On December 12th while in the shower (attempting to shave my legs) I felt a gush. My first thought was that my water broke but I couldn't be sure. After a lot of back and forth the hubs and I decided to take a trip to triage. While there I was checked and was 2-3cm dilated but turns out my water had not broken. Wishful thinking perhaps? My nurse was wonderful and stripped my membranes as well as making me the full 3cm dilated (ouch!). So after a couple of hours hanging out in triage we went home. Although I was disappointed to not be in labor yet, I was happy to at least be progressing since at our last appointment I had zero progress.
Could this be it?
I woke up the next morning at 2am with strong contractions. They weren't consistantly close together but they were stronger than any I had felt up to that point and bad enough that I could not lie in bed any longer. I bounced on my yoga ball (lifesaver) while watching Christmas movies, took a bath, and walked around the house until the hubs woke up. Since I was most comfortable walking we went Christmas shopping. I was doing great the first couple of hours, walking through my contractions which were still varying from 3 to 10 minutes apart lasting about 2 minutes each. Then the contractions worsened and I had to stop for each one. Finally the hubs made us go home and start timing them.
At that point the contractions were every 5-6 minutes (or so we thought). The hubs wanted to go to triage right away but after our false alarm the day before I wanted to make sure it was the real thing before going in again. After watching the hubs nervously pace the house several times I finally gave in and to triage we went. It was around 3:30pm on December 13th when we arrived.
Of course this time I saw several people I know (I work at the hospital where I delivered) and was starting to feel silly, like this was another false alarm. Only it wasn't...
The Real Deal
This time in triage they monitored my contractions to find that they were only 3 minutes or so apart and very strong. When they checked me I was 4cm dilated and that paired with my contractions meant I was being admitted to labor and delivery. They allowed me to walk around the hospital for an hour to try to get things to progress more on their own and then I was to go straight to L&D.
We made it to L&D around 6:30pm and that's where the fun really begins.
As I mentioned before I wanted to go all natural with no pain meds whatsoever. I made it to 3:30am on December 14th at which point I was 6cm dilated and my contractions were right on top of each other. By this time I had already been awake and having contractions for over 24 hours and was not getting a break in between them. I was doing great breathing through them but was so exhausted I could not hold my head up on my own. When the nurse told me I still had a ways to go I decided I would get the epidural. I saw such relief on the hubs face as soon as that decision was made.
I was very apprehensive about the epi. The thought of a needle in my spine and not being in full control of my body freaked me out. But as it turns out it was the best decision for me. I felt great after getting the epi and was able to enjoy so many more aspects of my labor. I was able to rest a little and prepare for the most important part. Pushing.
At around 7am on December 14th I felt the strongest command my body has ever given me. To push! Trying not to push while the nurse got everything ready was so difficult! When it was time though, I was ready. Allowing my body to do something so foreign to me took a little getting used to but after a couple of pushes I was able to figure out what worked best for me. I pushed for a little over an hour, making a little progress each time but it didn't feel nearly that long.
When I was close enough to need the doctor the told me not to push again. I seriously thought they were crazy if they thought I was able to keep that baby in for one second longer. But somehow I managed to wait for the doctor and once she arrived it was smooth sailing. A few pushes later and there was a head! After that pushing was nothing. I was about to hold my baby girl and nothing else mattered. Within minutes there she was in my arms. Beautiful from what I could see through my tears. I looked at the hubs and his face was full of tears as held us both tight. I could not done any of it without him. The entire pregnancy and even more so during the birth he was supportive and comforting and strong, and anything else I needed him to be.
Our baby girl was perfect. Bigger than anyone imagined at 8lbs 4oz and tall just like her Momma at 20.75 inches.
My mom and both the hubs parents were there for the whole thing. I can't find another word to describe sharing that with them other than magical. Even though things didn't go according to my "plan" I had the most amazing birth experience I could imagine. And as crazy as it may sound, I can't wait to do it all again... in a couple of years :)