Nevertheless, we enjoyed our dinner and the time spent together. We talked about a lot of things: how our lives would soon change; what we were excited for; what we were nervous about; etc. etc.
|Who needs ribs? I was excited for dessert!!|
That night we went home feeling extremely motivated to pack 100% for the hospital. We had packed for the hospital the previous week...but it was very haphazardly, and we still had toiletries and electronics to get together.
There were two things that I had been putting off doing all that week that HAD to be done before going to the hospital. One was reattaching the car-seat pad to the car-seat after washing it, and the other was finalizing my hospital bag. We accomplished both that day...of course, having no idea that I was going to go into labor that night. But it was like my mind and body knew that I was finally fully ready for the baby to arrive. I will do a separate post on what we packed for the hospital.
|Hospital Bag items|
By the end of packing I was really losing steam. I was exhausted and when I laid down to rest, I was seeing stars and felt dizzy. I also was feeling intense pressure in my abdomen and felt "weird". As we got into bed, Chris said "You're going to go into labor tonight" My response was "Honestly, the way I feel right now...I wouldn't be surprised."
I fell right to sleep, and woke up at 4am for my usual morning pee break. It started out normal, but the pressure I had felt before bed was still there and when I went back to bed I started to cramp really badly. I wasn't sure if this was contractions but they did seem to be coming and going every few minutes, and at 4:33am I finally started timing them out using the free Contraction Timer by ibirth (I am SO GLAD I downloaded this app...it was really helpful in knowing exactly how far apart these contractions were, and how long they lasted. I didn't have to stop and do any math or figure anything out, it was all there for me. I highly recommend this app if you're about to go into labor!)
Mama and Mou had once given me advice "If you can sit comfortably in the car...you're going too soon." My reasoning for wanting to wait was to insure that I wouldn't be put on a bed too soon or need petocin to induce labor.
Anyway, my second contraction came 5 minutes later, the one after that came 4 minutes and 42 seconds later. I couldn't believe how quickly they were coming!! From what I understood...it could sometimes take hours for contractions to go from 7 minutes to 4 minutes..this took minutes! At that point, I woke Chris up because if things kept progressing this quickly we wouldn't even make it to the hospital in time to deliver!
The timing was all over the place, but they seemed to mostly be under 5 minutes apart. I took a quick shower, enduring some more contractions. By the time I got out of the shower, my contractions were timing under 3 minutes apart!!!
We arrived to the hospital somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00am. I went to the admitting office at the hospital...and promptly threw up in the woman's trash can who was getting me set-up. It was horrible! The contraction pain was incredibly intense. I was sent up to triage, where they would decide how far along I was in labor.
Once they started hooking me up to iv's and a fetal heart-rate monitor I said "So I am in labor right?" and the woman said "Oh yes...you are a superstar. Most women dream of being this far along once they are admitted to the hospital." That made me feel good...but I also was shocked. I literally had woken up 3 hours ago and here I was...already 3 centimeters dilated, and my contractions very close together.
When we were in triage, I turned to Chris and said "I think I'm going to want an epidural" I felt bad about it, I felt guilty for caving so soon after deciding that I would "wait as long as I could" for an epidural. But after throwing up downstairs, and with my contractions getting more and more intense, I was pretty sure that I wanted the epidural.
I was then sent to the labor room where I was set up in a bed, all hooked up and the anesthesiologist arrived for my epidural. I was nervous for it...many people say the epidural is just as painful as contractions. But really, it wasn't bad at all! I felt instantly better and calmer. And for the next few hours, I was in blissful denial that my contractions were even happening.
By the time I was 7 centimeters dilated, I started to feel the contractions a bit more. This was partly because the epidural had evened out (as opposed to the initial large dosage I was given), and also because the contractions were becoming more intense.
The rest of the labor is a bit of a blur, so I'm going to recap it in the form of an FAQ. These should answer many questions that I have been asked over and over again by friends since my delivery:
1. How long was your delivery?
I woke up with pain at 4am and Natalie was delivered at 4:26pm. 12 hours and 26 minutes, though I think I was having contractions for a few hours in my sleep before that.
2. How long did you push?
I pushed for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours before she was delivered. It felt much quicker than that though.
3. Was the pain worse than I imagined?
Unfortunately, yes, which is why I was so quick to give in to the epidural. However, I will say that I felt more during the last 3 hours than I thought I would with an epidural, which I'm thankful for. I was nervous the epidural would make me so numb that I wouldn't feel what was going on, but I definitely did. Honestly, I can't imagine how much more intense it must have been without the epidural.
4. Did I tear?
I had a small 1st degree tear, and was stitched up afterward. The stitches should dissolve in 4 weeks. I didn't know that I tore, everything hurt so I don't know exactly when it happened.
5. Did I poop on the table?
6. Really? Was it embarrassing?
No, it was my proudest moment to date. Just kidding.
It was incredibly embarrassing. I was holding back from pushing because I was afraid it would happen. If I kept holding back, I realized I would never deliver the baby, so I had to just let it happen. It was pretty much the elephant in the room. Everyone knew it was happening, but it was quickly cleaned up and no one acknowledged it.
7. How was Chris during all of this?
Chris was a great coach and a great partner during the labor. He has stated that he's "seen things he can never un-see" but he's really not squeamish over things like that, and handled it all fine.
8. Do you regret getting an epidural?
No, I don't regret it. It kept me calm for most of the day and allowed me rest to build up my energy for my 2 1/2 hours of pushing.
Natalie was born at 4:26pm. I have more to share regarding the last part of labor, what happened afterward and a funny story on how we found out she was a girl!
Do you have any other questions regarding this part of the labor? Don't hesitate to ask me!