Between John and I, I tend to be more likely to shoot from the hip when it comes to bad news. So for John to just blurt it out like... "something is not right"... well, I took it to mean he was pretty freaked out. And when John is freaked out, his ability to focus goes out the window. Thus, it was, according to my sister, an overly-long time before he and I came to a plan.
When we came out of our room, I told my sister that we planned to head to the hospital. A barrage of questions followed, and I think she maybe got a little too much information about our "intimacy habits" when she asked how John even knew that his assessment of my cervix was significantly changed from my OB's assessment 2 days before. I believe his exact words were "well, something is there that wasn't there as of last night!"
Oh yes, Disney, my man knew there's something there that wasn't there before! Ahem.
After as much commotion as you would expect, we all packed up and headed to the hospital. I notified my doulas and my birth photographer that we were headed in to see what was going on; no promises, but... We decided to take 2 separate cars, so John and I headed to OB receiving while my parents, sister, and the kids got packed up.
What followed was a very long process of another cervical check and fetal/contraction monitoring and decision making. Turns out I was basically 5cm, 90% effaced and a +1 station (hence the sensation of vaginal fullness.) But, I wasn't having any contractions. I was hours away from the 39 week mark. What to do?
I really wanted an intervention-free labor. But my doctor said that if I wanted to, she would break my water to get things moving for me. We both agreed that once my water broke or I started having contractions (whichever came first), my labor would be very quick. Quick enough that I might not make it to the hospital. With Abigail's birth, I went from 5cm to having a baby out in less than 45 minutes. With JohnAndrew, I went from half a centimeter to having a baby out in less than 1 hour. I was already 5cm and the baby was practically half way out... this was going to be quick once it actually happened.
As much as I make light of this now, it really was a gut-wrenching decision process. I so wanted to just let nature take its course. On the other hand, I felt equally as strong about not having my baby on the side of the highway while trying to get to the hospital. John and I went back and forth, and in the end, even when I talked myself out of staying, something just didn't feel right.
We called my OB and made a few stipulations. If we stayed and they broke my water, I wanted to make sure she would come in to do my delivery. She would. I didn't want to be hooked up to a monitor or IV. She agreed I wouldn't (although did want fetal heart tones every 15 minutes.) And I wanted to know what would happen if I didn't start having contractions right away.
This is where I was so thankful to have done my research and to have a great relationship with my OB. She requested that if I didn't make some cervical progress within 2 hours, she wanted to start me on a bit of Pitocin. I agreed under the condition that it was a half dose of the normal starting dose, we could stop if the contractions got bad, and I still wouldn't be hooked up to a monitor (but would have fetal heart rate checks every 5 minutes.)
I feel like we played the game well. I made some concessions, but did so from an informed place in the spirit of compromise. To be honest, I feel like I got more of what I wanted than my OB got:) So that settled it. We were staying, and we weren't going to leave until we had a baby!
I called my doulas and photographer, and waited for a bed to become available. Next stop: labor and delivery!