On Tuesday, November 16th at 1:30pm Blake and I went to my 39-week check-up. One of my doctor’s, Dr. JS, talked about inducing at forty weeks. This was something B and I didn’t want to do because we wanted Emmalyn to come on her own. BUT I was not opposed to having my membranes stripped. I asked the doctor if she does that and she said yes. I figured it was worth a shot to try and help get things moving along. At this time I was 1.5cm dilated and 80% effaced. Immediately after Dr. JS stripped my membranes, the contractions were coming about ten minutes apart. [And yes, stripping the membranes hurts!]
After the appointment, B dropped me off at home while he went to a meeting at school. The contractions started coming about five minutes apart shortly after he left so I called B to warn him. He said he’d have his phone on him during the meeting. At 4:45pm, I lost my mucus plug. I called B and he said he’d be right home. We packed up the car and went to Labor & Delivery, not sure if this was the real thing or not. My contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, but they weren’t terribly painful. I wasn’t sure if they were supposed to be excruciating at this point or not? But I wanted to be safe, rather than sorry!
They hooked me up to a monitor for about an hour and a half, but sent me home at 9:45 because my contractions were not strong enough to dilate me. But... the contractions were regular at 3 minutes apart, so the nurse said she wouldn’t be surprised if I were back the next day. By 11:00pm, the contractions were getting a lot stronger, but I was still able to get some sleep [on & off].
On Wednesday, November 17th, I woke up around 6:30am with painful contractions. They were certainly much stronger than the night before. I was doubling over in pain. B was sleeping oh.so.soundly. and I remember totally wanting to hit him! But I knew I would need his strength later on and wanted him to be well rested. After a while of rolling around in pain in bed, I told Blake I think I should have some breakfast, and then go to the hospital. [I wanted to have a full stomach before going to the hospital in case I wouldn't be able to eat for a long time.] I ended up eating in the car because the pain was that! bad! I didn’t want to wait any longer...
On our way to the hospital, I was trying to stay calm and breathe through the contractions. At this point, I was struggling to talk through them. The ride to the hospital seemed like F..O..R..E..V..E..R.. My mom actually called me on the way there. I told her we were on our way and she said she’d start driving over. I told her to wait for us to call and let her know if I was going to be admitted since we were sent home the night before.
We got to the hospital around 8am. We actually saw my other doctor, Dr. AS in the parking lot. He said, “Are you gonna have a baby?” I answered, “I hope so!!” I then had to stop in the middle of the lot because the contractions were so strong. He followed us in to the hospital and said he’d check me. I told him my contractions had been three minutes apart since about 4pm yesterday. He said he’d go ahead and admit me, and break my water.
YIKES!!!! I started getting nervous… I immediately had B call my mom and tell her to come on down. [She lives two hours away]
At 8:45am, Dr. AS broke my water. He checked my cervix, which was uncomfortable like always, but I didn’t even feel my water break, except it gush down my leg [TMI?] At this point I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced.
The contractions started picking up—A LOT stronger. It was very difficult to get through them. I decided I wanted the epidural. I went to the bathroom since I had a lot of IV fluids in preparation for the epidural. I had back-to-back contractions and felt like I needed to have a bowel movement with every contraction. It was extremely difficult to get through them. I couldn’t even get up off the toilet because they were coming so quickly.
At 9:45am, a nurse anesthetist came in and I started getting the shakes. I didn’t think I was nervous, but I guess I was. But the epidural was a cinch! It didn’t hurt at all, yo. Shortly after, I got the catheter put in, and that was a quick, sharp pain. My mom got there at the same time as I was getting the epidural, but they wouldn’t let her in until the nurse cleared out at about 10:30am. I guess this is when they started the Pitocin, too. It’s funny because at the time I didn’t realize I was being induced.
At 11:00am, my mom, B, and I were chatting and watching the episode of Glee we missed the night before. I’m glad I got the epidural. I was in so much pain at 2cm dilated, that I couldn’t imagine having to get through to 10cm! The whole environment of the room completely changed after I got the cocktail—I was laughing and enjoying the whole experience. [I still don’t regret my decision]
At 11:45am, I was 100% effaced and 3-4cm dilated, so my doctor decided to go to lunch.
At 1:30pm, the epidural was wearing off on the right side, below my waist. [eek]
At 1:40 I asked to be checked because I was feeling an urge to bear down. I was 7-8cm! They called the doctor to come back to the hospital.
At 2:10, I was feeling even more of an urge and asked to be checked again. I was 9cm! The doctor was back at the hospital now.
At 2:25pm, we were READY TO PUSH!
I didn’t really know what to do though, haha! At this point, my epidural wore off on the right and I asked if they could fix it, but the nurse said there was nothing we could do—it was too late. Great…! With every contraction, I had to push three times, holding my breath for ten seconds each time. This was difficult for me to get the hang of at first because I wanted to exhale as I was pushing. But that does nothing for you.
I kept pushing and pushing and really had no idea what was going on down there. The baby nurse asked if I wanted a mirror. I don’t know why, but I said yes. Originally I thought I would never want a mirror—that it would be really gross, but honestly, it helped SO MUCH! I highly recommend it to anyone. Before the mirror, I thought I was making a lot of progress. For all I knew, half her head was out. That definitely wasn’t the case, people. It’s like taking two steps forward and one step back. With the mirror, though, I was able to see exactly what I was doing. And when Dr. AS said, “That’s it! That’s how you should be pushing,” I was able to see what he was talking about. Without the mirror, I had no clue.
At the time I felt like I was pushing forever. The urge to push really is amazingly natural. Since only half my epidural was working, I was able to feel my contractions. I told the doctor when I wanted to push, he didn’t tell me. The worst part of it all was that I was running a fever and was terribly H-O-T. I felt like I was going to pass out! Especially since I had to hold my breath three times right in a row. And I couldn’t even think about trying to fight a contraction. When I was having one, I was pushing—there was no way around it. And it's not even worth trying to half-ass a push. You just get even more tired. It’s amazing, too, how little the doctor actually does. He just sits at the end of the bed and waits until there’s a head to catch. [lol]
It’s been two weeks and it’s already hard to even remember how I was feeling through all this. Pushing her head out was definitely the hardest part. With a few strong pushes, using everything I had in me [I was sooo determined!] her head was out! One more push, and Ahhhh… the biggest relief I’ve ever felt in my entire life!
Finally, at 3:39pm, Emmalyn Grace took her first breath! I immediately started crying as soon as they put her on my chest. I couldn’t believe I was finally holding my daughter.
Skyping with Emmy's 'Auntie Ree'/godmother/Blake's oldest sister & my Dad back in Orlando [gotta love technology!]:
1st Family Picture:
Studying with Daddy at 3 in the morning:
Going home outfit:
You know, I wrote a two-page birth plan, but it never made it out of the bag. I just went with the flow, and asked the nurses questions as I had them. A lot of things happened differently than I imagined, but in the end, everything was just p.e.r.f.e.c.t.
[But don’t go thinking there’s gonna be another one anytime soon ;o)]
*And in case you're wondering about the nausea... I haven't been nauseous since I stopped breast feeding. I'm feeling so much better! Tired of course, but gaining my strength back*