False Alarm, Nothing to See Here, Carry On…

Nothing like an hour of false labor last night to bring to (unflattering, fluorescent) light the fact that I’m totally unprepared for the real deal.

I had dozed off during part 2 of The Mormons on PBS – which is truly a testament to my late pregnancy fatigue. Because trust me, there is little more entertaining in this world than watching Nate hem and haw and eye roll and grunt and shake his fist and make these bizarre guttural animal sounds towards pretty much anyone defending his former religious upbringing. Still, my eyelids felt heavy and by 9 or so I was under the blanket on the couch, pillows under my wreck of a lower back, sound asleep between my flatulent dog and my flatulent sigOth. Bliss.

At 10 sharp I woke with such a pain (Such a pain, I had, oy!) that I bolted upright. After an hour of alternately rocking back and forth like Rain Man, lying in bed trying not to cry, and pacing the apartment breathing in absolutely non-Lamaze sanctioned ways, Nate asked if maybe he should get the car.

Get the car.

Because in New York, you don’t have a car at the ready by your front door. You have to call your garage with some notice (provided they’re still open if it’s nighttime), walk two blocks to get it, then drive the long way around the neighborhood until you’re back in front of your front door. Unless you want to deal with a taxi. Which, well, driving up the pathetically paved and potholed FDR drive in a rainstorm is not exactly a magical journey in Cinderella’s carriage.

Also he asked whether he should call my mother. Because that is our brilliant childcare plan for when the time comes: Call my mother who lives a good hour away in the best of traffic conditions to come stay with Thalia while either I go to the hospital alone or–well, I don’t know what. Incredibly well-considered, I know. Plan B is that the baby holds out until May 9 when my city-dwelling father is back in town from vacation. Plan C is too ill-conceived and embarrassing to even say out loud.

“I don’t know if you should get the car,” I answered. “Which probably means no. But I just don’t know what I’m feeling right now.”

“Well is it labor?”

A simple yes or no was all he was looking for, judging from the way he was rocking from side to side, his eyes as wide as the moon. But I couldn’t muster either. Instead what came out was something like. Well it’s contractions. I don’t know. Maybe. The baby’s kicking me. Or kicking an organ. Or an ovary. Something. It hurts. I can’t breathe. It feels like labor. It doesn’t feel like labor. It’s not regular. It’s every 4 or 5 minutes. It’s definitely contractions. I don’t know if it’s labor contractions. I don’t know.

“Doesn’t fetal movement slow down when you’re in labor?” he asked.

“I don’t know, does it?”

“I think so.”

“I have no idea.”

“Maybe not.”

A thoroughly competent team, the two of us.

More pacing. More breathing. More getting back in bed. Then out of bed. And all along, all I can think is that I hadn’t charged my cell phone, I didn’t know where my camera was, and my hospital bag needed some serious attention. Worse, my hair looked exceptionally crappy since I didn’t bother drying it that day–meaning I would forever be immortalized in the baby’s first photos looking like Don King on a bender.

More moaning. More clutching of internal organs. Then – a rush to the bathroom. After which all pain miraculously and hastily subsided. Nate noted that I didn’t look “white and ashy” anymore. I could breathe again.

I didn’t need a lift to the hospital. Evidently I needed a Colace.

Today’s plan: A little less folding and refolding of newborn clothes, a little more reading up on birthin’ babies.


Thank you so much to Pundit Mom for nominating my Letter to #2 for an April Perfect Post Award. It’s always nice when the essays that mean something to me also mean something to someone else–especially someone whose own writing I love so much. In fact, if I had gotten my shit together in time to bestow an award, it very likely would have gone to Pundit Mom’s own wonderful essay at HuffPo called I am not the Babysitter about her experience having an adoptive daughter from China.

For more good reading check out the other winners at Petroville and Suburban Turmoil.


56 thoughts on “False Alarm, Nothing to See Here, Carry On…”

  1. ROFL. There is no such thing as “false” labor…it’s all accomplishing something. But it can be frustrating when it does not lead to the desired result. My last baby did that to me more times than I can count, so I feel your pain. Hang in there.

  2. That whole gripping post and I’m still stuck on the fact that your garage is a mere TWO BLOCKS away.Awaiting real news…!

  3. i have to laugh because while you were watching the mormons and being all false-labory and stuff, i was watching big love….because, seriously, who doesn’t love a good show about mormons? 🙂

  4. Oh the false alarm. I had at least one with every pregnancy. Rather embarassing when you’re supposed to know what it feels like. Good luck next time this happens, hopefuly for real!

  5. I’d plan to take a taxi. Because who’s going to park the car when you get to the hospital? Leaving you along to make your way to L&D?Good luck when the real thing comes along!!

  6. dropping your intestines in the toilet can be a first sign. The day before I had Levi was one Asspolsion after another. I wish I lived closer,I’d watch little T in a heartbeat for ya.

  7. It’s not right to be giggling over another woman’s pain, is it?Snicker.Thanks Liz. Once more you have made this adoption process seem painless and easy.You always manage to put things in perspective for me.Good luck. Eat some fibre.

  8. I always think I have ruptured my pancreas or something and then I poop! All better. Who would’ve thunk it!I know. To much information! 😉

  9. Don’t think about it today, Scarlet…think about it tomorrow. (Sorry…couldn’t help it what with the “birthin’ babies” line!)

  10. 3 pregnancies, and subsequently 3 births..EVERY DAMN time a night or so before the actual event I would have some sort of pain and think “is this IT?” When labor did start I would wonder how I could ever confuse it with anything.Big Love was on? Dammit, missed it again…

  11. I had JUST posted a couple of days ago about gas pain being worse than labour! Hope this has cleared your system before the Real Deal (drink lots more water to avoid blockage!).

  12. I’m so sorry I’m laughing. Good luck with the real thing, and maybe cut back on the nachos?

  13. Ahh, I feel you! I have 2 months of pregnancy left and just realized that I am NOT READY AT ALL. With my first child I had the room completely set up with sheets on the crib. At this point I don’t even have the crib put together. We don’t even have a dresser yet. Jeez, I need to get crackin’

  14. Same damn thing happened to me a few weeks ago…turned out it was a kidney stone. Wish I could have just cleared it up with a bit of colace!good luck when the time really comes!

  15. Holy Moly. That’s sobering. This baby has been so kicky that I, too, have mistaken jabs and flips for early labor (what the heck is it with version 2.0?) Guess I should print out my birth plan, pack a bag, pick a name or two, etc… Thinking of you.

  16. You don’t KNOW how excited I am about this. I feel like I’m reliving it! With any luck, your water will break like mine did and you can calmly make your way to the hospital perched on a few old bathtowels.

  17. Heh, to think I was in the city and could have given you a lift…um…if I hadn’t taken the train in and had all four kids with me!Boy, who knew 20 city blocks could be soooooooo long…both ways, even!?!I say that we all stop saying “false labor pains” and start calling it “practice pains that probably will get way worse,” from now on.It ain’t no picnic, but you’re so close to being done.Good luck!

  18. I think that I will go pack myself a hospital baby delivery bag right now.And I’m not even pregnant.

  19. Oh honey, I’d do this for you if I could!Wait a minute. No, I wouldn’t.But I’m definitely thinking about you!

  20. Oh dear, I was wondering what your plan was for Thalia. Methinks that little girl is going to be seeing her first birth. C’mon, don’t all the hippest couples do that anyway? Hope you are comfortable tonight. My uterus was hurting for you as I read this.

  21. oh, sister, it wasn’t that long ago…Just remember–if you lie down and they don’t go away–the real deal. That and if you feel a bowling ball trying to come out of your vagina.

  22. I’m telling ya! A full colon when you’re carrying a baby low can produce some awe-inspiring pain. I’m just saying.

  23. Hey, thanks for stopping by. I do appreciate it. A few things.1. Have I said ‘what about bridget yet?’ — oh I know I know.2. I know what you mean about the ‘is this it’ I think it just comes with the transition from ‘people with a baby to full-on FAMILY!3. My doctor who I called at one of these early labour calls had to answer my question “should I be calling my daughters grandparents for babysitting at 11pm”.. her response was hang tough and if you have to bring the toddler with you to the hospital til grandma shows up that’s all great with them.4. A little note from E. Thalia might wanna take a look at:http://motherwoman.blogspot.com/2007/01/artifice-in-which-child-uses-word-zeal.htmlTake care. Thinking of you guys.

  24. < HREF="http://motherwoman.blogspot.com/2007/01/artifice-in-which-child-uses-word-zeal.html" REL="nofollow"> er the post hyperlink<>

  25. Here’s hoping baby gives you plenty of time to get there. Wouldn’t it be nice if <>we<> could require <>THEM<> to provide notice?Hopefully it doesn’t happen the way Baby Diva made her appearance–last appointment she was in transverse and my water broke early at 2:30 am (and my husband was deployed, and my mom wasn’t due in from NY until afternoon that day…I think your at least safe with this part).

  26. After your story, I will never diss India’s lack of basic facilities again. Because here, when you’re pregnant, all in-laws, parents and other relatives descend on you and demand their favourite food at odd hours of the day….what am i saying? I’ll take your plan A and B anyday!

  27. iz, that’s just what my mom tells me! Enjoy your last moments of pregnancy and the transition to having another child. Must be amazing! I have the sweetest 6 month old daughter and am looking forward to the next. In three or four years.

  28. I’m with Fidget…a little GI distress can mean good things are brewing. The body seems to know how to do all these things in the correct order to you don’t poop on the delivery table!Good luck with that.My Mom suggests that Cod Liver Oil inspired all her labors. I’m telling you, it’s related.

  29. feeling very “first time writer, long time reader” but glad to know someone else was going through the same thing as i was last night! at least you have a car to go get- the car service we use is on high alert for our call!here’s to the full moon getting the babies out

  30. Glad you have a little reprieve for the moment. Although I hope the rest of the reprieve is not too uncomfortable and painful! Hope she can hang in there until your dad is here. Plan C might not be terrible (if it’s what I think it is). Mom could always come to the hospital to retrieve Thalia?

  31. and so it begins! even if last night was a false alarm. read up — time’s drawing short!! good luck!

  32. There’s nothing like a good false labor story to keep us on the edge of our seats. Ah, the suspense!Best wishes during the build-up to the real deal.

  33. reminds me of my series of “I’m in Labor” “No I’m Not.” “Yes I am!” “I just need to poo” posts from last November. I went on like that for TWO WEEKS. And I was reading the books, and there *were* no magic answers. So I say “as you were.” (wheeeeeeee!!!! good luck!!!!)

  34. ooh, fun and scary all at once! was wondering whether you were still gestating…hang in there. ps – please please call us, your friendly neighbors if you need a thalia-watcher while mom sits in traffic.

  35. I meant to add that there was a woman named Colace in a class I took a couple of years ago. I didn’t know until now that it had, um, another meaning.

  36. are you bringing a laptop with a webcam to the hospital?holy crap i am so excited for you mom101-2!!!!!!!!!are you practicing deep breathing + relaxing?????? inhale deeeeeeeeeeply + relaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, are you getting that last minute nesting energy, where you start cleaning everything with a toothbrush?i hope the birth is wonderful + you can enjoy it as much as possible

  37. I didn’t even think about the car complications of living in the city. Whew! Thinking of you and little miss not-Madysynne.

  38. Oh, my gosh! This is simply hysterical! Man, does that bring back memories of packing and unpacking my hospital bag until they had to induce because, darnit, I was wrong every time!

  39. Oh man! They sent you home with Colace? Next time will be the charm! Thinking of you 🙂(Not that this should be on your mind at all but your template is messed up in Mac Firefox. I just wanted to let you know because nobody EVER tells me and I go around for weeks with my template messed up in IE)

  40. This totally freaking happened to me and it TOTALLY freaked our shit out. Yeah, OUR shit – I don’t think that the husband had really let things sink in until we were in obstetrical triage with a shrieking woman in labour on the other side of the curtain. Nothing like a trial run, eh?

  41. You have just answered so many questions I have about New Yorkers and cars. And…you’re so close! I’m excited for you. I can’t wait to hear everything’s gone well and you have your lovely baby all ready to go to the reset button, I mean, hospital nursery.Best of luck this week!

  42. Gotta love “false” labor. Sending lots of good thoughts your way for the real thing to be fast and painless 🙂

  43. You can tell I’m new to pregnancy/momhood, I had no idea what a colace was. So much to learn, such a short time. I laughed out loud at your revenge of the jennifers post. I had just had a discussion with my prego SIL about her naming process, and how it was stunted due to her husband being stuck on the name Jennifer. And Tiffany. And Jessica. Hello, I thought we had long since left the 80’s behind us. But to add a few suggestions that go with your natural/floral concept:AsheSageIvy (another SIL loved this name)and other cool names that I can’t use due to my stubborn husband:HadleyAinsleyTess, or TessaDavigood luck, keep us posted….

  44. So true about the car situation. I sent my husband to get ours when I NEEDED to be at the hospital. It took him forever and then when I leaned on the car during a contraction I noticed we had a flat tire. Nothing like a trip to the gas station when you’re 5 centimeters dilated. I hope you have a baby to report back to us soon!

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