This is my baby story. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
Sunday, November 2, 2014, 11:59 p.m.
Labor Hour 1
They say birthing babies in real life is not like how they do it in the movies.
The movies would have you believe childbirth goes like this: Pregnant person is surprised by water breaking in an inconvenient location like the getaway car of a high-speed chase; partner nervously, frantically forgets hospital bags, runs red lights and skids recklessly into ER loading zones; and shrieking baby shoots out of mama’s lady parts like a rocket, not a hair out of place on mama’s beautiful head. Having now birthed a baby I hereby affirm what they say is true: Bringing new life into the world is exactly nothing like Knocked Up. My water never broke, 26-and-a-half hours passed between my first contraction and my last contraction, and while I was gritting it out, my partner was neither frantic nor nervous. He was asleep.
My contractions started with an unmistakable pang of discomfort at the very end of my due date, November 2. When I felt my insides squeeze for the first time, I groaned. I was pretty sure I was f*&$ing finally going into labor — a thing I had been trying to jump-start for the better part of three weeks — but I was suddenly not ready. At all. I was tired, and from what I’ve heard “labor” works as advertised, so I felt like I would have benefited from a nap or a good night’s sleep instead. No, I said. Not today. Let’s try again tomorrow. In this way, I guess labor is kind of like the movies in that it is basically always inconvenient.
I began negotiating with myself, ridiculously, like, OK, I’m not going to say out loud that I just had a contraction because saying it out loud makes it true, and if it’s true, then I have to go to the hospital rather than go to bed, and my strong preference is to just go to bed. And so, I went to bed. In labor. Childbirth was happening but I was like, pass. When I felt the second contraction pretty soon after the first, I realized I was probably going to have to tell Randy. I thought about this for a while, like, what if I just don’t? What if instead of telling Randy in labor, I just, do not-that? When the third contraction happened, I groaned again, this time louder than usual, and Randy noticed. Through gritted teeth, I begrudgingly admitted to Randy that my insides were feeling kind of swirly but then insisted we didn’t need to concern ourselves with it. I approached my negotiations with him with more gusto because now I had to use logic and reason to convince someone who isn’t nuts to go along with my “let’s just completely ignore the fact that we are definitely about to have a baby” plan.
We learned in our baby prep class that we would be better off if I could labor at home as long as possible before going to the hospital, and our plan all along had been to follow our doctor’s recommendation of waiting until my contractions were four minutes apart and one minute in duration for at least an hour, so I leaned on that rationale to make my case. Since this was my first baby — labor for which is universally, notoriously long — and my contractions were 10 minutes apart, it was reasonable to think we were probably a good, full night’s sleep away from being ready to push. Randy, who had spent the previous nine months catering to my every pregnant whim, was also tired, so he agreed! We would go to bed, get as much sleep as possible and see where we were in the morning.
So we went to bed. Because we are dum-dums. Two-punctuated-by-painful-contraction-hours later I was excruciatingly awake and becoming increasingly convinced we were staring down the barrel of a “shooting out of my parts like a rocket” situation. Meanwhile, Randy was snoring. With every contraction I kicked myself for so expertly and thoroughly convincing him it would be possible to sleep.
“Sweetheart…” I patted him on the arm delicately and sweetly.
Several long seconds passed with no response.
“Honey…it’s time…” I poked him in the back, nicely but impatiently.
“Randy! I need you!” I shoved his whole body with as much force as possible and he tumbled half off the bed, stirring just enough to grumble, “GRRR UGHHH WHAT DO YOU NEED ME FOR?”
Oh good. This is going to be fun.