pause for contraction/ my early labor post

The morning of the my 3rd day overdue I wake up with lower back pain and complain to Bob about it. He mercifully rubs my lower back. I don’t think that much of it. The weight of my belly is enough to induce that sort of pain, I think. And I was uncomfortable all night long. I finally get comfortable when it’s time to get up to catch the 8:30 ferry to Orcas for my 10:30 appointment with my midwife. It’s always like that, isn’t it?

Bob, Mom and I load up the car with the essentials… just in case. We have our hospital bags, the birth ball, plenty of water, snacks, books, music… I am three days overdue and if we need to catch the ferry then it would be best just to have everything with us. On the ferry I notice a general pain in my abdomen. Feels like menstrual cramping. Must be the start of something, I think.

At my appointment I’m disappointed to learn that I’ve only dilated an additional half centimeter since last week. I’m at one and a half centimeters and the baby is at -4. Meaning, he still has a ways to go. Melinda tells me I’m not too effaced, either.

I tell her about the period cramping and low back pain. She asks me if there is a pattern to it. Not that I’ve noticed. She tells me to touch my belly the next time I feel the pain and if it’s really hard, then I know it’s a contraction. It happens while I’m sitting there. Now I know. She tells me to start paying attention to the quantity per hour and if I have four in an hour to come back so she can check my cervix again before we catch the return ferry to Friday Harbor.

The next hour I have four.

We’re at my doula’s  (Laurie) house for a class on nursing when they really start to increase. Ten in the next hour. Ten the hour after that. Bob is keeping track. We’ve developed a system. I hit his leg every time one begins. Very advanced.

((Pause for contraction))

At the end of the class I call Melinda and tell her that they’ve started coming faster. We set an appointment for 3:30. I take a nap at Laurie’s while Bob and Mom tool around Eastsound. I’m out like a light. I wake up exhausted and in pain.

Back at Melinda’s she discovers that the baby has moved from -4 to -2. This, she assures us, is a lot of progress in just a few hours. I’m still at one and a half centimeters and not much more effaced. But with the contractions coming faster and stronger we discuss options.

“Let’s talk about what we’re going to do with you,” she says.

Option #1 Catch the next ferry from Orcas directly to the mainland.

Option #2 Go back to FH on the 4:35 ferry then catch a later ferry to the mainland.

Option #3 Go back to FH and wait it out. See if things progress and if they do we can always call for the charter flight to the mainland.

We opt for Option #2 for a couple of reasons.

1. Both Bob and I would feel much more comfortable being on the mainland tonight with the way things are going. We don’t want the stress of having to figure out when to call for a flight, etc.

2. We can’t go directly to the mainland from Orcas because we left the baby seat at home as well as our cell phone chargers. Also, we would just like to be able to go through the house and make sure we have everything we need. And bring Pablo to the dogsitter’s house (Juniper & Sean) as well as say goodbye.

So we leave Melinda’s and I immediately begin to cry. I’m overwhelmed. This is all getting real. This is about to happen for real. EVERYTHING is about to change. Our entire lives are about to change …. and my body is about to go through something that I can barely fathom.

It’s a strange feeling. I feel excitement as well as a strange sense of loss. This I didn’t expect. I feel fear. This I did expect. Terror.

I bury my face in Bob’s shoulder and then get back in the car and head to the Orcas ferry terminal.

6:50 PM
We are on our 3rd ferry of the day. I have my pillow and blanket and plan on resting. Mom insists first on a game of Bananagrams. I’ve mentioned Bananagrams before. Let me tell you, it’s addictive. I comply. Thinking it will help take my mind off of what is happening. Both Bob and Mom tell me that I can’t blame anything (such as losing) on the contractions. Turns out I don’t have to because I still win. Oh yeah!

((Pause for contraction))

One game is enough for me and I stretch out for the remainder of the ride. I pull my blanket over my head and listen to my music while I breathe through each contraction. They are beginning to feel more intense.

When it’s time to go back to our cars, I take a moment to look out over the water. The sun is shining beautifully on the water. Sparkling. Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” is playing in my ears. Bob comes up behind me and puts his arms around me. I’m crying again. But this time it’s a good cry. I’m present to the power of this moment and how beautiful it is. We are truly about to bring our baby into the world. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Once in Anacortes, we pick up some Japanese food and check into our hotel room where there are flowers waiting for us from Laurie. So sweet. She’s already here

((Pause for contraction……………Okay… that one was 43 seconds. Phew.))

What was I talking about? Oh- Laurie. She’s awesome. She gives me a foot massage while we talk. I tell her when my contractions start and she times them. She feels my belly and is very enthused. All good signs, she says. She shows us where the baby’s butt is. She says she’s happy with how well centered he is and tells him, “Good job, Malcolm.”

Laurie leaves to get her rest.

Mom recommends that I take a bath and then rest as I’m going to need it. Then she heads to her room for some much needed sleep.

I take a jacuzzi bath and it feels so good I think that I might not even be able to feel the contractions in the tub. Wrong. I feel them. But the tub is amazing. I’ve missed baths.

During one contraction I try breathing into the pain. I close my eyes and let the pain wash over me and a really cool thing happens. It spreads out. And by spreading it out, it’s less intense over all. It’s like I go into the pain and let it exist.

Spiritual Midwifery talks a lot about this. It’s a sort of riding the wave. They call contractions “rushes” because they are like rushes of energy.

((Pause for contraction….. that was 39 seconds long. 7 minutes since the last one.))

So anyway, I figured I would practice the surrender to the pain thing during these early contractions. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it as they get more and more intense… but at least this is a start.

Now it’s time to rest. I don’t know what will happen tonight. Though I want sleep, I also want things to progress so that we can meet our son. Bob and I are both present to the power of this moment. Something miraculous is about to occur. We are so connected and in sync.

It’s all good.

I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to write another blog post like this for a while. If you’re interested in updates, follow me on Twitter: @Littof
It will be easier to post updates there via my cell phone than here.

One more thing. I’m so aware of all the women in the world who are laboring right now. We make up this enormous worldwide sisterhood that’s pretty cool. This might sound strange… but I’m trying to tap into that collective energy.

Oh.. ((pause for contraction… that one was 48 seconds and 6 min. from my last one.))

What I was about to write is…. thank you to our family and friends and all of you readers out there who are thinking about us and sending positive energy our way. I feel it. I’m telling you! Thank you!

Here’s hoping tomorrow is the day!

3 Responses

  1. What a wonderful post. Best of luck!

  2. Great to hear that things are moving along for y’all. I just sent a longer note on hotmail and am finally on facebook, where I hope we can swap baby photos of Henry and Malcolm.

    Heather and I, and because I choose to speak for him at this early date, Henry, will keep sending good thoughts your way!

    You are well-prepared for this and are in excellent company, soon to be joined by Malcolm, whom the world waits to welcome!

  3. Collective energy….I love it….best to all of you…you can do this Steph.

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