Birth Story: The Prologue

Okay, kiddo. We’re ready if you are. We don’t know when we’ll be able to post again, but here’s an account of our week prior to the Friday induction.

Monday, April 6th, 4:00 p.m.: I am two days overdue, having a few contractions per hour that are mild-moderate in intensity but do not progress. I have been in this holding pattern for over a month, I’m exhausted and my lower back is killing me. Our doctor reports that I am over 50% effaced but have made no progress in dilation. I have held steady at around 3cm for three weeks. The professional opinion is that I’m “there and ready, and there’s really no reason why [I] shouldn’t have made the leap to regular contractions yet.” Her policy is a 40 week cap to pregnancy (I would have asked why, but a) I’m too tired, and b) I don’t especially care that much), but we’ve negotiated to go to 41 weeks before inducing. Truthfully, I do not want to go to 42 weeks. I submit to the non-stress test, noting that the baby has settled directly on my sciatic nerve and my lower body is in ridiculous pain when I get into the best monitoring position. We agree to schedule a late-week date to induce, although we hope not to need it. Friday is the best day in Tom’s work window, so we settle on Friday at 9:00am, just a day shy of 41 weeks. Waiting until his next best date would be the following Friday, which is longer than the doctor and I care to go. We decide to use the bare minimum of pitocin to “jump start” the labor and turn it off as soon as the contractions become regular.

April 6, 6:30 p.m.: My Macbook hard drive commits suicide. Contractions increase to 5 minutes apart while I deal with the fallout. I schedule a Genius Bar appointment for the next day; contractions subside.
Tuesday, April 7th, 2:00 p.m.: There is nothing the Genius Bar can do, the data loss is total. I am told that “Sometimes these things just happen and there’s no reason why.” Thankfully I have backed up about 90% of my files. Contractions remain in the limbo pattern; apparently Baby has accepted death of Macbook. I arrange for the new hard drive to be installed and leave my mechanical baby at the Apple Store.

Wednesday, April 8th, 12:00 p.m.: I am off work and on leave, sans computer, which I consider essential to the functions of life. Tom graciously allows me use of his, but without all my bookmarks and feeds, it isn’t the same. With all my time to think and dwell, I start to consider calling the doctor and canceling the induction. Work schedules and doctor and back pain be damned; why am I disturbing this baby if it doesn’t want to come out yet? I have horrible guilt for altering the 100% natural plan, even though we will be turning off the pit as soon as possible. Then I realize that the holding pattern of unproductive contractions isn’t good for me, and how will it help the baby if I wait and wait and go for a natural delivery but am too exhausted and worn out from the last six weeks of fake labor to follow through? I would rather have a small bit of pitocin than an epidural; for someone with ADHD, the idea of being confined to a bed and immobilized from the waist down sounds like medieval torture. I resolve to stop being a ninny and decide that pitocin or no, if I can do it without an epidural, thus staying mobile, I will consider it a win. I further remind myself that a successful birth is one that concludes with a live healthy baby and mother, and to try to stay off the high horse. All the same, I take a very small dose of castor oil to see if I can jump-start things at home. At best, it works, at worst, well…my system needs a good clearing.

April 8, 4:00 p.m.: Castor oil does not work, for the record. At least, not in the small amount I’ve taken, and I have seen enough to know I don’t want to see any more.

Thursday, April 9th: Intermittent but increasing contractions make napping and resting difficult. Am exhausted from previous night of tossing and turning and contracting. Maybe the castor oil did do something. I do the Hypnobirthing CD one last time and manage to relax enough to nap a little. While watching cheesy late-90s horror movies, I start to get optimistic about the contractions’ progress. Hopes are subsequently dashed as the contractions taper off late in the afternoon. I decide to call Tom and tell him that what I really want for my last meal is a good steak. My decision to marry Tom and make him the father of my child is reaffirmed as he suggests filet mignon wrapped in bacon, and offers to go to the store on his way home. Now that’s service! We spend the evening watching movies, setting up the co-sleeper, and enjoying each other’s company in baby-less quiet.