The next few posts take place over a 12 hour period. This is Part 1 of a few.
A couple days ago I started feeling a general sense of malaise and unrelenting, radiating back pain that gently (and then not so gently at all) wrapped itself around my torso and squeeeeeeezed with the uncomfortable vice-like promise of a fresh baby.
‘Finally’, I thought. ‘Is this it?! At 36 weeks and 4 days I know I’m still early, but after seven bouts of false labour I think I’ve earned this three or so weeks off for good behavior, anticlimactic triage visits and contraction app downloads. Right?…’
Having been induced with Vee in overtime, this weird labour feeling was a total novelty and one that at first brought with it intense excitement. Wow. Kid Vader could be here at last! Baby brother to Vee, and firstborn to Cap!
Like so many of the false starts before, my lower back started protesting and the shooting pains down my inner thighs started to crescendo. The wave-like contractions kicked in and then ramped up in intensity. This time they felt even more insistent even though they were still 10 minutes apart. I felt ‘weird’. I felt a persistent pelvic pressure. Internally something was telling me that ‘this was it’ and I started to give more credence to that voice when at 7am the next morning, the contractions and back pain that had kept me up all night were not only still there, but had me feeling like I was wearing a weird kind of Dr. Ho’s electrode girdle that made it hard to breathe. YES.
Unable to sleep I showered, made breakfast for the family, and confidently woke Cap up to let him know that this was really happening. Oh yeah. This was on.
I had an OB appointment scheduled for first thing and I knew exactly what was going to happen.
He was going to check me, nod approvingly at my progress and maybe give a resounding slow clap for being so awesome. Then he would tell me to head on down to triage because my contractions would be 5 mins by that point and the med students would be so impressed with my dilation and breathing technique that they’d burst into freestyle rhymes about them (what rhymes with cervix…). I’d bob my head appreciatively. It would be great.
Ok. Obviously that last part was a delirious micro dream —after fertility treatments, a traumatic assisted delivery, 2 missed miscarriages with complications and the incredible ride of this pregnancy constantly surfing the crests of a Crohn’s flare, I knew better. Still. This time would be different. I just knew it.
Cap piled the hospital bag and the new baby seat into the backseat of the car in case we did check in to Labour & Delivery. The air around our place was buzzing with a kind of sugar-shocked charge. We were totally wired.
I got Vee dressed at lightening speed and we headed over early to a close friend’s who had offered to walk-pool all our kids to the day camp they went to so I could make it to my early appointment.
When we pulled up, Vee refused to budge.
“Honey, I really need to get to the doctor so we can see Baby Brother.” She shook her head violently with pursed lips. I started to speak but just then contraaaaaaaaaaaaaaction. Breathe, breathe, breathe… hold on that was 7 minutes, not 10.
“Mummy, he’s totally coming now. I’m not going to camp. I’m not leaving you.”
“I promise if he’s coming I’ll get Grams to pick you up and bring you.” I was already unbuckling her seatbelt and trying to casually scoop her out of her seat. Her entire tiny body went rigid and doubled its weight. She glared at me with the practiced wordless threat of a total meltdown.
“Mummy I’m staying. I want to go to the hospital with you and see the doctor and maybe Baby Brother.”
Cap and I looked at each other. We were already cutting into our travel time and considering my contractions I really didn’t want to be late. After a bit more fruitless cajoling we were buckling her back into her seat and driving towards the hospital again.
That’s when the car started lurching indecisively. I immediately gave Cap a withering ‘why are you driving so badly’ stare but quickly realized that this was actually our car malfunctioning. It barely made it through an intersection, then sputtered and slowed to a snail’s pace and then lurched again. “Oooph, what is going on? Is it the engine? Is it—“ Contraaaaactionnnnnn. Yep 7 minutes apart now and way more intense.
“This car is very slow. It looks like we might not make it in time. ” My kid, the 4 year old Howard Cosell piped up from the back.
“Ohmygodohmygodohmygod what is going on…” murmured Cap with sweat beading on his lip.
“Ok guys. I’m going to call a taxi and Vee, you and I are going to keep going to the hospital, and Cap will drop the car at a garage and then come to meet us at the doctors.”
“But—“ Cap looked like he was trying to solve a string theory equation and Vee was squealing with glee about going in her first taxi.
“Don’t worry honey, I’ll still be at the OB’s on the 6th floor. If I have to go to triage you know how long they can take. I’ll text you. Don’t worry. It’s cool. Just give my mom a shout so she can meet us there.” CONTRAAAAAAAACTION. Oh boy.
Vee and I jumped out of the car. I had my purse slung over my shoulder, Vee’s hand in mine and her gigantic booster seat under the other arm.
We hustled into a taxi and for a few sweet moments everything felt under control.