I was at a baby shower this weekend at Table 6 and I sat next to a girl who had lived in Austin. We were laughing about the lack of hiking near Austin. She mentioned that her husband, a native Texan, had taken her on a "hike" at Pedernales Falls State Park. She described it as a big rock. And that's exactly what it is - a big, hot rock in the Texas Hill Country. Nate and I hiked there several times, missing the mountains and the wonderfully exhausting hikes we'd been on in Colorado.
As we talked about the park, I was hit with the memory of finding out about my first pregnancy. It was late November 2006. Nate and I had had the day off. We decided to take a hike and drove to Pedernales. We brought snacks and enjoyed a lovely walk on the big rock. It was November, which meant the height of the Texas summer heat had finally passed. We stopped to grab a snack and I realized that I hadn't eaten all day. My stomach had been slightly upset all day. I wasn't normally nauseous, so it gave me pause. When we got home, I decided to take a pregnancy test - just to be sure. My entire family would be in town the following week for Thanksgiving. I didn't want to embark on a Thanksgiving that was sure to be filled with lots of alcohol with a doubt of pregnancy on my mind.
I sat in the bathroom, armed with a pregnancy test and a nervous feeling in my gut. The pregnancy test was positive almost immediately. "Ummmm, Nate," I yelled from the bathroom. He said he knew I was pregnant as soon as I yelled from the bathroom. He was thrilled; I was a little freaked out. A baby?!? We hadn't necessarily been preventing pregnancy, but we hadn't been actively trying either. My life changed dramatically that day.
In Austin we lived next door to a fantastic couple with a year and a half year old son. Emily had described her natural birth and I was intrigued. I didn't even know what a midwife was before I met her. Almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted an unmedicated birth. At that point, the best option seemed to be going to a birthing center to deliver my baby.
Fast forward to 3:30 a.m. on July 25. I was five days late, enormous, uncomfortable, and ready to meet my baby. I woke up with some major pain in my lower back. I had experienced a few contractions before, so I wasn't convinced that "this was it." I spent about an hour on the internet, reading about contractions and what they were supposed to feel like before I woke Nate up. He was shocked. It was time. I hadn't really thought about laboring at home much. I just didn't want to show up at the birthing center only to be sent home. I'd heard enough of those horror stories.
Nate went to the store to buy some food for the day (and returned with really expensive cherries) and I called the birthing center at around 6 a.m. The midwife on call told me to lay down and that she would schedule me for a check up at 11 a.m. But, she said if the contractions got any stronger, I should come in. Nate fell asleep on the couch and I managed to rest a bit in between contractions. By 8 a.m., the contractions were strong enough that I didn't feel comfortable being at home any more. They HURT. And they were coming much more quickly.
There were three speed bumps and about 30 minutes between our house and the birthing center. I'm fairly certain I was having a contraction for each of the speed bumps. We made it with a lot of groaning and moaning and deep breathing. At 9 a.m., I had checked in and they asked me to wait in the waiting room (with about three other couples who were just there for check ups). After several contractions in the waiting room, I made my way to the bathroom where I could groan and moan and move. I finally saw a midwife at 9:30 a.m. who declared that I was 7 cm dilated and more than ready to get settled into my birthing room.
I was more than relieved with this news! No going home. Only 3 cm to go!
To be continued...