Part III in my series of When Theo is Gone.
Click here for the Introduction.
Chere here for Part I and here for Part II.
I was due on August 6, 2014.
A few weeks before my due date, I jokingly said to Theo that I was most likely going to go into labor while he was at work. I mean…c’mon! I can obviously write a whole blog series on what happens to me when Theo is gone at work, so I figured this would not be an exception.
After two rounds of false labor when Theo was home, I figured the real deal would happen when he was gone. I also figured that I would carry much later than my due date, so I wasn’t about to keep Theo home from work on August 7th.
August 7th dawned bright and sunny and I journaled about how I felt like I would be pregnant FOR-EVER. I spent the morning doing a load of laundry, dealing with the dog, the cats and the chickens. I had an appointment with my OB, and they did a non-stress test. I had a couple STRONG contractions, but nothing regular so no one said anything. They asked if I wanted to be checked for dilation, and I said no way. And I went on my merry way. They said they would be seeing me soon, but I laughed at that!
A sweet friend knew I was looking for things to do to keep my mind off the fact that I was still very, very pregnant, and she invited me to go to a local beach/lake. She needed to get in a long swim for her triathlon training, and I needed something to do! As soon as I got there I realized that I maybe shouldn’t go in the murky lake water just in case my waters had broken. So I sat on the beach like a beached whale and read a book. It was SO relaxing.
I got back to Hannah’s house and myself drove home. By that point, I had told myself that today was not the day. As soon as I got home I washed the dishes and went outside to fold the laundry. I had a couple strong contractions and I just felt like this was it. I was completely calm. I seriously can remember the calm that settled over me. I called my Mom and told her if she wanted to be there for the birth she should leave NOW (she was in DC- a nine hour drive). I called my doula and asked her what she thought. She said it could be labor but to just relax and sit tight.
Then, I called Theo and told him I *thought* I was in labor. I wasn’t sure, though, and I didn’t want to call him home for a false alarm. Remember….Theo can’t leave work, or he gets a point. Yes, even if his wife is in labor. He only had about 5 more hours to go on his shift and I figured even if I was in labor I would probably be in early labor for AT LEAST 5 hours. So I didn’t want to panic and call him home. I was alone at the time, but I knew that I had my doula, Paulette and my Aunt Natalie only a phone call away.
At this point, Theo realized that he had to go on a run. Theo is at his station for 24 hours, but he is only “on call”. When he gets a run, he has to go. Sometimes its as far as 3 hours away- one direction. Well, as soon as he hung up with me, he got a run. And it was 2 hours away. That means at least 5 hours- 2 hour drive, patient pickup, 2 hour drive back. And then a 1.5 hour drive home. He took the run because we really weren’t sure if I was in labor or not. He and his partner get to the hospital and pick up the patient. They are starting out their two hour drive when Theo gets a phone call from me. He wasn’t supposed to take it, but he asked the sweet old patient if he could answer the phone call from his wife.
Theo: “Hello? What’s up?”
Me: “My water broke! I’m in labor! You should probably come home now”
Something you should know about me. I’m a mess. I freak out about the smallest, most miniscule things. I lose my head when most people just use their common sense. But then in the situations where you you would expect an epic Suzanne-freak-out, I’m calm, cool and collected. It’s rare, but it happens.
Theo, on the other hand, has never once lost his head. At least not that I have ever seen. Sometimes it’s maddening. He is ALWAYS calm. Always laid back. Always great at handling intense situations. Hmmm…I wonder why God chose us for each other?
Anyways, Theo took quick action and called his station and asked for backup. He talked to the patient and his partner, and they pulled the ambulance over on the side of the highway and waited for someone else to come take Theo’s place. Remember- they were driving two hours away, and then two hours back…
(In hindsight, if he had continued with this run, he would have completely missed his daughter’s birth. But of course we didn’t know that my labor was going to be 7 hours long from start to finish!)
Someone came along to replace him (on the side of the highway, with the very understanding and nice patient) and Theo was finally able to leave. He drove home in RECORD time. Like, 45 minutes record time. And there I was…just bouncing on my birthing ball, convinced I was only in early labor. Little did we know that I was actually around 6 cm dilated!
And that my friends is the story of how I went into labor, and labored, while Theo was at work. I labored for about three hours total while Theo was at work!
And Theo….he came straight off a 24 hour shift, drove me to the hospital, and never once left my side the entire labor! What a man!
If you want to read the rest of the birth story, you can find that here.