Apr. 5th, 2011

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Friday night was a very long night.

It started with kinda-maybe-sorta early labor. Aimee, as mentioned previously, was uncomfortable enough that sleep proved elusive. So we settled down in our living room. She timed her contractions while I kept vigil. To keep ourselves distracted, we watched movies most of the night. We started with "Eat, Pray, Love", before Mich and Ian went to bed. After that, I found "Chicago", which is always entertaining. We followed that up, somewhat inexplicably, with "District 9". Not that there's anything wrong with it. To the contrary, it is a perfect sci-fi film: aliens, social commentary, fun visual effects, good action, smart plot and cool guns. But this isn't a movie review, it's a labor review. So the last thing I'll say is these movies took us up to about 3:30am, Saturday morning.

We were now seven hours into early labor. There was no doubt now that this was it. The contractions were coming every five minutes for at least a minute in length. By the 5-1-1 rule, it was time to go to the hospital. For those of you unfamiliar with this law of pregnancy, it is the golden standard for pregnant women. If contractions come every five minutes, last for one minute, for one hour, then you are in labor. If they aren't, or haven't gone that long, then you aren't.

The problem, of course, was that it was nearing 4am. We were already exhausted, and had an unknown number of hours ahead of us. So we switched from movies to music, and tried to get some sleep. Soundscapes (or whatever your generic New Age-ish cable music station is called) is quite nice in the early pre-dawn hours. We "slept" for three hours, at the most. In reality, neither one of us slept terribly well, or very long. I might have gotten an hour and a half of real sleep, the rest I was half conscious, listening to Aimee softly moan. She didn't sleep at all, not really. She was resting, trying to relax, but no real sleep. How do I know this? Remember that handy-dandy iPhone app she was using? There is no break in the record. Which means she was awake and using it all night.

At this point (around 7am Saturday morning), Aimee had been awake for almost twenty-four hours, and in labor for eleven of them. I point this out because my admiration for her just went up, which is saying something, as the rest of the story will show.

Around 6:30, Aimee woke me up. We quickly consulted her contraction log, and I went to wake up Ian and Michelle. Then we called Barbara, our doula. A doula is a non-medical professional labor assistant. Aimee found her through the Green River Doula Network. We selected her for two reasons. She was young, a recent MoHo grad, and still in grad school. Our family believes in what doulas do, and felt it important to give a relatively new doula more experience and references. But most importantly, she didn't bat an eyelash about any aspect of our family, and came back at the second interview meeting with good questions. She obviously did her homework about polyamory. That pushed her over the top. Her job was to support Aimee, to help her through the labor in whatever way she could. Barbara was a champ, as you'll soon see.

During the night, I had collected our pre-packed bags and moved them to the front door. At 6:26am, I announced to the world that we were heading to the hospital. We left the house at 8:23. In between, we showered, dressed, slopped the animals, and called our family members.

We arrived at the hospital at 8:36. This is the first time I'd been to Bay State on a Saturday. It's a completely different place on the weekend. Parking was a breeze, and the halls were mostly empty. We checked in, and were sent to a screening room for monitoring. Aimee was about 2cm, and her contractions were about the same as they'd been when we left the house. The nurses instructed Aimee to walk around for a couple of hours, to see if activity kicked her labor up, or if it would slow down or even stop.

So Aimee started doing slow laps around the lobby area of the Wesson building. I took a food break, the first of many visits to the North Cafe over the next two days. For institutional food, it was pretty good. Better than pretty good, truly. Decent salad bar, great tater tots, lots of snack choices, and the special taco bar Sunday night was awesome. But this is a labor review, not a restaurant review. So the last thing I'll say is that, if you have to go to Bay State and need a nosh, don't be afraid of the cafeteria.

The rest of our horde met me at the cafeteria. After we fueled up, Aimee went back to laps, with a little extra thrown in. With Barbara's encouragement, Aimee took out her yoga mat and started doing poses. Deep squats, mostly. Ian already posted one great shot of her in a deep squat, hands in prayer position, concentrating deeply on what her body was doing, but one pose impressed the hell out of all of us. At nine months pregnant, while in labor, Aimee got down into pigeon pose. Pigeon pose is a leg split, with one leg straight behind you and the other tucked underneath your torso, at a right angle. In full pigeon, you lower your torso down to the ground, on top of the forward leg. Google has some great pictures of it. Aimee couldn't do that, what with the belly and all. But the fact that she could even do a modified version of it was simply amazing. Ian has some pictures of her in pigeon pose that he hasn't uploaded yet. It's pretty amazing.

Two hours of walking and yoga go by quickly, especially when you're tired. She went back in for another check (a peek under the hood, I tweeted), and was at 3 cm. According to the nurse, 1 cm every two hours was normal for this stage, which meant Aimee was officially in active labor. We were admitted, and taken upstairs.

It was now about 1pm. Aimee started having contractions seventeen hours before. She'd had almost no sleep for almost thirty hours, and not a lot of food. I wasn't far ahead of her in either regard, but I wasn't contending with labor, too. Mich and Ian were in the best physical shape at this point, having gotten the most sleep the night before. We had no idea how much longer it was going to take, but we were all reasonably certain that April 2, 2011 was going to be Connor's birthday.


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