After having moderate contractions every 4 minutes for about 3 hours on Friday, the nurse on call told us to head to the hospital. Gus finished packing "the bag" and put the car seat in the car and we headed to the birth place. I was hooked up to the monitor for several hours where my contractions were still coming every 4-5 minutes. So here's what I learned ...
1) When administering a cervical exam, technique is very very important. I've had them about three times throughout this pregnancy and while uncomfortable none of them were painful, much less left me feeling violated until the first one I had administered by a resident doctor. What the nurse practitioner and attending OB-GYN could do with two fingers took this guy TWO HANDS! WTF. I could have sworn his entire arm was in my vagina digging around there for what was probably less than a minute, but felt like forever. When he left, I actually cried thinking about how they would probably have to do that several more times before this baby is born. I mean, I literally was sobbing. I told Gus that I would need an epidural just to get through the pain of a cervical exam. Take home message - don't let the resident doctor do the cervical exam. As both my cousin Sam and I pointed out, this guy probably isn't getting a lot of action with the ladies if that is truly his "technique."
2) When you are in labor, you will not be smiling. While this is my first baby, I don't really know what labor is supposed to feel like. Apparently though, if you are truly in labor and ready to head to the hospital you will likely not be smiling nor will you be talking v. much. Good things to know. The doctors and nurses told me that while I appeared uncomfortable, I was a bit too "smiley" to be having real contractions.
3) Don't go to the hospital until you have stopped smiling or until your water breaks. Now that I know how much fun it is to have a resident doctor stick his entire arm up my vagina, I seriously do not intend to go to the hospital until I absolutely have to. I figure the longer I wait, perhaps the more my cervix dilates thus eliminating a few extra cervical checks?
4) ASK QUESTIONS! The nurse came in towards the end of my stay and told us that the attending OB-GYN had ordered this medicine for me that was supposed to stop the Braxton Hicks contractions. It was in the form of a shot. I HATE SHOTS. Like they literally scare me so I really didn't want one. So Gus and I were trying to ask questions to figure out if I really needed the drug. Turns out the drug is primarily given to alleviate any of the mother's discomfort and to put her mind at ease because the contractions have stopped. Since the contractions weren't harming the baby and the pain was manageable, I opted not to have the drugs. I did have to wait for another hour in order to have this conversation with the attending doctor, but in the end I got out of there drug and shot free.
5) I have the best husband in the world. While he can't possible understand how awful it is for a resident doctor to dig around up in your lady business, he made a point of telling the attending physician that the last internal exam I had was less than pleasant. As such the attending physician told us that it was all technique and that I could let him know if it was painful. When the experienced physician did the exam, it was obviously uncomfortable but not painful and definitely did not leave me feeling violated. Like I said ... two fingers versus two hands - you do the math. So I'm really glad that Gus spoke up for me and I think he will make an excellent birth coach when the time FINALLY comes.