The day I reached 37 weeks—the labor class DVD still shrink wrapped, the fill-in-the-blank birth plan still lying untouched in my printer, the backordered crib somewhere in transit between the warehouse and the store—I woke up with the textbook description of contractions, period-like cramping and low back pain, coming at fairly regular intervals. Long (as in 4 a.m. to 5 p.m.) story short, I headed to labor and delivery after the mild pains didn't intensify but grew increasingly close together. But instead of being sent home with a baby, I was sent home with a bottle of antibiotics.
Despite all the unchecked items on my to-do list, I was more excited when the doctor and nurse mentioned the possibility of “early labor” than I was overwhelmed. I mean, is anyone ever 100 percent ready for a baby anyways? One, I want to meet my little man, and at 37 weeks he would be considered full term. And two, I was (and still am) tired of being pregnant. I had already accepted that I had reached the point where good days would be few and far between, if I had any at all, between being absolutely exhausted no matter how much sleep I try to get (with at least four pillows and frequent wake-ups for bathroom trips), feeling like crying for no reason at all and being uncomfortable and achy all the time. Half my maternity clothes no longer fit comfortably, and driving around with an empty car seat in the back is getting rather depressing.
At least, now, we've had a trial run. We know which entrance of the hospital to go to, that we need to head to the fourth floor and stop not at the first desk we see but the second one. We know there's a detour because of road construction. We left the hospital bag packed and waiting in the car for next time, and, I know what contractions feel like, or at least what mild contractions feel like.
Trouble seemed to enjoy his early visit to the hospital. He thought the heart monitor was a target and spent several minutes practicing his punches (which made such a loud noise that the nurse had to turn the volume down so we could hear her) and let me know that even though I was already exhausted, he had enough energy for the two of us.
After over three hours at the hospital, the doctor determined that I was having contractions, but they were from an infection and were not the kind that meant baby's birth day was here. The nurse explained that this far into my pregnancy, my bladder is shaped like a pancake (cue pretend shock face…is that what is causing the frequent trips to the ladies room?) and an infection could cause contractions, since everything is already stressed out from being misplaced.
So we left the hospital, car seat still empty, and decided to go out to dinner together, since the time we have as just a couple is getting much shorter. We joked with the waitress for forgetting my pickle (you just don't do that to a pregnant woman). We stopped at the store (something simple that will become much more complicated with a baby in tow). We went to bed early (again, something simple that will soon become a luxury). And we settled in to wait a little longer, whether its a few more days, or a few more weeks, before we get to meet the little person causing so much trouble (yet so much excitement).