This is a draft post from Shannon – posted by her mom, Gretchen
First of all, this is not intended as an entry into the Mommy Wars, on either side, pro or con anything. This is just MY story and something I want to remember (even if I am writing it six months later). Also, this will be super-(duper)-long, even for me.
The week after my due date, as you may recall, I was under the care of two OBs who were not my beloved OB, who was out of town. These two OBs were concerned that I was developing pre-ecclampsia, which is a very serious and dangerous condition and can only be cured by delivery of the baby. At that point, I was showing no signs of going into labor and I REALLY wanted to avoid induction because I was aiming for a natural birth (which is much harder if you have to be induced with pitocin). I was scheduled for an induction at 8 AM on July 1, and I was trying like hell to beat that deadline by getting natural labor started. The only upside to that day/time was that my beloved OB, Dr. Kerr-Layton, was scheduled to be working that night, so if I were induced, he would likely deliver the baby. It was a small consolation.
On June 30th, after having my membranes stripped earlier in the week, and definitely starting to lose my mucus plug several days before, I started to have more noticeable contractions. They were inconsistent, but definitely “there” throughout the day. At some point that day, my mom called to tell me that an old friend of ours and her family happened to be in town and that they were coming over that night. I said OK, because the contractions weren’t that bad, but as SOON as they were on their way over, the contractions said THESE ARE REAL.
I’ll be honest, if it had been pretty much ANYONE else, I would have said, “No thank you.” But I had never never met this dear friend’s daughter, who was now WELL over a YEAR old, and she was pregnant with her second as well, so she fully understood labor and all that jazz, and they just happened to be in town from out of state. So they came over, and I just had to leave periodically when I had a particularly bad contraction and go hang out in the bedroom. And honestly? That’s about all I can remember from their visit (and how cute their daughter was).
After they left, I think I worked on finishing the quilting on the baby’s quilt. It wasn’t too complicated, and the contractions weren’t very close together or very intense, so I was able to get it almost all the way done.
I wasn’t sure how well I would sleep, having heard stories of people up all night laboring, but I actually slept quite well. I have no idea if the contractions subsided enough to let me sleep, or if I just slept through them, but either way, I was grateful for the rest, as I knew I would either have the baby on my own or be induced at 8 AM the next morning.
I don’t remember what time I woke up, but it must have been at least 6 AM. I woke up before Peter, and as soon as I lifted my body out of bed, the contractions started right back up again (thankfully, since I was worried about labor stalling overnight and having to be induced). I bounced on my birthing ball, moved around, and at some point really wanted to turn on some music. So I got iTunes going with some peppy music and started dancing. OK, you and I would never call it “dancing” objectively, but to 41+ week pregnant me, I was dancing!
The music must have woken Peter up because he came out and helped me. The contractions were getting more intense, but not really enough that I felt we needed to go into the hospital yet. He called our doula, Maria, at some point, and she encouraged us to keep laboring at home (best to labor as long as possible/safe at home). We decided to go for a little walk, partly because Jasper needed to get out before we left for who knew how long.
That walk was CRAZY. Walking seriously upped my contractions (which was a good thing), and by the time we went around the block and came back, I was seriously not sure if I could wait much longer to go to the hospital. The contractions were coming FAST. I kept dancing/moving, tried some different positions, then told Peter that we needed to get to the hospital & to have Maria meet us there.
The drive there wasn’t great, but wasn’t terrible. I tried to do my best to stay “inside myself” to keep labor going because I really didn’t want it to stall and them to decide they really did need to do an induction after all, since technically we were going to arrive right on time for my scheduled 8 AM induction.
As we walked into the labor & delivery area, me holding my belly, waddling and breathing hard, they said “Shannon? Here for your induction? Doesn’t look like you’ll need it, does it?” Thankfully not!
From here on out, most memories are just snippets. Maria arrived at the hospital, arranged the room in an amazing way, with little touches that made all the difference (like taking all the clocks off the wall, hanging Christmas lights so we could turn off the fluorescent ones, setting up the bathroom to be very cozy and den-like).