Shaving Off Time with a False Alarm

by Alison Friedman in Mommy's Musings

We thought we had our “any day now” last night. It made sense, too! The stars were aligned, and by stars, I mean several things had taken place throughout the day that, 12 hours later when I was in false early labor, made me go “Oooohhhhhh it all makes sense now!” but then, really, it didn’t make sense. Because here I sit at a computer with a baby in my belly. Still.

If we were to have gone into labor last night, it would be a few days early, just like the doctor had insisted for two weeks in a row. So, just based on medical assessment alone, I was in my right mind to think that the “any day now” was “this is it.”

I was very tired yet very antsy all day. I wanted to sleep, but I also wanted to clean and be productive. So, I combined those feelings and got a manicure and pedicure! I was relaxed and soothed, while also achieving the goal of pretty nails! See? Rested and productive! I also spent the day with my parents where my dad got to watch and feel the bounce house that is my belly. And my mom gave me a kickass foot massage, making sure to spend time on pressure points, but since she’s not a professional masseuse, I ripped out my handy iPhone and Googled “induce labor massage” and landed on a “How To” massage site. So with her hands on my tootsies, I narrated the directions to her and, like an obedient mommy/excited grandparent, she complied. Except we ended up laughing our way through the whole thing because the instructions sounded a lot more X-rated than they’re intended to be. Here you’ll see — I’m going to remove the foot parts of the instrucions so you can see how this would be a hysterical game of massage Mad Libs:

“Begin by stroking the top of the _____ with a long, slow, firm motion. Use the thumbs for extra pressure. Massaging the sensitive_____ can be very relaxing. Starting with the big ____, slowly and firmly pull each ____, sliding your fingers from the base to the tip. Repeat while gently squeezing and rolling the ____ between your thumb and index finger…”

So, yeah. About that. I ended up with very jiggly and relaxed feet and a face-ache from laughing so hard.

I ended my day with a swim at our friend Julie and Kent’s house. They have a lovely backyard with a big, heated pool… and noodles! So I floated around, not even caring that I was getting my hair wet, and let all the weightlessness and water relax my back. Followed by some BBQ for dinner, I’d rounded out my day with some pretty respectable labor-inducing activities that didn’t give me the shits (I’m not drinking castor oil, no matter what they say!).

So, imagine my non-surprise when we were sitting in the living room with Julie on her couch and I started to feel some crampy-cramps. Hmmmm…. Okay. Interesting.

And then during our Jewish goodbye at the front door on our way out, I started getting some sharp shooting cramps and lots of pressure. That was our cue to cut the goodbye in half (by Jewish-goodybe standards) and by the time Bryan and I got home, I could barely walk up the stairs standing up straight. In bed, I watched my tummy contract and flex and relax, and it happened pretty regularly.

Now, these Braxton-Hicks-type contractions were accompanied by pretty intense pain that I’d never felt before, unlike real Braxton-Hicks which are not painful and totally benign. So Bryan whipped out his iPhone contraction timer app and we went to town. For about 2.5 hours, we monitored these contractions and with every rollercoaster of the belly, we started to play out the events to come. We texted our moms who, of course have their cell phones by their sides 24/7 these days, and told them we might be experiencing the signs of early labor and we’ll keep them posted over the course of the night and early morning. I was excited and scared all at the same time, but Bryan stayed calm and made sure I was comfortable enough. Around 1 a.m., I realized that this really could be it, and I’d read that it’s relaxing and helpful to take a warm shower so I did! But really, that’s not the reason why. I couldn’t possibly give birth to a daughter with leg stubble — my legs and toes will be the first things she’ll see on her way into the world and since the toes had already been perfectly painted pink, I had to round out the task and give her a respectable entrance (okay, so this all sounds rational in my head), so I did a quick shave, enjoyed the hot water, and mentally prepared myself for what was sure to come. Meanwhile, Bryan zoomed around the house picking up some clutter and doing dishes to make sure we would be bringing a baby home to a neat house, rechecked the hospital bag, and started to gather the “last minute” hospital must-haves like our phone chargers and Goldfish snacks so that when it would be time to leave in a few hours, we’d be in tip-top shape!

And then I got out of the shower. And walked upright. And plopped into bed and felt… fine. No more pain. No more contractions. No more discomfort. It was as if the 2.5 hours of “early labor” had never happened. Bryan and I got quiet and decided to just go to sleep and if we woke up again, then we’d get back to business.

Alas, we woke up at 8 a.m. today. Sleep was not uninterrupted, but that was due to mental hamsters on wheels, and not because of baby labor. Well, at least my legs are smooth.

So, is it weird to say that I’m a little disappointed? We had a good three hours of OHMYGOSHTHISISITWEAREHAVINGABABYRIGHTNOOOOOOOOOW….. and then. Not.

It reminded me of the scene from my go-to cinematic pregnancy manual, Father of the Bride Part II, when Annie Banks-Makenzie (“Makenzie” said with a Steve Martin snarl), wakes up in a panic that she’s going into labor and they go to the hospital and come back defeated. The hubbub of a pregnant and ready Annie Banks-Makenzie and her family rivaled our household last night, and admitting false alarm after three hours of seemingly-absolute labor was sobering and disappointing. We even told Princeton in our “excited” voice that he was going to finally become a big brother in the next day or so, and I guess he’s the only smart one in our home; he continued to sleep soundly and couldn’t give a wag or lick. “Heh. Suckers,” he probably thought as he dreamed about chasing rabbits… or babies.

Coming out of sleep this morning made me wonder if it was all just a dream or if I was having a hysterical pregnancy. Then my sanity settled in as I woke up and the brain cells jostled around, and I really realized then how much of this is out of our control. I’m a vessel carrying treasure, and that’s really all. The baby, my lady bits — they all know what to do. And when it’s time, they’ll shout it loud and clear. Last night was just them whispering sweet nothings.

Good thing I stocked up on the Costco razors.

  1. Alison
    8/4/2011 11:08 AM

    Krissy — You are GOOD! Bryan changed the timer in total mockery. Cruel, cruel world we live in.

  2. 8/4/2011 11:05 AM

    …Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but your countdown timer on the right says “She could be here any day now!” Not sure if at this point you find that annoying or hilarious. I’m voting for hilarious.

  3. 8/4/2011 11:04 AM

    Alison, you just made my day. I will have you know that Father of the Bride Part II is one of my favorite movies, and when I was reading the first two-thirds of this entry, I was mentally imaging you as Kimberly Paisley with all her false alarms. Hope your baby makes her much-anticipated debut soon! xo

  4. nicole
    8/3/2011 9:58 PM

    you gotta make this into a book one day, you are the best. writer. ever.

    love you!