I went to work on Wednesday morning, feeling every bit of 38 and a half weeks pregnant. For some reason I took a few minutes in the morning before work to finish packing the hospital bag. Not sure why I felt it necessary that morning. I figured it was just wishful thinking.
I had a few errands to run that morning. I felt exhausted and had to sit down a few times while shopping. I got into the office and around 11am, I started feeling some contractions. They weren’t anything painful – I really just thought they were more Braxton Hicks. I started noticing them coming more frequently and started timing them. Hmm. Five minutes apart for about a half hour or so. Since we live an hour away from the hospital, I figured I should pay attention.
I called my husband at noon and asked him,
“Can you meet me at home?”
“Yes. What are you doing?”
He sounded flustered/distracted and answered, “I’m at lunch with your dad and Lloyd. ” The funny thing about that answer? My Dad IS Lloyd. He meant to say my Uncle Roger. And apparently my poor uncle got left at the lunch table while my dad drove my husband to get his car.
We decided to head up toward St. Petersburg, but I still wasn’t sure these were the REAL thing. I grabbed something that had to be returned at the outlet mall along the way just in case I didn’t feel like I needed to go into the hospital by the time we got up there. The last thing I wanted was to be sent home. But by the time we passed the outlet mall, I had started wincing with each contraction and we decided to keep going. The contractions still weren’t painful, but they were much more than just the tightening of the belly I’ve felt for so many weeks with Braxton Hicks.
We got to the hospital in St Pete, but I wasn’t ready to go in. I told my husband I wanted to walk around first. I knew things weren’t strong enough yet and I wanted to do what I could to get things going. We drove over the University of South Florida – St Petersburg (where my husband got his second degree) and walked around for a while. We also stopped at Barnes and Noble’s Starbucks on campus so I could get something to eat and my husband could get some hot tea. We both were fighting colds (still are!) and this would definitely come into play later on.
The day could not have been more beautiful. I loved being able to walk around in the sunshine, but my contractions were getting stronger and closer together so we decided it was time to head into the hospital.
We arrived at Bayfront BabyPlace and they took us back to triage. My childhood friend Mandy is a nurse at BabyPlace and I had been keeping her posted via text about my progress. She wasn’t working that day, but she called ahead to let them know I was coming. When we arrived at triage, I heard something that would be echoed again and again over my labor and delivery – “It pays to know Mandy!” It’s true.
Mandy wanted to come in when I gave birth (she came in on her day off when I gave birth to the Mini Athlete and was the BEST nurse ever for me!) I kept telling her to hold off. She was at home with her family celebrating Thanksgiving since she was scheduled to work the next day, on Thanksgiving. One of her friends Dacia, who I actually met at Mandy’s bridal shower, was there and was my nurse in triage. She put me on the monitors and saw the contractions – but I was still talking through them, pretty much just making a face when I felt them. She checked me and told me I was 3-4cm – not quite enough to be admitted. But definitely progress since the day before at the doctor’s office when I had been 2cm. She asked me, “Are you ready to walk?” I was.
We spent the next hour walking the halls of the hospital, trying to get things moving along a little more. I still felt contractions during this time, but they weren’t debilitating. My husband still made me laugh with his crazy antics and while I would pause from walking while a contraction hit, they really weren’t all that bad. After an hour, she checked me again. No progress. Still at 3-4cm.
We talked about my options. My OB (who I LOVE) was on call until 7am. It was getting close to 5pm at this point. They really weren’t comfortable sending me back to Venice (an hour away), but told me that if I lived in St. Pete, they wouldn’t hesitate to send me home. I could try to walk around the hospital for another hour and get checked again to see if there had been any progress. Or I could go ahead and get induced. Or I could go out to dinner, walk around downtown and then stay at Katie’s house for the night and see what happened.
I chose the third option.
We headed out of the hospital, cheerfully saying, “Hopefully we’ll see you later!” to all the nurses. We decided to see the evening as a rare date night for us. We headed downtown to Bella Brava, one of my favorite Italian restaurants. I ordered the eggplant parmesean (my favorite dish there) and we enjoyed a nice dinner together. We were interrupted every so often by contractions, but they still weren’t really painful, just present.
I really thought we would be having a baby that night. Spoiler alert: We didn’t.
To be continued…