Since Sunday, I’ve had four more false alarm contractions sessions. It is getting a little annoying.
The second to last time was over 21 hours long. The contractions never really picked up in intensity, but were just annoying and strong enough to keep me from sleeping or napping. I was actually a tiny bit relieved when it was finally over with yesterday because I knew it meant I would finally get to sleep.
So last night we were blessed with pretty much an entire night contraction free and sleep issue free as well (which, those of you who have been through pregnancy know all about that third trimester insomnia). I slept straight through from about 11pm to 5am when my bladder woke me up. I don’t even remember the last time that happened.
Upon relieving my bladder, drinking a little water, rearranging my pillows and climbing back into bed, I was hit with some fairly serious contractions. Much more intense than any of the ones I’d felt in the previous days. I seriously felt like it was impossible to breathe during them. After about three of these guys I woke up Stephen because I thought for sure this was going to be the real deal.
We started timing them and they were more along the lines of what early labor should look like: slightly intense contractions that are about 4-5 minutes apart. The contractions in previous days had always been around 2 minutes apart and were not intense at all, just annoying. They were intense in that I had to concentrate on breathing through them, but still not hard labor.
So little praise to my husband here. He has actually been reading the Bradley childbirth book and it has been like a dream come true. Just in these few false alarm experiences I can tell a HUGE difference between this time around and Bean’s birth.
If you remember from Bean’s birth story, upon arriving home I had him install our carseat. This was mainly because I honestly felt like he would be more of an annoyance to me than help. A few hours later when he was asking me questions like, “What do you want me to do?” and “Do you want to wear a sports bra?” I was definitely annoyed. I was in hard labor and couldn’t really begin to think about what he needed to be doing and didn’t really want to make a decision about whether or not I should be wearing a sports bra when our midwife arrived.
This time has not been like that at all. Stephen totally takes charge of the situation. There are not 50 questions about what to do. He knows what to do and he handles it and gets it done. This morning when I was having trouble breathing while lying down and found that sitting up helped more, instead of letting me sit with no back support on our bed, he ran around the house gathering up pillows to get me propped up and as comfortable as possible. He rolled a towel to stick near my lower back and provide counter pressure during contractions since back massage wouldn’t be easy in my semi-reclined position. He was completely attentive to every body part when a contraction was going on and constantly reminding me to relax my forehead or not clench my hands. He payed attention to my breathing and reminded me to stay calm and take deep breaths. Gave me visualization cues to concentrate on during a contraction.
In short it was awesome. A couple weeks ago Stephen said he has learned way more from the book than he ever did from our childbirth class. The class was useful, but the book just provides way more information about what to do in certain situations and why to practice things like breathing through a contraction standing up in case your wife has to go to the bathroom during labor and has one on the way there, etc. So for all those men out there that say they don’t need to read the book and that they’ll just get enough information from their childbirth class, I offer up this example. Books really do get the information into your head in a different way and a more thorough way, in my opinion. And I think anyone who says that they don’t need to read the book is just being lazy. You have nine months to get the reading done. It really isn’t that much. Be a good coach. Read the book. End of public service announcement for all the husbands who are probably not even reading this.
Anyway, back to my story. After about an hour of timing, my husband called our midwife and based on what we were experiencing, she too thought this sounded like the real deal. So she left Bakersfield fairly early this morning and carefully navigated her way through some soupy valley fog and an hour of LA freeway driving.
Stephen got everything arranged with his sister to watch Bean and got her all packed up and out the door.
By the time my midwife arrived the contractions were around three and half minutes apart, but still around the same intensity level. She did a cervical check which hurt like heck because I had a contraction during it. I was so disappointed when she told me that I was still the same as our visit from over the weekend which was 2cm and my cervix was still posterior. Seriously? All these contractions and intensity and no progress at all? What the heck?
She said we should go for a walk and see if that helped things progress. So we did a couple laps around our apartment complex. During our walk I stopped being able to feel individual contractions because I was experiencing some fairly instense pelvic pressure. When we got back to our apartment, I still had a lot of pressure and was not feeling any contractions. Then as I sat for a bit the pelvic pressure began to subside, but I still was not feeling any contractions. I was starting to get even more disappointed. Not only was this seeming to turn out to not be the real deal, my midwife drove two hours to hang out for nothing for a few hours and my sister-in-law and her family had to get all coordinated and rearranged to watch Bean. Plus this was false alarm NUMBER FIVE. I was starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf.
A few minutes later I got up and walked around our livingroom. I started having some contractions again, but they were really weak and didn’t seem to have any pattern. Stephen was making me some food to eat and by the time I’d finished my meal I wasn’t feeling anything. It was all over.
So completely frustrating.
Because of work schedules and vehicle coordination, my sister-in-law wound up watching Bean the whole day. While it was kind of nice to be baby-free, after about an hour of sewing and hanging out by myself I was pretty much bored and already missing Bean. So I guess if anything this helped me realize that I’m glad we’re no longer DINKS.
Anyway, that’s your second installment of Baby Watch 2009. Stay tuned…