Magnus' Birth Story: Early Labor

This time last week, my whole world started to change.

On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, I had reached 40 weeks pregnant. I was so sure I would deliver my baby before his due date and was physically and emotionally exhausted.

Starting at about 39 weeks, I started to experience swelling for the first time, I gained about 5 lbs in a couple of days, and got my first official motherhood badges - stretch marks.

At my 40 week check-up, we scheduled an induction and I cried. I was ready to meet my baby, but not ready to share him with the world at the same time. I was feeling so many emotions.

Early Labor

The next day, Thursday, I went to lunch with some colleagues and started to notice some pretty strong contractions. They felt just like the Braxton Hicks I had been getting for several weeks before, but were just a little bit stronger.

After lunch, I went back to work and made sure to take care of some things that needed to be addressed before I went out on leave, even though at this point I was sure I'd end up making it to my induction date the following Wednesday.

Now that the induction had been scheduled, I was actually hoping not to go into early labor. One of my biggest stressors there at the end of my pregnancy was the fear of not actually knowing when I was in labor - calling in sick to work one day because I was having strong contractions, thinking it was labor, and then it turning out to be nothing. I had also heard so many stories of prodromal labor that lasted for days - miserable!

The contractions stayed strong throughout the day and they definitely kept my attention. I noticed that when I walked they would feel stronger - good indicator that they were real. At the same time, I had been googling "signs of labor" 24/7 and none of the "signs" I had experienced had actually turned into anything, so I didn't think much of it.



I got home from work and the contractions stayed strong, but were still pretty well-spaced apart. So I texted my cousin, who has three kids, and asked her what real labor contractions feel like. "Like Braxton Hicks," she tells me. Great. I still had no way of knowing if they were real or not.

I decided to lay in bed and ride the contractions out to see if they fizzled out like they usually did. Then my husband came home and reminded me that my sister-in-law, her new fiancé and their kids were in town and we had plans to meet up with them for dinner.

Dinner

Dinner plans. Crap. Here I had planned on just laying in bed all night trying to figure out if I was going into labor...

I told my husband what was going on and he didn't seem to think much of it. He asked me if I still wanted to go to dinner and if so, if he should pack our hospital bags in the car. I really debated because dinner was going to be at Beau Jo's Pizza in Idaho Springs, a mountain town about an hour from our house.

If you haven't had Beau Jo's - it's fantastic. Especially the Idaho Springs location. The crust is so thick and delicious, and you eat it with honey...yum...

I ultimately decided that we should still go. I wanted to see my sister-in-law, and it would either be a good distraction from the contractions, causing them to go away if they were fake - or my last meal before I had a baby.

I spent the entire car ride timing out the contractions, which were still pretty far apart, but strong.

Dinner was a good distraction and while the contractions didn't go away completely, they were much less noticeable.

Cool! They weren't real and I can still plan on my induction next Wednesday I thought.

Wrong.

Experiencing true early labor

The contractions grew in frequency and intensity throughout the night and that's when I started feeling them in my back, too. I promptly sent a message to my May Mother's Facebook group to ask them how bad contractions hurt when they were real and it was time to go to the hospital. The answers were across the board - still no help to me in determining if this was real labor or not.

Around 2am I had to get out of bed because they were becoming so painful. I tried all of the tricks to work my way through them - getting in the bath, bouncing on a yoga ball. They were still so incredibly painful and getting closer together. From around 9 minutes apart to 6 minutes apart by 5am.

I suggest using an app to time your contractions. I used the Baby Center app and it was wonderful because it automatically calculated for me how far apart my contractions were averaging over the last hour and how long they were lasting.

My contraction timer when I got out of bed because I could no longer lay and breathe through the contractions.

Shortly after 5am I decided it was time to wake my husband up and let him know what was going on - just in case the contractions quickly moved from 6 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart and it was time to go.

He got up, took a shower and ate, and I finally reached the point where I felt like I needed to call the doctor and see if it was time to head in.

Calling the doctor


The medical advice line that I was supposed to call was backed up and said I'd be only hold for 45-70 minutes!

THAT IS AN HOUR, I thought! I WILL DIE BEFORE THEN!

I waited as long as I could and by the time I decided I was in far too much pain to wait for a call back, my doctor called me and agreed that it was time to have a baby!

Before heading out the door, I grabbed some bread and cheese to try to eat on the way to the hospital, knowing that I wouldn't be able to eat once I got there (I did not eat the bread, I was in far too much pain). I also gave my parents a head's up, but asked them to wait until I got there before they came because another big fear of mine was getting to the hospital and being turned away because I wasn't progressed far enough. (They, of course, didn't wait)

The car ride

The car ride was miserable. I felt every single bump in that road and when I'd make noise to try to get through one of the contractions, my husband would sometimes mistake it for me trying to say something to him, and then I'd snap at him because I could neither talk when they were happening, nor wanted to hear anyone else talking. Poor guy.

FINALLY we arrived at the hospital. I told my husband he could park in the parking lot and we could walk in together, instead of him dropping me off and then parking the car. I swear that was the slowest, most painful walk of my life.

As soon as we walked in, the hospital provided a wheelchair and made a call to Labor and Delivery to come get me. I started crying for the first time since labor had started. I was so scared and overwhelmed that this was actually happening. I was also scared that we had come all this way, I was in such pain, and that I might not be dilated enough to stay...

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