On the Day You Were Born, Part II

When I last left you, I was heading off to sleep on February 1, 2013, somehow knowing that I wouldn't be getting a full night's sleep... (read Part I here)


Around 11PM, I awoke to some serious cramping and, what I assumed were contractions. I wasn't in a crazy amount of pain, but enough that I couldn't continue laying in bed either. My water hadn't broken yet, but I knew not to rely on that as a signal since I had heard that many women's waters don't break naturally (spoiler alert: I was one of them).

I quickly downloaded a pregnancy contraction timer app to start keeping track. Contractions were about ten minutes apart so I knew I had quite a while before it was hospital time (my doctor told me to call in once they were about five minutes apart). And I certainly did not want to be one of those women who showed up at the hospital barely dilated and sent home. In fact, I swore to myself that I wouldn't head for the hospital until I was sure this was happening. And though I was two days past my due date and having contractions, there was still a voice inside my head wondering if this was really it.

I must mention here that throughout my pregnancy, this is what I was most concerned with...how would I know when to go to the hospital? What if my water doesn't break, which is the telltale sign that it's go time? What if, instead of going to early, I wait too long and end up having my baby in the passenger seat of my car with nary an epidural or medical team in sight?! I was also GBS Positive and so it was imperative that I not deliver the baby outside of the hospital, since I would need an antibiotic drip during delivery.

For the next four hours, I labored at home, waiting for my contractions to get closer together...I couldn't do much but pace around the apartment into the dead of night. I made Shaun get out of bed and just stay awake with me, even if it meant dozing in and out of sleep in our living room. I could barely manage to sit on the couch and once I found a tolerable position, I was afraid to move for fear I'd never find it again.

Between the hours of 1 - 3AM, there's not a whole lot on television, let me just tell you that. And though we typically have a fully stocked DVR, this wasn't the time for concentrating. Instead, there was one thing that got me through...

The Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame Anniversary Concert on VH1. And yes, I did remember to snap a photo in that crazy moment.

I had seen this already multiple times and something about the music I guess was about as much as I could tolerate. So as the night wore on, and my contractions got harder to handle, I was soothed by the sweet sounds of Jackson Browne, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder.

Around 3AM, my contractions were about 5 - 7 minutes apart and I decided it was time to call the doctor. I was transferred to the on-call doctor at the hospital where I'd deliver and I was pleased that it was one of my top 2 choices of doctors from the practice I go to. He told me that I 'didn't sound that bad' and I should give it another hour before heading to the hospital.

Now feeling totally unsure of myself, I continued to couch it, pace around and finally walk up and down the long hallways in our building. When it got to the point where I had to continuously stop to lean against the walls for support, I knew it was time to go. Around 4AM, I told Shaun to start packing the car.

I was already dreading the 20 minute ride to the hospital since the thought of having contractions in a moving car made me feel almost nauseous. While he loaded up the hospital bags, Boppy pillow, food, cameras and more, I loaded the dishwasher and made the bed. There was no way that I was coming home to a messy home.

I wore my standard uniform of Juicy sweatpants, hung low under my belly, with an American Apparel tee and my red Uggs. I swore I was going to burn all 3 of these things once the baby was born. We took a last look around our apartment as it was the last time we'd be there as a family of 2 and took a moment to soak up what was about to happen. At last, we trudged down to our car by 4:30AM and hit the road.

All throughout my pregnancy, we visited the hospital where I delivered a number of times for sonograms. It wasn't the easiest ride as it took us through some heavily trafficked areas. All we did was hope and pray that we didn't need to get there during rush hour. Luckily, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, we sailed through Jersey City and into North Bergen without a problem. Good job, Penelope, for picking the right time to get moving!

The car ride was less eventful than anticipated from a contraction standpoint, and so I was worried that maybe I was barely dilated and I'd get sent home. Shaun and I made a deal that if they wouldn't admit me, we would walk around the parking lot until they would. Meanwhile, I called my mom to let her know we were on our way so that she could get ready and make her way over too.

{the view from outside the hospital on 9/11/12}

As we arrived around 5AM, Shaun dropped me off in front and went to park the car. By this point, I was finding it tough to walk, but made it to the desk where no words were required. Before I knew it, Shaun had joined me and a wheelchair was there, whisking me up to the maternity ward. I was taken to a small exam room, put on a gown and my doctor came in to examine me.

When he announced that I was almost 5cm dilated, I couldn't help but yelp with joy that not only would I not be sent home and I had made it halfway before even getting to the hospital, but it looked like today, February 2, 2013, would be the day we met our sweet baby doll...

...one last part of the story, coming next!