4:00AM: I woke up with some mild back pain and cramping, I didn’t think much of it because I had just had an OB appointment several days earlier and the Doctor told me I’d most likely get induced because my body didn’t look ready for labor. I laid in bed for about half an hour and listened to my pandora piano music and tried to relax. I went to the bathroom, figured it was just pain from a bowel movement, and decided to go lay back down in bed. Around 4:30 my brain told me the pain was contractions – as the pain was starting to become more intense, and they seemed more frequent. So I decided that I should starting timing them. I downloaded a contraction app and started to time them while I laid in bed, not really sure of what was going on. The rule I was told, was that you can go to the Hospital if contractions are 5 minutes apart for more than an hour. I started timing them in bed, and then after rolling back and forth (and not wanting to disturb Chad’s sleep), I moved to the living room and plopped down on my exercise ball. I remembered hearing that I wasn’t allowed to eat anything once labor started – and was always mortified of vomiting during labor – so I didn’t eat or drink anything, but regretted not having a midnight snack when I went to bed, because I was STARVING.
7:00AM: Contractions were becoming more frequent and closer spaced, they were also very noticeable.; starting in my lower back, working their way towards my abdomen, and then slowly towards my back before stopping. They were mild in pain, but enough to stop my thought process, cause me to deep breath, and definitely get me anxious as to whether or not ‘it was time!’. I decided that since contractions had been 5 minutes apart for 30 minutes that I should wake Chad up and tell him it might be time to go to the Hospital. I jumped in the shower, straightened my hair (ONLY because it is really a mess when I don’t) and put it up and out of my face, applied some light makeup and got dressed. Chad started to get really anxious and said I shouldn’t be getting “ready” that we should go, and that he knew it was time. I was just so nervous that this wasn’t actual labor, and that I was going to be turned away when we got to the Hospital. Chad told me I didn’t need to be embarrassed, but I was worried that they’d tell me they were just intense Braxton Hicks and that I was nowhere close to labor. Chad assured me it was better to be safe than sorry, and we drove to the Hospital. (Bags had been packed and loaded in the car, with the carseat for weeks, so we were ready to go!)8:30AM: We arrived at the Hospital, and had already registered so we went straight to the Labor and Deliver wing. We got set up in the biggest room on the floor (booyah!!), I changed out of my comfies and into that adorable Hospital gown and met the nurse for our room. After examination she said I was dialated to a 3, and about 75% effaced. She said she didn’t think they were going to admit me, but if I wanted to walk around for an hour to see if I progressed any, that she could check me again in an hour. I could not imagine going home with this contraction pain, so I hopped up and starting walking laps in the halls. Contractions were getting really painful, causing me to hunch over in the hallway during laps, so I prayed and kept nagging Chad that if they sent me home, I was just going to come back in an hour – because there was no way that this wasn’t the beginning of labor. Several contractions brought me to tears, but they were mostly able to get through with some deep breathing, and lower back massage.
9:45AM: The nurse came back in after our hour of us pacing the Hospital Labor wing and said that I had progressed about a centimeter (now at 4cm and 80% effaced), she said she was going to call the Doctor to see what the Doctor thought. I kept telling Chad how I couldn’t imagine going home in this pain, and that I was sure that if we went home I would just have the baby there, because I wouldn’t know when to come back.
10:00AM: The nurse came back in and said that they were going to get me all hooked up to keep monitoring me.
I was ecstatic, this was really happening. And happening TODAY. I was going to bring our daughter into the world, and I couldn’t have been more excited. And overwhelmed. And nervous, and anxious. The nurse took several attempts to hook me up to the IV (on my right hand, right wrist, left hand, and finally another nurse got my left wrist) and this was by far the most painful part of my entire labor. I was sobbing uncontrollably as the nurse wiggled around the IV in my wrist to try and find a vein (apparently I have very small veins). Chad got pretty upset and kept shaking his head, and trying to get another nurse to do it. (Our nurse wasn’t our favorite person of the day). I was so glad when the second nurse finally got the IV in, I wanted it to be OVER. My hands were so sore from all the pricking, and I had gauze taped all over me! Chad and I kept joking how we got the ‘new girl’. I just kept telling myself that the IV was really important, and that it needed to be placed correctly, and that I was just projecting my nervousness, and pain towards the nurse, but sheesh woman!
11:30: Another check and I was dilated to a 6! The nurse asked my pain tolerance, which is LOW, and about my thoughts on pain medication. I promptly responded, (and this was by far one of the best decisions I have ever, ever made).
The nurse had it ordered, and I was at peace knowing I only had a bit longer to deal with the contractions, which at this point were pretty horrible. Most of them would bring me to tears, and the only thing that kept me going was knowing I could look at the monitor and see how big they were, I felt a sense of accomplishment as soon as it was over and I could see how high it got. The funniest thing about contractions is that the world feels like it’s slipping away from you, and then the contraction ends, and everything is back to normal. No pain, no nothing. Just peace, and silence, and total relaxation.
12:15PM: The anesthesiologist arrived and got all set up to give me the Epidural. He was extremely nice, and very easy to communicate with. He went over all the risks, and we joked with him about the potential risk of paralyzation. I got all set up and ready to go, had a local numbing shot given and then the Epidural. It took him 3 different attempts to get the Epidural in (apparently on top of having small veins, I also have very small space between my spine). This wasn’t extremely painful, but moreso just uncomfortable. There was a lot of pressure, and I had to hunch over my belly for 20 minutes while the epidural was getting placed.
1:00 PM. I was still feeling contractions, and the anesthesiologist was a little nervous about the placement so he upped the med level. I was still feeling contractions, and had full use of my legs, pelvic area – NOTHING was numb. At this point, Chad and I were starting to get a little nervous – and in the back of my mind, I was terrified that I would have to go through labor ‘alone’. I know that millions of women have, but as soon as I found out I was pregnant, the epidural was the ONLY thing on my birth plan. I knew I didn’t want a birth plan that included music, candles, dim lights – I knew none of that mattered, I just wanted the darn epidural. Everything else could have gone askew, I just needed the epidural. I’ve always had a low pain tolerance, and I wanted this experience to be as pain free as possible. 15 minutes later, I was still feeling the contractions so the epidural meds were upped again.
1:45 PM. I started to loose feeling in my abdomen, and pelvic area and was ecstatic. Chad was watching the monitor and asked me, “Did you feel that?”, I didn’t, and it was a large contraction. I was on cloud 9. I knew that I was in the clear. I could feel my legs, although they were slowly getting tingly, but I didn’t care, the meds were working!!!!
2:00 PM. I lost all the feeling in my legs. ALL the feeling. I could not feel ANYTHING, at all, from my belly button down. No tingles, no pressure, nothing. I was so thankful, and lost myself in thought about how far medicine has come, and how thankful I was that this experience had been completely tolerable so far. Then, I lost myself in thought about never having feeling in my legs again, and how I had joked earlier with the anesthesiologist about the risk of paralysis. I could not imagine living my life without feeling in my legs, and then was thankful again for my life, and for limbs that work – and a healthy body that has created a child, and kept it safe and alive for the past 9 months.
2:15 PM. The best thing about the epidural was ‘the button.’ There was a button on the side of my bed, that I could push when I needed a little dose of help, and everytime I pushed it, medicine or ‘icicle fairies’ as I called them would travel down the tube along my back and I’d get a cold shiver of happiness. It was incredible. We dimmed the lights, turned on some soft music. Talked and joked, and napped and just relaxed while we waited for my body, and our baby to be ready. It was such a calm, relaxed atmosphere and I couldn’t imagine it any other way….
5:30 PM. The nurse came in to see if I had progressed any and I was at a 10!! I could not believe it, I was going to meet my daughter SO soon. The nurse joked about my water being as tight as a balloon, bulging and then BAAM – it broke!! Water went everywhere! (I did not feel a thing!!!) Chad and I joked about how funny the situation was and we couldn’t believe that we were sooooo close! After getting slightly cleaned up, the nurse asked if I could feel any pressure (like needing to poop) and I told her I couldn’t feel a darn thing, I was completely numb from the waste down – so she suggested doing a test push to see how things were looking. After having my legs propped up, (I felt so heavy and helpless!) she said that the baby was right there, she could see hair, and she wanted me to relax while she called the Doctor.
5:50 PM. The Doctor arrived and popped into our room, asked if she had time to change into her Doctor clothes and said she would be right in, it was GO time. I could NOT believe it was happening.
6:00 PM. The room filled with nurses, and the Doctor. We were joking, and laughing and so excited to meet our daughter. I was in absolute awe that I had made it to this point, that Pregnancy was almost over.
There was one nurse on my left side propping up my left leg, and Chad was on my right side propping up my other leg. The Doctor said that the head was right there, that she could see a head full of hair…. and that all she needed was a couple strong pushes. Because I couldn’t feel the contractions, one of the nurses told me when a contraction was starting and I lifted up holding onto my thighs and pushed as hard as I could for 10 seconds, then was given a 2 second breather break, pushed for another 10 seconds, 2 second breather break, 10 seconds – then I got a 1 minute break between contractions. This was one of the hardest parts of labor for me, I was pushing so hard (while not being able to feel if I was really pushing) and barely breathing, my entire body was telling me it was going to pass out from lack of oxygen – but I wanted her here so badly – I sucked in air as quick as I could, and pushed as hard as I could.
There was another cycle of push, breath, push, breath, push and there she was. The most beautiful, squishy, perfect baby I have ever seen. She was the most beautiful color, had the most beautiful circle head (I was nervous about the possible cone), and the most beautiful face. (also worried about possible alien baby!). My slimy baby was put immediately on my chest, and in that moment I felt completely fulfilled. 9 months of being uncomfortable, agitated, questioning my life –
It was one of the most perfect, beautiful moments I have ever experienced in my life.
My daughter and I starred into each others eyes, exchanged some kisses, and cuddled for about 30 minutes while the Doctor was delivering my Placenta (which was bagged up and left untouched for encapsulation), stitching me up (I had a small natural tear during labor), and then was taken away to be measured, cleaned, stamped and promptly returned.
I could not have asked for a better labor, it was incredible. I was so blessed to have Chad there, to have NO complications, to only push for 10 minutes, and to have no pain during labor. We had a huge room, incredible nurses that gave us everything we asked….and at the end of the day, we had our princess Presley.
I hope you enjoyed reading our birth story, I hope it gave you some insight, answered some questions, or helped you in SOME way. I know that reading birth stories helped me SO much, and if you are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant – good luck! It is a hard, hard journey, but SO worth it.