The weekend came and went. No baby.
I saw the midwife on the due date (a Wednesday) and she had me set up an appointment for fetal monitoring the following week (41 weeks). I ate another good meal at Rustic Canyon. I thought I may have had a contraction, but otherwise, things were semi-normal. I had wanted to re-watch the British verison of The Office, so every day we watched another episode or two before falling asleep.
Early in the morning of Friday, August 12, I woke up thinking I may have had contractions during the night. I also recounted a really weird dream involving a potluck where someone brought watermelon and marshmallows on skewers. I woke Ryan up and he asked if I wanted to walk Harry with him. (This is unusual. In our seven years of dog ownership, walking the dog in the morning is almost always something Ryan does alone.) As we walked around the neighborhood, I thought, “OK, these are definitely contractions.” Ryan decided to work from home. A few hours later, after we’d eaten donuts and tracked more contractions, he decided to take the day off. I kept thinking, “This might not be it, this could stop at any point, or this could go off and on all weekend.” But the contractions kept getting closer and closer together. We finished The Office.
We called Labor and Delivery and they said I could come in if I wanted, but I could definitely wait. We stayed home. A few hours later I was hot and uncomfortable and thought I might be happier in a nice cold hospital. So we headed to UCLA around 6pm. We brought so much stuff! Reading material, a laptop loaded with television shows, a ton of music and an exercise ball. I figured I’d be laboring for a while, and envisioned myself walking through the halls and sitting on my ball while Ryan talked me through things and rubbed my back.
The nurses put us in the tiniest triage room and there wasn’t much space. The pile of necessities sat in a corner and Ryan had nowhere to sit. We guessed how dilated I might be. I said it would be great if I was at five or six centimeters, but Ryan thought it was more likely that I was three or four. Finally I saw our midwife and she checked me. I was already dilated to six centimeters! That meant we could move into a big labor and delivery room. Every nurse who came by kept saying, “You seem so calm for how far along you are!” I wasn’t particularly comfortable, but I wasn’t sure how much more intense it would get.
For some reason I was very concerned about being hungry during labor. My parents went to get deli for dinner and I kept thinking I would have to have them bring me something.
Oddly, I then forgot entirely about food. I had to wear a monitor because the baby’s heart rate was dropping between contractions, which meant I had to stay in a fixed position in bed. This annoyed me, and I kept trying to talk someone into letting me move around. Eventually I made it to eight centimeters. I really wanted to try for an unmedicated delivery, and at this point I knew I could keep going without drugs. At some time after midnight, as I was wiggling in bed, I felt a huge gush and heard a “pop.” “I think my water just broke,” I said to my mom and Ryan.
I got checked again—ten centimeters! The midwife said it was going to be time to push soon. I don’t remember much about pushing except that I yelled—a lot—and that it hurt—a lot. At one point, my midwife told me I was making noise but not pushing, and I needed to push. This made me mad, and in a fit of “I’ll show her” I really pushed. So hard that a baby came out, all at once, it seemed. For some reason I thought it would be gradual, like here’s his head, push push, now his chest, push push…But it felt like one big move.