The Pregnant OB Part 9: Is it time?
Is it time yet? Is he coming?
The last few weeks of pregnancy are full of anticipation.
When are the contractions going to start? When will they become regular? When will they become painful? When do I go to the hospital?
What if the contractions don’t come?
As an obstetrician, I see patients arrive at the birth center at all stages of the birth process. Some are ready to deliver a baby seconds later, some have several hours to go, some are still in early labor, and some are still days or weeks away from going into labor. I don’t have a crystal ball, so we never truly know when the baby will come.
As a doctor, I tell my patients that when the contractions happen every two to three minutes, are becoming more painful or take your breath away, it’s a good idea to come to the hospital.
As first-time mom-to-be, it was a whole different feeling for me to sit at home wondering when labor would begin. Then, when the first few regular contractions started, I wondered, is this it? Is he coming? Should I go to the hospital?
After contracting every 10 minutes for the next week, the time finally came. The contractions became much stronger. They got closer together. I could no longer sleep through them.
And all of the sudden, it was my turn to be the patient. To arrive at the hospital, saying I was in labor. To beg for an epidural to please take away my pain. And, finally, to hold my precious little baby in my arms after a thankfully uneventful birth.
Now after several months have passed by, I still love holding my son in my arms. It’s been a surreal experience. I’ve learned so much more about what my patients experience than I could ever imagine. I now know firsthand what it’s like to go into labor, give birth, breastfeed — and to wake up every two to three hours at night for weeks on end.
And this week I’ll learn about another milestone — going back to work. It’s going to be a tough transition, as it is for every mom returning to work. But I know I can do it, because I am so lucky to love my job.
I love seeing new little lives coming into this world. And now, each time I deliver a precious new baby, it will remind me of how much I love my own little boy.
Read the full series from Dr. Chen during her pregnancy
The Pregnant OB Part 1: How to find the right doctor
The Pregnant OB Part 2: First kicks
The Pregnant OB Part 3: Holding my breath
The Pregnant OB Part 4: Baby on board, will travel
The Pregnant OB Part 5: The 20-week ultrasound
The Pregnant OB Part 6: I can see my baby
The Pregnant OB Part 7: The good moments
The Pregnant OB Part 8: Countdown