It all started towards the end of March when I became extremely antsy to get the show on the road. I was bouncing on my yoga ball, drinking the 3rd trimester raspberry leaf tea around the clock, and trying to do every trick in the book to get the baby out. Why? Because I hadn’t been able to walk in about 4 weeks! I was having some weird type of sharp pain in my groin/bikini line area every time I walked, so I was becoming Ms. Cranky Pants because I could barely walk to the bathroom. I missed being able to bend over, lie in certain positions and most of all – I missed the sunshine and the fresh breeze. A couple times Mr. Pencil had to walk me to the patio to get some air and we walked in circles while holding hands! I was having dreams about my water breaking… but it was just not happening.
My first sign of pre-labor was my bloody show. I was pretty excited because I was thinking “finally!” Starting that night I started to slowly get cramps, which I guess were teeny contractions. They turned into bigger and bigger contractions and I excitedly told Mr. Pencil that we should get to the hospital, even though we weren’t really sure what these “weird cramps” were. I knew that I could potentially be sent home, but was hoping that this could be it!
After being admitted to the beautiful Santa Monica UCLA hospital (seriously, I had the best hospital experience ever!), we were asked a million questions and I was given a very thorough examination, only to be told that I was only dilated maybe 1 cm. They were still nice enough to keep me there for a few hours, but in the end they said that I should pre-labor at home until my contractions were so bad that I couldn’t breathe or walk. At that point my contractions (yes, those tiny cramps were contractions!) were about 4-5 minutes apart and pretty uncomfortable. I thought that was when you were supposed to go to the hospital, but I was being sent home!
So we went home disappointed, but I knew it was coming. My contractions were getting stronger but very, very, very slowly. About 12 hours later, the contractions were to the point where I was making crazy ugly faces. They stopped me in my tracks because they were so painful and they were about 3 minutes apart.
G O I N G T O T H E H O S P I T A L
I woke up the hubby and we got ready again. It was very dramatic that night because it was pouring rain! Driving to the hospital, in pain, in the rain. Baby Pencil was already such a drama queen!
After being admitted, I found out that I was still dilated only 2 cm! Apparently, even if you have bloody show, have contractions 2-3 minutes apart, and have horribly painful contractions, it doesn’t matter if you’re not dilated.
They asked if I wanted drugs. Yes! Gimmie! Stat! It was a no brainer for me to get an epidural. I’m a huge wuss when it comes to pain, and I even cry every time I get my eyebrows threaded. The awesome hospital decided to ask the anesthesiologist if I could have the epidural even though I was only dilated 2 cm because I was in so much pain. I was making the same ugly every 2-3 minutes, and I’m pretty expressive so I think I got them moving along… and the doctor said yes!
I guess getting epidural is a huge deal because everyone in the room had to wear a hairnet and a mask. You don’t even need to wear those things during labor! I read a long story about all the risks involved with getting an epidural, and it was getting me a little nervous. The anesthesiologist kept saying, “Ok, don’t move, OK? Try your hardest not to move and tell me when you’re having a contraction.” In my head, I was thinking, “Why!? What will happen if I accidentally move?!”
The one thing I learned from my hospital experience is that nurses make a huge difference. When you have a good nurse, it can change everything. My wonderful nurse held me close like I was her daughter and calmed me down during getting the epidural. She tried to distract me by asking questions about where I’d like to travel and what kind of weather would I like in that city. She thought of things to make me think of anything else besides whatever was going on with my back.
G E T T I N G T H E E P I D U R A L
The anesthesiologist told me everything he was doing. He soothed me by saying stuff like, “OK right now, all I’m doing is cleaning your back… nothing serious. Ok now I’m just taping stuff; it’ll take awhile. Just taping… still taping…” By explaining it that way, it seemed like it was over in a jiff! (That and having your nurse distract you by asking calming questions.) I know it’s different for everyone, but I felt the epidural take effect immediately. I knew it because my nurse said, “You’re having a big contraction right now… do you feel it?” It was literally seconds after the epidural was in, and I felt nothing!
After getting the epidural, I’d really have to say things went very smoothly. I could feel my legs, I could move my body and everything felt normal except that I didn’t feel any pain or contractions. How did they make this miracle drug work like that? I had control over my body and yet not feel pain. I could even feel them touching me on all parts of my body and putting in the catheter… but no pain. Amazing! It really made everything not scary anymore since I could push and feel every part of my body, while not experiencing the screaming pain of my contractions. It also wore off very gradually so it wasn’t a total shock of getting all this pain back at once. Plus, they give you a little clicker where you can pump more epidural if you feel like it’s weakening.
P I T O C I N
After a while they gave me some pitocin to speed my labor along. A lot of times with an epidural it can prolong your labor, but luckily for me things kept moving forward. Soon after my pitocin was in, I was dilating more and more until I felt a trickle and asked to be checked if my water broke. My water did break and a couple hours later, they said I was ready to push!
P U S H I N G
I was definitely feeling some intense pressure in what felt like my tail bone area. It honestly just felt like I needed to take a big #2 and when I told my nurse that, she nodded and said that it was the baby moving downwards and that it was a good sign. I started to feel my contractions only because it was pushing on my bones. It was so intense I thought my bones were going to crack!
We did a practice push before they called the doctor in, and they said the baby had moved all the way down during pre-labor, so I wouldn’t have to push as much. (Nice. Thank you, baby.) Before we had the doctors come in, Mr. Pencil and I had a few minutes alone where we could talk and pray and cry together about what was going to happen to our lives in just a few minutes. It was wonderful and intense and very intimate. We knew that what was going to happen was life changing… and we were nervous/excited/scared out of our minds. We cried together knowing that this was it – our lives were going be totally different with this new kid in our lives. We were scared, but of course very excited to meet the little dude.
I think it’s a great idea to ask for a few minutes alone with your spouse/partner before you give birth. You can really soak in that wow – this is going to happen! It gave us our last moments alone with it being just us two. I will always remember that moment forever!
Then the nurses came in, dimmed the lights and set up my legs. Showtime!
Next part coming up… the coming of the baby!