We arrived at the Labor & Delivery unit where I had Jon park in the parking lot instead of dropping me off at the door. We walked up to the door and rang the bell (it's a locked unit from the inside and out). A nurse came to the door a few minutes later and asked if we were there for a tour. I thought to myself "who would want to tour a labor unit at 10:30 on a Saturday morning?" Instead of saying what I was thinking, I politely declined and told her that I thought I was in labor. She let us in and proceeded to walk away. Jon and I looked at each other and he spoke up and asked her if we were supposed to be following her or waiting, she replied by telling us to follow her. We walked into room 140 in which all the lights were off and the nurse began messing with a machine. Jon and I were beginning to become frustrated at this point because we felt as though we needed some explanation or even an introduction. I am not sure what came over me but suddenly I spoke up and asked the nurse her name and introduced Jon and myself and then told her that this was our first child, our first experience with all of this, and that she was going to need to be more informative. At that point I am pretty sure I caught the nurse off guard, but she did do a 180 and was very nice and explained everything that she was doing from that point on. I undressed and put the hospital gown on and for some reason that made things seem more real to me. The nurse put the two monitors on my belly (one to monitor the contractions and the other to monitor the baby's heart rate). Hearing Lillian's heart beat was such a calming and surreal sound. It brought me a feeling of peace knowing she was doing good inside my belly. The nurse also checked to see how far dilated I was and she said I was still at 2 cm. This news was pretty disappointing.
Since my doctor gave me her cell number a few days before I decided to call her as we were headed to the hospital to let her know we were on our way. I left a voice message. Once we got to the hospital Jon also called and left her a voice message. The nurse told us that she called the doctor on call and he would be in shortly to check things out. I was not too thrilled because the doctor on call was my original OB/GYN doctor the first time I ever went and I did not like his bedside manner. (Needless to say I switched doctors after my first visit with him) About an hour after we settled in, the on call doctor came in and took a look at the strip recording my contractions, which were still about 5 minutes apart. He also checked to see if I was dilated anymore and at this point he said I was 3 cm. He felt as though I was progressing well on my own and that I would most likely have a baby that night. This was wonderful news! By this time the contractions, which were all in my back, were becoming more uncomfortable so the doctor ordered for me to get vistaril to help me relax a little. (On a side note, I have to admit that the doctor was very nice and this experience with him was much better than the first encounter we had.) I waited about an hour and there was no relief. I ended up asking the nurse if I could walk the halls because laying in the bed seemed to be making it more uncomfortable. Walking did help!
My doctor called the unit to check on me and ended up coming in about 2:30 that afternoon. She checked and at this point I was 4 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She liked the progress I was making. She decided to order lab and get the ball rolling for me to get the epidural and she also decided to break my water. In order to get the epidural all the lab has to be drawn and you have to get 1 liter of IV fluids. The reason for the fluids is because the epidural can cause your blood pressure to drop. The nurse came in and started my IV (and it looked like a massacre happened in the room, the nurse had blood everywhere!) and got enough blood for my lab work. They started the fluids at 125ml/hr. (1 liter of fluids at 125ml/hr meant it would finish in 8 hours!) I looked at Jon and told him that at that rate I would never be able to get my epidural before the baby came! My doctor came back in and broke my water. It was not comfortable sitting in warm fluid. They had to change out the pads under me often! Not very long after my water was broken the contractions became unbearable! I was doing my best to breathe through them. Jon was right there with me coaching me through it all. I must have called out to the nurses station a handful of times to tell them that I needed something for pain. They had already called the anesthesiologist and he was to be there any minute. Well any minute seemed like days to me at this point. I have never felt pain to intense in my life. I was coming out of the bed. There was one time I looked at Jon through my tears and told him that I couldn't do it anymore. I was doing my best not to scream out in pain (after all, I didn't want to be heard throughout the unit). The only things getting me through each contraction was knowing that the pain wouldn't last forever and that with each contraction I was hopefully making more progress making it even closer to time to meet our baby girl. Finally the anesthesiologist got there and set up and had my epidural going. He was my savior! I was able to feel my legs and move them but I was not in any pain at all. I could feel my stomach tighten with each contraction but I did not feel any pain. I was a new woman!
Around 5:00 PM they decided to start pitocin to help keep the labor progress going. The nurse checked me again around 6:00 PM and I was 8-9 cm dilated! What great news! Lillian's head was still not all the way engaged so they had me sit up in bed with my legs crossed and "labor down." I was becoming more excited and more anxious now. It was really happening, I was really going to meet this baby I had been carrying for 10 months!
The next shift came on and the nurse came in and introduced herself and let me know the plan. They wanted me to "labor down" for a little while longer, allowing Lillian to move further down and also allowing my cervix to completely dilate. She informed me that I could start pushing but that it may mean I would have to push longer and she didn't want me to have to do that. I was okay with waiting because I was not in any pain and I wanted what was best for the baby. The tech came in the room and got everything all set up for the doctor and for delivery. It really got real then!
Around 8:30 PM the nurse came back in and checked me and said she wanted me to do some "practice pushing." My massive legs (I say massive because they were blown up from all the fluids) went into the stirrups and the nurse told me to bear down as though I was having a bowel movement. (Which might I add is hard to do when you don't really want to have a bowel movement!) I pushed like this for about 30 minutes and then I began to feel really dizzy and light headed. I wasn't sure if it was my blood sugar because I had not eaten since I pigged out at Tacomania the night before or if I was not breathing adequately as I was pushing. Either way, we took a break and the nurse went to call the doctor to let her know we were about ready to have this baby. My doctor got there about 9:15 PM and I started pushing again. It was really hard work and exhausting, but Jon was really helping me out, keeping me calm and coaching me through it. I started to feel as though I wasn't getting anywhere with all the pushing I was doing until everyone in the room got excited and made me push one more time. That was it! At 9:52 PM our baby girl arrived into this world. She was laid on my chest and immediately I began to cry! It was all worth it! All 10 months, all the pain, all the swelling, all for a healthy 8 lb 4 oz girl. My heart was immediately so happy!