Monday night. Midnight.
I wake up to a painful contraction, take some deep breaths, and decide that I probably have to pee. As soon as I get out of bed, I’m shaking from head to toe. Full body. Teeth chattering. I think, this is labor. My contraction never let up. Couldn’t even time it because it wasn’t uncontracting. Call the doctor. She says come on in. I burst into tears. We get to the hospital, and everything stops. Contractions. Shaking. Everything. 2 AM, they send me home in what would be our first drive of shame.
Tuesday night. 9:30 PM. (Warning: TMI ahead)
Ryan and I are sitting on the couch. I feel a tiny gush in my pants. I go to the bathroom to investigate. I pee. And also lots of other fluid is coming out of a different location. Immediately my teeth start chattering again with all the shaking. It’s intense. I sit back on the couch to calm myself and see if anything else could be happening. Contractions here and there. I repeat this 3 different times, all with the same result – bursts of fluid. I call the doctor to explain that I think my water broke. She says come on in. We do. They test the fluid. It wasn’t my water. Their best explanation is urine. Really?! 11:15 PM, we complete our second drive of shame.
What I know now that I didn’t know then…
Lessons Learned from 2 False Alarms:
- Apparently I don’t know the difference between peeing myself and my water breaking: You’d think with all the experience I’ve had peeing, even in my pants, especially these last 9 months, I could tell that I just peed myself. But this is not the case. I will now take this off of my list of life skills.
- Teeth chattering and full body shaking are not my sign of labor: From back to back nights of these shenanigans, I now realize that although the shaking came instantly after a “labor sign”, the more likely fact is that as soon as my mind registers that I’m in labor, I start involuntarily freaking out through these aggressive body quakes. Next time, I’ll crawl underneath a blanket and try to chill the heck out.
- I need to ask the doctor to ask me more questions: Had the night one doctor asked me any questions about how far apart my contractions are, etc. or told me to time them and call back, I could’ve saved us a lot of trouble. Had night two doctor asked me if I had soaked a pad or had fluid running down my leg, again, we could’ve stayed home. But I didn’t know! And they didn’t ask these questions until I was checked into triage.
- You really can lose more dignity than you thought possible during pregnancy: Of course I expected to lose my last shreds of dignity during labor, but not false labor. It’s not my first rodeo! I didn’t think I’d ever be the mom sent home from the hospital once, let alone twice. Night one was pretty embarrassing, but the nurse even told me it happened to her and this is her full-time job! That helped a little. Night two was just mortifying. When the doctor looks at you, gives you the pity pat on the leg, and unconvincingly says, “It’s good you came in just in case…” it is perfectly acceptable to feel like dying.
- Our family and friends rock: Not only are Ryan and I well-versed in the “grab the bags and let’s get to the hospital” game, so are our friends and family. Twice our families have rearranged schedules, packed bags, and even hopped in the car only to be told to turn around. And they’ll do it all again – hopefully only once – in the next 2 weeks.
We were joking (but seriously) that when I’m actually in labor, I won’t tell anyone and won’t go to the hospital because my confidence is so shaken. I’ll end up giving birth in the tub at home just to save face. Which would actually be my worst nightmare.
With two back to back nights of excitement, and two more weeks until my due date, I think things will be pretty calm for a while. I’ll relish the last days as a family of 3, get a few things done around the house, continue to work, and let my unborn just get super chubby in there.
And, of course, await a dramatic entrance into the world from my tiny that will make for another great story.