how it all went down: part 1

April 9, 2012
i have a feeling i will be writing this in bits and pieces between naps — both annabel’s and my own. still, i want to get it all down so that i can remember my labor/her birth experience forever! it wasn’t all fun + games, but i don’t think i would do anything differently. and the reward has been sweeter than i even could have imagined . . .

wednesday 4.4.12: daytime
i think by wednesday morning i sort of knew things were . . . happening. certain signs had occurred, and i actually wondered if my water had broken in a very non-dramatic/subtle fashion [i called our OB triage nurse who seemed unimpressed by my description]. i was also just starting to feeling contractions that actually had a pain component. it was a very braxton-hicks-heavy pregnancy, so i was used to the routine tightening, but wednesday was the first time these tightenings were accompanied by a crampy sensation — really no different than period cramps, actually.

i wasn’t sure if this really meant anything, but deep down i must have known. i started tidying up my affairs — sent a final draft of the poster i had been working on to my boss, made sure the hospital bag was completely ready, and started timing the cramps to see if i could make out any pattern. during the day, they were coming fairly irregularly, every 20-30 minutes or so.

i did get in one last workout [i walked instead of ran — just wasn’t feeling it 🙂 ] — a 3 mile walk around duke’s east campus. if nothing else, i thought perhaps it would help speed things along. maybe it did . . .

last week of workouts!

wednesday 4.4.12: evening
by the time josh came home from work, i was continuing to suspect progress. i kept saying that while i wasn’t sure, i thought that things were happening. we ate dinner. i wasn’t super hungry but had some lasagna + ice cream, thinking that it might be my last meal for a while. [spoiler alert: i was right.]

[pics of the app taken after the fact!]

by 10 pm, we were in bed. however, by this point i realized that this was NOT going to a night of sleep. the contractions were getting increasingly painful — to the point where i had to breathe through them like every clichéd pregnant woman you see on tv. but they were not close enough together to do anything about [ie, head to the hospital]. so, i pretty much just stayed in bed half-sleeping in 10-minute increments throughout the night. every time a contraction would hit, i would wake up and time it on my phone app. they were getting quite intense and i was actually HOPING they’d get closer together so that i could get closer to some pain relief!

by 3 am, i told josh there was no way he was going to work the next day. and by about 4 am, things started rapidly speeding up while the pain ramped in severity.

by 4:30, i was tossing last-minute items into the hospital bag, and josh was making his own preparations. and by 5 am, we were out the door.

thursday 4.5.12: early morning
josh dropped me off at the hospital entrance and i walked to L&D — luckily i made it between contractions! when i arrived at the front desk, they initially seemed confused — apparently, i was supposed to have called ahead [no one told me that!]. they eventually got over it, but it wasn’t the warmest welcome to a clearly very uncomfortable and very pregnant woman presenting herself to OB triage at 5 in the morning [seriously, why did they THINK i was there!?].

anyway, i got put back in a room and hooked up to monitors, and then the on-call OB came in and checked my cervix. based on the pain i was having i was expecting some serious progress — so you might imagine how dismayed i was when she proclaimed i was a whopping 2 cm, 80% effaced.

seriously, i just felt like i was experiencing wayyyy more than 2 cm worth of pain. i was also continuing to leak bloody fluid, but no one said anything about my water breaking. i was even more dismayed when she offered me 3 options:

1. go home + come back later [how would i know when!? the contractions were already coming 2-3 minutes apart and were extremely painful].

2. get discharged but then walk around the hospital and come back [walk around my workplace doubling over in the hallways!? really!?]

3. get admitted to receive IV pain control [fentanyl]. apparently, i wasn’t dilated enough to be considered for an epidural.

the OB then left for a few minutes so that we could think about it while i continued to double over in agony every 2 minutes. josh and i really didn’t know what to do — it seemed ridiculous to go home while in this much pain and seemingly in REAL labor. i didn’t know what i was supposed to wait FOR!

somehow, something came to my rescue. i’m not sure if it was because the OB realized i was very close friend with one of the perinatology fellows [yes, that would be dr s!] or because i was starting to look just ridiculously miserable, but we were offered a 4th option: walk around triage/L&D for an hour or so and then get rechecked, without getting discharged.

option 4 for the WIN. josh and i started slowly pacing the halls, and he continued to time the contractions. i would walk and be pretty calm for the minute or so between each of them, and then have to stop/hunch down/squat/breathe. for some reason it helped me to focus on the timer app — watching the seconds count down kept me focused on the fact that each wave of pain was going to have a finite end. after about an hour of this, i was rechecked, and had won another precious centimeter. my obvious close-together contractions also earned me a spot on the L&D floor, and then someone said the magic words: “do you want me to call anesthesia for an epidural?”

to be continued!


  • Reply Claire March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Adorable photo – she looks PERFECT. Can’t wait for more of the story! 🙂

  • Reply Mandy March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Just wondering if prior to experiencing labor and contractions, that you considered yourself to have a high pain tolerance? My due date is 2 days away(eek!) and I THINK I have a high pain tolerance, but never having broken a bone or any other super painful medical-intervention needing event(other than road rash from a bike), I just don’t know for sure.

    Your baby Is adorable and I can’t wait for part 2 of your birth story!!

  • Reply irina March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    congratulations on your beautiful baby girl. she is adorable!!!

  • Reply shelby March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Congrats to you and Josh! Annabel is so cute! Can’t wait to read the rest of the story!

  • Reply Ariella March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    I’m seriously teary eyed just reading this story. Had u called to describe options 1-3 I would have told u none were acceptable. "get another opinion" would have been my 5am response. Annabel is beautiful and you guys might just be the best swaddlers in the world.

  • Reply Atilla March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    That last comment from "Ariella" was really from Atilla gotta love the iPad’s auto spell checkt

  • Reply runnerstrials March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Ahh SO exciting! I can’t believe they wanted you to leave when you were in so much pain. Yet, when I went to the hospital, I begged to leave instead of being given pitocin and they wouldn’t let me. Labor is weird.

    Can’t wait for part 2 <3

  • Reply katheats March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    So exciting!!! I liked seeing the contraction timer shots!

  • Reply jrm March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    I haven’t slept well the past few nights due to a cough. I need you to come burrito wrap me! She looks so cozy in there!

  • Reply Marci March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Love a good birth story! Amazing how they can be so different!

  • Reply Heather March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    It is so fun to read birth stories. I had a c-section (transverse baby) so my birth story is, "I walked into the hospital and said, "I’m here to have a baby."" I loved my c-section, but wonder about the sense of accomplishment I may be missing out on had things happened the other way. Way to go, Sarah!

  • Reply Lisa March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Looking forward to part 2!!!

  • Reply Bundles Of Hugs March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    I can’t believe they wanted you to call first…strange. They sure didn’t seem all that helpful sheesh. Can’t wait to hear how it all ends.

  • Reply @CPrincessUK March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Congratulations! I am so happy for you!

  • Reply barry March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    congratulations – however belatedly – beautiful baby – good luck to you all…

  • Reply Globle Apps March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    really Interesting information and helpful, I want to visit again and again your website to see more post/articles thanks for sharing such a cool post.

  • Reply Monica March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    She is so adorable. I am excited for you and remembering how happy we were bringing our children home from the hospital. Hope you have lots of happiness too.

  • Reply Ann March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I’m hanging on every word! Love labor stories, although mine was long and painful and a long time ago. (I remember the L & D nurse asking how I handled pain as she hung the first bag of pitocin up. How did I know? The most painful procedure had been getting a cavity filled.) Thank goodness for epidurals.

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