John Paul's Birth Story: Part II

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I know, I know...  I started off Part I and never got to anything having to do with birth.  I'm sorry!  I started writing and it got so long that I felt like I needed to stop...  But I have a guest collaborator for Part II!  My awesome sister!!!  She'll be writing in bold to distinguish between the two of us


If you don't already read her blog, you should - funny, Catholic, and educational!

Anyway, when we left off, I was heavily pregnant and all alone in Williamsburg, VA, 2.5 hours from my OB, husband & hospital where I'd be delivering.  I just had a couple weeks left of teaching my little hooligans before joining Andrew in Northern VA, and my due date was in mid-July.

Sure, I was huge, but I had PLENTY of time left!  Every woman in my family who has ever had a baby has always been ridiculously late.  The secretaries in the office were convinced I wouldn't make it to my due date.  My students made jokes constantly about my water breaking in the middle of class.  But John Paul stayed put and there was no early arrival!  I packed my bag full of maternity clothes and headed up to NOVA to join my husband.

Only a month left!

I was ready for John Paul to be REALLY late.  My sister joined us after her school year ended and we spent every day either sitting in the pool or trying to do random things to keep our minds (well, my mind) off of when this baby would make his appearance. 

Have we mentioned that this meant all three of us were staying with Andrew's father at his house? Just imagine the bizarre dynamics that led to.

  It was HOT.  I was swollen.  And exhausted.  And the baby was staying put.  And every time I didn't answer my phone, my mom would leave a frantic phone message asking where I was and was I in labor and did we need her and she was going to call the hospital to see if we had checked in!!!

I have no recollection of going to the pool. What pool would we even have gone to? Maybe I wasn't there yet. But I do remember many, many panicked voice mails. I'm pretty sure one time she even started driving to NOVA because we didn't answer the phone....

My strategy to keep my mind off of the due date was to plan something exciting for every day past the due date that I was pregnant.  I was due on July 14, so we decided that our due date excitement would be seeing Ice Age 2 in theaters (WILD, we were!).  I was pretty excited to see the movie!  I figured there was no way I'd have had the baby by then...

We also went to the Newseum.  Not the first time I took advantage of a free wheel chair while heavily pregnant...

Well, Monday July 13 came and at about 5 AM I woke up feeling serious stomach cramps.  I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep.  10 minutes later, same thing.  10 minutes later, same thing.  As Andrew's alarm went off, I told him, "I've been having contractions for an hour but they don't hurt that much, so I don't think it's anything..."

"Do you want me to stay home?" He asked.

"No, I'm sure I won't be having the baby any time soon, just go to work and maybe we can go to the hospital when you get home."

The contractions continued throughout the day, still about 10 minutes apart, not really increasing in intensity.  When Andrew got home, we walked around outside for a bit, timing the contractions.  Things weren't speeding up, so we decided to go to Mass and to my friend Leslie's house.  Having contraction all through Mass was not a pleasant experience, since it's not like I could lie down or bring my exercise ball in!  We chatted with some friends in the parking lot afterwards and headed to Leslie's for a late dinner.

It wasn't until after Mass that Rosie mentioned to me that she was in labor. I'm a fairly observant person but had missed her evenly-spaced grimaces throughout the day. At that point, we just figured she was really good at being in labor and that the whole delivery would be a piece of cake since the early part was. Ha.

The best part of the whole day was borrowing books from Leslie. We were at her childhood home so all of the books were pretty much at a 6th-grade reading level or below, but that didn't bother me. It's not like anybody was going to see what I was reading and judge me. (We call this foreshadowing--something those books did not have.)

After we got home, I promptly vomited up everything I had eaten.  The contractions started picking up and by about 2 AM they were 5 minutes apart.  We called the hospital and they said to come on in!  I was so excited - I had been in labor for 21 hours already, surely I would be 8 cm dilated and practically ready to push by the time we got there!  But I was also concerned that when we got there they'd just send us home for not being far enough along...  I was torn, and so was Andrew - should we stay or should we go?

This is my favorite part of the story. I stayed up too late reading a Sweet Valley Twins book--yes, I was 25 at the time--and had been asleep for an hour or two when Rosie came and woke me up. 

"I think maybe I'm having the baby but I don't really know because I'm having contractions but I'm not sure if we should go to the hospital."

"Well, what does Andrew think?"

"He doesn't know either."

It was about this moment that I figured out that I was going to be doing more than just getting Rosie ice chips.
"Okay, well why don't we all just go for a walk and see how you're feeling?"
So it was that at 3am Rosie, Andrew, and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. As we were walking back up the driveway, Rosie and Andrew were still torn. They wanted to go in but Rosie was worried that it was too early and we shouldn't go yet. She'd mentioned the day before that we needed to stop at the store and buy some hard candy, though, so I made the following ridiculous statement:
"Well, we have to go to the store to get hard candy anyway, right? So why don't we all get in the car and go to Walgreen's (or CVS - neither of us can remember - Rosie) and see what we think once we're there?"
Because why wouldn't we all go to the drug store to buy candy in the middle of the night?
Once we got to the store, I was pretty sure that Rosie wasn't going to be getting any sleep anyway so she might as well labor at the hospital as on the streets of suburbia. So I suggested that maybe we should go to the hospital. Rosie was a little woozy from pain and hunger and lack of sleep and Andrew was way too concerned with taking care of Rosie to be decisive so they agreed and we got in the car to go to the hospital.

Well, we got to the hospital and went to triage, where they checked me (after asking about a trillion questions, of course.  WHY?  I answered all of those on the pre-admission forms!!!).

1 cm.  Which is where I was at my last appointment.  The contractions had slowed down, and it was time to go home and come back when things sped up again.  But I still had a chance for a due date baby - it was July 14!

And I was going to get to sleep!

To be continued (in Part III - I'm the worst!!!  I'll try to get it up soon but my mother-in-law is about to come to town and time may be at a premium!)


  1. Since no one asked for my input, it was CVS.

    1. i can just imagine your fretting about Rosie!

  2. My favorite snippet from this part: "Well, we have to get hard candy from the store anyway, right?" I'm excited to read Parts III - X ;)

  3. I would have cried at the lack of progress. Just sayin'

  4. "It was about this moment that I figured out that I was going to be doing more than just getting Rosie ice chips." Didn't sign up for the doula job, eh? :)

  5. I hope part III is tomorrow. ;-) I'm on the edge of my seat over here!

  6. 1 freaking centimeter? Ugh. I would have punched someone.

  7. Wow...1 cm..that's hard.

    And, I am cracking up that your sister was reading Sweet Valley Twins. Wow...I hadn't given those books a thought in like 20 years. LOL

  8. Profound sympathy ~ long latent phases are the worst.
    Awaiting Part III


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