The main reason I’m writing this is because I will discuss my birth plan for Baby Bean in my next pregnancy update. Those details will make more sense in the context of my experience with giving birth to Meghan.
Another reason, perhaps just as important, is that every birth is a story worth telling. We all enter the world differently. Every person has a story of how she made her appearance. This is Meghan’s.
The weeks leading up to her birth were an exciting time. Everything was ready–her nursery had been painted and decorated, clothes washed and hung, my house, thanks to the nesting instinct, was cleaner than it’d ever been. We were ready to meet our little girl.
I loved my doctor. He was the type of doctor who talked for me to at least 20 minutes during my visits, explained everything so well, and made me feel comfortable. At the end of each appointment, he hugged me like we were old friends.
Because of this relationship, I trusted him. It was my first pregnancy and I mostly listened to what he said without much question. I was only on the beginning of my journey to a more natural lifestyle, so I didn’t even consider a natural birth. I followed the status quo.
So when he told me he wanted to “strip my membranes” a few weeks before my due date, I figured it was standard procedure and said okay, sure, why not. He did, and it was tremendously painful. It was the beginning of a list of things I’d do differently if I had the knowledge I have now.
The Saturday night before Meghan’s birth wasn’t unlike a lot of Saturday nights in Tim and my married life. We had plans to meet up with friends to celebrate a birthday. After a long work week, however, I was tired. My body was telling me that it didn’t want to leave the couch that night.
So we cancelled our plans and stayed home. When you are one week away from your due date, you have some leeway to cancel plans. People understand.
I was in bed early, but sometime between deep sleep and dawn, I was awake. A contraction. Was that real? I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions on and off that week, but this felt different. This hurt.
A while later, another one. They kept coming. It was the middle of the night. Of course it was the middle of the night; doesn’t everyone seem to go into labor in the middle of the night?
I’d been waiting for this so my excitement trumped the pain. I was dilated 2 cm for over a week and hoped it meant Meghan was coming early.
I didn’t want to wake Tim, so I endured the contractions secretly, in the silence of the night, for about four hours. They were still not alarmingly close together or something I needed him to help me with, so I let him sleep. I did not sleep.
A little after 7am, I went downstairs and started writing down when the contractions were coming. 10 minutes apart, 8 minutes apart, 10 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart, 7 minutes apart. They weren’t regular yet, and while they were painful, they didn’t make me drop to my knees in anguish.
After almost five hours of this, the contractions finally started getting closer together and more regular. I called my doctor and he advised me to head to the hospital. Looking back, I was anxious to get to the hospital, but we probably went too early.
We arrived at the hospital around 12:30 and I was sent to the Triage Room to be checked. Somehow, once we got there, my contractions stopped coming close together. They were barely registering. The nurse informed me I was only dilated 3 cm and would likely be sent home.
Check back for part 2 tomorrow.