Well I suppose one false alarm out of three pregnancies isn’t the worst thing ever, but last night was a less-than-fun practice run for Rory’s delivery. Knowing when to go to the hospital is such a fine balance…go too soon and you very well might end up headed home again with no baby, but go too late and you might end up delivering on the side of the road. This gets especially complicated when there are older children that must be situated before you can leave. Apparently I have gotten worse at figuring out what that magical “go” time is with my third pregnancy.
Yesterday I decided it was time to push myself and try to go into labor. I did this when I was pregnant with Collin and it actually worked, so I thought there might be a chance of a repeat performance. So I mopped our whole house, then we went to the mall and walked around while Glenn was doing some returns. And low and behold, I got some contractions going!! For a few hours they were 10-20 minutes apart and pretty strong. I was having lower back pain, which usually means they are productive. But despite these things, they weren’t really forming that regular rhythm that is necessary for labor.
They kept going though, so I just timed and timed and hoped and hoped, and hours later they were still coming, and now it was 10:00 at night and I was in the 5-8 minute apart range. So it came time to make a judgment call. I knew I wasn’t in active labor yet, because I wasn’t miserable, but if this were to turn IN to active labor, it would be much easier for situate the boys while they were awake and happy (because yes, they both napped today and were still bouncing off the walls at 10:00) than to wake everyone up in the middle of the night. So I called my OB office and talked to Dr. Hinson, who was on-call, and we decided that given my already-3-cm-dilated cervix, the two boys to square away, and the 30 minute drive to the hospital, it would probably be best to come in and see what’s going on.
So we got everything packed up, my parents came over to our house to watch the boys (they were planning to take them to their house, but we thought it might be easier to keep them at home since there was a good chance we would be back again), took some family pictures and headed off to the hospital! Hooray! But seriously the minute we got in the car, the contractions that had been coming semi-regularly for 6 hours just decided to stop. I guess as long as I was busy and up and moving they kept going, but when I sat down and was still for longer than 5 minutes at a time, they just couldn’t sustain themselves. We drove across the Courtney Campbell Causeway, a looooong land bridge that connects our peninsular county to mainland Tampa, and I didn’t have a single contraction on the entire drive across. Bummer.
I called Dr. Hinson again to ask whether or not we should still come in, and we decided that it was probably worth a check since we were already close to the hospital. I really thought about just turning around and going home again, and in hindsight we probably should have, but I’m a pretty big believer in paying attention to signs and I didn’t want to ignore one if the universe was sending it my way. Should Rory or I have needed some sort of medical intervention at this point, completely unrelated to the contractions, I didn’t want to just head home without at least going in. This would have been a heck of a lot more convenient at 10:00am on a weekday when my OB office was open than 10:00pm on a Sunday when I had to go to the hospital, but hey. I had one more little contraction as we passed the airport, but otherwise they were kaput.
So we got to the hospital, pulling into the now-familiar parking lot at St. Joe’s Women’s Hospital (we delivered both boys there, too), parked and walked into the dimly lit lobby, empty except for the elderly gentleman at the check-in desk. After signing in, we waited in the big waiting room and laughed about the stains on the carpet that must be from pregnant ladies’ broken water. Then we had to sign paperwork and get checked in to the hospital (so at least we can skip half of the paperwork when it’s actually time), and we were taken straight to a labor and delivery room since the triage area was closed (can’t remember for the life of me why?). It was a bit of insult to injury to take a pregnant lady who was hoping it was—and knowing it actually wasn’t—baby time into the room with the little warming station waiting for a sweet newborn baby. Sigh.
The nurse and Dr. Hinson came in to chat, and I tried to keep things light-hearted instead of being cranky like I really felt. First the nurse attempted to check my cervix, but it was officially the least comfortable cervical exam I’ve ever had! Apparently my cervix is still very posterior (AKA far back, AKA not ready for labor), so she wasn’t able to reach it well enough to tell how dilated/effaced I was. So next Dr. Hinson tried, and that hurt even worse! And she still couldn’t really reach my cervix, but said that I wasn’t any more than the 3cm I was the last time I’d been checked, so she would spare me any further discomfort.
Next they hooked me up to the monitors for a 20-minute observation of Rory’s heartbeat and my contractions just to make sure everything was good. If I suddenly worked some contraction magic, I might be able to stay, but at this point I knew it was just a double check to make sure everything was good before they sent us home.
It ended up being much longer than 20 minutes, I assume because they were busy, but we just hung out in the room, watched Billy Madison on TV, played on our iPhones and listened to the steady thrum of Rory’s heartbeat filling the air, punctuated by loud thumps every time she would kick or shift. Finally at 12:40, I buzzed them to come check on me, and we were ready to be sent home. She told me my cervix was…agitated? Can’t remember if that was the word she used, but basically I had a few ticks on the meter, but nothing significant. And Rory looked perfect, she just wasn’t ready to come out yet.
As I was getting dressed in the bathroom, the financial lady came in to tell us we owed a $300 copay for our little Sunday date night at St. Joe’s, which was both unexpected and annoying. You never really know what you’re getting when you sign up for a health insurance plan, and while the one I chose looked pretty good, this was apparently one of the drawbacks. There is no deductible and no coinsurance, so we don’t owe huge chunks of money at a time (just pay copays up to my out-of-pocket maximum), but there ARE copays for everything, and apparently instead of the $75 ER copay I was half expecting, we got the $300 outpatient hospital copay, which was due at the time of service. Which also means they are going to expect our 2-3 days worth of inpatient hospital copays ($350/day up to 3 days, so $700 or $1050) when we leave the hospital after Rory is born. Glenn, who has been through a ton of medical billing drama with both of his parents, was pretty livid that we were basically bullied into paying $300 right then instead of them billing us as he requested, but we didn’t want to cause any big waves so they would refuse to treat me when it was actually baby time, so we just grumbled, paid and left. But that will probably end up being a fight when we check out next time, whenever that may be.
On the drive home, Carter (who yes, was still awake at 1am, as was Collin) started having a meltdown back home because he was tired but he wanted his Mama. My parents finally got him calmed down after about 20 minutes (chocolate peanuts finally were the magic cure…my mom said she would have let him bathe in ice cream at that point), but it still made me sad and worried for how he’s going to handle it when we actually go to the hospital and stay there! I know that someday all of my kids will grow up and not NEED us the way they do now, but right now they just do, and it is overwhelming to say the least. Especially now, when baby time is so near, I think both boys know their world is about to be rocked, and they’ve been even clingier than usual. Carter hasn’t slept in our bed since he turned four, but he now begs and pleads to sleep with us every night, and he tells me he never, ever wants me to leave him and he wants to be with me FOREVER. It’s an intense amount of love to handle, especially when it’s coming from two little people who just desperately need my attention. It’s going to be an interesting few months once Rory finally does arrive, to say the least.
So anyway, here I am almost 24 hours later and still nothing. I thought for sure she would be here in May, then certainly on June 1st, and now here I am wondering if she will even make it before her due date this Friday. In the sane part of my mind I understand that it can’t be too much longer—that even if she is overdue, she will still be here SOON. But the crazy pregnant lady part of me feels like I’m stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. That every day I wake up still hugely pregnant and uncomfortable, having to pee a million times a day, hot and sweaty, cranky, and having wound down most of my projects for work thinking I would have a baby by this point, and not making any plans with our friends to do anything fun, I’m actually BORED. So we spend another day at home, watching too much television, playing Cooties and Uno, reading books, finger painting, etc., and trying to keep the house semi-clean so it’s not a disaster when that mythical day we come home from the hospital finally arrives, which usually involves me yelling at the kiddos to pick up their toys while they whiiiiiiine about how they don’t want to clean up. It’s delightful! I just want to hop off of the treadmill, get through the scary labor & delivery stuff and meet my baby girl. Now would be good.
Rory Elizabeth Jean McKay, please listen to your mother and come out! We can’t wait to meet you and love you forever.