My eyes popped open at 2 AM. "My water has broken," I thought incoherently as I rushed upstairs. When I got to the bathroom, my pulse pounded but I realized, duh, my water had clearly not broken since... I wasn't wet anywhere. But I could feel a few mild contractions, real ones, not just Braxton/Hicks tightenings. After I settled down a bit, I got myself some warm milk and went downstairs to rest. As for the past few days, sleep felt impossible because I felt like I had to dang pee every five minutes. I laid there awake, feeling contractions come and go.
Just the night before, at my Primary Presidency meeting, I had announced that this baby was in no rush and I didn't plan to have it any time soon. Too much to do! With Jed, birth had been a violent, immediate whirlwind. But with Zoe Ann I had been through weeks and weeks of early labor ("False" labor my foot! It's the same as the real thing, it just doesn't go anywhere...) before she came all at once. So far, in this pregnancy, I'd had no early labor at all to speak of. I was still 9 days before my due date, and the pattern for my kids seemed to be later and later.
So I lay there for a while, and tried to sleep through the contractions. When I laid down, they slowed, so I assumed they were doing nowhere. 14 minutes between contractions doesn't impress me much. But I was still getting up every five minutes to pee, so there was plenty of time to think about it. For kicks, I downloaded a contractions timing app on M's cell phone (Hey! There's an app for that!) I finally got about an hour of sleep.
At 5:20 or so,I woke up, the contractions resumed but were a little stronger. Hmmm. This could be it, I thought. As I lay there, I felt a little movement. I sat up. The baby started to move. I've never felt movement like that -- wiggling, turning, twisting, churning, arranging -- and at that moment I felt my baby communicate with me. I caught my breath. That moving felt like talking, from child to mother, telling me that baby was getting in position because it was time. The night before, I'd been reading about pelvis structures and how the baby turns position during labor, and when the baby moved I could clearly feel it turning into position, settling into the pelvis, ready for birth. (Looking back, I think also it was baby moving his nuchal hand, since when he was born and still 6 weeks later, he always rests with his hand up next to his cheek. Thanks for moving that sucker, Zane, because I really don't ever want to birth a hand. I also think the nuchal hand is why the baby never really dropped or had any early labor, he was caught up too high.)
I went upstairs to take a shower. Taking a hot shower is my own personal birthing ritual, I don't know why I like it so much, but I do. I felt calm, and a little excited. When I got out, the contractions were starting to rock and roll. But they were still much too short to be "real" labor (or so my textbooks tell me) so I took my time. I went downstairs and sat next to Michael. it was about 5:50. He turned over groggily. "What are you doing up?" I smiled a goofy grin. "I think it's baby time!" He jumped out of bed, a giant smile on his face. "REALLY!? How far along are you?" "Ummm, I 'm not sure exactly but it's movin' along."
He rushed upstairs. He knew as well as I did that we were totally unprepared for this. I'd done an excellent job of making myself and everyone else sure that this baby was going to come late. I had packed my bags a couple days before, but only in ritual, not in actual anticipation. We still didn't have our new carseats we ordered online (skinny ones to fit three across the back.) We hadn't set up anything. No idea where the crib was. Good thing Granny had sent us a huge box of diapers or we wouldn't have any of those either. Laughing at ourselves, we started gathering this and that. "Should I call my mom?" he asked. "Ummmm, I don't know." "Well, are you getting close?" "I don't know." At this point, Michael became alarmed. He knows from experience and training that when I start saying "I don't know" that I am heading into transition. He called his mom. A few hard contractions later I went in to him and said "I think you should call your mom." Giving me his sweetest "No DUH!" look he gave me a hug. "She's on her way."
I started moaning. Then I started roaring. Michael became even more alarmed as I hung on him for each contraction. "Get out in the car!" he said. "No! I hate the car!" There was no way I was having one of these contractions in the car. We went out in the driveway where I started scaring the neighbors. They aren't used to a half-dressed roaring fat lady, even if we are a little redneck out here.
Michael called his mom. "Where are you?" She was five minutes away, on I-164. "Michael, we HAVE TO GO I AM FEELING PUSHY!" He called her again, "We are leaving the kids. We'll see you on the way!"
So I climbed in the car and we left Jed and Zoe sleeping in their beds. We wave to Grandma as she screams in from the opposite direction. On the way there, as I'm howling away in the passenger seat, Michael says "Well, are we going fast enough!?" I looked at the speedometer. 50 in a 30 zone. "NO GO FASTER!!!" He got it up to 70. This is why we go to the close hospital. We screeched into the hospital labor entrance and I run inside. The lady asks for my name. I lean over and put my head on her desk, roaring like a mad woman, and I'm pretty sure at that point she said "Oh, my." Nurses started rushing in from the other rooms, hearing a familiar sound, and half carried, half pulled me into triage. In the back of my mind I giggled. "Hey, I guess we CAN skip registration!"
Who is your doctor? Blanke. Get up on the bed, we need to check you! I don't want a check. I want to squat because this baby is coming now. We ask for a squat bar. They refrain from laughing in our faces and point out there really isn't time. She checks me, doesn't say a thing, mutters something to the other nurse and the room goes from busy to absolute chaos. It's precisely 6:30 AM, right at shift change for the nurses, and later our nurse told me she came running in from the parking lot straight into my room. Two minutes and two pushes later, my water breaks. one push later, and four minutes after arrival and "check in," Baby Zane Ephraim Stanfill comes rushing into the world. Crying, shouting for joy, at the same time Michael and I proclaimed, "It's a baby boy! Our own baby boy!"
Ten minutes later my panting doctor shows up. He didn't even know which patient I was, because at the time of birth nobody knew my name.
By then, baby is happily nursing, I'm beaming, the nurses are all giggling, and the sun is rising. What a great day. Happy Birthday, Baby Zane!
Postscript: A few technical notes about the birth. One of the best parts was thanks to an awesome nurse and plenty of craziness, I got to pull the baby right onto my chest after the birth and they let me keep him there, nursing dozily and adoring him, for almost two hours, at which point the nurse said that administration had called her three times screaming for some statistics so they can legally say the baby had been born and know who we were... so when we were done nursing would we mind letting her weigh and measure him? She had wanted to give us as much time as possible. I love that lady!
This birth I tested Group B Strep positive which had honestly been stressing me to the max. I had an inch thick sheaf of research ready to go to my Drs appointment later that day (maybe the early birth was an act of mercy for Dr. Blanke, hahaha..) I knew there was no way I'd get the required four hour dose of antibiotics during labor, since I've never had a labor four hours long. That puts me in the murky and unpleasant world of a) baby health uncertainty, and b) tortuous "hospital policy" that requires an expensive 48 hour stay, extensive testing, and if the baby so much as sneezes a possible 5 day NICU stay. Blessedly, though, since the birth was so fast and my water broke just as he was born, there was almost literally no exposure to the baby, so GBS was no concern and we got to go home 12 hours after the birth.
My other concern was the glucose prick test, which had been slightly nightmarish with Zoe since she was a stubborn sleepy nurser. I'd done quite a bit of research on this, too, so I'd know when to refuse the 29 heel pricks and when to know they were necessary. Fortunately, again, in the madness, the nurses forgot to give him the test. Four hours later, one meekly came in and said, "Um, we kind of forgot this test... do you still want it?" I laughed. No, he was nursing like a champ and red as a beet. But thanks anyway!
And lastly, though a precipitous birth is exciting and makes for a great story, Michael has strongly suggested that we NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. Next time I have to wake him up earlier. I agree.