As we near the one-year mark for Quinn’s birthday, on September 9, we can’t help but look back on our brief memories of her, so I’m publishing some of my early writing, with editing to make it more readable.
When I was pregnant with Quinn, Jason and I had our usual ongoing discussion about labor and delivery. With the other three children, I was medically induced into labor with IV Pitocin, always after my due date and with the approval of my doctor, but with this baby, I really, really wanted the experience of my body going into labor on its own. I half-joked that it was Jason’s paranoid belief that we would either schedule an induction, or have a baby by the side of the road on the way to the hospital. I was nervous about not being able to note my own labor, or calling a false alarm and mistaking normal pregnancy twinges for labor pains. Furthermore, I was distrustful of my body actually being able to put itself into labor, and wanted to prove a point to myself!
Is This the Real Thing?
On Wednesday afternoon around 3:00, I started having contractions that felt like more intense Braxton Hicks. I charted them to help me think more clearly. The kids really started to act up, and they were getting on my nerves! I knew Jason’s target time to be finished spraying in McCullough, about a 10-15-minute drive by car, and longer by tractor, so I waited to call him since I didn’t want to sound a false alarm and cause him precious time in the field. Ruth was forty-five minutes away in Brewton, too, and I didn’t want her to have to come home early from work for nothing. I wasn’t hungry, and felt too nervous and excited to eat, but the family needed to be fed. I made a very simple meal of rice and beans. By the time we sat down, around 5:00, I was able to eat a little—thinking if it was real labor, I didn’t know how long it could take and didn’t want to be starving in between contractions! Jason kept rechecking to my timed list on the wipe-off board, measuring the intervals between my contractions. He noted the continual, gradual increase in frequency. He was in GO mode and was nervous himself! He took a shower, we finished packing the kids’ stuff (he stuck their whole toothbrush holder in with their things), and then he took them down to his parents’ house for the night. I wasn’t feeling at all social, and he gave me the option of staying behind. I was so grateful. When he came back, I decided to escape reality in a book, and sank into the green chair for two hours. The contractions slowed.
I told Jason it was time to go for a walk! The first really big contraction hit as we were walking up the hill beside his parents’ house. The contractions upped in frequency, but not in pain. The first one that made me stop and bend over happened at the end of the lane, a mile away. They were coming exactly three minutes apart, but were very bearable. Since we live a little over an hour away from our delivery hospital, we decided it was time to go! We got our things ready. Ever careful with vehicles, Jason put a garbage bag and a towel over my seat in case my water broke on the way. We left, and called our parents. Of course, the contractions slowed to every eight minutes while he was driving, but we knew we could walk in Pensacola! We walked for an hour in the parking lot at Baptist, until it wasn’t fun anymore for me. My contractions were every two minutes, and my back was aching, whether from contractions or walking or both, I didn’t know.
We entered through the Emergency Department, since it was midnight and it was the only door open. I tried not to smile, so people would believe I was really in labor. I felt stupid being pushed in a wheelchair up to Labor and Delivery. Even when the L&D nurses looked up, not expecting me, I felt goofy, grinning and excited, but supposed to be in labor. I was wheeled into Room 2, and Shannon introduced herself to me as my nurse.
After I got changed into a gown and seated in the bed, she checked my cervix. I was between 5 and 6 centimeters dilated! She sang, “We’re gonna have a baby!” and said I wasn’t going to leave the hospital with the baby still inside. My body was doing it! I was in real labor, and had figured it out. I felt vindicated, relieved, celebratory. We were so excited to finally meet our baby, Quinn.