So, it all started on the 26th. I woke up at 3am to pee, as usual, but when I got back to bed I noticed that my Braxton Hicks contractions were starting to migrate down into my pelvis a little bit. This was definitely a new sensation, so I looked at the clock and waited to see if I had another one....and sure enough, 8 minutes later, there it was. So, I kind of freaked out at this point and headed out of bed and onto the computer, where I setup a spreadsheet to time contractions and then kill time. Within an hour, they were down to 5 minutes apart, and then a half hour after that, we were at 3 minutes apart. At this point, I was pretty positive this was "it," so I hopped into the bathtub to see if the contractions would slow down or stop....if they did, then it would be false labor. Alas, in the tub, they stayed 2-3 minutes apart. At 6am, I called the Dr. because the contractions had been 2-3 minutes apart for over an hour. She told me to get to the hospital, so I woke up DH and told him this was it! His response? "Do I have time to take a shower and eat breakfast?"
Sure. Why not?! They were still just uncomfortable, so I flat ironed my hair and put on makeup while DH scrambled about getting ready to leave. I forced myself to eat, called my Mom to tell her this was it, then sobbed in the living room on my yoga ball. (Which, coincidentally, provided no relief at all) What an emotional roller coaster!
We checked into triage at 8am and they put me on the monitor to see if I really was in labor. The nurse said, "so, you are 40 weeks and 2 days. Do you think you are in labor?" I almost smacked her. I told her if this wasn't the real deal, then she should shoot me now!
Since a bunch of women came in at the same time who were farther along than me (vomiting in transition -- seriously?!), we stayed in triage for about an hour and a half. At about 9:30am, we were admitted to our antipartum room. The founder of my OB practice was on hospital duty for the day, so I was excited. I never thought I'd want a man to deliver my child, but when the time comes, you really want the experience. At any rate, I was 4.5cm dilated and 70% effaced at that point, so they hooked up my IV and he sent me on a walking tour of L&D. 1 hour of walking, a check, and then another hour of walking.
The first hour wasn't too bad, and I was really tearing ass around L&D. In fact, we got numerous "this is not a race" comments from people. (Seriously, why walk slowly?!) The contractions were staying pretty tolerable, but I was hopeful that the walking was helping.
Eh. 5cm after an hour of walking, so off we went on another hour of walking. This hour, things got more intense. I had trouble walking through most of the contractions.....and I was tending to drop a few "f" bombs here and there. There was definitely relief in between contractions, but I had a few issues where my contractions would not die down -- the uterus would just continue contracting with little relief. THAT sucked.
My Dr. checked me at 12:30 and I was 5.5cm and 100% effaced. At that point, he recommended that I get an epidural (it was in my plans from the beginning).....he said that oftentimes, the epidural slows down contractions, and we wanted to see that because baby was having a few issues with my psychotic overactive uterus. SO, I cried Uncle and ordered the epidural. I'm glad I didn't wait until I was in excruciating pain, because it took about an hour to get the darn thing! But the anesthesiologist was fantastic --- his wife was a marathoner so he was talking triathlon with me as he placed it. He did a bang-up job and there was pretty quick relief. I LOVED it. All this worry about the epidural, and it was the best part of my day. And the Fentanyl they lace the epidural drugs with? Bloody brilliant!
Dr. broke my water at that point, which was really weird. I had sensation in my legs and could move them, so I felt the gushes of water after every contraction -- at that point, I realized that all sense of modesty went out the window. Especially since there was meconium in my water. Ew.
DH and I were trying to figure out what movie to watch when my parents and sisters came in to visit me. I felt great, but I was paranoid about the pushing part. I think part of me enjoyed laying around in my epidural-induced stupor. Anyway, as we were visiting, about 3 nurses ran into the room really quickly. They rolled me onto my side, wrangled my family out the door, and then shoved an internal probe up my you-know-what so that they could monitor the baby. Apparently, I had dilated to 10cm within the hour and baby had dropped to -2, creating a massive deceleration in his heartrate that got them worried. Thankfully, he recovered, but the nurses were still a little traumatized.
At this point, my Dr. comes in. It's 4:00pm or 4:30pm? He says that we are going to sit at 10cm for an hour or so in order for baby to recover from the deceleration, and then we'll start pushing. I was fine with this, as I didn't have the urge to push, nor did I particularly want to get started!
Somehow this hour flew by and before I knew it, we were pushing. I couldn't really feel the contractions too much, but we did what we could. An hour into pushing, I apparently developed a fever of 103 and they started pushing antibiotics into my IV. Around this same time, we noticed that the baby's heartrate was hovering around 200 bpm and was not recovering in between contractions. They had me stop pushing, which at this point became quite difficult. I didn't want to up my epidural drip because I was concerned about how it was effecting the baby, but I didn't enjoy writhing in pain as I resisted pushing. Dr. was apparently delivering a baby next door, so we were on hold. Poor nurse was freaking out in silence!
When my Dr. came back in, he announced that the baby was sunny side up. He decided that he would reach in and try to turn him during a contraction. THAT was the most painful thing I've ever felt in life. I didn't scream, but I desperately wanted to. What a nightmare. We made no progress whatsoever! While the Dr. continued to monitor the tape of my contractions and baby's heartrate, I kept pushing....it did seem pointless, though.
All this time, I kept telling my husband to prepare himself for a c-section. I knew that all the silence in the delivery room and the worried faces meant that a vaginal birth was likely not possible. My Dr. sat down next to us and basically told us we had 2 options, and neither one was going to be easy -- we either do an emergency c-section, or we attempt a forceps delivery....and risk having a c-section regardless. I opted for option 2. I know forceps are frowned upon, but I was thinking if any Dr. could do a skillful delivery, it was mine. He looked worried, but I went ahead and signed the consent forms for the c-section just in case. A slew of nurses came into the delivery room....NICU nurses for the baby, one to monitor me and my fever, and then the anesthesiologist.
My favorite Dr. gave me a little extra booster into my epidural, and it was wonderful......I didn't feel a single thing, even when they reinserted the urinary catheter. (yes, it went in twice -- woohoo!) When the Dr. grabbed the forceps, I was blissfully unaware of what was happening. I just kept pushing on command (DH did a great job counting to ten, since I was inclined to cheat and stop at 9). DH was so traumatized by what was happening that he didn't even peak. Thank goodness, because rest assured I had probably crapped the table fifty times by the time the delivery was over.
Long story short, Dr. managed to turn him 3/4 of the way and then with forceps, pulled him into this world. Derek's initial apgar was a 3, but they quickly pumped his tummy and lungs and by the five minute mark, he was up to an 8. He's been robust and healthy ever since! 20.5 inches long and 7 lbs, 10 oz in weight. I was so shocked I had a relatively little baby. DH and I were mostly traumatized when he was born and they didn't let us hold him for about 20 minutes after he was born. Which was fine, as we needed the time to compose ourselves. I made DH leave my side 5 minutes after his birth to go look after Derek in the corner of the room while I found out that I'd had an episiotomy. Ouch! Well, I didn't feel it at the time. No additional tearing, either, so that was nice.
We called our family in after we got stitched up and acquainted for the first time, and they were all in tears. He was born at 8:12pm.......can you imagine being at 10cm for that long? Insanity. But we are incredibly thankful he was born safe and sound after that long ordeal.
The first few weeks have been a trial, I won't lie. I didn't realize that sleep deprivation, hormones, and the recovery pains would knock me out quite like they have. I do love Derek, but some nights I wonder what I've done to my life. Apparently, this is all normal. So, I am just waiting.....waiting for the weather to turn nice so I can take some longer walks, and waiting for the feelings of regret to be overcome with love for this baby. Don't get me wrong....I love him. I may even be IN love with him. But I haven't been hit with the "I cannot imagine my life without him" schpiel that women wax about the instant they become pregnant. Perhaps I'm just not wired like that? Or perhaps once my sleepy fog lifts, I'll be there. Nonetheless, he is plenty loved, so no worries.
So, that's the birth story! I'll add a few pics to the bottom of this post. Thanks for the well-wishes......