The unknown…it’s what gave me the most anxiety this time around. I think knowing enough about the labor and delivery process “to be dangerous” as they say, wasn’t helping things. Ignorance truly is bliss when you’re a first time mom…or at least when it’s your first time giving birth. Knowing what I know now, I’m happy it’s not my first rodeo anymore when it comes to the things you struggle with and quickly need to figure out on a daily basis!
But here goes…truth be told, I haven’t yet documented Gabby’s birth story. It’s as different as different can be compared to Sawyer’s – furthering the mantra everyone kept telling me, that each kid is different / their own person / yada, yada, yada. So, if I had taken that advice to heart, I should have known this was how it would all work out! 🙂
At 1:30am on Friday, April 3rd, I woke up to pee. This would happen every night and I’d go right back to sleep. This time though, I was having a contraction when I tried to go back to sleep. Somehow, 2:30am came around and I was still having noticeable contractions. At that point, I decided to time them… they were 5 minutes apart and lasting for about a minute…! And then the thoughts swirled around in my head… “OMG. This is what the doctor told me to watch for and then come to the hospital. This is really happening! Or is it? Are these just more intense Braxton Hicks contractions? I need to wake Anthony up and tell him! I hope its not a false alarm!? Stop thinking and just act on it, Naomi. Its not like you’re going back to sleep anyway…just wake Anthony up, damn it.” I was still for another minute, enjoying the dark, quiet peacefulness of the house at 3am. Then Anthony stirred and I sensed a break in his sleep – if I didn’t want to startle him, it was now or never.
“Anthony, I think I’m having contractions…” I whispered.
He stirred a bit then sat up and said, “wait, like the real kind? not Braxton Hicks?”
“Well, yeah, I think… they’re not super unbearable, but they are more painful than normal…” Since my water broke with Gabby but contractions never started on their own, this was one of the unknowns for me…what do real labor contractions start off feeling like?
“ok… oh crap…” says Anthony and we both sit up in bed, deciding what to do next.
“Don’t worry, we have plenty of time, I’m not in that much pain at all. I’m gonna take a shower.” I jump in the shower as Anthony runs around the house getting last minute things ready for Aunt Raq, who was about to find out it was time to come over and watch Gabby!
I wrote a few last minute notes to Aunt Raq about Gabby’s routine as Anthony showered quickly. Riese was convinced it was not only breakfast time but that a party was ensuing, lol. At this point, it was 3:30am and I called Raq. I remember her answering with “oohhhh boy…!” as I said “I think it’s time for you to come to our house so we can go to the hospital. Don’t speed but don’t dawdle either…” By 4:30am, we were on our way to the hospital with too many belongings (camera/iPad bag, gifts for the big sister, a birthing ball, our clothes, a bag full of stuff for Sawyer, toiletries…).
The biggest concern I had at this point was, what food we were going to pickup on the way to the hospital. PRIORITIES, people! If there’s one thing I had heard loud and clear from not only friends, but even my doctor, it was to make sure you eat before they admit you. Once you’re in the hospital and under their care, nothing but broth/clear fluids and popsicles are on the menu. It turns out, our options were minimal near the hospital but there was a DD’s that opened at 5am…YAHTZEE.
We parked and walked up to DD only to find that it was dark and locked…well, it was only 4:55am. We waited on the corner under the glow of a street lamp and hoped that an employee would arrive since it was absolutely “time to make the donuts” (anyone else remember that slogan and the DD guy from the 80’s/90’s?). Sure enough, at 4:59am a car sped around the corner, parked and a guy ran out. He was our guy! He had keys in hand and asked if we were getting coffee. I responded yes, and breakfast sandwiches. Those were THE reason I was there, let’s be honest. I wasn’t in need of any coffee, but A definitely deserved some. So as we waited for our last meal before the fun began, another employee asked me when I was due. HA…to which I responded, “ummm, we’re headed to the hospital right from here…I’m in labor but wanted some food first.” The look on her face was priceless. She whispered something about me being in labor to the guy preparing our food and not only did he start moving at warp speed, but he didn’t charge us…at all. How sweet was that? Or maybe they both were really scared they’d witness a live birth on the floor if we lingered any longer!
It was 5:15 when we got to Labor and Delivery’s triage reception area (where we were told to go during our hospital tour). No one was there. Both of us were very confused…HUH? It’s a hospital. Aren’t they open 24 hrs a day? Where is everyone? Isn’t shift change only at 7am? Why is it silent and empty?! We wandered down the hallway a bit more and found the actual triage rooms were staffed with a nurse…who looked at us like we were crazy when I very calmly and quietly said “hi, we’re here to check-in because I think I’m in labor”…think of the tone you’d use when asking a waitress for more ketchup for your french fries. That was me. No rush, no worries, not a care in the world. We finally got in a triage room around 6am and were told the resident nurse/midwife from the hospital and my doctor would be in to check me “shortly”. Mind you, as soon as I got comfortable in the bed, my contractions essentially stopped. WTF. I was not going to be happy if they told us to go home because it was a false alarm! At 6:40am, the nurse midwife stopped in. She checked me and said I was maybe 3.5cm and 70% effaced. I was not a fan of this lady because not only did it take her 40 minutes to see me (and we were told we were the only patients there at that time), but I was 3cm and 75% effaced at my last appt. on Monday. There’s no way in 5 days I went backwards. My doctor showed up shortly after and said this:
“No, I’d say you’re closer to 4cm and 90%.” HALLELUJAH!
She sat back and said “here’s what we can do…I can strip your membranes and then I’m gonna have you go for a walk. a brisk 1-2 hour walk…I want you uncomfortable, I want these contractions closer together. Since it’s your second child, we don’t want to send you home. Some people go from 4cm to 10cm in 30 minutes. If you go home, you could have this baby in the car or at your house. So, we’ll admit you once you’re back from the walk.” MUSIC TO MY EARS! Again, another difference between this pregnancy and Gabby’s was, I was so ready this time. Ready to meet our little man. Ready to get my body back. Ready to just be a family of 4! Some people may have walked in circles around the hospital’s lobby…but us Cataldos like to do things in the most complex way possible, so we decided to take the party outside and walk to Penn Station. A little over a mile each way, with hills. No joke! I turned it into a photo tour at prominent and meaningful-to-us landmarks. Hey, who says early labor can’t be fun?
Time to stop and build up momentum and energy to share the rest of the story with y’all! It’ll go fast from here on out, I promise! 🙂 Go grab a donut and get ready for Part II, coming soon…