There will probably be one more birth post after this. It’s a long story, so I’ve tried to split it up. This one is a bit long 🙂
The week or two before Selah was born, I had already begun to have Braxton Hicks. I was never confused about whether or not they were real contractions, partially because my brain was like, “hey, she’s not coming yet. It’s not her due date. No way.” and also because, they really didn’t hurt too bad. They would occasionally make me catch my breath, but it wasn’t painful. Friday, October 14th was my last day at work. I came home and collapsed on the couch. I slept as much as I could that night and on Saturday, we woke up and went for a walk. I remember sitting in Selah’s nursery, folding baby clothes and organizing her books (AGAIN) thinking about how I wanted her to come first thing Monday morning… like I had a choice. I was working 4 days before she was born. I was on my feet for 8 hours, leaning over a piano, trying to get middle school boys to sing on pitch (which is hard enough without being 9 months pregnant). I think if I had quit working earlier, I would have been miserable.
I was ready to not be pregnant, especially by Sunday the 16th. I knew she had dropped. I was having what is apparently called “lightning” pains; and no, I don’t mean “lightening” pains. Two entirely different things. Lightening (from what I understand), is when the baby drops and is ready to go. Your heartburn sometimes goes away (mine def did not), your stomach feels lower and heavier (why did they call it lightening you may ask?, idk.) “Lightning” pain is a shooting, sharp pain that goes downwards after the baby has dropped. I would be walking and all of a sudden have to stop and kind of bend over for a second. It happened every once in a while at school and I could see the fear in my students eyes. The last thing they wanted is for my water to break and for me to go in labor during class. I, however, didn’t have that fear. I remember the class we took at Baby & Co. talking about how it NEVER happened the way it does in the movies. It’s not like, your water breaks and BAM here comes the baby. Oh man, would that have been nice. Anyways… Sunday morning, we got up and went to church and everyone asked that question that no pregnant woman ever wants to hear… “So, when is she coming? Is she gonna come yet? Tell that girl to get out here!” Something about being 9 months pregnant… let’s just say that’s never a good question to ask someone who desperately wants to get the cantaloupe out of their stomach.
At church, people were asking Taylor, “So, when is she coming?” and he would answer, “well, she’s a Vancil so I’m thinking she’ll be right on time. On her due date, nice at early in the morning.” I’m pretty sure Taylor’s spiritual gift is prophecy. We got Mexican food that afternoon and a part of me was hoping that the old wives tale of spicy food would work for me. I was way ready, but nope. It didn’t give me anything except a giant case of heartburn. I went home that night, feeling slightly better about the fact that I didn’t have to go to work in the morning so I could at least sleep as much as my belly would let me. Selah, at this point, had slowly stopped kicking and had moved to more of a pushing/stretching motion. She was running out of room. Mondays were Taylor’s day off, so we both got up together, double checked to make sure that the house was ready, and then proceeded to be complete bums all day. I’m sure at some point we went for a walk. I was doing anything to pass the time.
Tuesday rolled around, Taylor went back to work, and I woke up, double checked everything in every room (nesting, much?), vacuumed, swept, mopped, went for a walk around 8:30am (yes, all of that happened before 8:30am; I should have known) and took the dog with me. On the walk, I was having Braxton Hicks, but nothing was consistent or more than what I had felt so I didn’t think anything of it. I was so deeply lost in thoughts about wondering when she was going to come and what it would feel like and if everything would be okay that I almost didn’t recognize a woman from church who stopped to talk to me. She was out walking and said something like, “I see you trying to walk that baby out.” I very incoherently mumbled something and nodded. She quickly realized that I was confused and let me know that she was from church and said something about her mom doing the same thing and how it worked. I smiled and nodded again (still a little lost in my thoughts, sorry Lakena. Promise I wasn’t being rude.) and kept on walking.
I got back to the house, ate lunch, walked around the house again. I thought about painting my nails and I’m not sure why I didn’t. That would’ve been a good moment. I slept a bit, watched TV a bit, and waited for Taylor to get home. Taylor got back around 4pm and I was really feeling antsy at this point. I asked him to go on a walk (again; come on Sarah, get a clue) and he agreed. That was around 5ish? We went for a walk and on this walk, the Braxton Hicks (silly me) really picked up. They were really starting to hurt on the way back up the hill to our house. We got back, I got a glass of water (I was listening in my birthing class!) and sat down in my chair in the living room. I kept having what I thought were Braxton Hicks, but then all of a sudden, something changed. It was like … she dropped even more than what I thought and the contractions I was feeling, left my lower abdomen and dropped even lower. I waited for about 20 minutes before I said anything to Taylor. After it had happened a few times, I told him that something had changed and that the feelings I was having were not the same. I decided to get up and get a shower. I had a few more of these feelings (what I now know were contractions) while in the shower. I got out, sat back down in my chair and Taylor tried to get me to play a video game while I sat there. While it took my mind off of it for a second, I very quickly became irritated at sitting still. I remembered the midwife saying something about “sleep while you can” so I went downstairs to lay down. It was probably around 7pm at this point. I went downstairs, turned on season 1 of Friends (my fav season) and downloaded a timer for contractions. I started using it and while the contractions weren’t super painful yet, I felt like they were too close together to still be in the first stage of labor. They didn’t feel like active labor, but they were close together.
When they started hurting bad enough where I realized that I wasn’t going to sleep, I texted my mom (always). I was worried that maybe my pain tolerance was better than I was hoping and that maybe I was already in active labor. She told me the wise thing… call baby & co and ask. I called for Taylor to come downstairs. He said the same thing. I called Baby & Co and one of my favorite midwives, Alice, picked up. She was calm and kind and asked me if I was having a contraction over the phone and I said yes. She told me to call back when I couldn’t talk through one. I hung up, french braided my hair and Taylor and I both went back upstairs. My go-bag was by the door, I had my labor gown on and was, by this point, bending over the kitchen counter during a contraction. Taylor was giving me “friends” trivia from an app on the iphone. It was keeping me occupied; that and him rubbing my back. In between contractions, I was having time to recover and felt fine. The contractions were about 30 seconds long and a few minutes apart. When it came to the point where I couldn’t talk through one, Taylor called Alice and she said to come on in to Baby & Co. We live about 20 minutes from Baby & Co so I wasn’t too worried about the drive. (once again, silly me) We grabbed the go-bag (and by we, I mean Taylor) and I hobbled to the car. (10pmish?) Our neighbors were out on their front porch and yelled over, “IS IT TIME???” Taylor said something like, “I sure hope so.” and we got in the car. I kept the seatbelt as loose as possible the whole way there and squirmed and rode backwards and laid on my side… I’m pretty sure if a police officer saw us, we definitely would have been pulled over. I’m also pretty sure that if one HAD pulled us over, he would’ve given us an escort to Baby & Co, either because of Taylor begging him or because of me giving him a death glare for making Taylor stop the car.
We got to Baby & Co, pulled in the parking lot, I finished having the contraction I was right in the middle of, rolled myself out of the car and just left Taylor behind. He, being the wonderful person he is, got the bags from the car and followed in after me. From the walk from the car to the door which is all but 20 feet, I started having another contraction, pushed the doorbell and leaned up against the wall. Alice Ann came to the door and said “No shoes, huh? Well, that’s a good sign!” I looked down at my feet, like… what’s she talking about?? I had apparently walked out of the house in my socks and didn’t even notice. Alice walked us back to the room that we would be in for the night and said she’d be right back. There was apparently another girl in labor that same night and her baby was about 2 hours from being born. Taylor said that was fine. I asked permission to get in the shower and turn on the tub. She laughed at me and said, “Please, do whatever you want to get comfortable.”
(This picture is from their website HERE… they are so wonderful. This was my room, but they have a few different rooms. We, somehow, took NO pictures whatsoever until after Selah was born. I am 100% okay with that because I’m sure I looked miserable.)
Another reason that we chose Baby & Co is because of all the options you have while in labor. The 20 minutes I was sitting in the car on the way there were HORRIBLE. I couldn’t get up and walk around or use heat or stretch or anything. I am not one to judge anyone’s birthing choices, but I don’t know how anyone copes with the pain in the hospital, unable to move around or eat or drink. Baby and co has a huge shower that has detachable shower heads, a huge tub, a queen sized bed, an exercise ball, an exercise ball that’s in the shape of a peanut, bars on the wall that you can hold on to… all sorts of things that are helpful. I immediately got into the shower and used one of the shower heads to put hot water on the place where I felt the most pain. The immediate relief was amazing. The pain (obviously) didn’t go away, but the hot water helped me get my brain out of the cloudiness and fear. I got back on top of what was happening and was able to cope. After this point, things got a bit fuzzy, but I’ll try to remember what I can (with the help of Taylor).
This is all for tonight. I’ll post the 3rd (and hopefully last part) later this week. Enjoy!