March 15, 2012

Cole's Birth Story

If you're not interested in birth stories or any sort of medical talk, skip this post. 

Cole's due date was February 27 but a number of weeks before then I started having Braxton Hicks contractions. On February 8 at my 37 week check-up, my OB said that I was progressing toward labor and would likely deliver before the due date. Looking at me it was easy to tell the baby was low and a number of folks let me know so. By my 38 week check-up on February 15, I was 4 cm dilated and having regular contractions so my OB went ahead and stripped my membranes. Around 11 o'clock on the night of February 16, I noticed my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I woke Peter up around midnight (now February 17) and we monitored my contractions for over an hour. They were coming about five minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds. We decided it was time to go.

We headed to the hospital and checked in around 3 in the morning. As we were walking to the hospital room, the nurse told me that I didn't "seem like I was in a lot of pain" so it was probably false labor. She wasn't able to check my cervix when I arrived but told me that "everyone's hands are different" so I probably wasn't really 4 centimeters. She went on to monitor me for an hour during which time the contractions were regular but not frequent enough for her liking. She ended up checking my cervix right before letting me go and to her surprise discovered I was 4 centimeters. She told me that I wasn't really in labor and to come back when my contractions were closer together or if my water broke. So, at 6 am on February 17 we left the hospital. When we got home I went to bed and Peter went to work.

Needless to say, I was upset and frustrated. I've always thought I had a decent pain tolerance so the idea that I wasn't handling the "false labor" well made me feel like a big sissy. When I woke up I proceeded with the day I had planned, all the while continuing to have contractions. I met up with some girlfriends for a play-date then walked the mall hoping to bring on labor. When Peter got home from work I shared with him our exciting Friday night plans: go to Costco, Muddy's, and walk the other mall.

After getting everything we needed from Costco, we decided to grab dinner at their cafe. I should mention while we walked around Costco my contractions were getting stronger but not closer together. I kept sitting down and feeling like a major wimp since the nurse had told me only to come back if my contractions were closer together- she didn't mention anything about stronger. Out of frustration and complete disregard for my gestational diabetes, I ordered pizza and a soda. After dinner, while Peter loaded our purchases into the trunk, I got a contraction that was a bit different from the others. It left my hand shaking. As we pulled out of the parking space I felt something of a trickle and asked Peter to pull into a parking space. I figured if I stood up I'd be able to tell if my water had broken or not. As I  got out of the car, there was a gush. My water broke in a big way! Fortunately, I had put a towel on the seat the day my doctor told me I likely wouldn't make my due date. As we drove down Germantown Parkway back to the hospital, we called our families, the photographer, then some dear friends who were kind enough to care for our dogs and bring us some items we'd failed to put in the hospital bag.

By 9 o'clock we were checking back into the hospital. To be clear, I was discharged just fifteen hours earlier. When my new nurse checked me, she told me I was dilated 7 centimeters and I replied, "Great! Epidural, please." In a very kind, supportive way the nurse and tech both suggested I deliver naturally since I was "handling it so well." While Peter and I didn't have a birth plan, deciding to opt out of the epidural at 7 centimeters is for braver women then me! Had I only been 4 centimeters, I may have opted out knowing full well there was time to ask for one later on. However being that I walked in at 7 centimeters I knew to ask with urgency.

Once I got the epidural (and subsequently an addition dose of some medication because I felt the nurse insert the catheter) life was good. Our sweet friends and photographer hung out and chatted with us between phone calls and text messages with family for just about two and half hours. Around midnight, the nurse said it was time to push. As our friends headed to the waiting room, the nurse got the OB.  Forty minutes later Cole emerged as a silent crier.

All things considered, my false alarm, which may or may not have actually been a false alarm, turned out to be a blessing. Rather than labor in the hospital all day, I unknowingly labored at home (and out-and-about). I also didn't miss a meal which I count as a major bonus!

With Cole's birth behind us, we spent thirty six hours in the hospital then headed home with our baby girl.


  1. glad i'm not the only one who got sent home;)I was only 1 1/2 cm though so I definitely have a low pain tolerance.

  2. Aww great story! I just did my birth story a few days ago...come by and check it out!

  3. I'm so glad you shared this! :)

  4. This will forever be one of the most amazing things I've had the privilege to be a part of! Love that baby girl and love you guys!