In the Netherlands, an induction is recommended 14 days after the due date. I started to feel this time pressure at one week “overdue”, knowing that I only had one more week to get things moving if I wanted to avoid induction and attempt a home birth. At ten days “overdue” I went for acupuncture, and decided to do a membrane sweep with my midwife. I knew friends who had gotten three membrane sweeps before things finally started moving for them, so I wasn’t convinced I would start labor right after. But still, one of my biggest worries was that I’d get into bed that night and contractions would start right then, keeping me up all night. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and I got a good night’s sleep.
I woke up around 7:30am and while getting my breakfast ready, I thought I felt a contraction. Then 30 minutes later I thought I felt another. I let Brooks know that I was feeling something. I also mentioned that early labor, with on-and-off contractions, could happen all day, even multiple days. So Brooks got ready for work and joined his 10:00 morning team meeting.
I got in the shower because I wanted to make sure my hair was washed and styled just in case today was the day. (Yes, my hair, of all things, was what was going through my head at that time). While in the shower, I kept having to reach my arm out and start the timer on my contractions app. I couldn’t believe that they were coming every five minutes consistently, then every three minutes! I would have to squat and concentrate on breathing through every contraction.
By the end of my shower a notification popped up on my app saying, “based on your contractions, you are in active labor!” What?! I was fully prepared to be in early labor for most of the day, so the fact that I was already in active labor was hard for me to believe.
I popped my head into Brooks’ office to make the exciting announcement. Co-workers thrilled, Brooks quickly jumped off his video meeting and started running around the house getting the birth tub ready.
I called the midwife to let her know that I was in labor and she asked if I wanted her to come (since she was also going to be acting as my doula), but I wasn’t sure if I needed her yet. She suggested she stop by, set up her things, then she could leave for a bit again if I wanted. I agreed that that sounded like a good plan. I also called my birth photographer and told her that I thought I was in labor but that I’d keep her updated after the midwife got here.
Photography by Biggy Tooth