The play-by-play folks, the birth entry. I'll do my best to update this with info as things proceed, rather than doing one entry-per-update. Get your fingers on F5, and refresh often to get the latest.
Friday, 11:11am: Sharaun calls me at work to ask if I'm planning on coming home for lunch. She also mentions that she's noticed some "spotting," which is kinda too gross to really explain - but could mean things are starting to happen.
Saturday, 8:45pm: Sharaun and I throw in one of my favorite movies to pass the time, Castaway, and settle down to watch. She mentions that there's been more "bathroom signs" of impending labor (nasty details left to the imagination).
Sunday, 4:20am: Sharaun wakes me up to say she thinks she's had a couple contractions, which came about 20min apart. We decide to begin timing.
Sunday, 5:45am: Contractions confirmed! Now about 10min apart. We both wake, take showers, and begin to gather the final gear we'll need to take with us to the hospital.
Sunday, 6:11am: Contractions now 5min apart... that was... unexpectedly fast... we're putting things together, leaving soon if the next few are ~5min as well.
Sunday, 7:08am: Contractions have slowed now, coming about 10min apart currently. Still at home, ready to go when the time comes.
Sunday, 8:15am: Still spot-on 10min between contractions, although I can tell by watching her they're getting stronger (more hurty). She's actually able to sleep in the 10min between them, and I just plan to let her stay here as long as we can.
Sunday, 8:45am: What started out as a sunny-looking morning has quickly turned grey and is currently threatening rain. Sharaun's asleep, contractions still about 10min apart - with a few variations (she either missed one or slept through it). I'm just sitting here... trying to find something to do... waiting for the rain.
Sunday, 10:05am: Waiting patiently, Sharaun's now up and the contractions seemed to have slowed to something between 15-20min. I microwaved a bowl of last night's leftover spaghetti, I know it's not really a spaghetti time of day - but I've been up long enough my belly's telling me it's lunchtime. Anyway, what better than my favorite food to give me the strength I'll need to see Sharaun through. Until more nothing happens...
Sunday, 10:25am: Word's getting out - friends've been calling, offering assistance and well-wishes; nature is still taking its sweet-ass time. In fact, Sharaun hasn't had a contraction for 40min now, and I'm hoping this whole thing isn't just false labor. We're about to take a walk around the neighborhood - before it rains - to see if we can't jump-start the process.
Sunday, 11:30am: With nearly two hours gone since her last contraction, I was beginning to wonder what was going on. Then, she had what she "thinks" was a contraction. Maybe the walking worked... the timer's counting, maybe we'll get started again.
Sunday, 12:15pm: Third contraction on a 20min beat-rate... we back on track? Stay tuned...
Sunday, 1:22pm: Contractions falling off again, almost 40min between this time. If timings were all the info I had, I'd diagnose it as "false labor," but the books say there's no pain associated with those irregular contractions - and she's definitely in pain with these. Of course, they also make the blanket statement that, "nothing is absolute in any pregnancy."
Sunday, 1:40pm: Finally called the doctor, who said that she doubts it's false labor - since Sharaun is already several days overdue. The post-40min contraction came a mere 15min later, so maybe things are picking up. I guess this is really it, just a frustratingly random "it."
Sunday, 2:45pm: Still lumbering along at this odd pace... 40min, 15min, 20min, no discernible pattern. It's raining now, and I, having been up since before 5am, decide to take a nap on the couch. Funny how urgent I thought things were 'round about 6am this morning... woulda been less rushed had I known I'd be catnapping on the couch come 2pm. Maybe this baby is trying to teach me patience...
Sunday, 3:55pm: I took all sorts of higher mathematics courses on my road to an engineering degree, so while I'm sitting here timing these contractions I'm trying to fit them to some model. Math be damned, though, I can't find anything "regular" about these things to save my life. The last five?: 14min, 7min, 28min, 27min, 21min, 11min (all about 1min long and, according to Sharaun, equally painful). My only thought is, Sharaun's labor is going to be just like Sharaun: hopelessly disorganized.
Sunday, 4:45pm: ... 20min, 10min, 6min. In birth class they talked about contraction duration, time between contractions, and how much they hurt. The whole time my nerd brain is translating this laytalk into frequency, amplitude, and wavelength. Right now, on the graph in my head, this is one of the effed-up-lookinist "periodic" waves I've ever seen.
Sunday, 5:30pm: Although not every contraction is 10min apart, the amount of them that are seems to be increasing. The contractions themselves are actually pretty consistent, being, for the most part, uniformly ~1min long and pain enough that Sharaun stops talking and concentrates on breathing. We shall overcome.
Sunday, 6:00pm: 10min, 12min, 16min. That's the patterniest few I've seen in a while. I think, if they stay <20min apart for another 30min or so, we'll call the doc and see if we can head up to get a check. Worst thing that can happen is they send us back home.
Sunday, 6:30pm: Three more at 10min or less apart. We decided we will wait for that 5min-apart milestone before rolling out to l'hopital. If she stays consistent, I'd expect that to take at least 2-3 more hours.
Sunday, 7:30pm: Every time I get excited about these things coming faster, they reset - to torture me I think. Only two in the past hour, but that last one made her yelp out... so much stronger than anything thus far. I'm thinking a well-planned nap now might be in order, as she looks determined to wait till Monday (Grandma's birthday, on Sharaun's side, maybe she knows...)
Sunday, 8:00pm: Let's recap: Sharaun's been in labor now for about fifteen hours. Although, it hasn't been super intense (easy for me to say). Despite my protestations, she just cooked us both grilled cheese and tomato soup, simply taking a break for contractions (10min, and then 11min, after the two 30min-apart ones, if you're keeping track). She's been eating normally, napping, and taking it easy in general. For a woman in labor, she's sure sucking it up.
Sunday, 8:30pm: Ooowwwwww.... I'm gonna call these new kinda contractions: Contractions 2.0. Contractions 2.0 do not look fun. Contractions 2.0 look downright agonizing, squirmy and stabby. If you're keeping track, it went: 8min, 10min, 24min, 9min. As maygsters said, "Come on Keaton!"
Sunday, 9:00pm: Contractions 2.0 continue, but 25min since the last. I can tell Sharaun's starting to think about just how painful these things will get, knowing how much worse they've already gotten. Hey Keaton, here's a picture of your brave mommy workin' you out early this morning.
Sunday, 9:45pm: Waffling between 10min and 25min apart, which, looking back, has actually been going on for a while. Nothing new... still waiting.
Sunday, 10:30pm: I guess I'm beginning to let my guard down; took off the belt, shirt, and finally took my wallet and keys out of my pockets - subconsciously admitting that we'll likely be bedding here again tonight. Sharaun is apologizing to me, telling me she feels like she's disappointing me because the whole thing is taking so long - as ridiculous as that sounds. And, for the records, we had another 40min wait and then two 9min back-to-backs. As random as ever.
Sunday, 11:00pm: We've decided to try and go to bed, but continue to time the contractions. For timing, I've been using the stopwatch function on my cellphone, in lap-time mode. You can keep a running log of both contraction duration and time between - and store it off every 20 "laps." It works well. Right now she's on her longest 10min streak since way earlier today at three in a row. While we can get sleep though, we're gonna go for it. I'll continue to post as we wake for contractions.
Monday, 12:36am: No sooner have we settled into bed do the regular, strong 7min contractions come. And, I'm up now because Sharaun's water broke - that's it folks, we're off to the hospital. She's finally coming!
Monday, 2:08am: Sharaun's admitted and hooked up to monitors. The wireless is on lockdown, but there's a phoneline and I'm winging bits and bytes at a whopping 26.4Kbps. Contractions are <5min apart and look absolutely awful. No word from the attending yet, but as soon as there's something to report you'll see it here.
Monday, 2:30am: Oh. My. God. This looks unbearable. I actually had tears in my eyes watching that last one... and there's nothing I can really do aside from rooting her on. Wow.
Monday, 4:00am: There's a pull-out bed in the room, and I've been trying to catch some sleep while Sharaun moans her way through her contractions, which come about every 3min now. I think she was a little discouraged when the nurse told her she was only 2cm dilated - but they did say she should progress at about 1cm per hour from this point on. She toyed briefly with the idea of some narcotic to take the edge off, but decided against it. Until later.
Monday, 8:00am: While I had 240min of fairly restful sleep, Sharaun had approximately 80, what look to be torturous, contractions. Can make a guy feel kinda guilty, but I was exhausted. No significant update on progress from the doctors... they say they're waiting for contractions to get closer together and very strong. I think that's got Sharaun worried, as she's curling toes through these already. More to come...
Monday, 8:20am: I read most of the recent comments to Sharaun, and saw her brighten a little for the first time. For those of you who've not given birth - they hook mom up to these monitors that chart contractions, drawing little peaks and valleys. The digital display has about ten little subsections on it, one of which charts Sharaun's progress. Other mom's laboring in other rooms have their own little square and graph, meaning all the moms can see the other mom's graphs. Sharaun's been watching one graph like a hawk, as the peaks showing regularly on it are at least 2x as high as the peaks showing on hers. This must be a terrible feeling. "Am I gonna have those kind?," she asks, "I can't do that!" I don't mean to paint it all doom-and-gloom, she's doing great, and has been a little soldier through it all.
Monday, 9:00am: Sharaun was able to talk to her mom a little between contractions. The attending doctor came in and said much of the same, albeit more professionally since he was wearing a tie and had pens in his breast pocket. Since her water already broke, they don't do regular exams to track dilation/progress - as it just introduces unnecessary foreign junk to the baby. So, they're waiting to judge dilation based on contraction frequency and strength - and the doc guesses she's still in the 2-3cm range. I've been reading her the blog comments as they come in and she really enjoys it and wanted to make sure I tell everyone "thanks" from her.
Monday, 9:20am: When I mentioned yesterday that I “might bring my laptop to the hospital,” Sharaun surprised me by responding, “Yeah, I thought you would – you can blog from the room if you can get online.” For a wife that complains I spend too much time in front of this thing, she’s been really cool about it sitting on my lap while I hold her hand through the contractions. The doctor came in and recognized what I was doing, “Blogging the birth?,” he asked. “Yup!” I’m actually happy that I was able to get online, as I think we’ll be glad one day we have this turn-by-turn account of things. Or, maybe not.
I feel like I might be portraying too grim an image of this whole thing. Sharaun’s not in abject misery, not writhing in pain this entire time or anything. Things aren’t all puppies and kittens, but in between contractions she’s mostly her normal self. I can tell she’s ready for something to take the pain away, and I hope that comes within a couple hours or so, but it’s not like she’s on the racks or in an iron maiden. So, keep the well-wishes coming, just don’t imagine a scene where she’s giving birth naked covered in fire ants or anything.
Monday, 9:50am: Sharaun found a better way to sit, the hospital bed was really bugging her – and she’s now resting in a rocking chair and doing better powering through things. Outside it’s really coming down in sheets, we’ve pulled back the curtains and are watching the storm. Nurses are coming more frequently now, not sure if that means anything – but they do keep assuring her she’s “making progress.” They brought her some Jell-O and apple juice, and somewhere from deep in the bowels of this place I can smell real food – which she won’t get, but is grabbing me by the nose and making me think thoughts of McBiscuits or something.
Monday, 10:30am: Don’t tell the doctors, but I’ve snuck Sharaun a couple pretzels from my Gardettos. Pretzels I can spare, those little brown crunchy toasts – I’m holding those over her head until she can produce a baby. They moved her contraction monitor, and it turns out she was having those 2x peaks all along – they just weren’t being captured properly – that gave her some confidence. The rain has stopped.
Monday, 11:20am: Not jack going on. Unless, of course, you call uterine contractions pushing a living being out of my wife’s cooter “jack.” They ask her, on a pain-scale of 1-10, what her contractions are like. When we got here, they were a 5; now she says they’re 8s. Pretty bad when the nurse described a 10 as “getting run over by a truck,” I mean, since everyone knows what it feels like to be run over by a truck and can easily use that experience as a comparison point. Anyway, still ~5min apart, still hurty-lookin’, and still waiting. Rain came back.
Monday, 12:10pm:Coming up on twelve hours of labor in the hospital, on top of all day at home yesterday. Sharaun still doing well, but she’s wisely trying to catch some Zs in between contractions (which is nearly impossible). Within the last half-hour, the contractions have actually slowed… perhaps we’re in for still longer.
All the pregnancy/baby books talk about making a “birthing plan” and bringing several copies of it with you when you go to the hospital. The plan is supposed to be a formal document of how you’d like your birth to go down: drugs/no drugs, people in the delivery room, dad cuts the cord, etc. We didn’t do a birthing plan. In fact, we thought the idea was kinda stupid, a little too Our Bodies, Ourselves or something. We just came up here trusting that the hospital, which is where everyone goes to have babies, knows how best to make our baby work.
Monday, 1:00pm: Nurse measured again, little-to-no progress from this morning’s 2cm (she’s right about 3cm now, but moving very slowly). The nurse suspects the doc will resort to pitocin soon to get the lead out of this whole thing. Stay tuned.
Monday, 1:10pm: Doc's call: epidural followed by pitocin – to be administered in the next 5min or so. Not sure when I’ll update next, as the drugs will likely make things move pretty fast. Until I can…
Monday, 2:30pm: I guess I overestimated the fast-actingness of the pitocin, they actually start it off slow and ratchet it up every half hour until mom responds. Not that it won’t speed things up, but I think I’ll have time to at least post a few more updates. Prior to the drugs, Sharaun’s contractions slowed considerably, there was more than 40min between her last and the pitocin – almost like they’d dried up again. This is one stubborn baby… just like her folks. But, the down-time did give her a chance to sleep. She immediately passed out, and I’m hoping what little slumber she got was somewhat recharging. After the drugs, they encouraged her to sleep while the pitocin went to work on her now-numbed body.
Meanwhile, I called in a favor and have our good friend Kristi bringing a Chipotle burrito up to sustain me – because… y’know… I’m doing so much work and all. Lord let this child come soon! Sheesh.
Monday, 2:50pm: Drew the curtains and turned off the lights and TV (which was filled with daytime crap anyway – three judge/court things and soap operas – unemployed people sure get the shaft when it comes to entertainment). My burrito should be en-route, and I don’t plan on eating it in the room – I’ll sneak off somewhere and chomp it down then chase it with some gum so nary a whiff of pico remains on my breath. Looking at her now, asleep, she actually looks pretty peaceful. I’d imagine that will change here within a few hours (please... not another 12) as she moves into the “pushing” phase.
We wanted to thank everyone for the comments on this entry. I read them to her as they come in and it's a really cool way to get well-wishes from the digital peanut gallery. E-labor, the newest thing... we're so on the cutting edge.
Monday, 4:05pm: Pitocin in action – from 2cm to 6cm in under 2hrs. They just put all sorts of internal monitors up in her bidness – looks like there’s a server room up in her belly with all the cords coming out (nerd humor, if you don’t get it just move on). Epidural also in action, she’s moving through contractions with just a sense of pressure and the littlest of pain. I did my best to weasel an approximate timeline out of the nurse team that descended here minutes ago – and was told that, although nothing is for sure, she should be moving now at more than 1cm per hour – and that pushing could last anywhere from 1-3hrs. Adding up the worst case, that tells me that I can expect our daughter to make an appearance sometime before 11pm. Man… that still seems so far off…
Monday, 5:05pm: Both of us taking the down-time to sleep. Nurses say she's still at 6cm, but that she'd only just turned 6 the last time they checked an hour ago. They are still fiddling with the pitocin to try and get the contractions more regular - as they still seem to want to space out randomly. More waiting and, if we're lucky, a little more sleeping.
Monday, 6:52pm: 9cm. Sharaun’s got a case of the shakes, and feels nauseous… the nurses say both are a reaction to the epidural and just fatigue. She’s asked them to back off the epidural, as she’s worried she’s too out of it to push (which, again, I think is more nerves than anything). She’s managed to go to sleep again. It's just about killing me to see her so scared. 9cm is close y’allz… I’m thinking it could be soon.
Monday, 7:08pm: Holy sweet crap, this thing is taking forever. I swear, we’re approaching the 39 hour mark from her initial contractions, and the 18 hour mark from her water breaking. I was OK with it before, but now it’s beginning to drag on like it’s never gonna happen. If I’m this tired of being here and doing this, I can’t even imagine how she feels.
I’ve got one of those fatigue headaches that just blanket your brain in a dull pain, and I’m just so tired of seeing her upset. Again, I guess when I write about things they tend to be the more negative ones – this whole battle isn’t being fought from the trenches nearly as much as I may make it sound. It really is hard though, to try and reassure someone that everything’s going to be OK and not have those assurances ring hollow.
The doctor came and dialed back her epidural, at her request. She’s still asleep, and a thousand things are still beeping and dinging and clicking and whirring like we’re on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise (the 1960s one, not the Next Generation one).
Monday, 7:36pm: 9.5cm, they're making preparations to push.
Monday, 8:00pm: Delivery room is a hive of activity. Doctor’s on her way, Sharaun’s either rested and rejuvenated or her adrenaline is kicking in – as she’s back to her normal “with it” self and can converse without scaring me to death that she’s totally whacked. Myself, I think I’m in that “could lift a car off a trapped child” rush – like I just dove out of a plane or something. I’m up and about, pacing mostly, waiting for the “rah rah push push” part of my job to start. Oh man I am so excited right now…
Monday, 8:20pm: I guess it’s kind of the calm before the storm. The nurses are letting Sharaun “labor down,” meaning the contractions now are more to drop the baby lower into position – rather than dilate her. I’ve been encouraging her to get as much rest as possible, and can see her soldiering up for that last charge – mentally preparing. I got excited a little early, but it hasn’t really worn off at all.
Updated as I can...