About 15 minutes later, we meet what is the first of two-dozen nurses that will assist me during labor, delivery, and recovery. She has me put on one of those sexy hospital gowns and get into bed. It’s 9:30 p.m.
I get hooked up to the same doo-dads I had at the non-stress test: A sensor that measures the baby’s heartbeat and a sensor that measures the eventual contractions. Then she takes me through a long questionnaire that asks wonderful things like do I have herpes and is Charles beating me.
About halfway through the Q&A, I start feeling just the slightest bit of cramping and mention it to the nurse. “Oh, that’s because you’re having contractions,” she says nonchalantly.
WTF?!? I’m having natural contractions? But you haven’t done anything to induce me yet!
I glance at the screen and, sure enough, it’s showing dips and peaks, spaced about eight minutes apart. Now that I know what a contraction feels like, I begin to easily recognize them coming and going, and I can recall feeling the same type of cramping a few times in the weeks before. Yay, my uterus really was working!
At this point, I’m feeling fantastic — I was having natural contractions! In Labor & Delivery’s eyes, however, mild contractions that are eight minutes a part is akin to the first quarter mile of a super marathon. Not a big deal. Get over yourself.
A midwife swings by about 10:45 p.m. to check my cervix and discuss the induction. Cervix is still closed tight, but before they can begin Pitocin, which induces contractions, they need that cervix open. The plan is to insert a tiny pill of prostaglandin into my body near the cervix to “ripen it.” Only one pill can be administered every four hours, and up to six pills can be given before “other methods.” That means we’re looking at up to day of “ripening” before induction could even begin. ZOMG.
We send my mother home (you know she was hovering at the hospital), and try to settle in for a long night as we wait for the midwife to return with the first pill. The mild contractions continue.
About 11:30, I feel this great release of pressure and all of a sudden water is gushing down my leg. And gushing. And gushing.
“OHMYGOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I THINK MY WATER JUST BROKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“That’s what it looks like.”