To say I was in denial is probably an understatement, but between taking care of the twins and trying to get everything ready for the holidays, having a baby three weeks early--especially one who hadn't yet turned head down (!)--was seriously the last thing on my mind.
So, when those first intense, early morning contractions woke me up out of a dead sleep, I convinced myself I just needed to pee. And as the morning progressed and the contractions became even more uncomfortable--like, breathe-through-them-uncomfortable--I decided that I was probably just doing too much, and if I drank some water and relaxed, they would eventually settle down.
I know, it sounds ridiculous, but denial is a very powerful thing! Plus, as I mentioned in the 36 Week Update I wrote that day, while the contractions were intense, they didn't seem all that regular (though, to be fair, I wasn't timing them). And furthermore, in my defense, drinking water and lying down did help--sort of--it's just that when I stood up, the contractions seemed to hurt twice as much..
Finally, around 2:30ish, I broke down and called Mr. E for backup. The way I saw it, maybe it was The Real Deal, or maybe I just needed to rest, and there was no way that was happening if I also had to entertain two very energetic 20-month-olds.
(Fun fact: I also called my chiropractor and canceled that afternoon's appointment. Unfortunately for me, a contraction hit just as she got on the phone, and in an effort to sound cool and nonchalant, I was the total opposite. I swear, I said something along the lines of, Hi I know it's last minute but I think I'm going into labor and I'd really rather not so I think I need to just relax would it be alright if we rescheduled? Totally normal, right?)
So, I did the next logical thing, which was to
At that point, I still felt pretty sheepish about the whole thing. Of course, the contractions were definitely painful, but during the pain-free moments in between, I couldn't help but wonder if I was overreacting. It just felt so sudden: I mean, I wasn't even 37 weeks! That said, I still made myself pack my hospital bag, and I at Mr. E's insistence, even called my doula to meet us at the hospital "just in case."
In the meantime, we called my mother-in-law to come watch the twins for us. She lives about 30 minutes away, and we only live about 12 minutes from the hospital, so we figured we'd get to L&D within the hour. At the rate my contractions were coming--about every 3-5 minutes--I thought that was totally doable. Unfortunately, we seriously underestimated rush hour traffic and how much time that would add to my mother-in-law's ETA..
Over an hour into waiting for her, we both started to get nervous. I mean, if I really was in labor, and the baby was still breech, I definitely needed to be at the hospital sooner rather than later. At that point, I was actually using my birthing ball to get more comfortable ("comfortable" obviously being a relative term!), and suddenly, the idea that I was about to have a baby didn't seem all that far-fetched.
Then (MAJOR TMI AHEAD!!!) I went to the bathroom, and well, things got real. For the record, I never really bled while in labor with the twins, so when I saw all the blood this time around, it scared the crap out of me. I started yelling for Mr. E to come look, and then this huger than huge clot fell out of me, except for a split second, I could have sworn it was E3's umbilical cord (cord prolapse being a risk with breech babies), and I started to seriously panic because after a day of thinking that maybe I wasn't in labor, it was suddenly excruciatingly obvious that I was.
That's when Mr. E called 911 because his mom still wasn't there yet, and--this was funny only in retrospect--per the dispatcher's instructions, I somehow ended up on my back in the middle of the living room floor, totally nude from the waist down, which is exactly how the EMTs and my mother-in-law found me when they arrived a few minutes later. (Good times. I swear, between this pregnancy and last, my MIL has seen WAY too much of me!)
Minor humiliation aside, however, I'm glad we called for help. By the time I arrived at the hospital--one dramatic, siren-filled ambulance ride later--my contractions were lasting one minute long and coming every two. (This was according to the paramedics; I was sort of beyond timing them myself!) On top of that, I was starting to shake, which is exactly what happened when I went through transition with the twins.
At that point, I was 100% certain I was going to have the baby that night and was feeling a pretty urgent need to get him or her out. However, I apparently do not play the part of a laboring woman very convincingly* because at first, I don't think anyone else thought I was quite as progressed as I
*This is funny only because I'm a pretty ginormous wimp in real life, but as I explained to Mr. E, I prefer to suffer my contractions in silence and save the yelling and cursing for the important stuff...you know, like stubbed toes and banged shins...and paper cuts! ;)
Anyway, after I had explained why I was there--the contractions, the bleeding, the breech baby--the resident asked me (very calmly) if I thought I was in labor, and when I said yes, she simply said (still very calmly) Okay, well let's see if you're dilated...
And I was. To 5 cm. And about 10 minutes later, I was at an 8 with a "big bag of waters," which meant that 1) There was zero time to turn the baby, and 2) Suddenly things went from Well, the patient might be in labor to This baby is breech and we need a c-section immediately! (Actually, they used the word stat. It was all very Grey's Anatomy-esque, which might have been exciting if I hadn't been the patient in question!)
The events that followed passed in a sort of blur. I remember signing a gazillion forms that I never looked at and listening to a million instructions that I never really heard, all the while trying to keep my composure through each contraction. I also remember the OB on call (whom I had met when I was on bed rest with the twins and really liked) asking the nurses if she should put the IV in herself because things needed to move faster.
Overall, it was pretty hectic and overwhelming, but in the background, I could also hear Mr. E telling the team our mini birth plan--mainly that we wanted to see and hold the baby as soon as possible, c-section or not--and I remember feeling so grateful that he was around to say those things.
Then, suddenly, I was in the OR being prepped for a surgery that I hadn't ever really considered a possibility. (I'm pretty sure I said more than once, But I'm supposed to have the baby turned this Monday! as though that would miraculously put my labor on hold...) Anyway, I was lucky to have an amazing team. The anesthesiologist and nurse in particular were really good at explaining everything that was going on. Plus, in the beginning, I was concentrating so hard on getting through each contraction that I didn't have time to focus on the upcoming surgery, and then the spinal was in, the pain was gone (as was any sensation below my armpits!), and before I knew it, the anesthesiologist was telling me that they had already started.
Mr. E came in soon after, and it was really comforting to have him right next to me. (Surreal though, too, because we were able to talk and laugh almost like I wasn't in the process of having major surgery, and we weren't about to meet our third child.) Then, the doctor told Mr. E to stand up and look over the curtain, and I heard him say, It's a BOY!, and just like that, at 9:12 PM, after about 21 hours of labor, 36w6d of pregnancy, and lots of hopes and prayers, our second little boy and third little miracle was born =)
Thank you so much for listening and for your support throughout our journey to E3. It means the world to all of us! Love and baby dust and Happy New Year! XO