It all started Tuesday, September 10th... I was relaxing in the blow up kiddie pool on our deck (don't judge, its HOT in Kentucky!) reading a book and waiting for Blaine to get home from work. I was leaned waaay back with my head resting on the side when I felt a strange pain in my back. It was weird feeling, but quite dull. Was it a contraction? Or was my back mad at the way I was laying in the pool? I couldn't tell, so I stayed where I was. Within the hour it happened another two times. I had never had any Braxton Hicks contractions so I wasn't sure what it was 'supposed' to feel like. I finally gave up and got out of the pool for fear my water would break and I wouldn't know it. I changed and pulled out my exercise ball until Blaine finally arrived home. I told him what happened, but with no kind of consistent frequency, we wrote it off as Braxton Hicks-or just really early pre-labor. It didn't happen again until a few hours later when we were on the couch after dinner. We began timing them as they seemed to be getting a little stronger and more frequent. Still, they were quite far apart and inconsistent. We stayed up late to continue timing, and finally went to bed around midnight.
I slept alright until around 3am when the pain began getting much worse. B and I started timing once again. My water still hadn't broke, but I had read that for many women it doesn't, so we were going solely on my contractions. As the sun came up we were having several contractions per hour but they were all over the place and only about 30 seconds in duration. B set me up on the couch watching Harry Potter, and he went into work for the morning. I continued to time each contraction - they were still inconsistent but we were having at least 5 per hour, and the duration was around 45 seconds each. When B came home around lunch time, we ate and called the hospital to see if we should come in. The nurse said as long as we were having five per hour we should at least come and be checked out. Around 3pm we loaded up the jeep with our hospital bags, but ended up leaving them in the car thinking we wouldn't be staying.
They checked us in and the nurses checked my dilation and my cervix. I was only 1-2cm and 80% effaced, so they had us walk the labor and delivery floor until our midwife could arrive and check us. Once she did, she determined that we were definitely in early labor, but we still had a ways to go. She said it could take anywhere from an hour to a week to go into the active labor - whoa! She said we could stay there and continue to walk to try to get labor going, or we could go home and continue laboring in the comfort of our own home. I knew if they admitted us we could be there for a loooong time, and I wouldn't be allowed anything to eat or drink besides ice chips, so we opted for option number 2 and headed home. We stopped at Applebees for curbside to go along the way, and as we waited for our food my contractions were starting to get really intense. Awkward is definitely sitting in the bar area of an Applebees whilst in labor. Ha!
Anyway, we got home, ate and got ready for bed. Alisha (our midwife) had recommended I make a little cocktail of extra strength Tylenol and unisom to try to get some sleep. It worked for a couple hours, but I was once again up at 2am timing contractions that had become, much, much more painful. Some even bringing me to tears. B drew me a bath in the morning which helped my back pain significantly, but it was clear we were progressing in the labor. Many of the contractions were upwards of 1.5 minutes, and I even had one that last for 4 whole freakin' minutes! Around 9am Wednesday September 11, we decided it was time to go back to the hospital. The pain was getting to be too much and too often. This time upon arrival, we brought our bags in with us, praying this was going to be the real thing.
We were disappointed to find that my dilation was they same, though I was nearly 100% effaced upon arrival. Unfortunately, we also learned our midwife had the day off and we had no idea who would be delivering the baby! Thankfully I wasn't super stressed about this development, as I wasn't THAT attached to our midwife. The nurses had us walk the halls once again, for 2 whole hours this time, and then checked my progress. I had dilated to a full 3cm, which was promising, but still, we were making slow progress. They sent us back out to walk and about 20 feet from our room - my water finally broke! They checked me again, and I had already dilated to 5cm.
That was all they needed. We were finally admitted for the long haul (aka, delivery!). I decided immediately to get the epidural, as the pain was immense and I was running on about 6 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours. We knew we had a long night ahead of us! The epidural was scary, and while it didn't hurt as badly as I anticipated, it was definitely an uncomfortable and odd sensation. Once it was in, however, I felt like a whole new person. They inserted a catheter and I no longer felt a thing from the waist down. My contractions were magically gone - as was any feeling in my legs. I was able to take a solid nap, and even relax and watch some TV while B went to the cafeteria and got dinner.
After awhile, a doctor arrived and told us my dilation was stuck at 6cm, and my contractions weren't strong enough to help it move along. He inserted another device to more easily monitor the contractions (I was feeling very much like a science experiment at this point), and he recommended we consider using Pitocin to help me progress quicker. He also mentioned that if it didn't work, we would have to look at other options, which was terrifying. After monitoring for 1/2 hour, they administered the Pitocin at 9:30pm and checked me every 1/2 hour and dosed me as needed. I began dilating quickly at that point, which I was thankful for as I was starting to have a lot of lower back pain, even with epidural. The doctors and nurses thought the baby had turned 'sunny side up' and that was causing the pain, though they assured me they could still deliver that way, and she could also still flip before she came through the birth canal. I attempted to take another nap to no avail, due to the pain. Instead I turned Passenger on my iPhone and listened to his album on repeat to help me relax.
Around 11pm, I was getting an unbearable urge to push. For me, this was waaaaay worse then the contractions. It wasn't painful as much as it was just completely and utterly uncomfortable and nearly impossible to go against. By 11:30pm, the nurse and doctor (who actually was the first doctor we saw at our clinic before we switched to our midwife!) said we were fully dilated and about ready to push. We were able to do a few practice pushes and they prepared me and the room for delivery and the arrival of our baby girl.
The pushing was incredibly hard, but it felt so good to be able to follow the urge. Around 11:50pm we were ready to go. I was incredibly focused on the task at hand and barely opened my eyes for the majority of the delivery. B held my hand and my leg when I pushed, and everyone was fairly quiet. Being our first baby, I wasn't sure how I wanted delivery to go. It turned out the quiet was EXACTLY what I needed! I rested between pushes and it was as serene as it could have been. By the fourth contraction, the 3rd push, baby girl came right on out. We heard her beautiful little cry and I finally opened my eyes. They set her on my chest and I could.not.believe. she was actually here. 54.5 hours after feeling my first contraction, Olive Grace was finally here at 12:30am on the dot, Thursday September 12. She looked nothing like I expected - but was so much better. Completely beautiful with a head full of dark hair and steely blue/gray eyes, all 8lbs, 13oz and 21 inches of her was here.
It took a minute for the doctor to take care of me, as I did tear during the delivery, but I was thrilled to be able to immediately try to feed Olive - she was rooting right away. I had no idea what I was doing, but we were successful, even without the lactation consultant! Soon B took her to the nursery to have her checked out and once my epidural wore off they moved us to the Mother-Baby unit at nearly 3am. After being checked out myself and settling in, we caught a short sleep and they brought Ollie back to me around 5am for our next attempt at feeding. Over the next couple days we had an excellent hospital stay. It felt like we were the only people in the world in our little hospital room. We had the lactation nurses at our disposal, every meal was brought to me, and we were able to spend time getting to know our new little Bean in the comfort of the hospital. The nurses were all fantastic and very helpful. By Saturday morning though, we were beyond ready to be discharged and bring our Bean home!
It was a crazy week to say the least, but looking back I would do it a million times over. This little girl is the tied for the best thing that has happened to me (with meeting her Daddy of course ;)
2013 definitely changed my life forever!