Although I wasn’t any closer to delivering, my due date had come and gone, I decided to begin maternity leave as scheduled. Things at work had slowed for me to the point that everyone felt comfortable with the handoff and I was ready not to be there anymore. The only advice anyone had left for me at this point was to walk, which wasn’t really feasible considering my job required me to sit for 8 hours a day. By the time I left to go home for the day, I was too worn out to do much other than what was needed at home. Going on leave, having the days freed up to give this last ditch effort a try seemed to make sense.
My son and husband left for soccer the next morning, and I decided to go hit the walking trail at the park. It was a lovely autumn day, warm and sunny. I made my way around only about a half mile before the contractions started, although they were only about twenty minutes apart at that point and not very steady. I went home, ate some lunch and decided to see what happened.
The weekend progressed, and the contractions did tighten up in frequency and duration, although not nearly enough to warrant a visit to the hospital yet. I took my son to the grocery store on Sunday and that seemed to kick things up another notch. By dinner time, we were six minutes apart, and I thought it might be go time. I called the doctor’s office after hours line and left a message.
I want to pause here and say that, looking back, I should have absolutely switched my OB earlier in my pregnancy. To say that her bedside manner was lacking is an understatement. Not only did she take an hour to call me back, but her reaction (which my husband got to hear over the speakerphone in the car) was so nonplussed about the fact that I was probably going to have my baby soon left me doubting myself that I should even be paying attention to what I was feeling. As you can imagine, since I’m writing this post this way, I was right to do what I did that night, and at the time I’m crafting this post, I’m seriously plotting my exit strategy from a caregiver who is anything but.
We arrived at triage around 7:00, my son and husband in tow, which was not the plan initially. But, I was feeling scared and unsure, and having them with me gave me a bit of strength. I was going back and forth between fear and excitement. I sent out a text to my friend and birth partner who would be taking care of me so the boys could go home. Not long after I was taken back to be examined, but due to a miscommunication on my part, the boys stayed in the empty waiting room, cranky and unsure as well.
Once I confirmed my birth partner was on the way, I texted my husband and son to head home. The monitoring process to see if I was in labor would take a while. It was best to send them home to keep some sense of normalcy while we waited this thing out.
The nurse eventually came in and checked me, finding I was about 3 centimeters dilated. I was excited, thinking this was a sure thing, but they were reluctant to admit me until it was certain that I was moving along beyond that. After a while, they checked again, finding that it wasn’t really. I was given the option to walk for two hours or go home. Having had enough of this, I decided to try to walk. By then it was late, almost ten, and I’d have to walk until midnight already exhausted from a long day, to figure out whether or not the baby was coming.
But, my determination and that of my birth partner would not be so easily dissuaded. We opted to walk. And walk we did. Since I work on the campus of the hospital where I was to deliver, we found that walking outside in the tepid autumn air was most agreeable. There was a super moon that night, and it was quite lovely, in spite of the increasing pain of the contractions. By the time we returned to triage, they were roughly three to five minutes apart. The nurse checked me again, and put me at 5 centimeters dilated. It was finally happening!