Shocked. Incredulous. Honestly, a little scared and angry. I looked at the pregnancy test and saw two faint pink lines. Two? Two. Two! I counted to nine over and over, but the result never changed: my husband’s graduation from med school was just overscheduled with the birth of our fourth baby. I was waiting for the first day of my cycle to switch from the mini to regular birth control pill. That day wasn’t going to arrive for 18 more months.
A little over seven months later I was eight and a half months pregnant. Two weeks earlier I’d flown half way across the country with three children and my mother (a story that deserves its own post) to attend Peter’s graduation in Missouri. Peter had met us there with the moving truck and then continued on to PA. We both flew back to Utah to await the baby’s birth.
My official due date was 2 weeks after Peter was due to begin residency across the country. A lot of math, frustration, and scenario brainstorming had led us to one conclusion: we had to have this baby early. Factoring in Peter’s start date, time to travel from Utah to PA, and recovery time for the baby and me, we had a “no later than” date 2.5 weeks before the due date. Somehow we convinced the doctor to schedule an inducement.
The day of the inducement, I woke up feeling odd. I had a tightening feeling that came and went. It wasn’t painful, regularly spaced, or consistent in duration or intensity. My mother began to worry after 3 hours and suggested I go to the hospital. Mostly to humor her, I went. The doctor met us there to check me out. I was ready to give my mom an “I told you so” after being sent home. I wasn’t, after all, in any sort of pain. Instead the doctor informed us I was dilated to 8.5 cm.
Not yet in a delivery room, the nurses offered a wheel chair as transportation. I declined in favor of walking. I remember the nurse proclaiming in awe to her colleagues that I was walking to my room while dilated to 8.5. Soon we were settled and the doctor broke my water. I had my first painful contraction and directly afterwards felt ready to push. It seemed only one large push before our baby was born. It was the easiest labor imaginable.
Some things I learned:
- This was the only birth my mother-in-law was able to attend. Want to get bonus points as daughter-in-law? Have a relatively pain free labor where you can joke around through the whole thing and let her watch.
- After four kids, delivering the head and then waiting to deliver the body is next to impossible. That baby comes out like a projectile.
- If you can mildly walk down a hall, smiling and joking, while minutes from delivery, you increase your chances of getting the best delivery & recovery room in the hospital.
- Nurses talk. I was visited at every shift change by all the new nurses asking if I was “the one who had that labor.”
- After a labor like that you will be paranoid the next baby will fall out in the middle of washing dishes or something.
- Travelling across the country with a 3 day old isn’t as bad as it seems- they are still sleeping a lot.
- Always listen to your mother.