Since the big hospital adventure, we’ve been back twice more. Monday night (the 13th) was when I went in to have the tests run. Tuesday I had contractions all day, and that evening they really started to pick up in intensity. They still didn’t hurt (still don’t), but that night they were strong enough that I woke up at 2:49 a.m., unable to sleep through the contractions. I hung out in the livingroom, letting Frank sleep as long as possible, because I want him well rested when I’m in active labor. Which could be sometime next year.
So Wednesday morning, Frank got up, and I told him how intense the contractions were. They were still 2-3 minutes apart, but now stronger. So he called in to work, and we took the dog for a walk. Until the contractions had become too intense to sleep through, I didn’t want to do anything to encourage Buttercup to arrive. I was only 36 weeks 5 days at this point, and I would have preferred she wait at least another week, but she obviously had other plans (or so I thought), and I seriously did not want to have contractions that kept me up all night for another 3 weeks–I’d be too tired to actually push her out! So we walked the dog, and everything got stronger, as expected. Frank took the dog to the kennel while I finished throwing a couple of things in the hospital bag. Then we drove down to the park near the hospital, because I could tell he was starting to stress about being so far away. I assured him we had plenty of time (boy, did we). So we walked around the park for quite a while, until he started stressing about being several blocks from the hospital. Apparently he feels the same way about hospital check-ins that he does about airport check-ins. He wants to be way early, while I prefer to walk on right before the plane takes off.
So we went to the hospital and walked around outside a little, then walked inside to walk around in the air conditioning. It was hotter inside so we went back out. By that point I was almost to the point of not being able to walk through contractions. Though thinking back on it, I had no problem talking through them (other than the intensity being strong enough that I would forget what I was saying mid-word), so it wasn’t even close to time to go. It’s now over a week later, and no baby, so I guess that part is OBVS.
Eventually, I decided I could go inside. Contractions were 3 minutes apart, and I figured by the time we got to L&D, I would be well on my way. Pish.
Waiting for the elevator to go up one floor (we looked everywhere for stairs, found none), I saw another girl from our childbirth class. “You too, huh?” I asked. “Yes. Hopefully this time for real.” I immediately got smug brain (like Jon Stewart levels of smug), thinking to myself, “Oh, poor thing. She’s been here before. How embarrassing that must be. I’m glad *I’m* not going to come in multiple times. I know my body better than most people, so I know they won’t send me home today. *I* am not gonna be the girl who gets sent home from the hospital.”
We got up to L&D, and while I filled out a couple of forms, I noticed that I wasn’t contracting as hard as I had been. I started to get that uh-oh feeling and promptly told Frank that if I got sent home, I would be mad at him, as this was all his fault for making him come in early (he easily accepted that and said he’d rather I be mad at him than come in too late). But in the back of my mind, I was also a little hopeful. Buttercup was still 2 days away from being a full-term baby, and I had all this dread that she’d come out and have to spend time in the NICU. When we’d done the hospital tour, I’d burst into tears merely seeing a picture of a baby with too-small baby hands in the NICU on the outdated PowerPoint presentation that still listed cassette tapes as a good way to bring your relaxing music with you to the hospital. I think it’s because I don’t want her to be whisked away from me with bad lungs and have to spend even her first few hours not hearing my voice and knowing that her mom is here for her. I knew she’d be fine, but I still wanted her to cook at least a few days longer.
They got us into a triage room so they could hook me up to the monitors and check me out. The precious little heartbeat was perfect, and my blood pressure was great. I was contracting every 2.5 minutes for over a minute each time. But by the time the nurse came in (this was maybe 7 or 8 minutes after we’d arrived on the 2nd floor), I knew I was going to be sent home. The contractions just weren’t as intense anymore. The nurse was nice, friendly, professional, for the most part. Before she even checked me, she was already starting to try to educate me on when is the appropriate time to show up at the hospital. That’s when the humiliation started setting in and my face started turning colors. I think that’s the worst part of going in too early. They assume you must not have paid attention in childbirth class (and, indeed, she asked me if we’d taken the class, which made me feel tiny) and feel the need to tell you all these things that you already know. It’s probably hospital policy, but to me it was still so embarrassing. She went through a ton of questions with me, including asking me what kind of pain medication I planned on having. I told her I wanted a natural birth, and she nodded and entered my answer.
She checked me, and I was still sitting at 1 cm, and 50% effaced. Then she started telling me all that stuff I already know. I felt the need to defend myself. Yes, when I came in, I could barely walk through the contractions anymore. In the minutes since then, everything had calmed down, but I wasn’t just whistling a tune and clicking my heels all the way up to Labor & Delivery. I politely nodded and uh-huhed and pretended I didn’t want to crawl under the tiny triage bed and cry. And then she told me something that any L&D nurse should know never to say to a woman approaching her due date, and CERTAINLY not one who’s just told her she’s planning on natural childbirth. “You’ll know it’s time to come in when you feel like you want to die.” After that, I couldn’t even look at her. I wanted to say something along the lines of “I will be requesting any nurse other than you when I actually come in to have my baby, because you’ve obviously never even heard of the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle, or you prefer that women have the fear that causes the tension that increases the pain so they’ll all get drugs and your job will be easier”, and I didn’t want to be nice about it. So I stared at Frank and didn’t look at the nurse anymore, because if I did, I knew I’d cry and also tell her off.
Ugh! Just writing about her comment has me tense and ticked off all over again.
So I got sent home. I waited until we were in the car to cry and thanked God that I didn’t cry in front of the tactless nurse. And Frank understood immediately that she’s not to be my nurse when we go in for the actual big event. We’ll be nice about it, but I just don’t see her as being supportive in the type of birth I want.
Now whenever my contractions get really strong (it happens every few days, is happening now), Frank asks me if I still have the will to live. :) So far, I do.