It was 2 AM by the time we got settled into our room at the hospital. Sadly, we had not stopped at the bar.
The night nurse took my birth plan – and actually began following it. I was offered no pain meds. They hooked me up to the monitors only briefly to check on Missy and my contractions. I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when we heard Missy’s heartbeat. I hadn’t felt any movements from her in awhile. I guess she was sleeping in an effort to conserve her energy for the morning’s big event.
The nurses did not check to see how dilated I was. They did not want to risk infection. Instead, they were waiting on the on-call OB. Contractions were coming every 7-8 minutes and didn’t feel that bad to me. So they instructed us to hunker down for the night and try to get some rest. I guess they figured: first time mom = long labor = no rush.
About 3 AM, my contractions got intense and started coming about every 4 minutes or so. I think. I didn’t have a watch. Cowboy was asleep. I went into the bathroom and sat backwards on the loo, gripping the plumbing post. I just gripped the shit out of that pipe and rode out each one like I was on a surfboard as a set of waves blew in. I didn’t call the nurse. I didn’t wake Cowboy. I just thought this was what labor was and I was being a wimp if I got everyone riled up.
I woke Cowboy up at 5:30 AM. I couldn’t do it alone any longer. The contractions were more intense and coming much closer together. We calculated every 2-3 minutes. No one had checked my cervix yet. I had a bath. The warm water helped a bit.
We started making calls: my mom, yes you are getting another grandchild today. The doula, who was hung over in Seattle but pulled the major rally and drove back to Portland. The salon where I was scheduled to get a brow shape that day – um, I have to cancel the appointment because I’m, like, giving birth today.
I thought I would be much more modest in the labor room. I brought yoga shorts and a yoga top to wear. Instead, I couldn’t stand to have anything on from the waist down. There I was straddling the ‘loo or sitting in child’s pose in the bath – full on commando. And so not like me. I just didn’t care at that point.
At 7:30 AM, the nurses had a shift change I was given the BEST L&D nurse. Ever.
Nurse Nicole summoned me from the throne to monitor Missy. She wanted me to let her know when my contractions started to feel like I had to poop.
"They’ve been feeling that way since 3 in the morning," I told her.
Her eyes widened a bit and her eyebrows arched.
"Okay, I’m going to check your cervix. Now."
She did. Then said she wanted to get a second opinion.
Nurse Nicole brought in the head nurse. Who also checked. And – for the record – having someone shove her hand up your lady garden during a contraction is majorly NO FUN.
Because I was in the middle of said contraction, all I heard was: "Oh, yeah, she’s at 8. Maybe 9."