Baby Bennett’s Birth Story

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By Lacey Appolito

Three weeks ago, I delivered my fourth baby (second girl) with my most favorite OB and I couldn’t be more thrilled that my family is now complete. Two boys. Two girls. Lots of chaos. No shortage of love.

I have a weird habit of reading birth stories on my phone while taking a bath during my last month of pregnancy. As each week passes, I change my Google search… 36 week birth stories. 37 week birth stories. 38 week birth stories… You get the idea.

The final few weeks of pregnancy are filled with anticipation. Every cramp is scrutinized. Each trip to the bathroom is a quest for a lost mucous plug. It is fascinating to read how different women experience labor and birth, and exciting to imagine how your own will play out.

My first son Jack was born on a full moon, at 40+3 weeks after days of false labor. I was induced with my second son William at 41 weeks, and my daughter Evie’s birth was almost identical to what I experienced with Jack. It was a full moon and I endured several days of inconsistent but strong contractions before she was born at 39+5 weeks.

I thought for sure that my fourth baby Bennett would come early and fast since my body had birthed so many times before. And even though I know that how dilated you are doesn’t mean much in terms of when you will deliver, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed when I was barely a finger tip dilated and baby was very high at every single appointment leading up to my 40th week of pregnancy.

I was confident that a fourth baby would more or less fall out of my body, but it wasn’t looking like that would be the case at all. So, with the full support of my husband and OB, I scheduled an elective induction for Baby Bennett’s due date, and unlike my induction with William, I didn’t fret over my choice to induce at all.

In comparison to my spontaneous labors, William’s birth was less painful and more controlled. It really was an easy birth, and after a fast labor with Evie, I was worried that Bennett would be born in our car on the way to the hospital, which I wanted to avoid at all costs obviously.

Fast forward to my due date, September 14th, 2018. My husband and I checked into the hospital at 5AM. I quickly changed into my hospital gown and we rested while the nurse set up the Pitocin. Soon after the IV was placed, I felt a few mild contractions and about an hour later my OB came in to check my cervix, break my water, and insert an internal catheter to keep a closer eye on my contractions.

After my OB broke my water, which I have never experienced pre-epidural by the way 😳,  the Pitocin was cranked up and my body started to respond. I dilated from about one centimeter to five centimeters relatively quickly, and I felt confident that I would have a fast labor, after all.

Prior to my induction, I toyed with the idea of a natural birth. Of course I didn’t share this plan with anyone but my husband (who laughed because he knows me so well), so once I reached five centimeters the nurse started talking epidural.

I wasn’t in excruciating pain yet, but I also knew I did not want to feel the pain I felt with Evie, when I was eight centimeters dilated and clenching on to the side of the hospital bed for dear life, cussing and crying, begging for an epidural to take the pain away… So I agreed.

And then everything stopped.

For two hours I remained a little more than five centimeters dilated, but suddenly the situation changed. I started to feel the pain of each contraction again, and despite pressing the epidural button over and over again, the pain only intensified.

It wasn’t pressure I was feeling. It was the familiar stabbing sensation of labor. And it hurt like a mother.

The nurse checked my cervix and I was seven centimeters dilated. The pain continued, moving lower with each passing contraction.

“I’m feeling pressure!” I moaned to my nurse through clenched teeth, who decided to call my doctor up to check me again. Less than thirty minutes had passed and I was now nine centimeters dilated. The doctor wanted anesthesia to come push more medicine through my IV before birth, as the pain was unbearable at that point.

So we waited… briefly. Anesthesia never made it, as I was ten centimeters and ready to push within a couple of minutes.

My doctor returned, and sweet Bennett was born almost immediately. I pushed through two contractions and in an instant she was there! They placed her gooey body on my chest and she peed all over me, but I didn’t care. I was captivated by the moment. In awe of life and its miraculous ways.

It was a bittersweet moment in time, and one that I will cherish forever. My last pregnancy. My last birth story. My last time to experience the surreal feeling of bringing a child into the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Newborn Twins. Enough Said.

Photo credit Boston Photography

By: Aimee Tafreshi

The fact that I am writing this blog is a miracle in itself. I cannot make any guarantees about proper grammar or a logical progression of thoughts. You see, my husband and I welcomed twins approximately five weeks ago. We were not “trying” for twins, and we did not avail ourselves of the latest medical technology seeking out two bundles of joy. But Mother Nature laughed, thought “I’ll show them,” and here we are with a boy and a girl.

We had a “pleasant” enough hospital experience. We were lucky to be at an excellent medical facility with great nurses and doctors. The nurse anesthetist deserved a gold medal as she seemed to be the face and main brains of the anesthesiology portion, and she also played DJ and took excellent photos post-delivery. I was so excited when she told me that she would play music in the OR, I immediately began thinking of songs for an impromptu playlist before being wheeled in for my c-section. “Sucker for Pain,” Ludacris and Snoop Dog with a touch of the Texas Fight Song seemed like a great soundtrack to welcome these babies into the world. The rap started blasting, and a member of the medical team said, “It’s like we’re in the club.” We were off to a promising start.

And then the spinal block wasn’t quite working one hundred percent, and my blood pressure started tanking. I then threw up on the operating room table. They were ready to put me under general anesthesia, a plan I initially welcomed, but then a part of me thought, I don’t want to miss this, no matter how miserable I feel. They injected some more drugs and voila, my blood pressure stabilized, and the doctor proceeded. He finished sewing me up with some chill Jimmy Buffett playing, his choice, which I appreciated.

I felt like I was on that table forever. My mom paced in the hallway wondering what was taking so long. At 2:33 p.m., we welcomed a beautiful baby girl with a healthy set of lungs, a feisty 5 pounds, 7 ounces bundle of attitude, whom we named Marin Elise. One minute later, we met Rhett Wortham, her younger but larger brother, weighing in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces. I always suspected that Rhett was siphoning all of the food in utero, leaving his sister crumbs. No wonder she seems so angry now and screams incessantly until fed.

I don’t remember too much from the recovery room, other than telling the nurse that I was so happy to be here. “Why?” she asked, clearly confused by my comment. “Because I’m no longer on that operating table,” I replied. They brought the babies in, none of them requiring any NICU time, and Marin latched on right away. Rhett seemed confused but would learn how to nurse with the help of a lactation consultant who was a baby whisperer of sorts. Unlike past lactation consultants at other hospitals, she wasn’t the kind to pressure you to exclusively breastfeed. “Tandem breastfeeding twins by yourself will be very hard,” she said, “especially with other children at home.” Another nurse told me, “Fed is best.” I appreciated them planting these seeds of wisdom in my head, so I would later not be so hard on myself if I couldn’t live up to my own expectations of how feeding twins should go.

Recovery in the hospital was painful, as is typical with a c-section and tubal ligation. I felt massive pain, vomited many times and could barely walk without crying or hunching over in agony. They let me stay an extra night and even offered more time, but by day five, we were ready to split, as ready as new parents can be. On the day of our hospital departure, we loaded the twins into their new baby carriers and tried to take a photo together as they bawled their eyes out.

We were able to get settled in at home before our other three children traveled back from their summer trip to Alaska with my mother- and sister-in-law. It’s hard to predict how siblings will react to a new baby (or babies), but our kiddos were at least excited to meet them. Our daughter was ecstatic to finally get a sister, although she mistakenly believed Marin might be ready to play with toys right away. I explained that babies are a little boring at first; they basically eat, poop and sleep.

There has been an adjustment period for the kids and us parents. My husband had to take over school duties, such as attending the new school year “meet and greets” with the teachers and taking the kids to the bus stop in the mornings. I have felt some guilt about missing out, but then I thought how neat it was that my husband was able to participate in some events that he had missed in the past due to work. We have been fortunate with help from family members and neighbors for rides to activities and hot meals. Eventually we will be on our own, but hopefully by then we will be ready.

Life with newborn twins is not for the faint of heart. We have had our share of hiccups and off-color jokes at 2 a.m. We may have referenced North Korean prison camps and crack houses. (Don’t ask.) We have felt like mistreated livestock kept just enough alive to pass muster before the inevitable slaughter, popping Advil like bovine antibiotics and growth hormones. About two weeks after first meeting the twins, my youngest son looked lovingly at Marin, and sweetly asked, “What is her name again?” Ahh, the pitfalls of a large family. I guess he can simply refer to her as “Twin A.” Just yesterday, I looked at my baby girl and said, “Well that’s a funny face Marilyn.” I then realized I had called her by the wrong name and prayed no one had heard me. In my defense, an HGTV show taking place in Maryland played in the background.

When the day begins to spiral out of control, we have developed different coping strategies. I started watching Outdaughtered on TLC, a show featuring a couple with the only all girl quintuplets in the country. If anyone can make me feel better about having twins, it’s a family that is dealing with five two-year-olds. Plus I have learned some helpful strategies from watching them, and the fact that the parents are still alive and sane is reassuring. We are also thinking of buying stock in Nespresso and Blue Bell Ice Cream, given our massive consumption of their products. I couldn’t survive at this point without a large stockpile of caffeine and refined sugar. Looking for more natural remedies, my mom gifted me a lavender stress ball, which I often squeeze and vigorously inhale like my life depended on it.

My husband made the helpful suggestion a few weeks ago that when our older children act unruly, we should play a song to redirect them and release some tension. I started brainstorming and chimed in, “Oh yeah, we can find some Native American tribal music, grab hands, and run in and out of a circle,” envisioning a kind of spiritual coming together. My other half looked at me amused and said he was thinking more along the lines of Lady Gaga. Regardless I’ve already found a song with a great tribal beat. Sometimes you need to reach out to the universe or a higher power for guidance.

When my husband and I used to hear of someone having twins, we used to caustically remark, “How terrible! Can you imagine?!” Then twins happened to us. It’s called karma. I can confidently say that caring for twins is the hardest thing either of us have ever done. It’s harder than law school, studying for a bar exam, taking a bar exam, practicing law or going on a submarine deployment. I don’t know what would be harder. Oh yes I do—triplets. In a recent nightmare, I dreamed I was tending to three babies, running around the house, trying to stop the crying. The next day I remembered this dream and felt gratitude that there were only two of them. We think it will get easier once they turn three. Until then, I will live vicariously through the Beachfront Bargain hunters on TV and dream of a kids’ club on a cruise. And I will try to pause during the chaos, breathe in their baby smells and memorize their funny expressions before they sprout up into independent big kids.

 

Aimee Tafreshi is a mom of five, freelance writer and attorney who also contributes to Nameberry.com.

When ‘Just One More’ Becomes Two

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By: Aimee Tafreshi

It’s the question that simmers under the surface among friends with kids. Are you done having kids? Will you have one more child? Part benchmark, part sheer curiosity, both close friends and passing acquaintances have murmured this seemingly casual but loaded question at a game night, at a park, in a bar.

My and my husband’s answers were usually similar in response. We already have three children. I didn’t want to go through a pregnancy again for health reasons. When I hold a baby, I don’t feel any strong desire to hold another one of my own. I’m almost 40! I remember meeting a Pilates instructor at a local watering hole on a rowdy night out with friends who seemed especially dialed into other’s feelings. If you don’t know, she said with her wise gaze boring through my soul, then I think you will have another one. I shrugged her words off. Maybe . . . but highly doubtful.

The encounter with the empathetic Pilates instructor was several years ago.  During that time, I merengued into some of the best shape of my life as a Zumba instructor. I was dancing so much that I couldn’t eat enough food to stay full.  I was dancing so much that the annoying pain in my right foot turned into a broken sesamoid bone, which took away my ability to walk for the good part of a year and required surgery to remove the crumbled bone. I hung up my dancing shoes and suddenly had to make an effort to eat healthfully and relearn how to walk so I wouldn’t pack on the pounds.

Post-foot surgery, I discovered two blood clots in my arms, which led to testing to determine the cause. I found out I had a genetic blood clotting disorder and immediately had to end my twenty-year relationship with birth control pills. My husband and I discussed vasectomies, an option I couldn’t quite commit to in the past, because I wasn’t one hundred percent sure. We decided he would undergo the procedure following the holidays, as his work schedule was conducive.

We were in a good place in our lives. Our children were 4, 6 and 8, and all of them slept through the night (mostly), toileted independently and could attend school or daycare while I worked at my new remote desk job. They had activities that required early Saturday mornings and weekday practices, a schedule that is not conducive to a needy newborn. How could I bring a baby to a five-hour swim meet in the Florida heat?  There was something liberating about being “hands-free.” I could fly on a plane with three children or take them to the movies or restaurant solo. Why would I want to disrupt this careful balance we had finally achieved?

It was the height of election season, so crazy was in the air. I got tired of watching CNN as I wanted to hear about anything other than Hillary and Donald.  I’m a news junkie, but this was twenty-four seven saturation. My husband and I threw caution to the wind and figured we’d leave the last few months of his virility to fate, God, whomever. This wasn’t a major effort, as we both strongly felt the pros and cons of adding another child to our family. I was settled into my new job, and we weren’t certain if he would continue on his current career path or make the leap into the private sector. Economics would dictate that we were finished, but our hearts were still open to one more.

In late November, after queasiness from the election began to subside, I started to feel a new sort of queasiness. Other than with my daughter, I was pretty lucky during my pregnancies in the morning sickness department.  But this time I felt different, and I knew that night I should forgo that cherished glass of red and buy a pregnancy test the next day. 

I was actually shocked when the positive test result appeared in a millisecond. Wow, there was no doubt, no faint line to scrutinize, no need for a re-test (though I think I did.) At around four weeks pregnant, there was nothing to do but wait. I didn’t know if this pregnancy would progress or fade away as several had. I didn’t even call the OB until six weeks; I didn’t want to waste my time.

My husband accompanied me to see the doctor at around seven weeks, and he congratulated us but recommended we might want to consider banking sperm in case this pregnancy didn’t work out. We assured the good doctor that we were at peace with our family if this one was not to be; we weren’t looking for a medical intervention.

At this stage, the doctor didn’t try to hear a heartbeat or get a visual image. Instead, I was told I would be giving myself a shot every night to deliver a blood thinner that wouldn’t affect the developing embryo. And as the delivery date got closer, one shot would turn into two daily, and then there would be more needles postpartum, to avoid post-cesarean section blood clots.

It took me until 9:00 that evening to give myself the first shot, after religiously studying the package insert, scouring message boards about injection techniques and telling myself it was a matter of life and death. Many months later I am a confident shot administrator (with the help of my nurse/husband who delivers the burning substance) and would feel comfortable injecting anyone in my family, if needed. The only battle wounds are bruises occasionally left by a needle. Once the shots are a distant memory someday, I will notice that witching hour every night, tucked between a shower and snack, and wonder what I am forgetting and then remember the days of the shot.

At ten weeks pregnant, feeling more confident but not out of the woods, my husband accompanied me to my next doctor’s appointment. The doctor hooked me up to his old ultrasound machine (this was his scaled down “island” office), and the unmistakable image of a small bean of a baby in a sac appeared on the right. My eyes scanned to the left (backwards, I know), and I saw a second sac with another blob inside. “Is that two babies in there???!!!” I exclaimed before the doctor had a chance to get a word in. He confirmed my impression and proceeded to talk as we filled out forms while our heads swam. We were now floating in an alternate, undefined universe. I honestly wasn’t convinced there was a viable baby inside of me until its image flashed up on the screen; never in my wildest dreams did I imagine two life forms sharing space in my womb.

Twins could certainly explain the extreme feelings of nausea and fatigue and the sense that my belly was beginning to show before the second trimester. I was immediately referred to the high-risk obstetrics group on account of the twins, blood clotting disorder and that lovely designation, being of advanced maternal age.

Since that time, my husband and I have made progress. We now accept that we are having twins. We were ecstatic to learn that one is a boy and the other is a girl, and my daughter will finally get the sister she has always wanted. My middle child is psyched that he will be elevated to “oldest son” status. And we have embraced the idea of having two newborns. Every time I see them on an ultrasound, bigger and more baby-like than the previous month, these two blobs become more real to me, taking up residence in my heart, each future version with his or her own dreams, talents and hopes. Still, I won’t completely believe this news until they hand me two crying infants at the hospital.

And while on the topic of twins, here are a few myths I’d like to dispel, in case you are considering adding “just one more” child to your family and think multiples could never happen to you.

First, not every twin birth is a result of a medical intervention like IVF or Clomid. In fact, back in the old days, women had twins well before these medical advances. Secondly, you do not need to have twins in your family to become pregnant with them. And finally, if you are an older mother and have already had multiple pregnancies, you are at a higher risk to have multiples. And if I were a mom who had undergone grueling rounds of IVF, I probably wouldn’t want strangers inquiring about whether my twins were “natural” or not. They’re all human babies, people. Growing and nurturing a life in the womb is pretty miraculous, whether one baby or more, regardless of how they got there.

And finally, if you do find yourself blessed (or cursed, depending on your outlook) with twins someday, many people will react as if you’ve been diagnosed with some incurable form of disease. Some of the reactions we have received are as follows: “Umm, congratulations?”; “I’m so glad it’s you and not me!”; and “Wow, we were going to have one more child, but not anymore!” I don’t take these comments too personally, because this is simply others’ reaction to how they would handle the news of twins. Yes, we are scared. And yes, we will be vastly outnumbered. But am I beyond excited to join the sorority of twin moms? My answer is “Yes” times two.

Aimee Tafreshi is a freelance writer and attorney who also contributes to Nameberry.com and her own blog once in a blue moon, aimeetafreshi.com. She is also a mother and professional chauffeur to three spirited, young children.

To Induce, or Not to Induce…

Over the weekend, a “Facebook friend” of mine gave birth to an adorable baby girl named Katherine. On Tuesday of last week, said friend posted something along the lines of this: “Today’s my due date! Took a long walk around the neighborhood last night… Hoping to meet Baby K soon!!”

This of course elicited a long string of responses. Some of the replies were words of encouragement and congratulations for making it to forty weeks; others included personal anecdotes on how to trigger labor.

Naturally, I felt compelled to add my own two cents and suggested Evening Primrose Oil and Organic Pregnancy Tea to move things along. Around 39 weeks, I tried just about everything to encourage Baby J to release his death grip on my womb. I bounced on a yoga ball for hours on end and drank pineapple smoothies ’til I was blue in the face (pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that supposedly induces labor naturally).

My mother, who is rather old-school in nature, resorted to the method that folks used back in the good ‘ole days and drove me over every speed bump and railroad track she could find around town (and at alarmingly fast speeds, might I add). She was so certain Baby J would pop out after our joy ride that she considered charging my pregnant friends money in exchange for a labor-inducing tour of Austin. Her plan went up in smoke however, as my little nugget didn’t budge an inch. It really is too bad, as she would make an excellent tour guide. 

I can say with some degree of certainty that the combination of EPO and tea did the trick. Of course a full moon didn’t hurt either. Did you know that the moon’s gravitational pull can affect a woman’s body in the same way it affects the tides? It’s called the lunar effect. Ask any medical professional who works in a hospital and I’m sure they’ll agree; the hospital is inundated with crazies & pregnant women (more crazies?) every full moon. Annnd that’s enough science for one day.

Back to my Facebook friend… I scrolled through the responses others left for her and hesitated when I came across the following question:

Do you have a date that you will get induced by if she’s running late?”

The response?

Saturday!! Reaaaaallly want it to happen naturally before then though!”

My thoughts??

Then let it happen naturally!

Perhaps I am a tad hypocritical, as I was almost seduced into an elective induction myself. When I was in my 39th week of pregnancy, my OBGYN dropped the I-word, and I was intrigued at the prospect of controlling the otherwise great unknown: Labor. With a planned induction, I knew that my doctor would in fact be the one to deliver my baby boy, I could arrange for family member’s travel so that they would be present for J’s birth, and best of all, I would no longer wake up each morning and wonder, “Is today the day?”

What really sealed the deal for me was an off-the-cuff comment made by the nurse while the doctor was out of the examining room. I heard the words “increased risk of stillbirth” and developed tunnel vision instantaneously. Needless to say, I left the appointment with an induction date on the calendar. After a little help from the Google machine, I found that the risks of delivering a stillborn baby at term are negligible. The risks do increase after 42 weeks, however, the increase in risk is not even considered significant until 43 weeks.

Within an hour of arriving home from the doctor’s office I was in tears, hysterical at the prospect of inducing labor. I researched Cytoctec, the controversial induction drug of choice at my hospital, and was horrified to learn that it is not even FDA approved for labor induction. I did not want a c-section and I did not want to cause my sweet little peanut unnecessary stress, both of which are common side effects of labor induction. My intuition was impossible to ignore. I could not go through with an elective induction.

At my 40 week appointment, I shared my concerns with my doctor and she agreed to cancel the induction as long as my amniotic fluid levels were normal… We couldn’t have Baby J drying up in the womb! Unfortunately my fluid levels appeared low, which does in fact warrant a medically necessary induction. A biophysical profile was ordered to get a better look at Jack’s overall movements, breathing, and muscle tone, as well as the amount of amniotic fluid that surrounded him. Thankfully, we passed with flying colors. The fluid levels previously appeared marginal because he was storing more than his fair share of amniotic fluid in his belly. Go figure.

Within twenty-four hours of the biophysical profile I was in active labor, which means that I would have missed true labor by a day or so had I followed through with the original induction date. Thank God for intuition.

The night before her scheduled induction, my Facebook friend posted this:

“Last pre-baby workout! Induction scheduled for tomorrow morning. Tried to encourage nature along with extra squats…would LOVE to go into labor today – prayers appreciated!”

I did not respond other than giving a thumbs-up to the following comment:

“Good luck, I’m surprised they are inducing so soon. See if they can postpone as long as she is healthy. Elle was 9 days “late” – I think babies come when they are ready.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Fortunately, the baby was born healthy and from what I can gather via Facebook, all is well with both parties involved. I am certainly not judging this friend for agreeing to an elective induction, nor would I ever judge a woman for making a choice that is hers to make. My reaction is more so a result of my own personal experience and the tremendous emotional response I grappled with when considering an induction for myself. As patients, we trust our doctors and want to believe that they have our best interest at heart. It is a shame that women aren’t better informed about the risks associated with an induction before signing on the dotted line.

Thankfully, labor is not on my radar at this point in time. Instead of fretting about the birth of a child, I am busy enjoying my family.

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Enjoying beautiful “patio weather” with Baby J over the weekend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

False Labor My A**

Every time I used the restroom during my last month of pregnancy, I would cross my fingers and hope to God that my baby wouldn’t fall out into the toilet.

Plop!

I worried that my water would break in the shower, or that my contractions would be so mild I wouldn’t even feel them. I’ve never really had cramps and I take very long showers, so these seemed like valid concerns. I had lists of the signs and symptoms of labor all over my house. There was a list on my fridge and a list by my bed. I kept a list by the bath and the guest toilet, too. And although I could recite the list by heart, I truly believed that I might somehow miss the oh so subtle act of pushing a six-pound human being out of my body.

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

I had contractions for 48 hours leading up to the birth of Baby J. They started on a Friday night, so our only real option was to heed the advice from the on-call nurse. She assured us time and time again that I was not experiencing labor, but prodromal labor (false labor), and that there was nothing they could do until my contractions grew closer together. My contractions were all over the map; some seven minutes apart and others seventeen minutes apart. The one constant was frequency and pain level. I had four contractions every hour for two freaking days. Two days!

“Take a bath,” the nurse suggested.

It was no surprise that soaking in warm water did absolutely nothing to remedy the sensation of being stabbed in the uterus with a knife.

“Take a walk around the block,” my mom advised.

My walk around the block took twice as long as usual due to the fact that I had to stop every few minutes to breathe through a contraction. And by breath through a contraction, I mean double over in pain while cursing Sharon, the on call nurse, until my uterus slowly released allowing me to amble around the block once more.

My mother, whom I love very much but at times can drive me absolutely insane, did what most mothers would do upon hearing the news of their daughter’s false labor… Google it. She turned to the internet because she did not understand this “false labor nonsense,” and after hours of research called to proclaim that I was not in fact experiencing false labor, but the real deal, and if I didn’t get my butt to the hospital stat, B (my husband) would be delivering that baby at home.

“I hope he knows what he’s doing,” she jeered.

Naturally, I completely ignored my mother’s warning.

On Sunday morning, my doctor caught wind of the circumstances. She had the nurse call to inform us that we could go ahead and check into the hospital, and that she would use Pitocin to get things moving if need be. My husband breathed a sigh of relief, as we hadn’t slept in almost two days, and he was ready to throw in the towel.

My reaction was a bit different.

I flat out refused to go to the hospital. I didn’t want to need Pitocin. I wanted my labor to be real. We would wait until those contractions were five minutes apart, damn it!

I stood my ground for another three or four hours, diligently tracking each contraction with my iPhone app. Between many of my most painful contractions I experienced some mild cramping, which I wrote off as nothing more than a welcome reprieve to those dang false labor pains. I was certainly not monitoring these blips or including them while timing my contractions. And then my husband had an epiphany.

What if the cramps were actually small contractions?

Um, nobody ever told me that contractions can vary in intensity. I assumed they were all equally excruciating… Why was this information not on the list?!?!

Holy shit… There was nothing false about this labor, after all!

By the time we arrived to the hospital, my contractions were only a few minutes apart. Prior to the onset of my “prodromal” labor, I was barely a centimeter dilated.  At this point, I was 5 centimeters dilated and begging for an epidural. I have never seen nurses work so fast in my life. My blood was drawn, the IV was securely in place, and a stack of waivers were signed within minutes of entering triage.

Three hours later, it was time to call in the big guns. My doctor and her accompanying entourage transformed the room in a matter of seconds to prepare for Baby J’s birth, and after pushing through three short contractions, Baby J popped out. Thankfully, he landed in the arms of my OBGYN, and not the toilet bowl, which could have been a very real possibility had I held out on going to the hospital much longer.

I’ve got four words for you, Nurse Sharon…

False labor, my ass.

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