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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Laboring for Liesel: Part I

On the night of December 29th, I went to bed exasperated. I'd been having regular, slightly painful contractions all evening, and I knew they weren't going to amount to anything. For my entire pregnancy, I had tried so hard to not hold on to my due date of January 4th as my "pregnancy expiration date". I knew it was very likely that I would go overdue by as late as January 18th and I wanted to be ok with that...but on the night of December 29th, I ran out of patience. I had been living with contractions all day every day since the week before Thanksgiving, and I could no longer imagine going another three weeks with them. I called my Mom and spilled my frustrations, and she replied by saying "I'm coming early".

I told her not to, that I was sure nothing was going to happen soon and I didn't want her to waste the money on changing her ticket. She didn't listen, and made plans to arrive the next evening. I went to sleep and woke up again with regular, mildly painful contractions on the morning of December 30th. After timing them for an hour, they were about 2 minutes apart and lasted for 1 minute each. I started to think this was real so I called my midwife.
After listening to me talk through a few contractions, she said to just relax and try to get some rest, that I was probably in early labor but it could take a few days. This made me feel a little better about my mom arriving sooner, like something was really happening. Then I got very tired and decided to try to take a nap. I slept for about three hours and woke up with no contractions. None whatsoever. We ordered spicy Thai takeout and cleaned our apartment all day, and still, no contractions. My mom arrived that night and I felt silly again for her coming early, but she didn't care. We took her out to dinner and went home. She had brought some baby boy clothes--convinced she was about to meet her grandson--and a new pair of pajama pants for me that I immediately put on. We all went to bed.

I woke up several times during the night feeling very uncomfortable, like no position could let me relax. At 6:35am on December 31st, somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, I felt a gush of warm water.

"What?!", he sat up immediately."Are you ok?"
"I think my water just broke."
"Are you serious?"
And then it really started coming.
"Get some towels!"

So much for my new pajama pants. We filled up 4 towels before finally deciding to just wrap me up and take me to the bathroom. Mom was already up and moving and we had to walk by her open door on the way to the tub.
"Are you guys up?", she asked.
"Bethany's water just broke"
"YAAAAY!!!!" she squealed. She was so excited.

So I got in the tub and threw off my last layer of soaked clothing and just let the rest of the fluid run out. Mom and Tim were in the bathroom too and we all began to admire the healthy clear color of the fluid and discussed what great news it was that there was no meconium...and I suddenly realized that I was naked in the bathtub in the presence of my husband and mother, which was kind of awkward.

"Maybe I don't want you both staring at me anymore?"
"Oh! Sorry!" and they both ran out.

There was nothing left to do but take a shower. I've heard from a few friends whose water broke on their hospital beds that that part was the most unpleasant part of the whole birth for them because they were stuck on the bed, practically swimming in amniotic fluid. So I tried to be thankful that at least I'd been able to have my water break at home...but I knew that starting labor off with ruptured membranes was going to mean a more painful labor process than if it had happened later, and if real labor didn't start and progress very soon the baby and I would be at risk for infection. Standing in the shower, I started to get scared. There was so much ahead of me, I didn't even know exactly what, but we had a clear demarcation that it was beginning. I thought about the reality of all the work I had to do and stared at my huge belly, unable to believe how everything in there could possibly come out. I turned the water off and called Tim back into the bathroom and told him I was scared. He held me for a while and let me cry. He prayed for me and built me back up. Such would be his task for the next 23 hours.

continue reading part II


  1. Oh wow. I can't tell you how excited I am to read the whole story! I'm so incredibly happy for you all :-)

  2. oh, I'm so excited to read the rest. Insanely happy for you three. :)

  3. Goosebumps! I'm so excited to read the rest!

  4. ... what happened?? I was just getting into this and it ended. Even though I lived it with you I want to read "the rest of the story.."