Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Commuter Marriage Issue # 7 - Not making it to the hospital (fear of)

I have a very deep-seated, semi-irrational fear that my new baby, due August 26, will come very precipitously while Hub is away. Given that my first labor was 45 hours (yes, I AM serious), this seems unlikely. That doesn't prevent the thoughts/ fears/ nightmares of the following scenario: my labor starts, I can't reach Hub, I decide to drive myself to the Hospital (which is across town), and its move-in day for the Huge U in the middle of town. I envision myself trapped in my car in move-in traffic having a baby in the drivers seat. That's my worst fear, the second being having my baby alone at home.

I had NO fears like this for the first baby, I felt supported and ready. The fact that Hub is now two hours away (if there's no traffic snarls), and its much harder to get to the hospital these days, makes the whole "going into labor" thing so much more scary. I am NOT an anxious fearful person. And I've been through it before (45 hours, NO epidural- I have confidence in my ability to do it). Nonetheless, I can't shake these fears in my head!


  1. Do you have anyone in town that could be "on call" for you? Meaning, they drive with you to the hospital and wait until Hub arrives?

  2. Yes, yes. When I expressed my fears to my friends, several volunteered. They _are_ relatively irrational fears!!! I REALLY want Hub to be there for most (ideally all) of my labor. I've even considered hiring a doula in case he can't make it.

  3. Friends who have used doulas have raved about them. She gives you an advocate who knows the system while you're in labor, and especially if hub isn't there yet.

  4. PUI prof, not to scare you further, but -- when the docs tell you the second one can go faster, they really mean it. My first son was over two weeks late. I had to be induced, still had a really long labor even with the pitocin, had to have my water broken by the doctor to try and help move things along. My husband and I were living and working in the same location at the time, so he was there for all of it.

    In between Boy #1 and Boy #2 my husband took a position 3 1/2 hours away. We also prepared for the possibilty that Boy #2 might come when my husband was out of town, so we had our list of back-up friends to drive me to the hospital and watch Boy #1 during the birth. But I don't think we really thought that this was a possibility, given my birth experience with Boy #1. Somehow, we both thought that, at the worst, hubby might miss the first few hours of labor, but he would definitely be there for most of it.

    On the due date for Boy #2, I got up to use the bathroom and thought I had some watery discharge after peeing. No contractions. I called the doctor, and he said, "Well, it's probably nothing, but it could be that your water has broken. So come to the hospital and we will check you out. If it's nothing we'll send you back home." I debated not calling back-up friends and just driving myself since it was "probably nothing," but in the end I did call a friend to drive me to the hopistal.

    By the time we got to the hospital (15 minutes from when I had called), I had gone from no contractions to strong contractions 1.5 minutes apart, and my water had definitely broken. My friend held my hand through most of a quick labor, and hubby got there just before Boy #2 came.

    So here is my advice: (1) things really can be fast for your second birth, even if they were slow the first time, (2) be mentally prepared for your back-up friends to be the ones holding your hand and listening to your screaming during labor, and (3) DON'T drive yourself to the hospital, even if you think it's just a false alarm!

    Also, I totally understand your desire for your husband to be there. When the doctor asked me if I wanted an epidural, I started sobbing and said, "No, I don't think so, I was fine last time, but if my husband doesn't come I think I need one, please please get me one if my husband doesn't come soon, I can't do this without him."

    Anyway, take care and I will send good thoughts your way.

  5. Wow, Anon 6:18. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Your advice will weigh heavily on my decision making in the coming weeks. I'm making Hub read this, too. :)

  6. I had that fear, too: my husband and I each work about an hour away from where we live. I was more afraid of going into labor at work and having to get back somehow to the birth center near home, or even worse, having fast labor while driving on the commute. I stopped going into campus about three weeks before my due date because I was just too freaked out. As it happened, I went into labor the night before Christmas Eve and had her the next day, so it wasn't a problem. But still.