MOMMY'S TIME OUT
At 9 pm, I felt another gush of fluid and things were looking a lot more obviously like labor. I was feeling a lot of cramps, going to sit on the toilet a lot, and then had a little bloody show. Okay, I was convinced. Everything I’d learned in my birthing class about what to expect at the beginning of labor was showing itself. It was almost by the book of what I’d been taught about possible early signs. At this point I started trying to time the contractions when I accepted that was really what was going on and not just tummy troubles. They were coming consistently every 15-20 minutes or so and lasting a few minutes each. The start and finish of each one wasn’t very clear, but they were sort of what I expected them to feel like, not dissimilar from very strong menstrual cramps. I kept heading back to bed in between running to the toilet, but no sooner would I lie down that I’d feel the need to get back up and run into the bathroom again. By 2:30 am the contractions were coming 7-9 minutes apart. By 3:30 am they were 5 minutes apart and Gabriel and I started discussing whether it was time to make the calls/texts to get Ryan, Jessica, and Haddie over. I was hesitant because I didn’t want them to come too early and be sitting around for hours if they were going to hover at 5 minutes apart for a while. No sooner did I go from feeling that way, to suddenly seeing the clock at 4 am and timing the contractions at 3 minutes apart. Gabriel pretty much insisted that it was time to call the team.
The pain had gotten intense and I was moaning through each surge. The waves were lasting 60-90 seconds each, and that short amount of time was already feeling like forever. I felt like my insides were flipping and churning and squeezing my uterus, the baby, my organs, and my entire being into a tight knot of pain over and over. I asked Gabriel during a brief pause of the pain to ask Jessica if It was okay for me to get into the bathtub. She said “Okay, if she wants to” to him, and he immediately relayed that to me. In his words, “at that point I turned around and Carey was already in the tub”
I was leaning over the side of the tub, one leg outstretched to the left and the other with knee bent on the right. In between contractions I’d rest my head on the cool tile and try to relax my legs which were quickly feeling like they were getting stiff staying in that one position. Gabriel was with me, constantly giving me sips of ice water and just being there with quiet reassurance. At 5 am, in the lull between contractions, I looked up and saw Ryan, with a virtual halo over her head, and said hello. I didn’t hear her come in- but felt immeasurable comfort knowing she was there. She suggested to Gabriel that we dim lights and put music on, and she placed a cool wet towel under my head which came as an unexpected relief in contrast to the hard tile I’d been resting on. Around 5:30 am, Haddie and Jessica arrived and I felt a similar wave of comfort washing over me. Knowing that my whole team was there for me meant that everything was going to be okay.
Things continued in pretty much the same way for the next few hours. I’m not sure at what point I finally got away from the side of the tub and into more of a reclining position where I could brace my legs and feet in a more comfortable way. My tailbone, which had been giving me trouble during the last couple of months of pregnancy was screaming by this point, and I remember getting a little relief when Gabriel placed a folded up towel on the tub floor beneath me. I used my arms and hands to lift my body off of the tub floor a lot and recall thinking that out of the tub, that would have been impossible.