So there we were late Sunday night, arriving at the hospital with contractions that were four minutes apart. We met up with our fabulous doula, Ananda, and headed up to labor and delivery. Warren was carrying a rather sleepy Margaret. When we got there the very first thing out of anyone's mouth was a very abrupt, "You can't come in here with that baby!" Apparently the boy decided that this was not a good place for babies and my contractions went away. I was 3cm dilated and 70% effaced, but my contractions had backed off to the point were I couldn't feel them anymore, so they sent me home.
We got home at 2am on February 1st. Warren and Margaret went to bed, and I took Ananda's advice and treated myself to a nice warm bath, then went to bed myself around 3am. I got four hours of sleep, posted, turned Margaret over to Jomkwan for the way, and got on a work conference call for a little over an hour. I had the occasional cramp, but I was feeling not in labor enough that I started to second guess my decision to not actually go in to work. On the other hand, I'd only gotten four hours of sleep the night before, so when I suddenly felt sleepy again in the early afternoon I took a long nap. At that point I wasn't feeling anything at all. I did some housework, then picked Margaret up from Jomkwan.
The contractions started again at around 8pm. They were regular, but I could certainly "talk through them" which seems to be the metric for not impressing doctors that this is the real thing. We did not want labor to evaporate on us again, so we decided to wait for a couple of hours so that there would be no turning back. I watched some TV, then at 9pm we put on a dance DVD for Margaret and I started timing contractions while Warren attempted to make some progress on our taxes. The contractions were four minutes apart, and while they were uncomfortable I could still talk during them. Warren came and went checking on my and Margaret, trying to deal with taxes, etc. At some point he put on a Blackpool video (video of the British Open competition, The event in ballroom). Warren went downstairs to make himself some food and I didn't bother to fast forward through the latin portion to the 'good stuff'. We got as far as the Samba before I suddenly went from talking through contractions to screaming through them. Two contractions and two dances later Warren heard me and rushed upstairs. It didn't take him long to gather that perhaps it was time to go to the hospital. We gathered our stuff up and I made Warren call Ananda and my doctor. I had him call Ananda first because informing her was more important. That was the correct order, as when Warren called Harvard Vanguard the operator ticked him off by insisting on going down the checklist of symptoms as I was screaming in the background.
We got loaded into the van at 10:20 pm. That was the last time I had enough presence of mind to notice a clock. Mostly I was concentrating on not puking all over the insides of my new car, not that there was anything in my stomach to come up. As we were driving past a CVS on the way to the hospital Warren asked if he should stop to buy that stopper. I told him no. I had no interest in being in that van while he went searching for a stopper, and as it turns out if we'd stopped I may have had another reason to be glad the van is thoroughly scotch-guarded. After a brief parking snafu we finally got into the hospital. I'm not sure how long the ride took beyond at least 7 contractions.
It turns out that screaming loudly in the lobby of a hospital while very pregnant is a good way to get out of the twenty minute registration process. The people in admitting hastily produced a wheelchair and wheeled me up to labor and delivery. Ananda met up with us just about when they were getting me the wheelchair. They stuck me directly in a delivery room instead of trying to evaluate me. Screaming: it has it's uses. I noticed as I was undressing that I finally had bloody show in my undies; the lack of any show whatsoever had factored into my not leaving home sooner. They examined me, found that I was almost fully dilated. Ananda went to switch off with Warren on babysitting Margaret in the waiting room so that he could be there for the actual birth. On the next contraction I was pushing, and the doctor who was there was pissed off at me for not telling her ahead of time that I was going to push. I don't think she's ever given birth. I don't know how it works for anyone else, but for me I don't know that I'm going to push until there I am pushing. I don't know how many pushing contractions there were. Not many. My water broke as the baby was coming out.
And that's really all there was to the birth. Duncan James was born at 23:12 EST on 1 February 2010. He was 8 pound 7.3 ounces and 21.5 inches long. He has a big bump on his head from his rather abrupt birth but is otherwise fine. Ananda spent a couple of hours post birth baby sitting Margaret in the waiting room, so I think she did far more child care than labor coaching on this birth, but then the point of a doula is to give you the support your family needs during birth, and it turns out that a patient top-notch baby sitter we could call on no notice was what we needed. I got home from the hospital last night and everyone is doing fairly well.