Disclaimer: This is very long and is not gross in detail, but may be a little more than you wanted to know so read at your own risk.
Preface: At my most recent doctor appointments, the doctors reminded me that I shouldn't go to the hospital until my contractions are 4-6 minutes apart, about a minute in duration, and are so strong that I really have to breathe through them. They explained that I wouldn't be able to talk because I'd want to relax and breathe while they were happening.
Story: Tuesday morning, Mike and I sluggishly got ourselves out of bed and to the auto place. Our oil desperately needed to be changed and we were finally going to do it.
You know how women usually have a pretty strong nesting instinct before the baby's born? Well, Mike went through a strong urge to nest this past weekend. He fixed things around the house, made sure everything was in working order, and wanted to get some yard work done, as well as car work.
When we got to the auto shop, we found out that we wouldn't be able to get the oil changed and have our car back for at least 5 hours so we headed to Walmart and found Mike's old home teachee and he showed us exactly everything Mike would need to change the oil in the car. This was around 11 am and that's when I started noticing that my Braxton Hicks contractions were no longer Braxton Hicks, but instead were real contractions. I was having quite a bit of back pain and the contractions were so much stronger than usual that I felt very, very nauseated. I kept telling Mike I'd like to go soon but we ended up not leaving for quite a while ... that's what it felt like to me, at least.
I took Mike to work and went straight back home. Feeling sick and miserable, I laid on the couch the rest of the day as my contractions continued to get stronger. I didn't want to tell Mike too much of what was going on while he was at work because I wanted him to get as much work in as possible without being distracted.
I had a work meeting at 6 pm and was planning to go. I wanted to make sure I had all the info I'd need in order to make sure my mentors and families were up to date before I left for a few weeks. But on the way to Mike's work, my contractions were starting to get stronger and had just recently become a little closer together so I was able to get to his work and he ended up driving me to my work since they're so close. I stopped by to say hi, let them know I was actually in labor, and to make sure papers were there for my mentors that they needed to fill out before I return.
We headed home and Mike's dad was coming to help him with the yard and car. They ended up sitting on the computer in the living room much to my annoyance because I just wanted to lay on the couch and watch television but I didn't want to bother them and they were making it hard for me to concentrate. Okay, contractions were making it hard for me to concentrate. It may not have been as much them as I'd like to blame.
I timed my contractions and they were averaging about 5 minutes apart but I was still able to talk and do things through them so I didn't want to bother Mike with them and I definitely didn't want to go to the hospital any sooner than I thought was necessary. So I finished the laundry and packed my bag to go to the hospital. I figured we'd probably go first thing in the morning after I slept and I didn't want to forget anything.
Around 9 pm, Mike was done with the oil change and needed to go drop off the oil somewhere and Mike had promised me a shake so I went with him since I had been going a little stir crazy. Contractions in the car were really uncomfortable but I was glad to be out and about with him. We went to Auto Zone and then Iceberg. Mike ended up getting 2 burgers because they messed up on the first one and I had my shake so we went home and ate. I took a couple bites of the burger because I hadn't eaten much all day and had a few swallows of shake. A few hours later, my bowels began expediting all of the food I had eaten throughout the day and that was absolutely miserable.
I watched The Office and Mike helped me finish the laundry. We got all ready for bed and around 1:30 am, we were climbing into bed. I had a great relief of pain thanks to a blessing but after lying down for a few minutes, I told Mike that we needed to go to the hospital. At this point, I was timing my contractions to be about a minute long and 2-3 minutes apart. I was also talking through contractions. I had to focus on breathing but Mike kept asking me questions during the contractions so I answered them. I didn't want to and I would ask him to not talk to me during them, but I don't think he really knew they were happening until I told him they were.
So we got up and got ready to leave. Around 2 am, we headed out the door. We were a few minutes onto the freeway (we live right next to the on-ramp so we hadn't been gone too long, although to me it felt like we had been gone for quite a while) and I realized I didn't have my phone. I thought it through and realized I wanted it in case the hospital was going to keep us. I didn't want Mike to have to go home later and get it and I felt like I definitely needed it because I only know a couple of telephone numbers and I knew more people would want to know than that.
We turned around and on the way home, we discussed possibly just staying home. I was still talking during my contractions and we figured if my phone was important enough to go get, I probably was doing okay.
When we pulled up to the house, I started feeling a lot of pelvic pressure and was afraid my water was going to pop then. It hurt so bad that I told Mike to hurry and that we definitely needed to go to the hospital.
The drive to the hospital was really quiet. The turns hurt like crazy since I seemed to contract during most of them and I was really worried that we were going to the hospital too early and I really didn't want to be rejected. We slowly walked up to the hospital and when we entered, two nice security guards were there to greet us. They reminded us where to go and kept asking if I wanted a wheelchair or needed anything. I told them I'd like to walk and they're "okay" sounded more like, "okay, but if you don't need a wheelchair, maybe you're not really in labor."
Once up to the labor and delivery floor, they signed us in and put us into a triage room and left us. My contractions had become stronger and the pressure I was feeling was unbearable. I could no longer walk through contractions but I was still talking to Mike during them, although my talking had turned more to a whisper because that was all the energy I had for him.
We waited and waited and were told that five mothers had come in within 30 minutes of each other (I think I was included) and so they were trying to get everyone taken care of and a nurse would be with me soon. "Soon" ended up feeling like a few hours but I figured since I walked in, they probably thought I was doing okay.
The nurse finally came in and asked me the standard questions - how long and far apart are contractions, did my water break, and on a scale from 1-10, how much pain was I in. I figured I could be in worse pain so I said, "Oh, probably a 7, maybe an 8." She checked my dilation and said, "Oh wow. You're dilated 8 cm." I was contracting during that time so the most I got out was a "okay." She checked me one more time while not contracting and then I got rushed to a delivery room. Two nurses quickly got everything ready for me and kept reminding me to tell them if my bag of waters broke. More people came in and out and everyone told me that they couldn't believe I just walked into the hospital at 8 cm so calmly. I always just smiled and thought, "But I just didn't know when I should really come in." Mike and I were expecting me to be hyperventilating through contractions and I definitely wasn't doing that.
Around 3:30 am, Dr. Nielsen, the anesthesiologist came in. He told me quickly about everything that was going to happen with the epidural and the only thing I can really remember is that he told me, "...of course there are always risks like unusual numbness, etc but I'm sure you'll be fine." I was just thinking, "Okay, please give this epidural to me quickly. I really hurt."
As he was prepping me, he told me that I should look into teaching hypnobirthing classes because I was so calm. He, like everyone else, said he couldn't believe that I walked in at 8 cm. I laughed but was contracting and had nothing else to say to him. After two more contractions, a lot of uncomfortableness, and a lot of squeezing Mike's fingers, the epidural was in and my legs were feeling a little tingly.
Things started calming down from there. Dr. Ollerton (one of my OBGYNs) came in to see how I was doing and explained how it was going to all work since I tested positive for Group B Strep and wished me luck - he was off to deliver another baby. The epidural was working nicely. My legs felt a little numb but the pain of contractions had gone. In fact, I kept looking at the screen to make sure I was still contracting since I couldn't feel any of them. And I was definitely still contracting.
Mike settled into his bed and the nurse turned off the lights and let me rest. I was in and out of sleep until about 6 am. The nurse kept reminding me to tell her if my water broke and I finally asked if I would even be able to feel it. She said I probably would. At 7:15 am, Dr. Ollerton came back and popped the amniotic sac. Apparently a little bit of it was starting to hang out of me. And when he popped it, I definitely didn't feel anything.
At 7:18 am, I began pushing. My nurse, Moana (pronounced mow-ana) was great. Like all the other nurses, she was so nice and helpful. I honestly can say that I don't think I understood how to really push for an hour and a half. I was just wearing myself out and stressed because I wasn't seeing much results. After 2 hours, I was exhausted and was grateful that you only push during contractions, and even then, Moana was letting me rest through some of the contractions. And at this point, I finally understood how to push and was annoyed at myself for not being able to do this sooner.
At the point of crowning, Dr. Aagard came in. At 7:30 am, the doctors switched and I was okay with that. Luckily I enjoy all of the OBGYNs a lot. He sat down after everything was ready and said, "Okay, push." I pushed 3 times and the baby's head was just hanging out. Mike took pictures so I could see. Then the doctor said, "Okay, one more time." With a big push, I felt little K's body wriggle out and the next thing I knew, I was staring at her. I watched Mike cut the umbilical cord and since she had swallowed some meconium, she was taken a few steps away from me to get that taken care of.
The doctor rubbed my belly hard and pushed down and out came the placenta - the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. He held it up so I could see it and I thought I might puke. Oh, it was so gross. K got all cleaned, measured, weighed, etc while the doctor stitched me up. He told me all sorts of things and I don't have a clue what he was talking about - I was so focused on getting to hold Katie. Finally he was done and K was done and I got to hold her. She was so funny looking and had a huge cone head.
After trying to feed, Mike went down with K to the nursery to get all cleaned up while I stayed in the room and tried to eat some breakfast. It seemed like the nurse hadn't even been gone too long before she had me up and changing so I could go down to the mother-baby room where I'd spend the rest of my hospital stay. She gave me at least an hour to sit and eat but it definitely didn't feel long enough.
We got down to our room and I can honestly say I don't remember much of the rest of the day. We had family and friends over who stayed until about 3 pm and finally Mike and I were able to rest. I don't remember sleeping at all but I may have been able to sleep for just a little bit before I had to have my vitals taken again and before dinner came. More people came over and then the night began. It was probably the hardest night of my life. I ended up getting about one hour of sleep total. K cried and cried and cried and at one point, we just kept calling the nurse. We were so tired since we had come to the hospital in the middle of the night and were obviously not thinking as well as we would have liked to have been. Lucky for us, we have had amazing nurses and the nurse who helped us our first night was great. K ended up only sleeping because I held her and I was in and out of consciousness while she slept. Our second day and night went much better. We are starting to finally understand her and we now know that she loves attention. She was willing to cry last night for almost 45 minutes within an hour (not straight 45 minutes though) because she wanted to be held, not left in her tupperware crib.
I forgot to mention that K was born with a ton of black hair. She is now the talk of the 2nd floor. Apparently nurses just like talking about our family. The nurses finally stopped telling each other about how I came in to the hospital at 8 cm and acted like it was no big deal which I'm grateful for because I don't like attention. I think yesterday evening was the first time a nurse didn't talk to me about it. And now K gets all the attention. She gets stopped as she's wheeled down to the nursery apparently pretty often by others who want to look at her. One nurse told me that they wanted her down at the nursery because all the nurses wanted to hold her and look at her. I willingly let her go. And not one new nurse comes in who doesn't comment on her amazing hair and her cute face. But she really is pretty cute and just keeps getting cuter ... she just looked so funny right after birth.
Katie is almost 2 days old now and we feel so blessed to have her in our lives. She is so precious and we couldn't ask for anything better. We are so grateful that our Heavenly Father has entrusted us with her.