~ The moment we'd all been waiting for
Well, the last I wrote for this journal, I was scheduled for an induction on Friday, November 5 at 7 a.m. I'd received a call confirming this and was told once again that if the hospital was busy that day, I'd be bumped. We have a 40-minute commute to the hospital, so we'd need to leave by about 6:15 for this appointment, and the nurse told me I couldn't call to confirm it the morning of until 6:00. What?! 6:00?! I was NOT about to get up and get all ready to go in only to be told 15 minutes before leaving that I couldn't be fit in. I told her I'd call at 5:30 but not later.
In the meantime, on Wednesday November 3, I had a long "talk" with Milo. I told him he had 39 hours (and counting) before someone was going in after him and he was seriously running out of time to come on his own. And once again, I had no labor activity all day long. I went to Verizon to have my contacts transferred to my replacement phone (we'd spilled water on my old one the week before) and did some other errands, including picking up Cody from the bus as usual.
I wanted to make my family a hearty, homemade dinner since it was pretty chilly that night. I spent a couple hours in the kitchen making from-scratch loaded baked potato soup. We finally sat down to eat and I polled the guys--who thought Milo was coming before his induction? Both boys thought he wasn't coming before Friday (famous last words...).
About five minutes after my "poll," (at about 7 p.m.) I experienced some pretty decent contractions--three of them, and right on top of each other without a break. I stood at the table, bent over with my head on Justin's shoulder, breathing through them. The funniest part is that Justin and Cody both kept right on eating, like nothing was happening. I guess that's how used to my contractions they had both gotten. Finally I sat back down and finished my soup. We made the guys' lunches for the next day, cleaned up the kitchen, and put Cody to bed. My parents had come over to drop something off, and they were still milling around while I kept saying, "Maybe this is it! This could be it, guys!" but I'm pretty sure after all of our prior false alarms, no one really believed it anymore. At this point. I was having a semi-painful contraction every 30 minutes or so and was sitting around on our yoga ball, hoping. The contractions weren't really anything out of the ordinary from the previous month of contractions, so even I didn't really believe anything was going to happen that night. I texted all of my "night backups" to see who was available, just in case, and no one was. This is a problem, I remember thinking. What if something happens tonight?
I took a bath and got Justin to shave my legs, just in case. Then I called mom to ask her what I should do for a night person if something should happen. Who was going to watch Cody? She didn't think anything was GOING to happen, so I don't think she was terribly concerned about it.
At about 11 p.m. I was pooped and got into bed with a book, and Justin and I both started reading. Within a couple minutes, I got a really bad contraction. I mean, the "real deal" bad. I had to put my book down and breathe. I looked at Justin and said, "If I have more than five contractions that feel like THAT, I'm calling the hospital and we're going in, I don't care what they say."
Five minutes later, it happened again. And then five minutes later, again. After the fifth one, I had Justin try to check my dilation, and based on the chart we had, he guessed I was about 3 cm dilated. I called the hospital. It was about 11:30 by then. I told them I was scheduled for an induction in just over a day, and that my last labor had been only three hours long (with Pitocin) and they told me to head on in. As fate would have it, the same midwife who delivered Cody almost eight years ago was on call that night. Her name was Tina, and I had loved her then. I was so excited I was practically jumping up and down (practically, I say -- believe me, I couldn't jump at that point).
I called my mom and got ahold of one of my backups. Both headed over to my house and Justin and I got up and dressed and packed our toothbrushes and last-minute essentials. Mom came over and decided she wanted a shower, so she took one at my house. My friend Ebony got to our house around 1 a.m. to stay the night and get Cody to the bus the next morning. By now, I was in pretty substantial pain every 3-4 minutes. At 1:30, Justin put my shoes on me for the very last time and we left for the hospital, with my mom following us.
We got there just around 2 a.m. I was put into triage and hooked up to all the monitors so they could verify I was indeed in labor. Tina came in, checked me, and informed me I was 5 cm + 80% and I squealed with happiness. Justin and my mom were shocked--I don't think any of us could believe I was already at the halfway point. Personally, I was pretty proud of myself for getting that far--I have a pretty low pain tolerance. We talked pain management with Tina and my nurse and I said I was going to go as long as I could stand it without the epidural but that I'd likely need one before it was all said and done.
We got into our room and Justin went to get the bags out of the car while the poking and prodding for a vein began. I have bad veins--it took 15 minutes and a blown vein, plus a lot of digging, before the nurse (Kris) finally got my IV needle in. I didn't want the IV yet, so she just taped it all up in case I needed one later. I just didn't want to be all hooked up to stuff yet. Mom unpacked my bags while I got into the jacuzzi. It was about 2:45 when I got in, and things were definitely progressing. Justin was a champion birth coach--he was so encouraging the whole time, and breathed with me a lot. He kept telling me how "easy" I was making it look, and how proud of me he was. I honestly think I made it as far as I did without that epidural because of him.
About an hour after I got into the jacuzzi, I hit transition, and I hit it hard. It was 3:45. I had one final contraction in the water and got out to throw up and turned to Justin and mom and said, "Someone get Kris. I need to order that epidural now. I'm still ok, but it'll take an hour before I get it and I'll be out of my mind by then."
Kris came in and I was 7 cm (I was shocked) and got me hooked up to the IV, and told me they had to get a bag of fluid in before they'd administer the epi. The pain was better when I stood, so I spent the better part of the next hour hanging on Justin while that bag took its sweet time to empty. At some point I realized I was bleeding and freaked out -- one of the midwives I didn't like had said if I bled at all during labor, they were doing an emergency c-section because of the location of my placenta. We got Tina in there and she said I was fine and my bleeding was normal rupturing of capillaries caused by dilation. By then I was really, REALLY in excruciating pain and 8 cm dilated, so Kris put a blood pressure cuff around my IV bag to squeeze the rest of it out, and fast. I was dilating quick and I was afraid I was running out of time for the epidural.
At 4:45, the anesthesiologist came in to do my epi. Mom was required to leave and Justin was required to sit. I threw up again and then I hung on Kris, whimpering, while the anesthesiologist got to work. It took about 15 minutes to get it all in because she had to take it out and reposition it a couple times. Whoever says epidurals don't hurt going in are liars. Epis are hellish until they kick in.
At 5:00 a.m., everything was good to go. Mom came back in, I laid down, and then I ceased to feel my legs. Mom and Justin took little catnaps for the next hour and fifteen, and I had Kris let up on the epi a little bit. I was way too numb and I still wanted to feel what was going on. We got it adjusted so I could actually move my legs and feel my contractions.
By 6:00, I could feel his head coming down and I knew it couldn't be much longer. Fifteen minutes later, Tina came in to check on things. She asked me if I was feeling any pressure yet, and then she delivered the best news of my life: "Sweetie, you're 10 centimeters and he's down. My shift is over at 7, so we're having this baby before I leave, ok? We're going to break your water and have you push now." I was ecstatic--my 9-month-wait was over. I was about to have this little person in my arms, in a matter of minutes.
The baby nurses came in and got the bassinet and I thought my mom was going to lose it, she was so excited and emotional. We got me into position and got everything ready, and at 6:25 Tina told me to start pushing. Tina asked Justin if he wanted to catch the baby when he came out, and he said yes. I gave it everything I had in me and at 6:29 a.m. on November 4, just four and a half hours after our arrival at the hospital (and four minutes after I started pushing), sweet Milo was born into my husband's arms. The cord was around his neck three times but that was remedied quickly (before his body was even out) and he was fine. He was immediately handed to me for skin-to-skin after Justin cut his cord, and Justin and I both cried and held him. I was able to nurse him right away. About an hour after he was born, he was weighed and measured. My teeny 9-day-late baby was 7 pounds, 3 ounces and 19 inches long. I had a perfect delivery with no complications or tearing. We were discharged the next day.
I've now had two amazing (and quick!) childbirth experiences. I'm proud that I went natural for so long and I'm not ashamed that I got an epidural. My sweet baby arrived just fine, healthy and perfect, and I wouldn't change a thing about my labor and delivery. Welcome to the world, little Milo.