Originally written in June 2011:
On Sunday, our daughter decided to make her debut. True to form, she arrived promptly on her due date, although we were getting antsy and impatient, thinking she might decide to be fashionably late.
5:40 A.M. – I was in the middle of dreaming that I was in labor. Actually, it was more like a nightmare. The doctor was telling me that I didn’t have time to get an epidural and that I would have to feel the full extent of this human being squeezed out of my private parts.
5:44 A.M. – I woke up for no apparent reason. Maybe it was the nightmare. Or maybe it was God telling me it was go time.
5:45 A.M. – I feel something trickle out down there, and wonder if this could mean my water has broken. I rule out urine since it’s been at least ten years since I’ve wet the bed.
5:50 A.M. – We call my OB and she says to start heading over to Labor & Delivery. I can hardly believe that today is the day! We make sure everything is packed and head to the hospital.
6:15 A.M. – The nurses run something called a “fern test” to see if my water has truly broken. If it has, I can stay; if not, it’s back to the house I go.
9:00 A.M. – They confirm that my water bag has ruptured and start me on an IV and pitocin to regulate my contractions and get this labor going. (I was already contracting on my own, but the contractions were not regular enough.) When I entered the hospital, I was 3 cm dilated, 50% effaced. The contractions definitely feel like menstrual cramps, but are still bearable.
1:00 P.M. – The anesthesiologist comes in and asks if I would like my epidural now since he is going in for a C-section and will not be available for at least another hour. Since I’m scared the pain will get worse, I agree to get it now.
*This was probably the scariest part of the whole labor process for me. I know that thousands of women get the epidural, but I have always had this irrational fear that getting a shot in my spine might leave me paralyzed. Once the anesthesiologist was finished administering the epidural, I cried.
Soon after I receive my epidural, they realize that I am not dilating because my water bag is not fully broken. Once they completely break my water bag, I begin dilating immediately.
6:00 P.M. – The nurse tells me I am at 10 cm but that we are going to “labor down” for another hour to allow my contractions to bring the baby further down the birth canal (rather than have me push for an extra hour).
7:30 P.M. – The nurse tells me I am ready to begin pushing. My teeth start to chatter. Before we begin, she advises me to push like I have been constipated for the last ten months (which is not completely untrue). I push three pushes with each contraction, each push lasting ten seconds. I feel like my face is going to explode.
8:30 P.M. – They call in the OB and I know our baby is almost here! Once the doctor is in, everything happens so fast. With my last push I feel immediate relief and I see my baby’s face for the first time at 8:34 P.M. “You made it!” They put her on my chest and I can hardly believe she’s finally here.
Overwhelmed, exhausted, elated, amazed, and overall – grateful.
It’s been a whirlwind.
6 lbs. 13 oz. / 20 in. long