct, that the actual time is 2:00n a.m. when I woke up with a persistent back pain. However, I was still able to stretch out that pain which was further lessened when I went to the bathroom for the most part. Unfortunately, the clincher was that I wasn't able to go back to sleep and throughout my entire pregnancy, like always, I was able to sleep.
As the day progressed, probably around 9:00 a.m., I was no longer able to alleviate the back pain with stretches. I then timed what I assumed were Braxton Hicks contractions for an hour and saw no discernible pattern or increase in frequency. (I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions since the second trimester, though since they never hurt, I had difficulty discerning between them and baby's certain movements). Thinking nothing too serious was afoot, I went about my day which included picking up a rental car for my aunt who was staying with us to help out during the last bit of my pregnancy then with baby. At the car rental office, I was slightly more irritable than usual, though the Hertz staff's incompetence was unparalleled in my opinion. My back pain had worsened considerably although I had been experiencing some discomfort driving a car for the last month and could not do so without a cute little pillow which had vanished that day.
Finally home from the car rental, around 1:00 p.m. I started timing the duration and frequency of what I still though were Braxton Hicks contractions, looking for a pattern. I have an entire notebook--roughly 4 hours worth with no pattern. However, I wasn't able to nap (again what I should have realized was a bad sign) and eventually it seemed like they were getting closer together, perhaps 5-6 minutes apart, though the timed duration of each contraction was inconsistent (e.g. one would last for 20 seconds and another for 60). Looking back, I suspect I was timing peak to peak of each contraction, rather than the actual start and end.
Around 4:00 p.m., I called my husband and told him that he shouldn't work late that evening and that I was considering calling the hospital to see whether we should be evaluated. I emphasized that I was fairly certain it was false labor and I was simply being wussy about a little back pain. My husband immediately wanted my auntie to take me to the hospital, but I insisted we'd wait till he came home. After a very uncomfortable car ride--uncomfortable due to the fact that I couldn't walk around--we made it to the hospital by 5:30 p.m.
More waiting at the hospital...I'm sure I looked very peculiar walking in circles in the tiny waiting area. Finally, we were shown into an exam room and I hooked up to a machine which monitored my contractions. As I watched the printout, all I saw were little peaks and valleys which seemed far apart. Even the nurse who took the printout to the doctor also seemed to think we would be returning home that evening. Then I was checked out by a midwife who informed us that we were...six centimeters dilated and having a baby!
Here's me in the exam room still not entirely convinced. We were admitted around 6:00 p.m., Wednesday evening. Isn't the gown a lovely shade of Pepto-Bismol?
At 7:24 a.m. the next day, the Blueberry made his appearance! Thus, I was either in labor for 29.5 hours or merely 18.5. Neither number sounds good, but I much prefer to claim the latter.