I have been meaning to write Declan’s birth story since he was just a few weeks old, and now he is about to turn 6 months this week. I can’t believe the time has gone so quickly, it feels like I was just getting my maternity photos taken and making sure his room was ready. I remember wondering when he would come and what his birth would be like. Would it be everything I had been hoping and planning for or would he surprise us and change every aspect of our birth plan?
Pre-labor pains began two weeks before he was born. I would have very irregular mild contractions for a day, then they would go away for a day or two. There were so many times that I got excited that “this was it” only for them to stop an hour or so later. In my last prenatal appointment on November 9. I brought up that I had been having more regular contraction that week, but none closer than 15 min apart. They asked me to rate the pain level of the contractions and remember telling them they were a 5 or 6 on a scale of 10. Thinking back to that now, I laugh. I think a 2 would have been a more appropriate rating, but I was young and naive back then. The Midwife checked me, and while she felt his head really low in my pelvis, my cervix was still really high and she was unable to even reach it, which likely meant I was not dilated at all. So I went back home a little disappointed that he would not be coming on or before his due date of November 12 (my birthday).
I was awakened around 3:30 AM on Thursday the 10th with some contractions. Nothing really stronger than they had been before, but this was the first time I had been woken up by them. I got up and walked around some and drank some water to see if I could get them to go away so I could get some sleep. I had to go to work that day, and needed to get sleep. After being up for a bit with no change in my situation, I finally decided to wake Brian up because I was freezing and wanted him to build me a fire. I was finally able to get back to sleep around 5:30 AM, and slept for about two hours.
When I woke up again and was still having contractions, I decided to call into work and let them know that while I didn’t think anything was actually happening today, I didn’t want to do the 45 min drive to work that day. I also told Brian that it felt a little different this morning, and that he should probably work from home, just in case. He thought I was overreacting, but stayed home anyway.
Throughout the day the contractions varied from every five minutes to every 15 minutes, and wouldn't stay consistent. I texted my mom and my Doula, Shalene, to give them the heads up, but stressed that this was likely just false labor again since the contractions wouldn’t stay consistent. I spent most of day walking around the house aimlessly and bouncing on my exercise ball. A little after midday, Contractions started to become more regular coming every 5-8 mins and lasting 45-60 seconds. It was at this point that I texted my mom to tell her not to text me anymore and asked Brian to handle coordination with my mom and Shalene, so I could focus on being in "labor land". The thing that sticks out in my mind most when I think about my time laboring at home is Brian’s response to me when I asked him to do this. With a straight face he looked up at me from his computer and said “You really think you are in labor? I expected it to be more dramatic than this.” I sadly don’t remember my response, but I am sure it was some slightly snarky remark about him not really doing much.
Around 5 o'clock I realized that I was going to the hospital at some point that night and they weren’t gonna let me eat, so in the middle of contractions coming every 5-7 min, we loaded into the car and made a trip to the grocery store for some chicken noodle soup. I continued to have contractions throughout the grocery store having to stop every few minutes until they passed. While checking out, the check-out lady asked when I was due, and I told her not due till Saturday, but that I was currently in labor. The look on her face was priceless.
We finally text Shalene and told her she should probably come to the house around 8pm or so. Looking back, I think my body was waiting for her to be there, because once she got there and watched me for a few contractions, I started uncontrollably shaking and contractions started coming faster and harder. Once she saw this, she suggested we head to the hospital.
The ride to the hospital was a hard one. We only live about 10 minutes from the hospital but it felt like it took forever and I had at least three contractions on the 10 minute drive. My biggest fear was that I would get to the hospital and I would only be 3-4 cm dilated since I seemed so far from labor just the day before. Thankfully when they checked me I was 7 cm dilated and 95% effaced. They also commented on how low he was in the birth canal.