It was an ordinary Tuesday, exactly one week away from my due date. At this point I had been a centimeter dilated for a couple of weeks and I had lost my plug 2 weeks prior (sorry if that's tmi!). I had thought my baby was coming right after I had lost my plug, but she decided to stick around for awhile longer. On this particular day, I felt great with lots of energy. I spent a full day at work, left around 4 to run errands, and stopped for a coffee at Parker before meeting my friends for BSF, which is an international Bible study that is currently studying the book of Revelation. The weather was beautiful and I remember sipping my coffee feeling hopeful about the arrival of spring. I met my girlfriends at our usual meeting spot so we could carpool. I had worn a simple black top and black leggings. I was wearing a lot of black at this period for it's slimming effects...it helps a full term pregnant mama feel less "whale-ish." ;) However, the leggings I wore weren't maternity...I think all my maternity leggings were dirty and I had to resolve to a regular pair of leggings...which were always fine for a few hours...but after about 11 hours, I was starting to get sore from where the seam cut into me. I complained about this to my friends and my stupidity for 1) not doing laundry to wash said maternity leggings and 2) not buying more maternity leggings so I wouldn't have to do laundry as often. It was my week to drive, so Mackenzie and Kristen hopped into my car and we drove the 30 minute drive to BSF.
BSF began normally with a quick corporate meeting and then breaking up into small groups before our lecture. I went into my small group with my binder and this week's lesson and took a seat. Everyone asked me how I was feeling and I said that I had felt great..which was still true up to that point. Once we prayed and began discussing our lesson however, I started to feel some pain in my lower abdomen. At first, I thought this was from my stupid leggings digging into me, because that was where I felt the pain. However, I realized the pain was coming and going. Meanwhile we're discussing Revelation, I'm giving my input, while secretly timing the pain as it comes and goes. It turns out the pain was coming every five minutes! I wasn't convinced that this was labor though...so I waited it out, still participating in our discussion. I began to feel pretty uncomfortable though and left to go walk around for a few minutes to see if what I was feeling was truly contractions. Sure enough, walking around didn't change anything. I went back to small group and we finished our lesson. I nonchalantly brought up the fact that I was having contractions to a few ladies in my group, but that I wasn't sure if they meant anything. I had been having Braxton Hicks since my second trimester, so I didn't want to make a big deal out of them if they didn't turn out to be anything more than that.
We walked out of small group to go to lecture and I just walked around the lobby for a few minutes, trying to get comfortable. Nothing was changing, so I texted Mackenzie and Kristen what I was feeling and kindly requested that they keep their phones on them during lecture in case we needed to leave. I never went into lecture...I kept walking around the lobby and finally I ran into Kristen and told her what I was feeling. I told her that I didn't think I needed to leave...yet. However, I said that and no sooner did I feel a really intense contraction when Kristen was washing her hands and I said, "Okay, we need to go!"
Kristen grabbed Mackenzie and off we went. I still wasn't convinced that I was in actual labor, I just knew I felt too uncomfortable to stay. Since I drove, Kristen offered to drive for me. I gladly gave her the keys. We happened to be driving right by my hospital, but I opted to go home first. I wanted to wait it out to see if this was the real deal. My contractions were five minutes apart, but they were only lasting about 20 seconds at this point.
Brian was surprised to see me home early. It was about 8:30 at this point. I told him how I was feeling, that I thought I was having contractions (they felt different than how they were described to me so I really didn't know!), but they weren't lasting very long even though they were regular. We waited around and I agonized over the decision of whether or not we should go to the hospital. I called my doctor and told her what was going on, but even she said that it could be false labor or it could be the real deal and that I could make the decision on whether to go in or not. Our hospital has the 5-1-1 guideline: they say to wait to go in until your contractions are five minutes apart, for one hour, lasting a minute each. Well by this point, my contractions were definitely five minutes apart and they had been going on for a few hours...but they still were only 20-30 seconds. This was the only thing that was keeping me from going in.
I paced the apartment, told Brian to pack his bag just in case, and then hopped in the shower to let the warm water ease the discomfort. Finally, around 11:30 that night, nothing had changed. My contractions were exactly the same...they had been going on for about 4 hours at this point and they were consistent...but still short. I finally decided to go to the hospital. I figured the worst they could do was send me home. So we grabbed our things, filled Gunther's dish with extra food, and drove to Flower Hospital.
It's funny how you have an idea in your mind of how things will happen, and then there is what really happens. I never anticipated going in so late at night. I envisioned going in during the day with my hair perfectly fixed, make-up done, fingernails and toenails painted, and completely well rested. (Ha! You can laugh at the mere fact that I cared and wanted to look pretty when I delivered my baby...I know it's weird, but it's who I am!) It turns out that I only had what was left of my make-up that I had put on at 6 that morning, my hair was in a greasy top-knot and work out headband, and that I did not get around to manicuring my fingers and toes. But it turns out that between those contractions, communicating to my team that I would not be coming in to work the following morning, and dreaming of my little girl, it was the least of my worries. Surprise, surprise, right?! ;)
I'll be posting Part Two this week, so be sure to check back! Here are a few pictures from my third trimester since I didn't get to blog much during that time.
Mine and my sister in law's baby bump...she was due the day after me and ended up delivering her third on leap day!
My mom and my sister at my baby shower back home
My friend Mackenzie at a baby shower she threw for me here in Toledo
I had never worn a flower crown before this day and I am kind of obsessed!
Brian stopped in!
I was 37 weeks in this picture. We walked around Ann Arbor all day here...this was the day I lost my plug, which I am sure was from walking so much. It was hilarious because after it happened, Brian and I walked aimlessly around Trader Joes for the longest time, without putting anything in our cart! We were in so much shock because I think we both thought that this indicated that labor was within hours away. I'm sure we looked ridiculous walking in circles around the store, all wide eyed without a single item in our cart. Little did we know that I would not go into labor for another two weeks!
Remember to check back this week for Part Two of the story! Have a great day and thanks for reading!