Once I laid down around 9:00 on Saturday evening, I was going between keeping an eye on the clock and drifting to sleep between contractions that were coming at – you guessed it – around 10 minutes apart. But suddenly, around 10pm, I jolted upright with a start and thought, something is different. I still don't even know exactly what happened. I'm not sure if I had fallen into a deep sleep and a heavy contraction woke me or what. But as I stood up, I felt shaky and queasy and all together different than I had throughout the whole ordeal. I went out and said to Evan, “This is it. And if it's not, I don't know what I'll do”. He ran me a bath and while I worked through a few contractions in the water, we decided it was time to call his parents to begin their venture from Michigan, where they were visiting his oldest sister and time to take the kids to Marcia and Linda's for the night. We woke my parents up, got things packed up for the girls and sent them off with my Dad. As I kissed their sleepy, groggy little lips goodbye, I got a little teary, thinking about how it was more than likely that their little lives would never be the same from that moment on. After Dad took off with them, Evan, Mom and I worked at bringing up the birth supplies, making the bed in preparation for the birth and getting everything else set back up. And as you can imagine, throughout all this hustle and bustle, the contractions all but disappeared.
It was about 11pm when we climbed back into bed and I can honestly say that the next few hours were so beyond bizarre to me. This experience was nothing like either of my first two. I spent the next hours, until 2am, drifting into a deep, deep sleep in between the most difficult and intense contractions I had ever felt in my life. I was trying to time them to see if there was a pattern, but I just couldn't stay awake. At times, I would look at my stop watch and see that 23 minutes had passed. But I had absolutely no conscious recollection of what had happened in those 23 minutes. I didn't know if I was sleeping through contractions or if 23 minutes was really passing without a contraction. In between this groggy haze of sleep and the contractions that I was present for, I was also taking multiple trips to the washroom, losing more mucous and feeling intense pressure in my bum, signaling I needed to have a bowel movement, but never having anything happen.
At 2 am, things were getting to be too much for me to handle. I still didn't think I was anywhere close to the end because I was trying to think too textbook, waiting for the “closer together” component to strike. I woke Evan and said, “I think I need to page the midwives. I'm not sure how much longer I can do this without knowing if/how much progress I am making”. I was so fearful that after all of these hours and all of this work, I would still be sitting at 2cm – and that was a thought I just couldn't bear to entertain. Evan immediately got his phone out and said, “Just wait. I really don't think I'm close enough to page. Give me another half hour and let's see what happens”. Apparently his instinct is stronger than mine because he said, “No. I am paging right now. I'd rather not deliver this baby alone”.
So, I paged. Within moments, my primary midwife, Taryn called me back with her student, Fiona, on the line. Thanks to my mother, I have a habit of being unable to sit still while on the phone, so as soon as we started chatting, I started moving around. Of course, I wasn't paying entirely close attention at the time but later I looked back and realized that in our 9 minute conversation, I had 4 very long, very difficult contractions. Taryn told me, “We are coming to you. Now. If you aren't close to the end, we will see what we can do to speed things up. Until we get there, I want you laying on your side in bed or in the tub. If you are on the toilet and you feel pressure, get to bed and lay down. I want you resting as much as possible, even if the contractions slow down, we will see what's going on when we get there”. Since we moved to a new area, it would take them longer to get to me than it did at past births so she also told me that if anything changed in the next 45-50 minutes while I waited for her to call her back right away. Later, she told me that from the first few minutes of our conversation, she knew we would have a baby soon.
In the hour between 2-3, while I waited for her and her student to arrive, things changed drastically. The feeling of the contractions, the speed, the intensity – everything. Of course, my mind kept drifting to “what if this isn't it? What if I still have hours and hours ahead of me?” I tried not (unsuccessfully) to let myself think of the magic number of how far I hoped I'd be, but really, I know I wanted to be at least 7cm. And although the fear of not having progressed was there, somewhere deep inside my mind I knew I had. I had been here twice before. I knew these feelings. My body's memory was jogged in a big way. I could feel it. I was in transition...