I sneaked into our bedroom and calmly tapped Mark on the shoulder and said "I'm still in labor...you can go back to sleep but when I wake you up next you're not going to work, we're going to the hospital!" He was surprisingly calm and went back to sleep. I decided this was a good time to shower and get ready. Anyone who knows me knows that contractions or not, I needed to shower and straighten my hair :)
Showering and getting ready took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. It's a bit hard to do when you're having contractions! I had to take lots of breaks in between. I finished though and that's all that counts! After I was done with my hair I put my last minute toiletries in our hospital bags and called the hospital.
I described my pains and had to stop and breathe through some of my contractions so she knew it was real labor. She advised me to take 2 tylenol, drink a huge glass of water, and lay on my left side for an hour. If that didn't take the contractions away it was time to come in.
Right after my conversation with the hospital I called my mom and sister. Their voices were hilarious - they knew EXACTLY what I was calling for since it was 5 am. I'm glad I called when I did so that they could get to their jobs, wrap up what they had to, and come to Fargo!
I did the tylenol and water test and only lasted about 30 minutes and the contractions jumped to about 5 minutes apart. It's time to go. Mark took Ruby for a walk and loaded up the car while I tried to eat some toast and just relax. The ride to the hospital I had this electric feeling going through me. Mark and I looked at each other and just kind of smiled and I knew we were both thinking "this is it!"
Once to the hospital checking in and getting a room was crazy easy. But I really liked my nurse and was said that after an hour of being there it was shift change! The next nurse I got was a little different, but equally as nice to me and Mark. I was getting really nervous about making enough progression so I wouldn't get sent home so we went on lots of walks around the halls, labored in the jacuzzi tub to try and relax for a bit, and bounced on the birthing ball. They said the doctor would come in in about 1-2 hours to check my progress, but she ended up being stuck in a delivery so I had more time to get there which was nice.
She finally came in right about 10:00 am and said she liked my contraction pattern and asked if I wanted her to break my water for me. About 2 seconds after she asked, my water broke on it's own! That's when it all becomes real - we weren't leaving that hospital without our baby!
Mark then got on the phone with his mom and told her it was safe to drive up. He then texted my mom and sister and they were already over halfway here - turns out they were too excited!!
Labor was then pretty monotonous for the next 6 hours or so. Contractions would come, I would breathe through them, and they would go away. I got stalled at 4 cm and that's when I got hooked up to Pitocin. Those contractions were the devil! Blah! I started feeling nauseated and super tired since I hadn't slept the night before at all so we all decided an epidural would be best to help me relax and get things progressed. While we waited for the anesthesiologist they gave me some IV pain drugs. It took the edge off, but it didn't last long. That's when I knew the epidural was a GREAT choice for me!
I was more nervous for the epidural than delivery. A giant needle in my spine - eek! Mark and Emily did a really good job of calming me down and making it super easy for me. Plus, since Emily used to work at the hospital she knew the anesthesiologist so listening to them just chatting and being super chill helped too. It didn't hurt at all and was a crazy feeling once it kicked in. It only worked on my right side for a few minutes, so he did a little tweaking and I finally felt relaxed. I was so excited that it also took my nausea away from me, but I didn't know that once you got an epidural you couldn't eat anymore. I was crazy disappointed about that - but oh well!
Since I was feeling so much more relaxed Roman, Anna, Mom, Emily, and Deb all came in to visit. It was really nice just to chat and kind of forget about the impending arduous task I had ahead of me. I kept trying to tell myself just to take it about 30 minutes at a time and that worked great for me. After awhile they all wanted to eat dinner since it was pretty late so they went to the cafeteria and the nurse came in to check on me.
I was progressing really well and made it to about 6 cm in about an hour. About 5 minutes later I felt some pressure so I told her and I was progressing super fast. I went to 10 cm (complete) in about 5 minutes. She paged the doctor and Mark texted Emily to hurry and finish her dinner since I would be pushing soon.
It turned out to be a great thing to have both Mark and Emily in the room. The hospital had TONS of moms in labor and since I had both of them there for me, they were able to take one of my nurses and let her go help another mom.
I started pushing at 9pm. It was a crazy feeling. And after about a half an hour I could tell when I needed to push. I was so unaware that the nurses did sooo much and that they would do so much tracking of me and baby's heartbeat on the computer monitors. The first hours of pushing was bearable. The second hour was completely exhausting. I could feel myself getting weaker. Everybody kept telling me I was pushing great and they could see the head. I kept hearing "oh my gosh it has hair." When we were close to done we asked the doctor not to tell us the sex of the baby so that Mark could instead.
The baby kept coming down the birth canal and twisting the wrong way so it kept getting stuck under my pubic bone. It felt like I couldn't push any harder but I wasn't getting anywhere. After the second hour of pushing I knew I was coming up on the awful words of "c-section" after all this hard work so the doctor asked if we had any oppositions to the vacuum. She explained it to us and we both though it was a great idea. Because while I had great labor coaches, if I had to hear "Come on a little harder, you're so close, I can see the head, and the numbers 1-10" one more time I was going to lose it. Emily kept saying I was so close and I still didn't believe it. But when she pointed out that all the nurses were back in my room, the sterile table was set up, the blankets were ready, and warming lamp was on, I knew it was true!
I finally felt a HUGE contraction and gave it everything I had and I could feel the baby's head come out. The doctor asked Mark if he wanted to look and he did a small peek, but that was enough for him! I did one more push and the baby was out! What an intense feeling. They put the baby on my chest and Mark and I just started crying. The nurses started cleaning the baby off right away and that's when I realized I didn't know the sex of the baby yet! I looked at Mark and said what is it?
And through his tears he said...