Thursday, March 8, 2012

36 weeks/8 months and Labor (not mine)

Ok folks, here I am. 36 weeks.

8 months.
My due date is less than a month away. I'm ok with that time table for the most part. I'm not so uncomfortable that I want this baby OUT and I'm mostly prepared with the stuff & things we need to care for said baby.
I still have a belly button.
Most nights I can sleep 3-4 hours at a stretch.
Strangers ask me when I'm due, which is nice because it means that I really do look visibly pregnant and not just weirdly chubby which is reassuring. My belly is still not the nice, round shape I'd hoped for, but you know, whatever. There's a baby in there, and other people have felt her kick about, so that's good enough for me.
All in all, I'm doing really well.
It is a little strange to be able to just say "the third" when asked about my due date, as we've passed any other thirds that it might be. It still feels like a long way off, because even though my friend Modern Day Martha had her baby on Tuesday, and Mrs. Jones should be having her twins today, I'm still waiting for at least 2 more babies before my due date comes up on the counter.

Speaking of MDM having a baby...
She did. I mean, that's the short version. The long version is her story to tell, and I'll let her do that, but I want to tell a medium version that's mostly about me. Because I'd never seen labor up close and personal before. Everybody knows that life isn't like the movies, and there is no helpful montage that takes all the little moments of not-so-exciting and condenses them to 45 seconds with cool music so you can get on to the good stuff.

We actually discussed this, MDM & I as we were walking up and down her block to get her labor to progress. It was actually quite the little parade. MDM, her husband and mother, me, and two of our other Nebraska Girls, The Giant Swede & The Kindergarten Teacher. I have no idea if they want their names all bloggified, so I'm giving them these SUPER SECRET names just now.

A side note on my Nebraska girls. As a group, we've been friends for about 12 1/2 years. We started living together in 2001. We moved to Texas together in 2003. We've been through just about all the major life milestones together--now including babies. We're family in the awesome way of friends who've been through life together consistently for more than a decade. We see each other every week at our bible study and socially, and no, it's not a cult, it's just... good.

So, right. MDM starts having contractions in the wee hours of the morning, and shortly after sunrise, gets the green light from her doctor to go to the hospital. We were sure that baby is on the way. Except, no. She got sent home because things slowed down, and she'll be more comfortable there. Anyway, being unemployed now, I call to see if they need anything--she, the husband & the mother--like lunch so no one has to leave the house. Lunch was covered, but they did invite me over to say hello, offer support, you know... stuff.

So I went. I thought it would be a relatively short trip, because she already had lots of support people with her, and I didn't want to get in the way. Their house isn't so big that 6 people hanging out in the living room doesn't feel full. But I stopped by, and went on a walk or two up and down the block with them, and made a run to go get ice cream, because nothing makes labor go faster than ice cream, right? Mostly it was nice to feel useful. There's not a lot to do in early labor. MDM was doing all the work, and most of that was involuntary--contractions not being something she has any control over and all. Still, she said she liked having us there, for the distraction and the sense of normalcy. We chatted about stuff, watched Hot Fuzz, and just sort of hung out. MDM was handling things like a champ and most of her contractions passed without us even noticing--or, well, without me noticing. I won't speak for anyone else. Someone must have been paying attention. MDM mentioned that she hadn't had a chance to watch the natural childbirth DVDs she's been given, so I gave her the 2 minute version of the Lamaze class J & I took--relax, breathe, think good thoughts. The basics right?

Then her contractions get more intense. We're noticing now. She's still doing a great job, staying relaxed in between, breathing through it, changing positions, drinking water. I'm talking to her, telling her all the things I remember from my class, feeling super weird because... what in the WORLD do I know about contractions and labor? I haven't had a single contraction. Not even a Braxton Hicks. Still, I'm saying the words, and it seems to help, and then, my friend, overwhelmed, tired, and ready to meet her baby, but not knowing when that will be, asks me to stay. Asks me to stay with her as she labors. No way I'm saying no to that. One, I'm FASCINATED by this process. Two... I mean seriously? Who on earth is going to deny a request like that, especially from one of your best friends? So, I stayed.

It was amazing. For about 10 hours, I got to be a part of this incredible process. I don't have the words to describe it without sounding like a dreamy, idealistic hippy. It was work, it was hard, she was in pain, but it was still amazing. Seeing her actually doing it--getting through this incredibly difficult thing, and knowing that I was helping... man! I get why being a doula would be a cool job.

So, late that night (early the next morning technically, but I hadn't slept yet, so it wasn't really tomorrow in my head), she delivered a beautiful baby girl.

Next week, my friend KRho (the fifth Nebraska Girl) is due to have a baby girl too. She & I took all the same classes, so I don' think she'll need me, but I'm excited to meet her little girl as well. Then it can be my turn.

See, I've got lots of time before this baby gets born!

EDIT: I was by no means the only one helping her out through her early labor by the way. Her husband & mother were never far from her side (except when we told them to go take a nap, and then we Nebraska girls held down the fort so to speak). We all worked as a team to help keep a sense of normalcy as much as possible, then when it was time, we turned her over to the hospital staff and she & her husband went the final two hours by themselves (with the nurses & doctor of course). Yes, two hours. Bing, bang, boom--BABY!


Mrs Irritation said...

It must be an amazing experience, to be at the birth of another human being. I wonder if I'm brave enough or if I'll ever have the opportunity.

LEBean said...

I should clarify--once we got the the hospital, she & her husband went into the Labor & Delivery room and less than 2 hours later the baby was born. I just got to help with the pre-show as it were! =)

PinkieBling said...

What a cool experience! And how awesome to have so many babies born around the same time within your circle of friends.

Jessica said...

That is so cool! What an amazing thing to be a part of not long before you have to do it as well.

(I finally wised up and went to Chrome to leave my comment, so this is the first time I've actually got to see the hippo on the left instead of it crashing my IE browser. It's pretty!)

Jeremy Welch said...

I'm trying to figure out why IE is causing problems. GrrArghStuff.

Jeremy Welch said...

I find it amusing that you felt odd talking MDM through contractions without having felt them yourself. I'm supposed to talk YOU through them without it being POSSIBLE to have them myself...

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