On the Friday before Memorial Day a very well-meaning coworker told me the baby had dropped and I was going to have a Memorial Day baby. I wasn't due until June 18, two days after graduation, so I told him to bite his tongue because I had way too much to get done to have the baby early. He just looked at me knowingly and shook his head.
That night I took my sweet yearbook girls to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory for our annual end of the year dinner. After a super satisfying meal and some even more satisfying cheesecake, the baby (Pedro, at that point) was VERY active. At one point a bunch of girls were watching my belly and he did a crazy hard judo chop and made my belly bounce. There were loud shrieks of surprise, and maybe a little fear, and I knew we had probably overstayed our welcome at the crowded restaurant.
We went outside and took our group pictures.
I headed home. I was exhausted from a very long day. My feet were as big as I'd ever seen them. I called my mom and asked her to bring the spa foot bath thingy when they visited the next day. (They had already decided I was done making the hour long drive north until after the baby was born.)
When they visited on Saturday, my mom massaged my huge feet after they soaked in divine lavender bath salts she brought for me. (That's love!) Even they commented on the way my belly had dropped. Earlier that morning, I posted this picture to my Facebook page:
Beau was out of the country for work and I didn't want to have another "holy shit" moment when I picked him up from the airport. (Two weeks earlier when I picked him up he looked at my belly, said "holy shit" and then had to try to delicately backpedal so I'd give him a ride home.) My plan was to take and send weekly belly pictures. It turns out that it would be first and last installment of bellygram, the not so well known sister of instagram.
I took it easy the rest of the day and rationalized excuses not to do the grading I had brought home. I had a relatively restless night, but managed to get some sleep. The restless nights were just starting and I was expecting them to get worse for the next three weeks.
Sunday morning I got up and decided to check some errands off my to-do list. There were a few minor things I wanted to get done to prep for the baby's arrival and I figured doing them Sunday would be another awesome way to rationalize not grading. (Because I knew running errands would be enough to wipe me out for the rest of the day.) Monday I was going to buckle down and get all of the papers graded so I could spend the rest of the week packing up my classroom and getting all of the work related prep work done.
On my list of things to do was go to Bed Bath and Beyond for mattress protector (in case my water broke) and travel sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc; stop by my maternity photographer's house to pick up our pictures (she's amazing and will be getting her own post soon!); and a trip to Moe's was in order as well.
I was going to get started relatively early, but I was moving pretty slowly and then my BFF called from California. (Remember her from here?) We chatted for a while and discussed books that we had been reading, my pregnancy--I insisted I felt great and that the little guy was going to keep cooking for a few weeks-- and her super adorable kids. I got to Moe's and ordered my taco salad and sat and read while I ate. It was a leisurely lunch and the taco salad satiated little Pedro. (Did I mention that throughout the pregnancy I craved Mexican food? That's how he got his nickname. Obvs.)
Next was Bed Bath and Beyond. I felt silly getting the rubber sheet, but I worried that amniotic fluid would ruin the pillowtop mattress. I envisioned my water breaking at home in bed, because too many people had suggested that it would be so funny if it broke at school. One of my EMT certified students even offered to deliver him for me if my water should break at school. The whole scenario was mortifying and made me not want to set foot in the building so I had to picture my water breaking at home just so I could work. (I had, by the way, decided that if my water broke at school I would calmly walk out of the classroom with my purse and phone, would get in the car and drive myself to the nearby hospital and while on the way would call the office and ask for a sub. I was going to vacate the building before anyone knew what was going on.)
I digress... I got my items and headed to Amanda's to get my maternity shots. I was so excited to get them! They are stunning. Seriously, when I post my story about her you are going to want to book a session with her. She's a magician/goddess/miracle worker.
During our maternity session we had discussed how Beau was going to be out of town almost up to my due date. Amanda does birth photography and she said that she'd gladly shoot my birth if Pedro came early so that Beau could see it all through her lens. Her one caveat was that I couldn't go into labor the week of Memorial Day because she was going out of town. When I went to pick up the photos, she reminded me of her offer, looked at my belly and said something to the effect of, "there's no way he's coming before I get home." I agreed, told her how great I felt and practically skipped down her driveway. (OK, I totally waddled, but in my head I was skipping. I felt so good. I'd checked items off my list and it was a beautiful day. Skip to my Lou.)
It was late afternoon at this point. As I was driving home, I passed Taste Unlimited, my favorite non-Mexican eatery. They have gellato. Divine, wonderful, amazing gellato. And I had had a scoop the day before when my parents and I went for lunch. It was good. So good that I HAD to have more. Right. That. Minute.
I was devastated when I looked into the gellato case and saw the chocolate concoction I had the day before was gone. I literally didn't know what to do. It was the one thing I had to have. And it wasn't there. I just stared blankly at the case and the poor teenage girl behind the counter probably thought I was simple. I told her how sad I was (and probably rubbed my belly in the most pathetic way possible) and she said that there was just a little bit left so they had packed it into a to-go cup. There was a pint left. Had the case of gellato not been separating us, I would have kissed the poor girl.
And being a mere child, she had no comprehension of what kind of hormone induced craving roller coaster I had just been on. She was, at that moment, my best friend in the whole wide world. (Sorry, C. You understand, though, I'm sure.)
I happily drove home and started digging in. I got about four bites in when I realized I had to go to the bathroom. Pedro hadn't been too hard on my bladder, but every once-in-a-while he'd move just right and I had to go that instant. This was one of those moments. I put the gellato down on the kitchen counter and waddled to the bathroom.
Now, I'll spare you the details, but I lost my mucus plug on that trip to the potty. (If you don't know what that is, I urge you NOT to google image it. Seriously. Now you'll want to, but don't.) I knew from my obsessively extensive reading that this was an early sign of labor, but not indicative of anything immediate. I had actually been expecting it and was excited that we were getting the ball rolling.
In my reading I had also read about how many women experienced incontinence because of pregnancy. (This was another of my school/pregnancy related fears: wetting myself in class. Ugh. I'm embarrassed for myself just thinking about it.) As I was walking back to my gellato, I felt wetness and thought that I had experienced some of that aforementioned incontinence. Recall, though, that I had just gone to the bathroom. Odd.
I went back and decided that in order to have undisturbed gellato time it would be best if I wore a pad. (Sorry, this might be a little TMI...) I started walking back to my gellato when I felt it again. I knew, though, that there was no way I could have peed a third time in two minutes. There might have been a baby playing hackey sack with my bladder, but three times? Not a chance.
Could my water have broken? Gasp.
I hadn't had any contractions, so it couldn't have been that. Besides, I had three weeks left. And first babies come late. Everyone knows that.
I called my mom to put her on alert and to get some you're-not-in-labor reassurance. Our friends Andy and Meagan called. (Well, just Andy, but on behalf of Andy and Meagan.) They wanted to know how I was feeling and if they could do anything. My half of the conversation was probably so bizarre for poor Andy. It went something like this: "Yeah, I'm fine. I feel good. My water might have just broken, but it might just be nothing. We'll see. But thanks for checking on me. You guys are sweet." I'm pretty sure he suggested I call the doctor.
So, I did. Again, I'm sure I sounded like a moron. I called the answering service and told the lady that my water might have broken but I'm not sure, so can someone call me back? The midwife on duty called back a few minutes later and seemed a little skeptical. She said that sometimes mucus plugs keep coming out in parts and maybe it was that. She told me to lie down and then get up. I'll spare you the details, but the difference in consistency would indicate if it was mucus or amniotic fluid.
Based on what she told me it seemed very amniotic-y. I called her back and told her about my lack of contractions and that I didn't really want to hang out at the hospital if I didn't have to. She told me I could labor at home for up to twelve hours or until the contractions got close together (4-1-1 as per birth classes!).
Andy called me back and I told him I was probably in labor but it wasn't a big deal yet. He invited me to have dinner at his in-laws' house so I wouldn't have to be alone. I had enough sense to decide that it wasn't polite to leak fluid at the dinner table so I declined. Then, I called my mom and asked her if she wanted to have a sleepover at my house. Her response, and I kid you not, was, "we're about to have dinner. I'll leave when we are finished."
I'm not suggesting that mom is cold hearted or wasn't excited. I like to think this reaction was a testament to how calm and collected I was. Or, whatever was for dinner was darn good. Who knows?
At some point in here I sent Beau a text that read, "I think I might be in labor. I'll let you know" of course, he called immediately and let me know that he'd me home as soon as he could. I told him to text me when he was done working and if I was up we'd talk. I wanted to be able to confirm that I was actually in labor before he flew home from Africa.
Mom arrived at about 9:00 p.m. and we hung out for a while. I was still not entirely convinced that this was IT. I started having minor contractions, but nothing to make me really believe that I was in labor. I decided that if it was, I should move it along a little, so I got my exercise ball out and did a thousand crunches.
Just kidding. I wanted to see if you were still reading. If you aren't, you should start.
I was swaying on the ball and mom said something funny. I laughed and fluid squirted out. I thought that was really gross/funny and laughed more. I gushed more, which made me laugh more. You see how this is going. It was a vicious, and very wet cycle. I sent this photo to Beau with the message, "Yep, water definitely broke..."
Like the towel between my legs? This might just be the hottest photo of me.
Stay tuned for part two of the birth story. Where there is an actual birth. And way more pictures. That don't make me look like I wet my pants.
OK, fess up, how many of you looked up mucus plug?