So This is Labor... Have you ever heard someone tell you they didn't know they were in labor and you thought to yourself, "Yeah right, how could you not know you were in labor!" I have to say, I'm guilty as charged. The reason I didn't realize I was in labor was because I had experienced severe back pain for the previous 13 days, so when the pain spread to the front, I thought "Oh well, more misery." Plus, I thought contractions would have a more distinct stopping and starting feeling.
What I actually felt were strong menstrual-like pains, coupled with strong back pains. The back pains were so intense that I had spasms that sent me jumping and yelping. You should have seen the people at work staring at me with great looks of concern.
The Beginning My labor actually started on December 23rd (when the pain traveled to the front). I was at home alone all day. By the end of the day around 5 p.m., I called my husband, who owns a small independent specialty bookstore. Needless to say, Christmas is a busy time for him. I was crying and ordered him to come home immediately. After making sure I wasn't in labor, he made it home in about 30 minutes. When he arrived, I informed him that I was in massive pain, I was lonely and I couldn't and wouldn't stay home by myself on Christmas Eve.
Is Spotting a Bad Thing? Christmas Eve morning, I awoke to light spotting. My husband frantically began opening our baby books and looking through them to discover what we should do. Finally, he insisted that we call the doctor. Believe it or not, I didn't want to call. I knew it was a holiday and that the doctor would have to be paged, and it would be a hassle. But my husband prevailed. The doctor suggested I watch the spotting, and if it continued all day, then I should call him back. We called back at the end of the day, and as a precautionary measure, he sent us to the hospital "to be checked." He made it seem like it wasn't a big deal, and that we'd probably be sent home. So, since we were expected at my father's for Christmas Eve dinner at 7:00 p.m., I put the queso dip in the crock pot and we left, even though my due date wasn't until January 28th.
Possible False Alarm When we arrived at the hospital, the nurse led us to a birthing room, told me to undress, and said she would put the fetal monitor and contractions monitor on me. I promptly informed her that I wasn't having contractions, I was just in pain. After an hour of monitoring, she was concerned that my contractions were very erratic. However, the baby's heartbeat was fine. "Contractions" -- then that's what that pain was. So we never had the experience of counting contractions.
After several hours of monitoring, the nurse decided to call the doctor to let him assess the situation. We hadn't called our families because we didn't want to get their hopes up, but by then we were an hour late for Dad's dinner, so we had to call and let them know what was going on. And oh yeah, we had to call a neighbor to go turn off the crockpot. By 11 p.m., my contractions were still erratic, so the doctor gave me some drugs to dull the pain, and informed us we were staying the night.
All I want for Christmas is .... After waking up every one to two hours all night long in major pain from the contractions, I awoke at 4 a.m. to the doctor "checking me" (how come nobody tells you how painful that process is before it happens to you) and breaking my water. I didn't receive my epidural until around 9:20 a.m., but that's a whole other story -- let's just say, my husband NOW understands that I should be the judge of when it's time for the epidural next time.
To our surprise, we received a beautiful Christmas Day baby -- Nia Reneé Rodgers was born at 9:46 a.m. at four pounds, nine ounces. She was perfectly healthy and never had to spend any time in the neo-natal unit. Baby, Mommy and Daddy happily left the hospital two days later.