Since my labor began a week ago today, I thought it only fitting to tell the story today! :-) I had planned to write about it while in the hospital, but it turns out to be a good thing that I didn't because I am amazed at how much I have remembered about it this past week that I guess I just put out of my mind right after it happened.
Last Wednesday, I woke up with the urge to deep clean the refrigerator. So I did. Then I realized it had been a whole day since I had dusted. So I did that, too. Now, my friend Catie was coming to town for an appointment (she lives about 90 miles away) and we planned on having lunch and running errands together, so I knew I needed to hurry and get my shower and get ready. While in the shower, I suddenly had to mop the floors! So I vacuumed and mopped. I was almost done when Catie texted to say she was about ready to head over to pick me up. So I hurried and finished getting ready and we were on our way. Once I sat down in her car, I realized that was the first time I had sat down all day! Anyway, we did our thing and by the time Happy Hour rolled around, I was pooped! So, I asked if I could get a drink and have her just drop me off at the house. I'm kicking myself now for not laying down and taking a nap. I did sit on the couch but I folded clothes and did other little things I could do while sitting. That night while we were watching tv my back started really hurting and I couldn't get any relief at all. I told Tim it was because I was on my feet so much that day. He tried to rub my back and I stacked pillows all around me but nothing was working. We went to bed about 10:30 with me saying my usual evening saying, "Robby is never coming out, I'm not ever going to give birth!" Tim just popped an ambien (very important for later in the story) and shook his head, telling me it would be here soon enough. (I tell you all this about Wednesday so you can imagine how exhausted this almost-39 week pregnant lady was that night!)
I woke up at 12:30am with what I thought was some cramping but it would come and go. At about 1:00 I decided to get up and go to the couch so I could focus on timing them. They started out about 30 seconds long and 3 minutes apart, then they were about 45 seconds long but 5 minutes apart. They would go as long as 8 minutes apart and as short as 3 minutes apart but hovered around 5-6 minutes apart for the most part. During this, I'm texting Mandy who is perplexed as to why the would go from short intervals to longer intervals if they are real contractions. She told me to go ahead and take a shower and see if that made any difference. I went into our bedroom and turned on the light. I woke up Tim and told him what was going on. At first he told me ok and rolled over to go back to sleep. I woke him up and told him again, finally he told me to call labor and delivery because we were told when the contractions were 5 minutes apart we needed to come in. I called and the nurse there told me not to come in until they were more regular and if I couldn't walk, talk, or breathe through them. Well, since I was able to breathe through them we decided to not go to the hospital. But I asked Tim to time them while I was in the shower. I would yell out when a contraction began and when it stopped, I didn't find out until after I got out the shower that Tim had slept through and not timed about half of the ones I had! Darn that ambien!! I finished getting ready and packed the rest of the things I thought we would need in our bags and told Tim to go ahead and take his shower. And he promptly fell back asleep! Anyway, I continued to have contractions but they aren't super regular. Around 8:15 that morning Tim left for work and I called my doctor who told me to walk walk walk to try to get them regular. So I got on the treadmill. At first it didn't make any difference, then it caused them to stop altogether. After a few hours of walking, I got off the treadmill disappointed that this was just "false labor". I decided to do some laundry and just take it easy. Once I sat still again the contractions came back, but this time there was some bleeding accompanying them.
I called my doctor again around 1:00 and by the time they called me back it was a little before 3:00. She told me to ahead and go to labor and delivery to just get checked out. I called Tim to tell him what was going on. I told him I was just going to run up there and I didn't think it was necessary for him to come home because they will probably just be sending me home. But I had a change of heart on the way to the hospital and asked him to come on to the hospital (remember, he works an hour away). I got to the hospital and they put me in the outpatient triage room to determine what was going on. They checked me out and I was 3 1/2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. The nurses told me I was probably going to be admitted! So I called Tim and told him to stop by the house and get our bags. I was so excited that this was it! The only thing was that my contractions were still very irregular. They would go as long as 7 minutes apart and as little as 4. After talking to my doctor, the nurses told me she wanted me to walk around the hospital for 2 hours and come back for them to see if there was any progress. So we walked and walked and walked and walked, Tim had arrived right before this, at about 4:30 or so. The more I walked, the fewer contractions I had but the ones I did have were pretty severe. I went back to have them check me out and I was a little closer to 4 cm dilated but still just 80% effaced. Again, they called my doctor to see if she wanted to break my water to get things moving along or what she wanted to do. She said since I wasn't going to be 39 weeks until the next day (about 5 hours away) she wasn't going to break my water unless the contractions would get regular. She told me to leave the hospital and walk some more.
We went on home so I could just walk on the treadmill. I didn't walk too much because it didn't make a difference in the contractions. While walking, the contractions were 5-8 minutes apart but when I stopped walking they were hovering at around 5 minutes apart. Then all of the sudden they were 1 1/2 minutes long and 3 minutes apart. They only way I could get through them was by getting on all fours and rocking during the contractions. Then I hit a point where the pain was so bad I was throwing up through the contractions. That's when I told Tim we needed to go back to the hospital. We got back at about 10:00 and I couldn't even walk to the elevator because another contraction came and I was doubled over on the floor of the hospital in pain. A nurse happened to be walking down the stairs and asked if everything was ok. Tim told her what was going on and she got a wheelchair. During this time there was a lady waiting for someone to pick her up at the door who was talking to Tim about how special and wonderful a time this was. I thought her timing was interesting considering I was pretty much unable to breath because of the pain! Haha!
I got up to labor and delivery and all I could speak was that I was there earlier and they already had all my information (I was worried they were going to ask me all the questions again). Tim signed a form and they got me to a room. Tim explained to the nurses that we had gone home I walked on the treadmill (this got around because every shift change a new nurse would come in and say "oh, you're the one who walked on the treadmill"). The nurse checked me out and I was at 6 cm and 90%. She told me I was going to be having this baby soon! We were very excited and I explained to her that I was not going to have an epidural and I would prefer no pain medication. They got my iv going and started my first round of penicillin (I tested positive for group b strep, so they like to get 2 rounds of penicillin through the mother during the labor, with the first round at least 4 hours before the birth so that it isn't passed along to the baby). The contractions were getting stronger and stronger and I was ok with them as long as I could start my deep breathing before the contraction started. If I missed it and didn't start trying to breath until after it started I just couldn't get on top of it. During those I would say that I couldn't do it and kind of start freaking out. My nurse was amazing and got my attention and told me yes I could and she would get my breathing back under control. Tim was next to me holding my hand and telling me that I could do it. He had both of our phones and was texting all of our families and he was on facebook and google chat with some friends keeping everyone up to date. At this point, both sets of parents were on the road and on their way.
There got to be a point during the contractions that I just couldn't get myself calmed down. Tim decided it would be best if I got some fentanyl. They gave me my first dose at 11. I remember instantly feeling incredibly calm. I laid back and closed my eyes. I could feel a contraction coming on and I was able to breathe through it and remain under control. After about 15-20 minutes it kind of started to wear off. They gave me another dose at about 12:30. My nurse was really great and explained what was going on during various points of the labor and told me when I was ready to start pushing to let her know. She mentioned to Tim that once I was ready to start pushing I wasn't going to be able to stop. It wasn't long after she told me this that I felt the need to push. She was frantically getting things ready and called my doctor in. My nurse grabbed one leg and Tim grabbed the other. She was telling Tim what was going to happen and what he needed to do. Poor guy was planning on staying up by my head and not seeing anything but it didn't really work that way. I wish I would have realized how to push a little better, but I guess it's one of those things that you can't really learn how to do until you are doing it! But I started out clenching my face and neck and pushing. After the first few pushes, my nurse had to explain to me where I should be pushing from, which made all the difference in the world. During the pushing I was so exhausted that between pushes I just laid my head back and didn't move or talk. Tim informed me later he thought I was sleeping, but really I was just too worn out to do anything other than the pushing. Also, I had been wearing my contacts for about 20 hours and they were so dry I was having trouble focusing. So when my doctor was talking to me I would stare at her with my eyes as wide as they would go just trying to focus on her. I'm sure I looked like a bug to her! :-) After pushing for about an hour or so, they told me he was almost here and they called in all the other nurses. I wish I could have seen everyone's faces better so I could remember who was who and where they were. They were making comments the entire time that I was so calm and acting like someone who had an epidural. My nurse was shocked she hadn't had to give me oxygen, because she told me when she first got me hooked up to everything that she always gives oxygen.
Everyone was also impressed with Robby. His heart rate was great and he was just doing wonderfully. At one point during this last stage of pushing after they told me he was almost here, I told them "You keep saying that, I don't think he's coming!". But they assured me that just a few more pushes and he would be here. Tim looked at me and told me he could see his head and if I just pushed a few more times he would be here. About that time, my contact POPPED OUT OF MY EYE! I'm not even joking. Tim took it and I got so mad at him because I wasn't going to be able to see Robby when he got here. As the nurses were trying to figure out where to get some saline I just popped it in my mouth then put it back in my eye and started pushing again! Just a few more pushes and he was out! I get irritated with the overuse of phrases like "out of body experience" or "surreal moment" but this was a time that I feel like those phrases were exactly how I felt. I could not believe they were putting my baby on me and I was looking into his eyes.
I was able to nurse him for the first time about 15 minutes after he was born. It was the most amazing bonding experience I have ever been a part of.
One of the best parts was probably looking over at Tim and seeing the tears in his eyes. He was so proud and I have never seen that much love in his eyes!
While he was down there I was able to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom while the nurse got the beds changed out (all the rooms in our hospital were labor, delivery, and recovery rooms so you don't have to change rooms. They pull down a queen sized murphy bed so Tim and I could sleep in the same bed during the rest of the stay). My nurse was impressed by how I was able to get up and walk around by myself so soon. She gave me a tramadol even though I told her I didn't think I needed it. She wanted to make sure to be on top of any pain in case it did end up coming later. Other than that, the only medication I took while in the hospital was about a single dose of Motrin a day. And that was because my tailbone was so stinking sore!! I guess because of the way Robby was wedged in there for the labor he kind of tilted it back a bit so it was pretty bruised feeling. Around 8:00 am, Tim's parents arrived and were able to love on their newest grandchild!