I had no idea what contractions were going to feel like. I mean, I knew that active labour would be painful but I didn't know what to expect with early labour. It wasn't until we left for the doctor and I had to sit still in the car for 15 minutes that I realized that I was in labour. Those 15 minutes were torture (which is laughable now, considering just how intense and painful real labour ended up being.)
My doctor confirmed that I was in labour and told me I was 2cm dilated. She recommended that we go for a walk because her office is right across the street from the hospital and she predicted that I'd want some pain relief pretty quickly. Being a stubborn asshole, I asked Shawn to take me home. I didn't want to go to the hospital at 2cm dilated. I knew that I wouldn't be admitted until I was at least 3cm and I didn't want to be the wimp who showed up begging for drugs before I could even be admitted.
So Shawn took me home and made me chicken noodle soup while I tried to watch television to take my mind off the pain. I lasted an hour before I was begging Shawn to take me to the hospital.
Shawn and I took a childbirth class a few weeks before Grady was born. The midwife who ran the class drilled into us that we couldn't go to the hospital before we reached 4-1-1: contractions that were 4 minutes apart, were 1 minute in duration, and had followed that pattern for 1 hour. She even gave us a magnet with the 4-1-1 information on it to hang on our fridge as a reminder. Which would have been really helpful and great, had my labour even remotely resembled that. My contractions came fast and hard with only 45 - 90 seconds separating them. Also, they didn't hit a minute in duration until I was well into active labour. I was so focused on the 4-1-1 rule that I started panicking on the way to the hospital, convinced that the short space separating my contractions meant that I was further along than we expected and I would end up having a baby on the side of the road.
And then we got to the hospital and learned that I was still only 2cm dilated.
I felt defeated. I'd been labouring hard (or rather, I thought I'd been labouring hard because I had no idea how hard labour would become) for over an hour since leaving my doctor's office and I was no further along. A nurse offered me a morphine shot and even though I felt like a failure for accepting it, I did. It turned out to be a wise decision. After being monitored for a short while to make sure I reacted well to the morphine, I was allowed to go back home. The morphine didn't take away the pain but it took the edge off and allowed me to sleep for three glorious hours.
More to come...