For the third night in a row, contractions woke me up with a bang at 11 sharp.
Like the night before, they were long and hard and difficult to cope with.
This time, they were 4-7 minutes apart and almost two minutes long.
It took about three contractions before Daniel asked what he should be doing. Should he be trying to sleep (as I’d been urging him all along – he needed to conserve his strength until I needed him) or was there something he should be doing for me?
This time, my answer was unequivocal. I needed his help. Desperately.
I was on all fours on the bed, rocking my hips side to side and back and forth. My back and buttocks hurt, oh so badly. I groaned, but it wasn’t groaning so much as bellowing – a deep moo that lasted so long I wondered how I could keep going with the relatively short gasps of air between each bellow.
I directed Daniel to find the tennis balls in a sock that I’d prepared for a pain relief measure. Press those into my back. No lower, lower. In those dimples, just above my bottom. More, more. Until his entire upper body weight was pressing the tennis balls into those dimples. When he was pressing there, I could at last feel a little relief.
He didn’t like the sock I’d put the tennis balls in, so he found some other socks from the closet and switched them out in between contractions – and into the next contraction while I begged him to be done and use them NOW.
I texted my doula, who asked if I wanted to go in and get checked. I replied that I was nervous about repeating the night before.
Mary suggested that I get in the bath, which is what I did.
I labored on all fours in the bathtub, with Daniel leaning over me to provide counterpressure during contractions. At first, Daniel timed the contractions on my phone, but as things continued with great intensity, I needed help between contractions too. Daniel had suggested a podcast to occupy the time between contractions (he was worried about getting bored, but quickly lost that worry!) I vetoed a podcast and suggested instead that Daniel read through the Scripture passages I’d put in my laboring notebook. Daniel read Psalm 139:1-18, various verses from Psalm 37, Psalm 34:1-10, Philippians 4:4-9, Isaiah 40:28-31, Psalm 57:7-11, Psalm 71:5-6 and 17-11. When I started mooing, he set aside the book to apply counterpressure again. He flipped back to the beginning of the book and started reading through again. Every so often, when the pressure between contractions became too intense, I opened the tub’s drain and turned on the water as hot as I could handle, backing up to direct the spout of water as close to my lower back as I could get it.
An hour passed. Contractions were 3 minutes apart, 30-60 seconds long and requiring total concentration.
I dictated a message for Daniel to send to Mary. She thought I should go in.
I dried off, sat on the toilet and checked my dilation. I’m no birth professional, but I could tell I’d made progress. This was no repeat of the night before.
We loaded up the car again and headed back to the hospital.