October 25th was a typical day at home. Prairie Girl (formerly known as Prairie Baby– that nickname won’t work anymore!) and I cut up about 20 pounds of garden tomatoes that had decided to ripen all at once and spent the day working around the house. I was 39 weeks pregnant and absolutely huge and uncomfortable. I had hoped that I would have this baby earlier, but weeks 37 & 38 had already come and gone…
I had been having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions and crampy feelings for several weeks, but nothing productive. That evening after supper, the crampy feelings felt slightly different. But, I didn’t get too excited and didn’t even mention it to hubby.
I put Prairie Girl to bed and sat down with hubby to watch some pig butchering videos (Yes– really. Aren’t we exciting?). I noticed the twinges started to be more regular and were coming at around 15 minutes intervals. But they were so slight that I was almost positive that they weren’t the “real” thing. I ignored them and watched how to skin a hog.
As the video finished, I got up to take a shower and head to bed. The crampy feelings became more irregular as I moved around, which made me think I was merely experiencing some practice contractions. I decided to mention it to hubby, just in case. Since it had started to snow that night, we briefly discussed what needed to be done in the barn and what vehicle to take to town if this ended up to be the real thing. But I still told him to not get too excited, since I was sure the contractions would be gone by morning.
He fell asleep, but I didn’t. The twinges kept coming, but they were still 15-20 minutes apart. They weren’t painful yet, but I knew *something* was going on.
Around midnight, I finally admitted to myself that this was it. The contractions kept coming and were increasing in intensity. I got up and finished packing the bags.
At this point, I could definitely feel each contraction, but they weren’t very painful. There were a couple that made me stop and breathe through them while I was packing, but the majority were still pretty easy.
I boiled some eggs and packed some homemade yogurt and raw milk to take to the hospital to snack on during labor. My midwife had said that she was fine with me eating during labor, even though it was technically against hospital policy. All I knew was that I would NOT be laboring while hungry this time around!
After I was satisfied with my preparations, I settled into the living room with a pen and paper to keep track of my contractions while I attempted to “relax.” I knew I should try to rest as much as possible, but it’s pretty hard to do that when you combine excitement, contractions, and adrenaline.
Hubby got up when he realized I was fumbling around getting ready. He was ready to head to town, but I told him I still wanted to wait. My biggest fear was getting to the hospital too early. I wanted to labor at home as much as possible! We decided to take our big truck to town, since the roads were getting slick. He headed outside to unhook the truck from the stock trailer and get it ready.
The next few hours were a blur. I worked through the contractions, trying to remember all the relaxation strategies I had planned. I tried hard to relax and not fight the pain. I could really feel the contractions in my back, and it helped somewhat to have hubby press on my lower back as each one peaked.
I could tell this labor was progressing faster than Prairie Girl’s did (hers was 36 hours long…), but it wasn’t exactly lightning fast. The contractions were still anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes apart.
I told hubby to head back to bed and at least try to sleep for a bit, since I knew we had a long day ahead of us. I decided to sit in the bathtub for a while– the warm water felt wonderful! It really helped me to relax- even though I could definitely still feel each contraction as it came and went.
I got out of the bathtub and the contractions kept increasing in intensity. I decided that maybe we should start making preparations to head to town. I was happy that I had at least stayed at home until morning chore time so hubby could milk the cow before we left. (We had a neighbor on call to milk if needed). Funny how a homesteading mama’s brain works!
Hubby headed back outside to milk and fill feeders. I finished packing Prairie Girl’s bag and fed her breakfast. The contractions were increasing in intensity and a few started coming right on top of each other. I had to stop what I was doing to work through each one. It felt like hubby was outside for an eternity, and I started worrying that we had waited a little too long to head to town… Prairie Girl was very concerned about her mama– she tried to rub my back during contractions like she had seen hubby do before he went outside.
Hubby finally finished chores. I called the midwife to let her know we were coming as we loaded up in the pickup and hit the road. I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with the contractions on the long, slow drive to town…