Oren Henry, A Birth Story: Act One

posted on: Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It all started with a cleaning frenzy.

It was Monday afternoon and all I could think about was how I was headed back to work the next morning and hadn't gotten much accomplished over the weekend. As I glanced around my house suddenly all I could see was dust, cat hair and dirt everywhere I looked - and I needed to clean it. All. Right then. So I started --- wiping down furniture, scrubbing floors, cleaning out the fridge and pantry, batting my eyelashes at Josh while gently persuading him to haul the vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs for me. He texted my sister and told her I was nesting like a madwoman and to get ready because he was convinced the baby was coming soon. I kind of shrugged him off and told him I just wanted everything clean before the work week when I wouldn't have the time to get to it.  Besides, I wasn't having a single contraction or any other sign of impending labor. So, I just kept on cleaning into the evening, I put Wes to bed and kept going well into the night. Finally, by 11:30 I was satisfied and knew 5am would be coming too soon. I had even finished the last few things on my mental "baby to do" list.  Exhausted, I crawled into bed and as I closed my eyes and began to drift to sleep I rubbed my belly and whispered down to my baby, "I think we're finally ready for you little one."

10 minutes later my water broke

I shook Josh

"I think my water just broke!"

"What? Are you serious?"

"Look!" I pointed to my wet pajama pants

"What do we do now?!"

"I don't know!"

Josh ran off to get me a towel and I went into the bathroom to clean up. Another huge gush of fluid. This was definitely it. I was stunned and practically shaking with excitement. I changed my clothes as Josh called my midwife. She asked if the fluid was clear. I said I thought so. She asked if I was having contractions yet. I said no, nothing yet. She told me the contractions would probably start in a few hours and suggested I go back to bed and try to get some sleep.

riiiiiight... I'm only about to become a mother of two and to do so I have to give birth and I plan to that drug free, so while I wait for the impending pain to begin I'll just go ahead and grab a quick nap. Sure, no problem, crazy lady.

So, even though it was almost midnight I called my mom who had given me strict instructions to call her as soon as any labor related developments occurred. I also called my dad and stepmom, and before I was even off the phone Josh had called my sister and she was already on her way to our house.

Another huge gush of fluid but this time it looked a little off. We called the midwife back and she asked if it looked like there was meconium (if you don't know what that is you can find out all about it here) in the fluid. I described it to her and she said not to worry too much about it and to call her back if anything changed.

Then my contractions started --- it had only been about 15 minutes.

So much for a few hours. Okay, no problem, I could handle this. They weren't too bad and I started using the relaxation techniques I had learned in my HypnoBirthing classes. It was working well and I was calm and focused, totally in control.

Abby showed up about 10 minutes later and she and Josh and I gathered in our bedroom while Josh timed my contractions to establish a pattern. Within barely a half an hour they were already three minutes apart and lasting a minute long. This was going fast, really fast. We debated about whether to call our midwife back again since we had already called her twice within the last hour, but they were starting to get really intense. Josh made the call. She asked if I could walk and talk through the contractions. I said I didn't know, I hadn't tried. Just as the words left my mouth I felt another one building so I gathered myself together and attempted to walk across the room. That was a bad idea.

"Nope, no way! Not into it!" I croaked as I sat back down on the bed. The midwife said to follow my gut and whenever I felt ready to go to the hospital to go ahead and go. She would call ahead and let them know I was coming and instruct them to get the room with the birthing tub ready for me.  She said they would call her when I got there and when and if I was in active labor they would let her know and she would head down.

So we waited through a few more contractions until I realized I really needed to be at a hospital, like, NOW.

While Josh and Abby set about getting the bags in the car I hobbled into Weston's room and spent my last few minutes at home just watching him sleep, kissing his little cheeks and thinking about how this was our last time alone together before he was no longer my one and only. The weight of that thought was heavy and bittersweet but I knew there was no turning back now.


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