Well THAT was interesting.
The start of my 37th week came and went, and Wednesday was spent with the kids, doing our best to avoid the heat and smoky air. It was my dad’s 28th sobriety cake but we couldn’t make it to my sister’s that night for the actual cake so we drove out to my parents’ place during the day and took respite in their pool for a couple of hours.
My dad had to stay close to the porcelain throne (he’s on the other side of colorectal cancer and a stroke) but we saw him long enough for a hug. He looked at me and was like, “Whoa you look tired.” I felt it. I really felt off that day.
We met my mom and my niece in Fort Langley but there was no air conditioning anywhere and way too hot so we drove to McDonald’s and Callum tore around the play place there with Katie and Holly while my mom and I sat and talked. I had contractions the entire time we were there, but this is normal for me (I have an “irritable uterus”) so we didn’t think too much of it. Katie, Callum and I were almost home and I pulled into SaveOn Foods parking lot to pick up some milk and things for dinner but while I was looking for a parking spot, I had a contraction that made my toes curl.
Real contractions are different than practice contractions and for me, the difference is found in my bum. Yes, you read that right. When I am in real labour, I have SO MUCH PRESSURE in my bum that I can’t leave the bathroom for hours. It’s Poo War. Poo Land. Poo Fest. Poo-a-Looza. (like father, like daughter). It’s like menstrual cramps, kinda, because when I have my period or when I’m ovulating, I often get a bit of diarrhea.
I’m assuming you guys know what you’re getting into when you read the title of my blog.
Braxton Hicks, or practice contractions (contractions that don’t change the cervix or help deliver the baby) are all up front in my uterus, while real contractions are deep in my bottom, in my back, in my groin.
So, I had one of those and I looked at Katie and said, “Uh oh–I need to get home, like RIGHT. NOW.” We sped home and I beelined it for the toilet, felt better, and then forgot about it. But then besides my usual Braxton Hicks contractions, I’d have a real one about once an hour from 3 o’clock, on. I walked into Freddy’s room once and had one and he looked at my face and was like, “Ew… don’t let your water break in my room.”
I put up my Hospital Essentials post while I was having contractions because I had this hunch that this was going to be my last chance.
I put Callum to bed and then had a doozy of a contraction, went poo again, and decided to have a shower and get ready just in case. It was so hot out and we don’t have A/C, so after my shower I sprawled out in bed in front of the fans and tried to relax. No dice. I had another doozy of a contraction, and then other one, and by the time 9pm rolled around I knew that this could be it. I texted my friend Tammy (she delivered Callum) but she was camping, so she coached me through what I should do via text messages. I do not poo at night. I just don’t. And each time I had a contraction, I felt so much pressure that I had to sit on the loo. Once we decided to go to the hospital, we panicked about what we’d do with all the kids. It was the absolute WORST TIMING EVER to have a baby that night because:
- I was only 36 weeks pregnant (term is 37 weeks), so there’s a chance the baby would struggle a bit and need to be in the nursery.
- Andrew’s parents were camping in the States, 2 hours away.
- My sister Tracey, who is able to help us with Callum, lives 30 minutes away and had her kids all week until Friday at 5.
- We had all our kids all week long (it’s very rare that we have all of them together for a long stretch).
We decided to hold off on Andrew’s parents until we knew for sure this was it, so my sister Tracey drove out here to stay the night until we figured out what was going on. Her partner Jim was home with the kids, but Tracey would have to leave here by 6am to get back for when he leaves for work. IT WAS SO HECTIC. Add in the fact that the older kids were nervous and scared and confused, so we’re trying to manage and juggle all the logistics and emotions and schedules all while I was contracting and pooping my brains out.
We got to the hospital and they see me right away because this is my fifth baby, but the nurse we got kept tossing around “preemie” and “scrawny baby” and so when another nurse walked in to help, I begged her to switch with the negative nurse because my anxiety started to really spiral. I’m talking like, I was losing it. I haven’t had that much anxiety in a very, VERY long time. My heart was pounding with each contraction. Then the OBGYN on-call came in and eased my fears about having a 36 weeker, and I felt comforted. They admitted me because I was contracting regularly, my cervix was changing and I wasn’t yet term (they’d need a pediatrician in the delivery room).
I laboured and pooped all night long, but my contractions were irregular and although they were changing my cervix, it wasn’t by much, but just enough to keep me there. Because this is my fifth baby, they kept warning me that all of a sudden my body will go for it and three contractions later, the baby would be out. Word for word. I hadn’t slept a single second all night long because the contractions and pooping and fluids they were giving me were all keeping me awake. I had to be hooked up to antibiotics and the monitor for the baby’s heart rate and contractions because I was not yet term. A new OBGYN saw me in the morning and when he checked my cervix he said he’s keeping me there, and that he will see me later to deliver my baby. We called Andrew’s parents and told them to drive up here, and that it was baby day. The doctor issued Immodium so that my poor little bum could have a break and heal, and I refused morphine when he suggested it to help me sleep. I snoozed for about an hour at 2 o’clock, but that’s it. My contractions stayed irregular and my pooping stopped, THANK GOODNESS.
At 4pm, he came back to check my cervix but it hadn’t changed since he checked it that morning, so he sent me home with lots of warnings to get childcare lined up, emergency phone numbers, and the reassurance that the baby would be fine if he were to be born now. He was so good for my anxiety.
After the nurse unhooked me from my IV, I went pee and lost my show. <– click on that link if you don’t mind gory medical details (Gretch, don’t do it). Still having irregular contractions, we came home, showered and then went to bed (after a major snuggle-fest with Callum). I slept in Katie’s bed beside Callum so that I wouldn’t keep Andrew awake (I couldn’t sleep through the big contractions). Katie stayed at Holly’s and Freddy stayed at Jason’s (thank goodness for peaceful relationships with exes! So thankful for Jason and Natasha!) and pieced together in segments, I ended up having about 9 hours of sleep.
I know it’s a long story seemingly about nothing (baby is still baking in my belly) but I just know how much it helps other pregnant women and their partners to read about other people’s experiences that aren’t technically “normal.”
At the end of all this, I’m actually really thankful that we were able to have a dry run because I had no idea how much anxiety I have/had pulsing through my veins, and being in the hospital with no kids, no housework and no other distractions really helped me to face my own demons and work through them. I feel like I’ve got my mind in the right frame now for when it really is time to deliver this baby. My first three births were so straightforward but Callum’s was traumatic and I hadn’t realized the impact it left on my psyche until now. I’m just really thankful that I was/am able to deal with it beforehand.
As always, love teaches us about letting go of control, and nothing teaches us more about love and losing control than having children. It sounds like a bad thing but it’s not–it’s every thing. You don’t have to have kids to know love!!! I’m not saying that at all. There are plenty of things, people, circumstances that teach us about letting go, and then when we do let go, love is born.