My contractions (ha! had I REALLY known then what contractions were I would call these more like teeny weeny cramps) started at about 9:30 am. They were pretty tolerable, but I had been contracting off and on since Thursday...both Thursday and Friday's contraction patterns ended abruptly after a couple of hours, so the fact that they started up again on Saturday didn't really mean much to me. But these did feel a little different. They started in my back and wrapped around to the front of my abdomen. So I decided to keep track just in case. And since Tim was standing up in his best friend's wedding that day, I wanted to make sure I didn't cry wolf and make him leave the wedding for no good reason (oooooh FORESHADOWING).
So, this particular weekend was already completely insane what with the bride's sister in law going into labor Thursday and having her baby Saturday early morning (day of wedding mind you in which she was a bridesmaid and her husband, the brother, a groomsman...the bride was totally calm and collected bless her heart). Anyhow, I decided to visit the new mama and baby to take up some time before the wedding and to leave the boys to prep at our house. I grabbed my friend A (another groomsman's wife) and we headed out to the hospital. On the way there I noticed my contractions were getting slightly stronger and closer together, about 15 minutes on average. Again, I just kept an eye out for them and took note just in case. "Just in case" should have been my nickname that day. We had a short but sweet visit at the hospital with M and the new baby and oohed and aahed over his tiny fingers and sweet baby-ness. Next up was going home to get ready for the ceremony...I was determined to be there for that part regardless of the fact that the church was not air-conditioned and regardless of my contractions. Tim was under strict orders from me to be at the ceremony and do his groomsman duties no matter what.
OK, so let's break the rest of the day out for you:
1:00 pm At home, showering, dressing, makeup-ing, etc. I can tell the contractions are getting a little worse and a little closer together and strong enough to make me take notice of them. But I still wasn't feeling like it was "time" yet.
2:30 pm A and I head to the wedding together, where I make her promise to sit with me near the back in case we have to make a hasty exit.
3:00 pm Ceremony was beautiful and heartfelt. I contracted my way through it and didn't feel like fainting once. I am super pregnant woman!
4:30 pm A and I decided to grab a snack before the reception...at the restaurant my contractions picked up again and I decided to stop at home to make a call to the doctor. I know I'm not supposed to call before the contractions are 5 minutes apart for an hour, but they were getting worse and coming about 7 minutes apart. And I am an idiot who refuses to follow instructions. Tim is on the wedding trolley taking pictures and having a grand old time.
6:00 pm The reception begins but A and I are at home waiting on a call back from the doctor. She calls and we talk about my contractions...you know the ones I have been having all day that are hurting and ooooh, there's one and she's all "can you talk through one?" and I say "yep, having one right now" and she says "you're in early labor most likely, and not quite ready to come in to the hospital, why don't you stay at home and see what happens" and I'm all "ummm, NO, I'm not crazy, I would like to go to the hospital where they have pain meds thankyouverymuch" and she says "ok, you can go, but they may send you home" and I'm all "chick, please, I KNOW what contractions are, and these are them, I'm on my way to the hospital" (again, am stupid).
6:15 pm A and I throw the bags in the car and off we go to pick up Tim and drop off A at the reception.
6:45 pm Tim jumps in the car where he asks if I brought him a change of clothes (yes) and shoes (oh, no). So, guess he's staying in his tux. At least it's a true celebratory occasion that could possibly call for a tux, yes? I give the bride and groom big hugs and lots of apologies for missing their big, special day.
7:00 pm We arrive at the hospital and they check me into triage to determine if I can be admitted to labor and delivery. My contractions begin to subside the minute they hook me up to the monitors and I get super pissy. Like the little devil just KNEW they were looking for him. They monitored my contractions and the baby's heart rate for about an hour and half to see if anything started to happen again.
8:30 pm The nurse decides to do an internal exam to see how much progress I had made over the course of the day. Well, golly, wouldn't you know it but there was NO CHANGE FROM MY DOCTOR'S VISIT ON WEDNESDAY. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Still 1 cm and 90% effaced. I think I may have started to wimper a little. So she spoke with the doctor, who was probably like "told you so you silly first timer", and they decided to send me home. She gave me a pain killer and told me that it would mask the pain of these early contractions and once the real contractions started, they would break through that pain barrier and then I would really know I was in active labor. And then she followed that gem by saying that I could go into active labor that night or next week, no one really knew for sure. Sweet. Not only did I pull Tim out of the wedding for a false alarm, which was exactly what I didn't want to happen, but now I had to continue waiting for this elusive active labor to begin.
10:30 pm We're back at home, having just eaten a very late dinner, and are in bed. I'm extremely frustrated and feeling nothing, no contractions, no cramping.
11:30 pm Holy shit, THAT was a contraction. The first one was so bad I literally leapt out of bed and started running up and down the hall. And then I promptly threw up my entire dinner and began to cry. There is no way to prepare yourself for the sheer amount of pain one contraction can do to your body.
Sunday, July 20, 2008:
12:00 am Contractions are coming strong and fast, approximately every 5 minutes or so. I am in the bathroom, trying to breathe through the pain, though my eyes begin to roll back in my head...at this point I yell for Tim because this has GOT to be it. He's now in charge of timing the contractions and rubbing my back.
12:30 am I am hunched over the toilet in the bathroom, sweating like I had just run a marathon. Every contraction makes me feel like I am going to die. Tim begins to wander from the bathroom to the bedroom and I have to scream for him every time he leaves and a contraction begins. I threaten to divorce him if he does not stay in the room with me. He calls me Sybil. And then begins referencing the movie The Exorcist.
1:15 am I demand the phone so I can call the doctor. Tim hestitates because we were under strict instructions to not call until the contractions were 5 minutes apart for at least an hour. Apparently, he was really set on making it those last 15 minutes but I was really set on not having the baby in the car so I won. The doctor told us to get to the hospital stat.
1:30 am The minute we walk out the door, a thunderstorm hits. Our drive consisted of me screaming at Tim to blow the red lights and Tim weighing the fact that it's 1) pouring rain, 2) a Saturday evening in which there may be some slightly inebriated people on the road, and 3) his insane pregnant wife screaming obscenities in his ear...thankfully he got us to the hospital safely. My water breaks, in the car, just as we're getting on Lake Shore Drive. Seriously, it felt like we were in some movie.
1:45 am We arrive at the hospital, get checked in after an eternity, and look at that, same nurse we had at 7 pm. She nonchalantly says she expected us back, and yay, look it's time for a baby. I wanted to tell her to F off but thought that might impede me getting my epidural as soon as possible. I get hooked back up to the monitors and continue contracting though it now felt like one continuous contraction with no break in between. She did an internal and declared that I was a lovely 5.5 cm dilated and completely effaced and ready to go upstairs to labor and delivery just as soon as your bed is ready...la la la.
2:05 am Still in triage, I begin to feel the urge to push. I couldn't stop it; my body literally took over and began to bear down. I screamed for the nurse because all I knew is that I was only 5.5 cm and it doesn't take a genius to know that no baby is coming out a hole that is only 5.5 cm wide. The nurse came back in the room and again told me to just breathe through the contraction. I sweetly informed her that there was no way in hell I could stop pushing. She checked me again and I think she may have sworn under her breath when she found out I was 9 + cm. In 20 minutes I went from 5.5 cm to 9+ cm...no kidding I felt the need to push. She threw the sides of the bed up and unlocked the brakes and we were off and running to labor and delivery. All I could think was "damn it! now I don't get my epidural!"
2:15 am I'm admitted to labor and delivery, room 888. I was begging for the epidural through my tears and not 10 seconds later the most wonderful man entered my room...Dr. Trevor with the funny sideburns and his needle full of happy juice. He administered the epidural quickly and painlessly...I seriously felt nothing. Or it could have been that after the contractions, the pain of the needle and catheter were a welcome distraction. Tim came back in the room and later told me that it was like I had sunshine shooting out of my ass, that's how different I was from the person who walked into that hospital. The doctor arrived sometime after that and checked me again. Less than half a cm to go before I could start pushing.
3:30 am I've been cleared to push. I couldn't feel much except pressure so I waited for the doctor to tell me when to push and when to rest. This was probably the best part of the labor and delivery experience for me. It was the middle of the night, completely quiet, and very peaceful. Just me, Tim, the doctor and the nurse.
4:00 am The doctor tells me the baby's heartrate keeps falling at every push so she decides to do an episiotomy to help the baby out faster. I didn't really have the chance to say no.
4:03 am Noah is born. 8 lbs, 6 oz of baby born with Apgar scores of 9 and 9 (perfect according to the nurse). He had the cord wrapped around his neck once which was the reason his heartrate kept falling...every push caused the cord to compress and reduce his oxygen. I got one good look at him before they took him to the warmer and started measuring and cleaning him up. All I could tell was that he was absolutely perfect. I was in love.
So there you have it. A super duper long birth story. With a happy ending of course!