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This is Monkey Boy’s birth story, the first child to make our family more whole.
A bit about the events surrounding the start of labor.
I officially stopped going to work on a Friday. Hun had just gotten a new job he was to start on Monday. He needed some new steel-toed boots, so Friday late afternoon, we went in search of these boots. I felt pretty good all day, nothing abnormal from other days in most recent history. Meaning, I was tired and felt huge and heavy. You know, normal end-of-pregnancy feelings!
We’d had a checkup that morning and discovered that I was already dilated to 3cm and the bag of waters could be felt by our midwife, Damaris Pittman. Not expecting anything much, but knowing birth could literally be any day, we continued normally that afternoon.
While we were out shopping for Hun’s boots, a small rainstorm passed through. After the boots were decided on and purchased, we went home, only to discover the power was out. We were only a couple of minutes/miles from home, but somehow that small storm took our power out. The electric company didn’t have an estimated time before our power was restored and at the time, we didn’t know why the power was out.
Hun and I sat down and started playing board games. While switching from one game to another, I was sitting on the floor preparing the game and I felt “something happen”. It was our bag of waters breaking or tearing; a small gush and some dripping for a bit.
Immediately, knowing “something happened”, and being a nervous first time mom, I immediately started undressing from the waist down in the kitchen. It was about 7pm. Hun called our doula and our midwife, to let them know. Our midwife said to watch and wait and see what happens, but keep her posted on any changes.
Our doula decided to come on over and check on us to see how we were doing and help us begin preparing for whenever we’d need to leave. In the meantime, the electricity still hadn’t come on. I started looking for candles as we realized that it was only going to get darker, while Hun located some of his flashlights for us to use. We also realized that “this might really be it” and that I might start having some labor contractions pretty soon. We also knew we needed to eat, which would need to happen at a restaurant, since the electricity was still out.
Our doula arrived, later than originally expected, as apparently a tree had fallen somewhere on the path from her house to our apartment. This was likely the reason the electricity was off. I lost my mucus plug before our doula arrived and I had her confirm that what I saw was what I thought it was. Our doula came with us to eat and I started having contractions that were a noticeable. I ended up eating only a small salad as I had lost my appetite.
Knowing that we needed to purchase a bag of ice and a few other small items we went to a nearby store after eating. Our doula recommended I not eat any big meals, so I hopefully wouldn’t get sick. By the time our doula left us that night to catch a few hours of sleep herself, my contractions were anywhere from 5-8 minutes apart.
It was time for me to try sleeping, as we knew Baby would arrive some time over the next day. The power hadn’t been restored and I was anxious. Thankfully, I was able to fall asleep for a few hours.
I awoke a few hours later, to more noticeable contractions and felt the need to moan through them occasionally, so instead of staying in bed with Hun, I went to lay on the couch. I started to time these contractions and did so for about an hour. They were consistently 3-4 minutes apart and I was moaning through most of them. The moan was low, not high pitched, and though they were uncomfortable, I can’t say they were painful by definition.
Since they were staying 3-4 minutes apart, I thought it would be a good idea to call our midwife and doula again, to see what they thought and keep them posted on my progress. Our doula said she’d be back a little later in the morning and our midwife said I sounded like I was making good progress and to keep trying to rest. That is exactly what I did. I vaguely remember our doula coming over at some point and checking on me, but Hun mostly handled that, so I could rest as much as possible. At some point, I must have woken him to keep him posted. I think it was around 4:30 or 5a when this was going on.
After our doula came Saturday morning, Hun rested with me in bed and I was still able to sleep between contractions. I know this was happening, but I don’t think I fully awakened during the contractions, they weren’t lasting more than about 30-45 seconds.
After getting some more rest, we got up. Hun made eggs and bread and we shared a quiet light breakfast. Not much later, Hun, my doula, and I worked through the contractions. We knew and believed that movement during labor was good for me, for Baby, and to help make birth smooth. Our doula helped with some movement inside; sitting and rocking on a ball, squats, and up/down on a step stool.
Our doula was good about making sure I drank water and went to the bathroom consistently. We all walked outside too, stopping only for contractions.
At some point, Hun and I took a shower to help with my lower back pain, at our midwife’s recommendation. We were told the pain was caused by pressure on my pelvis from Baby preparing to come.
I wasn’t paying attention to the clock, as I continued to work through contractions and pay attention to my body’s cues the best I could as a first time mom. Hun was keeping our midwife posted on my progress and I spoke briefly with her a few times, so she could gauge my progress as I worked through contractions.
The contractions kept coming, getting a bit stronger and closer together. I believe they were about 2-3 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 45-60 seconds each.
I remember Hun letting me know my sister was coming to help straighten our apartment, which I’d forgotten I’d asked her to do once we went into labor. I know I didn’t call or talk to her, so Hun must have. Since I knew that she was coming over and we were leaving for the birth center soon, I wanted to wait until she arrived before we left. I wanted to see her. I remember thinking to thank her for coming over and let her know a few things. I don’t recall being very successful in doing all this, as I continued to have contractions. I do remember we hugged and she wished us well!
I also recall being ushered, gently and lovingly, by both Hun and our doula, to prepare to leave. I remember my sister saying thoughtful, loving, and supportive words, though I can’t recall them anymore. I’ll admit, part of me didn’t fully and completely believe I was in labor and it was time to make the 2-hour trek to our birth center. I know I was in awe and excited about Baby arriving.
To everyone’s relief, I’m sure, we left after my sister arrived.
On the way, we stopped for sandwiches and drinks, as it was recommended I try to eat something again. I didn’t eat my sandwich. I didn’t have an appetite. My taste buds were different and I felt sick at the thought of food. Plus, I couldn’t muster the energy or courage to take more than a bite of that sandwich.