This is so helpful! Thanks!
If you don't count the miscarriages, I've been through two "labors". The first one was with my son. He came three months early. I had a silent labor with him. I woke up dreaming about my guts aching. Once I was awake I realized a short time later that I was having contractions. Since it was three months too early and the pregnancy had been perfectly normal and uneventful up until then, I was sure it was false labor. The pregnancy books I had been reading said false labor should stop with a change of position or some light housework. The contractions were about 20 minutes apart, and so mild I could barely feel them.
I got out of bed and busied myself around the house a little. A half hour went by and I didn't get another one. Another half hour went by and still no more contractions. My mind was not convinced, though. I knew something wasn't right and decided I would go in to see my doctor anyways. I had a quick bath to be clean for a check up and headed out. At the time my then boyfriend and I lived close to a mall where a friend of ours was a security guard. I spoke to him and asked him to borrow his bus pass to go to the doctors. I had another contraction as I spoke to him. I remember jokingly saying if I didn't return his pass by the end of the day I would be in the hospital having a baby. I made a quick payphone call to my doctors office to let them know what was up and that I was coming in to get checked out just to be sure. The doctor spoke to me personally and told me to come on in and she would be waiting for me.
The bus ride was about 20 minutes. I had another contraction on the bus. The bus was packed and even with a big belly sticking out and my obvious look of panic and the tears escaping my eyes no one would give me a seat on the bus. Finally I got off at my stop and walked in to the office. Clearly when the doctor had said she was waiting for me, she didn't really mean she was waiting in earnest. I sat in the waiting room for 40 minutes, and had three more contractions while I waited. I told the nurse working at the front desk that I was really certain something wasn't right, and started bawling that I needed to get in to see that doctor immediately. She was quite rude, barely made eye contact with me, and told me I would have to wait my turn since I was walking in without an appointment. She very sternly told me to be seated and stay out of the other patient's way.
Finally the doctor called me in to the office. I started taking off my sweat pants right away as I was pretty eager to be checked. She stopped me, and started talking to me instead. She seemed entirely calm and kept drolling on and on, asking me all kinds of ridiculous questions. Finally I just got brave and straight forwardly demanded she check me right then and there. She actually appeared to be annoyed by my urgency, even though I was apologizing for my bluntness as I got on the table and into the stirrups.
As soon as she had her fingers inside me, an alarming look spread across her face. She told me to stay calm, and not get up, that she could feel the baby's head and that she was going to call me an ambulance. I of course started bawling and shouting at her. I told her I knew something was wrong the whole time, why hadn't she rushed me right in. Who cares if Joe Shmoe had an appointment, this was life and death!
The ambulance arrived....15 minutes later. They had to take a detour on the way to the hospital because of construction on the roads. The driver got LOST because of the detour. When we finally arrived at the hospital, for some reason we couldn't go through the emergency doors to get inside. Instead of driving me in the ambulance around the enormous hospital to the other entrance, they pushed the gurney along the walk aways and through two parking lots to the other entrance. Not only did they push the damn gurney by hand, they walked agonizingly slowly and were cracking jokes to each other the whole way. They talked between themselves back and forth over the gurney...with me in it. It was like I wasn't even there.
Finally inside and wrist banded up, a doctor strolled in as though he had all the time in the world and checked me. He declared I was 5cm dilated which meant I was too far gone to try and stop the labor. (I have read birth stories since this time where women were past 5cm and they still tried to stop the labor. I don't really know what the actual rule is on this.) He also told me my doctor hadn't been feeling the baby's head, she had been feeling my bag of waters bulging out of my cervix. Funny that babies and pregnant mamas was her specialty yet she couldn't tell the difference between a hairy little head and a mucus membrane.:
Suddenly it was this enormous whirlwind affair. They hooked me up to the pit via IV, I don't even recall agreeing to any of this, I still was stuck on why they wouldn't even attempt to stop the labor. Before I knew it I was contracting heavily and they were telling me to push. If I made any noise at all while pushing I was berated and told to push quietly. I didn't feel the urge to push at all, and the contractions were never more than a bad period cramp.
When he came out, he was this tiny little thing. They let me touch his little hand for a split second and then whisked him away into another room and eventually to the NICU. By the time I finally got to see him he had tubes stuck in him everywhere and was attached to several machines. He weighed 1lb 15 ounces. I named him Kalyn Storm.
For a little while we dared to hope he might make it. God was he a little fighter. My parents came out to be with me for the first week, but I couldn't tear myself away from his incubator long enough to really notice their presence. I decorated his area as much as they would let me. Every day I kept a journal of all the things wrong with him and what was being done to correct it all.
On the thirteenth day I told the nurses and a doctor that his tummy was distended and I was worried about it. They told me he was just full from having a recent feed. On the fourteenth day I told them his tummy was even more distended and that I wanted someone to look in to what was causing it. I was not so politely told that I was in their way and hindering his progress by constantly hovering around him. I was then told that they are the experts and this is what they are trained to do and to please leave the diagnosing to them. They told me there was nothing happening with his tummy, and that his main problems at that time were learning to breathe on his own, and his heart valve closing up and hopefully avoiding surgery in the process.
On the fifteenth day, he died. His cause of death; peritonitis. An infection in the lining of the stomach and apparently a high risk with premature babies. Two entire days of me hounding them about his distended tummy and they didn't even test for this common problem. To this day I still wonder if the infection was already bad enough that nothing could be done. I still wonder if he could have been saved had they just listened to my laymen concerns. What bothers me the most is that he was actually doing really well until the deadly infection caught up to him. He was gaining weight and had been breathing on his own for short periods in the day. His heart valve looked like it would close on it's own as well.
Okay, so I've just read over this post. I guess I got a little carried away, since you only asked how labors started. I had never actually written out a birth story for my son, though. I sat down here to tell you how my two labors began, and ended up spilling my heart out. I guess it needed to come out sooner or later. He was born ten years ago now, and I am still fairly screwed up over the whole thing. After he died I just kind of bottled everything up and didn't speak of it for years. In the last two years I have realized that this cannot go on for ever. Sooner or later I am going to have to deal with the sorrow I bottled up. I think writing this story out, and crying through the memories as I typed was a form of therapy for me. I'm sorry for the long winded post, though!
With regards to my second labor, my water breaking was the beginning. My mother flew out to be with me as I was a single mother at the time. We went to the hospital, where they pumped me full of drugs I don't recall asking for, and gave me three epidurals that I don't recall asking for either. None of them worked, mind you. They also started a pit IV to speed up the contractions that were doing just fine on their own. I had back labor from hell, no one told me why or that it wasn't the norm. I had one extremely rude nurse, who was so miserable to be around that she is sadly one of the most vivid memories I have of the whole experience. I recall at one point looking around to see if that nurse was in the room, I didn't see her so I told my mother who was standing at my bedside that I really didn't like that nurse. Of course, just my luck, the nurse was actually still in the room, only she was standing behind my mother and I couldn't see her. She came to the other side of my bed then, put her hand on mine and smugly informed me that the nurses didn't like most of the laboring mothers either. Smooth lady, real smooth.:
That labor lasted 14 hours from water breaking to baby born. I will never, ever birth a baby in a hospital again. I would rather give birth on the side of a damned highway than have to birth in a hospital ever again. Just to clarify, the second labor was a perfect pregnancy and she was born one day shy of her due date. My one perfect masterpiece.
God, I am SO sorry this post is so long! I'll probably delete this post once I edit the above and enter it into my journal, though. I guess I should say thank you for starting this thread and jolting my brain into a little bit of unexpected therapy. So, thanks.