5 Things I Learned From 2 False Labor Alarms

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…

False Labor Alarm

Lessons Learned from 2 False Alarms:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Why I’ve Been Hiding From My Own Blog

I started this blog because I really enjoy writing as an outlet for creativity and storytelling.  My highest goal is to share my story in order to create a community of women who may need to hear that someone else’s toddler picks up dead worms on the sidewalk in an effort to clean, kisses fish straight outta the pond, and throws fits at all the most opportune times.  That although I don’t sprinkle when I tinkle, I’ve lost bladder control far more than I’d like to admit during this pregnancy.  That most days I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing in motherhood, but I’m doing the best I can.

Aaaaaaand, I’ve only written about sprinkling whilst tinkling in the past month because we’ve just been going through it!  And what I actually feel and have thought that I should write about is a little scary… and not what you would expect from someone almost ready to pop out a kid.  But here goes…

Confession time:

  • I’m pretty terrified to have this baby: They say women forget the pain of childbirth because of the sheer joy of having brought a child into this world. It’s even in the Bible somewhere.  It is False. I remember every pain, every moment of chaos, every second of losing my mind to the point of spitting and yelling and ripping off my clothes (another post for another time, my friends).  So to know that at any moment this can and will happen to me again…you can see why I’m a little anxious.  (Million Dollar Idea: epidurals delivered to your house so your first bad contraction can be the last one you feel!)
  • I hate the baby stage: To be clear, I already love my baby.  And hate may be too strong of a word, but the baby stage is my least favorite.  Babies don’t do anything.  They aren’t interactive, aside from their smiles that come to save the day at 6-8 weeks old.  They can’t give you any indication of what’s wrong with them.  And the worst part is that you’re living with this tiny helpless human while you’re losing your mind with hormone shifts, night sweats, and no sleep.  Ummm, no thanks.  I’m not looking forward to this.
  • Josie’s longest phase yet about killed me: She’s just over 2 ½ and discovered that she has fears.  Specifically, wind and ants.  Seriously?!  And those fears have led to this stupid separation anxiety or something that made her scream as soon as we left her room at bedtime.  It was heartbreaking.  And although I can tell myself that THIS TOO SHALL PASS, not knowing when it would pass or how best to help her had me all worked up.  Seriously beside myself.  All day anticipating the screaming that would happen that night.  Sobbing as she was crying in her bed.  Mess.  And every night closer to bringing home a little baby.  (Update: as of writing time, we are 4 nights into peaceful bedtimes.  Thank you, Jesus!)

The combo of these three things, in addition to regular old life (full-time job, part-time job, wife, home remodel, a teeny tiny social life)…I was feeling really overwhelmed.  Emotional control has not been my companion during these last several months of pregnancy and change.  And while that’s fun for my This Week in Lisa’s Pregnancy segments on Radio Theology, it doesn’t make me feel “ready” in any way to have a baby.

Be it painful or smooth-sailing, It'll become part of my story.

How to Balance the New and Exciting with the Holy Crap and the Anxiety:

  • Tell someone: This week, as I felt like I was emerging from the (emotional) woods (mostly thanks to Josie’s tear-free bedtimes), I did an experiment. I told a guy I just met that I didn’t like the baby stage.  And you know what happened?  I got a high five and an “I can’t wait to go home and tell my wife.”  And we chatted about how the fun we have with our slightly older kiddies feels like the sweet spot.
  • Make peace: I’m about to pop. I can’t even change positions on the couch without sweating.  And there is a day coming in my near future where I’ll face all of the unknowns, probably at the same time.  This too shall pass, and be it painful or smooth-sailing, I will welcome it into my story.  And I’ll have a beautiful baby boy who we’ll raise into a wonderful man, and a big sister who will take this world by storm.
  • Take care: Through the roller coaster of emotions the past few weeks, I’ve practiced self-care by giving myself lots of grace in moments of chaos. I’ve gotten extra hours of much-needed sleep.  I’ve spent great time with friends and family while enjoying the break that extra helping hands provide.  I’ve pretended to nest (because the real pregnancy nesting thing must’ve skipped me).  And I’ve found a song that I sing out loud when I can believe the words and listen to when I can’t.

it is well with my soul

So friend, here I go, off into my last 4 ½ weeks of pregnancy (or less).  And I already feel better than I did when I sat down to write.  Sharing your story is a powerful way to fend off isolation.  So if you can see yourself in any part of my story, I hope you feel encouraged and loved and inspired to hold your own confession time with a friend.  And if you can’t, share it with someone who may need some hope!

sharing your story is a powerful way to fend off isolation

A Review: My Experience in a Sensory Deprivation Float Tank

Have you heard of floating? Yeah, it’s a thing.  You get into a pod with about a foot of water and 900 pounds of Epsom salt.  As soon as you slide in you bob like a cork, water reaching over your ears but somehow not covering your face.

float-tank-girl

Here’s what floating is supposed to be (as described to me by many people and the wonderful world of the internet):

  • Freedom from your senses: You’re floating in a pitch black pod. In water the same temperature as your skin so you lose the sensation of touch. You have ear plugs in.
  • Relaxation like you’ve never felt before: 90 minutes in said pod, where some fall asleep or get to the place just before sleep where your brain produces theta waves. It’s science.  And supposedly magical science that will change your life forever.  My dear friend said it felt like he slept for a week.  So you can see how attractive that was to me, a pregnant mother of a potty training toddler.
  • Recovery from all that ails you: Luckily for me, I would test this theory. I had worked out the day before and was pretty sore.  Then, I took a hard fall due to the slick conditions and probably cracked my knee cap.  Plus, my shoulder is still jacked up.  I was in prime condition to be whisked away from my tiny world of pain.
  • A euphoric experience: Apparently, when you’re THAT relaxed, creative types write novels and come up with their next big ideas. Athletes feel connected to their bodies and their teams (The Cubs have these in their club house, and some contribute their World Series win to these pods). My Chiropractor had an Inception-like experience, with deep conversations with people from different time periods.  Another friend felt a connection to his unborn child.

float-tank-me

As you can see, my expectations were pretty high.  So high.  Too high.  So here’s what happened for me in the tank:

  • I buckled under pressure: It’s like when you NEED a nap, but only have a short amount of time. Or you know you’re getting up at 4 a.m. so you force yourself to sleep early.  And of course you can’t sleep in either situation, because you’re continually telling yourself to sleep.  And then getting mad when you’re not sleeping.  And finally deciding it’s not worth it and maybe you should just quit.  That’s what I was going through in this pod.  I wanted to badly to “get there” that I got nowhere except to a place of negative self-talk about how I wasn’t “getting there.”
  • Too many distractions: First, I had a hangnail from days past. Submerging that in salt water for 90 minutes was not the most pleasant of experiences.  At one point, my nose itched, so I itched it and a drop of salt water got inside my nose, carrying the burning sensation through my nose and down my throat.  And for my biggest distraction, see below: A float within a float.
  • I got a migraine: My ginormous pregnant belly made my middle extra buoyant, leaving my head and neck to overcompensate. My neck muscles got so sore and tired, that I kept trying to figure out a comfortable position – using the floating head rest, hands behind the head, or hands under the neck.    And all that strain gave me the start of a muscular migraine, which I didn’t recover from until I actually slept that night.
  • I got cold: The water temperature is the exact temperature of your skin, so in theory, you’re not supposed to feel any sensation of hot or cold. But when you can’t get comfortable and keep moving your various body parts in and out of the water, plus, your big fat pregnant belly submerged once and now floats above the water, you do get cold.  And there’s nothing worse than being cold while you’re trying to sleep in a lukewarm bathtub.  Am I right?
  • A float within a float: The main reason I didn’t have an enjoyable float? Because my baby was floating around inside of me!  Kicking and rolling and having himself a regular blast!  The entire time.  Which, although wonderful and miraculous and blah blah blah, is not relaxing.

So, should you float?  Sure!  Give it a go!  The guys I went with absolutely loved it and are planning monthly visits.  I wouldn’t recommend it while you are pregnant, but I think it has definite potential.  Next time I’ll be sure to go baby-free, scratch and hang nail-free, and most importantly…expectation-free!

sensory-deprivation-tank

P.S. This didn’t cross my mind, but next time!

How I’m Taking Care of Myself During Pregnancy

The days leading up to THE DAY I found out that I’m pregnant I was thinking maybe, maybe not.  Am I?  Am I not?  And I dare not hope I am just in case I’m not, and I dare not think I’m not because of course I am, it’s science!

So all of those back and forth emotions culminated when I received a call from the nurse with a positive blood test.

I laughed and cried and was in so much shock the news just didn’t sink in.

But then I slept.

And when I woke up, I felt pregnant.

Like, even though it’s not at all possible or scientific, I felt the baby in my belly.  I felt protective and very aware that I was now a miraculous construction site. And I felt like a mom again (this is the weird one, because I never stopped being a mom to Josie???).

superhero

Then I made an important decision: I chose to really live it all. 

From now until MAY I will:

  • Embrace the good and the bad of pregnancy: Crying at the drop of a hat?   Feeling extra hungry or tired?  Right on.  Nauseous?  I guess.  Remembering how amazing it is that I’m growing a human?  Yes.  Always yes.
  • Give myself grace in fatigue: Being pregnant isn’t the only thing we’ve got going on in our lives! We’ve recently moved into a new house, my full-time job, an impending job-change for Ryan, family and friends.  And most importantly, we’ve got Josie and a marriage to focus on!  So I’ll forgive myself every night when I’m in bed by 8 because I’ve given all I’ve got to a growing baby and all of the above.
  • Love my body: Even though I know that I’ll just feel and look chubby the first several months before the cute bump comes. Even though my workouts won’t be as satisfying as before, if I can even
    lisagraft.com
    lisagraft.com

    muster up the energy to work out at all. Even though I will pee more often than I thought humanly possible and shower way less than socially acceptable.  I’m a baby-growing goddess.

pregnant-or-fat

These declarations are just as important as the diet change, the gender reveal and packing the hospital bags.  This is self-care at its most impactful – in the body, mind, and spirit.  And self-care not just for my sake, but for the sake of those closest to me. And for the sake of the one who is growing in my belly. 

My Most Ridiculous Pregnancy Symptoms

This Pregnancy Feels Different….WAAAAAAAY Different

Yup.  Baby #2 is in the oven.  And is making its presence known in a way Josie never did.  With Josie I was hungry and tired.  Not too bad.  Why am I surprised that this one’s different?

This baby is rocking my world in some gross ways:

Nausea.  24/7.  Am I dying?  I’m queasy and can only focus on eating. The problem?  Nothing sounds good.  Nothing.  But I’m forced to eat ‘round the clock to settle my stomach.  Bring on the saltines and toast.

morning-sickness-picture

Food Woes.  Because nothing sounds good, meal planning has been quite the challenge.  As a FOOD LOVER and meal planner to the max, I’m struggling.  I used to get excited about what’s for lunch while I was eating breakfast.  Excited about dinner during lunch.  Now, I snack on carbs all day and choke down whatever meal I make for dinner.  Rock bottom?  I threw out an entire pot of soup because it grossed me out for a reason I can’t even tell you.

Greasy Hair.  Usually I can go 2 days without washing my hair if necessary, but thanks to some powerful pregnancy hormones that activate some oil glands, I’m ringing wet by the end of the day.  And one look at me, and you would think it had been an entire week.  It’s nasty.  And it’s probably psychological, but I can feel the grease dripping down my scalp. 

Swollen Nose.  My nose looks fat.  I don’t like it.  Why is my nose fat?

That said, there are a few ways I wouldn’t mind if this time were a bit different.

Things I hope to be different this pregnancy: 

Energy Level.  This time around, it’d be great if I could get a burst of energy at some point during baby growing.  With Josie, every day I was riding the struggle bus, taking naps anywhere I could and going to bed every night at 8.

pregnant-meme

Nesting.  The anticipation of this whole crazy nesting thing propelling me to domestic greatness was something to look forward to.  I like being clean and organized, but it’s not really my gift.  So I waited and waited and it never happened.  Womp womp.

Patience. Towards the end of my last pregnancy, I really wanted Josie to come out and play!  I was restless for her arrival.  And although I knew it would be a permanent life change, it didn’t really hit me that once she’s here, it would no longer be just me and Ryan.  I would have cherished those last few days a little more.  But this time I can do that!  I will do that.  I will bask in quiet nights of reading or Netflix with Ryan and a toddler who sleeps 12 hours straight.   

Here’s to 7 ½ more months of any of the above!