It's important to start with my prenatal exam on Thursday. My doctor was scheduled to return from vacation on my due date, eleven days later so my prenatal appointment was with one of his partners. Let's call him "Dr. Schmuck." Dr. Schmuck told me that I was only 1 cm and totally effaced and since my first baby was born eight days early, I should expect to deliver before Monday.
Sunday morning I woke up with irregular contractions that hovered between five and seven minutes apart. Since my eldest daughter wasn't born until twenty-four hours after my water broke, we weren't in a hurry to get to the hospital. We called my mom and decided to go for breakfast to keep us busy until we were ready to leave.
By late afternoon my contractions were a steady five minutes apart although not getting any closer together or more intense, so my husband and I started walking the neighborhood. Early evening came and the excitement had worn off since I began to feel drained -- the pain kept hitting me in waves. It was just strong enough to be annoying and impossible to ignore.
I decided to take a warm bath to relax a little and asked my hubby to call Dr. Schmuck for me. I was feeling exhausted and hoping for some suggestions to relieve me. The conversation went as follows,
"Have you lost your plug yet?"
"If you are able to talk to me, then you don't need to come to the hospital. Stay off of your feet and the contractions will stop."
After that uplifting pep talk, I crawled into bed (once I stopped sobbing in the bathtub) for a fitful night of not sleeping.
For the record, my contractions continued at the same pace and intensity for the next four days. It would be repetitive for me to keep telling you that, but it's important to remember that they continued this entire time.
Monday hubby went into work and my mom stayed with me since the contractions were strong enough to make caring for my daughter difficult by myself. Late Monday (4/9) afternoon I was standing in the living room when I felt my water break. It was a very small gush but the fluid continued to trickle, so we called a family friend to stay with my daughter and told hubby to meet us at the hospital.
At the hospital the litmus paper faintly changed, so I was put on fetal monitors and had to wait until the on-call doctor could examine me. He decided that I had a slow high leak, which didn't pose a risk for infection and used an ultrasound to determine that I had enough amniotic fluid to be sent home.
Tuesday, I lost my plug while both my husband and Mom were at work. I was so relieved to know that it would only be a couple more days at the most. Not believing me, my mom searched the house for a pregnancy book and then disgustedly told her best friend that it said labor could still be weeks away. Not sure what she was reading, but in hindsight I understand her frustration.
I think that everyone believed I was crying wolf and she was getting tired of being here without any action. It started to feel like this baby was never going to come after all. The pressure to both hurry up and have this baby or stop complaining about it overwhelmed me.
I woke up on Thursday morning with a large gush of fluid. I told hubby that we were going back to the hospital because I had enough, I hadn't slept in days, and my body was worn down from the constant pain. A family friend came (for the third time) to watch my daughter and we took the forty-five minute drive to the hospital.
The nursing staff was unbelievably rude for us "bothering" them (even though all of the other rooms were empty) and dumped us in a room until Dr. Schmuck could arrive. Our litmus paper changed immediately this time.
After watching the fetal monitor for a few minutes, hubby asked the nurse which line showed the intensity of the contractions. She said neither, the only way to know that was with an internal monitor; what he was seeing only measured the duration. Then in charged Dr. Schmuck (we assume mad because he was called away from his office) to tell me that my water was indeed not broken. The litmus had changed because of blood, urine, or semen and the gushing fluid was due to a weepy cervix -- which as a "layperson" (he actually did the quote w/ his hands) I wouldn't know the difference.