The funny thing is I went into labor the night I wrote my 38 week update post about how I hope he decides to wait a little longer because our house was kind of a disaster. I see you have your father’s sense of humor, little one!
But yes, on January 31st as I was finishing up that post my stomach started cramping and I assumed it was probably Braxton Hicks since I hadn’t experienced any yet and that there was no way that “this was it.” The contractions started around 9pm and after awhile they seemed to come and go at a regular rate and were getting more intense so I decided to start timing them with a contraction app I had downloaded on my iPad. After an hour or so they got so intense I made Eric be in charge of the app because after the pain would go away I would be so relieved I kept forgetting to hit “stop” and it was screwing up the analytics.
Eric was equally surprised with the contractions and kept saying, “is this really happening?” “is this real?” and then realizing how he thought he had more time to prepare stuff for his classroom before paternity leave, he hopped on the computer to draft a few emails in case I really was in labor. As he was writing emails I would trying to keep myself busy making sure we had everything packed and I would yell “start!” across the house and then “stop!” once a contraction ended. Eric was a great contraction timer!
After timing the contractions for a couple hours I looked at the data and it said my contractions were lasting 30-45 seconds and only 4-5 minutes a part so I decided to call the hospital. Luckily it was my OB on call so I got to speak to him and he basically said if I felt like I needed to go to the hospital to go, otherwise I could wait until morning (I had my regular weekly appointment scheduled for 7am the next morning). By this point it was around 11:30pm and I was tired and in so much pain I told Eric I wanted to go to the hospital and see if I could be admitted. In our classes they said to head to the hospital if your water breaks or once your contractions are 5 minutes a part so I was hoping I was far enough along. They’ll only admit you though if your water has definitely broken or you’re at least 4 cent. dilated. So we got to the hospital around midnight and the nurse checked me out and I was only dilated to a 1…cue sad face. All that pain for a 1?? They gave me the option of going home or walking around the hospital for an hour and getting checked again. Well I didn’t think I would be sleeping if I went home anyway so we stayed and paced the halls. After an hour they checked again and no progress, still a 1. So they said I would have to go home and they gave me some medicine to help me sleep. We got home around 2:30 am and while the medicine did not block out the pain it did make me groggy enough to get through the night.
The bad thing about taking the medicine at 2am was that I was out of it at 6am when I had to get up to go to my regular doc app’t. In fact, later I realized I literally don’t remember anything from that appointment – the drive there, checking in or sitting in the waiting room, being weighed, undressing…anything! I don’t even know if I did a urine test like normal. All I remember is my doc saying “You’re 4 cent. dilated so we can admit you.” YES! I had never been so happy. My doc’s office is at the hospital so all they had to do was wheel me to the 2nd floor and then I waited for the epidural. Earlier in my pregnancy I maybe half considered no drugs, but unless from the start of your pregnancy you start training your mind and body on how to cope with birth without drugs, I think it would be impossible. It’s also really hard to fight through pain like that when you know there is something that exists to make it go away! So I had no issues getting the epidural and once it hit I was perfect. I couldn’t feel anything from 8am until 5pm. Eric and I both took the day to catch up on all the sleep we lost the night before. A nurse would come in periodically to see how I was coming along. Midway thru the day they broke my water and finally around 5pm I was dilated to a 10. Now this is where the epidural failed me a bit. As the pain naturally increases you can have them up the dosage of the epidural. Well I started getting intense pain on my right side in my back and pelvis and I guess sometimes the epidural can flow on one side of the body more than the other. So even though they upped my dose all it did was make my left side extremely numb, while I could still feel on my right. So during the most painful part of labor my right side decided to fail me.
Now something I was naive about once I hit 10 was that I thought now all that was left was a couple pushes and he would be here. Oh how wrong! The actual pushing on average is a couple hours. Not sure how I missed that in our childbirth class! Over the course of the 2hrs I pushed many nurses would come in and they would all ask Eric if he wanted to move down from my head area and watch. He needed a shirt that said “the view is good from up here, thanks.” I’m not sure what went through Eric’s head as I went through the most intense workout of my life, but he was great. He would massage my back in the place that kept knotting up and would wait for my direction of anything I needed instead of trying to guess what he thought I needed (because trust me, when in labor the last thing you want is someone telling you how to do something or how you feel). He fed me ice chips and kept me motivated. So thank you for that!
Near the end of pushing I started to get really hot and they took my temp and it was over 100 degrees. My fever was causing Parker’s heart rate to go up a bit and so they brought in a critical care team to look him over right away just in case he had a fever too. This meant that I wouldn’t get to hold him right away like I had hoped but obviously making sure he was healthy is the better choice!
And then finally, gloriously, Parker was born at 7:32 pm. I would try to explain the feeling of pushing a human out of your body into the world, but it’s pretty indescribable. There is definitely lots of relief, I will tell you that! The critical care team looked Parker over and deemed him perfectly fine (and my fever had dropped as well) and so at last I got to hold him.
I also give a huge shout out to the nurses…it’s like they were picked just for me because after delivering him and while they were weighing him and doing the footprints, etc. they had Eric come over so he could take some pics but before he could really do anything one nurse stole the camera and said “don’t worry I know exactly what pictures you want.” I’m so glad for this! Being stuck in my bed I couldn’t see anything that was going on and she captured Eric looking at his son for the first time and holding his finger and all things that would have been missed by me otherwise. She also took shots that Eric probably wouldn’t thought of. The nurse also stayed around to take our first family portrait. Seriously, I don’t know her name, but thank you! After all the hoopla and he was in my arms Eric and I got the hour we wanted with Parker. He took to nursing pretty quickly and we just stared in awe pretty much the whole time. Around 9:30 we welcomed our family in and we had fun passing him around and seeing if we could point out features we saw of us in him.
They say your baby will come when they are ready and so I’m glad he was anxious to meet us early! Something I liked about his original due date was that it could be read frontwards and backwards (2-10-12), well the funny thing is that he still ended up being born on a date like that, 2-1-12. There was also a part of me throughout my whole pregnancy that hoped he was born on February 1st because that is the date my Mamaw (my moms mom) passed away. I know that may be a weird thing to say to some, but to me it just made her feel even more present and like she made it happen because she wanted that date to become a celebration and not just a day of sadness. There is also no question to me who his guardian angel is.
Well Parker is about up from his nap and will be declaring his need for food so I better get going, but thanks to everyone for their support and helping hands. Eric and I are very excited for this journey – and while I know it’s not going to be easy – it will be worth every minute!