One week to the day of the great pee in my pants story, I again found myself with liquid running down my legs...
Tuesday February 22nd was my 35th birthday.
On Monday night, we went out with my parents for a nice birthday dinner and my mom remarked how uncomfortable I seemed. To me, that felt like an understatement. At that point I was exactly 37 weeks pregnant (full term!) and getting more uncomfortable by the day. I had extreme hip pain, especially on my right side which made putting on pants uncomfortable at best and excruciating at worst. Restless legs were my enemy every night and heartburn was my arch nemesis all day long. But, dinner was fun and we took some pictures of me and my belly never realizing that I was soon to meet the little boy that had been making me so uncomfortable.
On Tuesday, we didn't have a whole lot planned for my birthday. In fact, that was the only day the pediatrician could meet with us for an interview, so we had that and dinner planned. The interview went fine, the pediatrician's office was very clean and bright and the doctor seemed gentle and straightforward. After that, I picked my favorite steak place for dinner and we set off.
Halfway through dinner I really didn't feel good. I lost my appetite and ended up spending more than a few minutes in the restaurant bathroom with a stomachache. I had a lingering backache all day too, but chalked it up to another symptom of my ever growing belly. We packed up my leftovers and headed home, never knowing that that would be the last time we would go to that restaurant as a party of 2.
When we got home, I saw that I had missed a birthday call from a close friend and so I called her back and we chatted for almost an hour. She has an 18 month old baby and was giving me tips and advice with what to do with my last three weeks before I was due. Little did any of us know what was coming next...
The Saturday before my birthday was part 1 of the childbirth class that C and I signed up for. In it, I got a few helpful tips (one of which being don't spend the money on De.pends to help if your water breaks - just use some of the infant diapers you likely have stockpiled). One of the other tips was about using the big yoga ball to help get through the contractions. I thought it might also help take some of the pressure off my hips these last few weeks as well.
So, after I hung up the phone with my friend, I went into the living room to blow up my new yoga ball that I picked up at Target that afternoon. It came with a little hand pump, so I sat on the couch pumping and watching the ball slowly blow up.
I readjusted my position on the couch and I felt a little pop from deep inside my body. I thought it was weird. Like a muscle twitch. Like I overdid it with shopping in the afternoon, a doctor appointment, dinner and work around the house. I had visions of my friend, who has been on me my whole pregnancy about relaxing, giving me a hard time about doing too much.
But, those thoughts didn't last long as a huge gush (pee?) of liquid came out of me and onto the couch. I jumped up in disbelief! How could this happen again? Is this what my last few weeks are going to be? Me in a diaper just because I can't control my bladder anymore...
It was different this time. I couldn't stop the gush. I shuffled into the kitchen, knees locked in primal attempt to stop the flow. But the flow would not stop. I had no choice but to take off my pants in the kitchen and grab the nearest towel and hold it between my legs. Only then could I walk to the bathroom to at least keep it off the kitchen floor. As I continued to dribble and gush I came to realize that This. Might. Be. It.
Calmly, and with no pants or underwear on, I went to the den where C had fallen asleep on the couch. "Honey?"
"Honey. I think my water just broke." He smiled, remembering exactly a week ago, in exactly the same spot and said, "Maybe it is just your bladder again..." I showed him my pants and ran back to the bathroom just in time to catch another big gush. "It is still coming out. It is not pee."
He jumped into gear. We thought we still had three weeks to go, so there were a few things that were not done. Quickly, he got the car seat out of the box and set about installing it. I stayed in our bedroom (close to the bathroom) and started packing a hospital bag. We were both very calm on the outside, but our minds were racing a mile a minute on the inside. I called the after hours number for the doctor and she called me right back. I told her what was going on and she gave us the go ahead to get to Labor and Delivery.
It all became very surreal. How could my water break already with three weeks to go? Does a lingering backache count as contractions? Where are my car keys?
At this point it was 12:30am on Wednesday February 23rd. We were driving to the hospital. No one was on the road and all those dry runs we talked about doing to get to the hospital turned out to be unnecessary.
I shuffled into the hospital with C not far behind with our bags and paperwork. We took the elevator up to L&D, signed in and were brought to the room where our son would be born.
I changed into a gown and the nurse checked to see if it was amniotic fluid that was still gushing out of me. It was. Things moved fast after that as the contraction monitor was hooked up to me and the IV bag and the pit hooked up too.
Then, things moved excruciatingly slow. I was stuck at 3cm dilated. It was 4 in the morning and the yoga ball, the massage, the breathing that we learned in the class were minimally helpful. The contractions really started to hurt and the more I moved, the more water that kept pouring out of me. I could not get comfortable. Heartburn (from that steak dinner of many hours ago) was raging war in my esophagus. Restless legs kept me wanting to get up and move around and the IV made me have to pee every 15 minutes.
The nurse came in several times to see how I was doing. She offered me the epidural several times and I kept turning her down because I wanted to be further along before I started it. But the contractions were only getting worse and both the doctor and nurse didn't think I would be ready until later that afternoon. Knowing that the pain would only grow and that it would be HOURS before he arrived, I decided it was time for the epi.
C was right there with me as the giant needle was stuck into my back. It took several tries to get it in and I was truly grateful for C's steady hands and comforting voice as he stood in front of me and held me up as water continued to gush with every needle push. Within minutes the epi kicked in and although I still had control of my legs, it was a constant feeling of pins and needles but no pain. I was able to lay down, relax and even sleep.
I remember the moment I was finally given a shot of maa.lox for the heartburn. It counted as my breakfast since the nurses had encouraged C to get out and get some food before delivery and I still needed to be on an empty stomach.
C returned, I was still pretty comfortable despite the catheter and the pins and needles and finally around 1pm, the nurse came in to check me and said I was dilated to 10! My body was ready. The stirrups came up, carts were rolled in, the doctor was called into our room. It was happening fast. I had no control of my legs, so the nurses were lifting my legs into the stirrups and helping me scoot down to the end of the table. C was whispering in my ear. There was no time to be nervous or scared. All I had to do was pay attention to the nurse and the doctor. Do what they said. Push when they told me. Push for a count of 10! C counted with them. Keep pushing! Keep pushing! They brought out a big mirror, we wanted to see. I remember them telling me to open my eyes, to watch the mirror to watch our baby boy come into the world!!
20 minutes later...Nathan was born. He was in my arms, two coughs and a big cry came out of his mouth and then he was whisked away to get cleaned up. C went to his side and Nathan grabbed his finger.
We have both been reduced to piles of goo. In Love. In love with the most perfect little person I have ever seen. His mouth just like his daddy, his nose just like mine. A perfect mix of the two of us.
All of the struggles, the tears, the heartbreak were so worth it for the moment I saw my baby come out of me. Born into this world to two people who are no longer skin and bones, but piles of goo that in a short week have been pooped on, peed on and spit up on. Two people who are so very sleep deprived and are still wearing the same clothes for the past three days, but don't care.
Time will eventually give us back our sleep and our brains and our clean house. But for now, there is only the three of us.
Oh, and I still can't find my keys.