It was a hell of a weekend. It began with a "pop" at 10pm on Friday night. I swear I thought my water broke, and I was SURE I hadn't peed on myself, and I was contracting (though they weren't painful. I would find out later what pain REALLY is).
So, anyway, I was under the assumption that my water broke. There was no massive gush of fluid, but I thought that was pretty normal - they tell you that sometimes the baby's head acts as a cork and the amniotic sac can form kind of a slow leak of fluid. This is what it felt like. I called the hospital, the triage nurse said we could hang out at home for a couple of hours, but since I tested positive for Group B Strep I did need to come in, even though my contractions weren't regular.
We rolled up to the hospital at 1am, and they checked us in to PETU (Perinatal Treatment and Evaluation Unit). This, as we learned, is where they separate the REAL laboring women from the big, fat, fakers. Ie: yours truly.
Android and I were led to a quiet little room down the hall from the nurses station, I put on a gown and got into bed, and a nurse came in to strap a fetal monitor and a contraction monitor onto my belly. (These things suck because you cannot freaking MOVE while they are on. You can a little, but you always run the risk of dislodging the fetal monitor and having a nurse come in and readjust it with a vaguely annoyed look on her face.)
They had to verify whether my water had broken or not, which involved a cotton swab for 60 seconds in a place where cotton swabs normally don't go. She dipped it into a solution, waited 10 minutes and came back saying it wasn't amniotic fluid, but it wasn't urine either - and they weren't convinced that I hadn't broken my bag of waters.
This is when the 12 year old resident made her appearance.
Note: I am not the kind of person who judges doctors by their age. I'm really not. But I have reached the age where my doctor really could be younger than me and that terrifies me just the teeniest bit.
She examined me, and the gush of fluid (hey, if you've been reading this blog since the beginning you've read worse things, I think.) that came out made them really believe that my water had broken. They took a sample to send to the lab - apparently amniotic fluid forms a fern pattern on a slide when put under a microscope. Neat, huh?
Alas, no fern for me. At this point I was something of a medical mystery. The best explanation was given by my nurse (we started out a little rocky, but I ended up quite liking her) - it's probably just crazy birth canal lubricating discharge. Not many women get it, but she happened to with her second kid.
Because they were still so confused, I got another exam - this time with speculums! Woo! The best part about that exam is the nurse was missing a critical cotton swab (because they are all different.) and had to leave the room in order to get the right one, all the while I'm sitting on the bed with my knees as far apart as they would go, a speculum up my hooha and a prepubescent resident waiting patiently for the return of the nurse. Talk about awkward.
Then they made me pee in a cup.
The teenager came in a bit later to tell me that there still was no amniotic fluid to be found and that's a good thing because I was still 1 centimeter dilated and labor would have been long and hard if my water had broken at this point. The logical part of my brain knew she was right. The part of me that was wearing a gown that showed my ass if I moved too quickly wanted to wrap her stethoscope round her neck and pull it reeeeeeaaaal tight.
When she left the room I cried. A lot. The horrible quiet trying-not-to-make-too-much-noise/mess-in-case-someone-comes-into-the-room-cry. I couldn't help it. I had been such a trooper though the damn exams and the chilly room and the fetal monitor and the contractions that I couldn't quite believe we were going to be sent home sans baby.
At about 4:30 my doctor (like, my actual doctor - she was on call that night) came by to check on me, which I thought was awfully nice. She explained (more gently than the toddler did) that my lack of amniotic fluid at this point dropped my chances of a unnecessary c-section by a lot. She was the only one who comforted Android and I by saying that false alarms like this are totally normal and par for the course.
At 5am we were released. We gathered our things, walked out of PETU (the nurses waved goodbye and wished us a swift return) and into the deserted corridors of the hospital.
We were sad and exhausted. We went home and crawled into bed and shut off our cell phones and slept (and my contractions had either stopped or I was too tired to acknowledge them).
Saturday was my due date. It was also my sister's birthday. Android and I hung out at home for most of the day in the hope that something, anything, would happen. It didn't. We joined my sister, brother-in-law, and Mom for a picnic out in a very beautiful park in the western 'burbs. We ate, drank (I had a glass of champagne and loved every sip of it) and were generally merry.
By the time we got home I had started contracting again - about every 11 minutes, and let me tell you - those suckers are painful! They're like menstrual cramps on crack. Unfortunately, the regularity died down and the Android and I made an attempt at sleep. He was more successful than I, but bless his heart, he usually woke up just enough during my contractions (about every half hour at this point) to rub my back until I had settled down again.
I managed to get a fair amount of sleep in and woke up relatively refreshed on Sunday morning.
Android and I had a stupidly hopeful Sunday. We went to Target for cat food and toilet paper. We got some breakfast at our local joint. We walked around for an hour hoping that my contractions would steady up again. We had a couple of friends over for pizza and The Simpsons. We continued timing my contractions, but they were sporadic at best. We went to bed.
And here I am. At 4:19 on Monday morning. Still contracting (I'm averaging every 7-8 minutes for the last hour or so... yay!) and pretty tired, but not enough to try to sleep.
The Android had today picked in the warehouse baby pool - I hope he's right. We'll win eight bucks.