Holy cow, you guys, I just got back from the grocery store and it was SO AWESOME.
Driving my car!
Choosing the radio station!
Walking down the wrong aisle for peanut butter then circling back to the correct one instead of leaving empty handed because OMG IT IS SO FAR OVER THERE TO THE RIGHT PEANUT BUTTER AISLE! I WILL JUST MAKE RYAN COME BACK LATER.
It is only now that I feel almost like myself again that I am able to see the last three months for the horror show of physical discomfort that they were and stop wondering why I was so pissed off and nasty all the time.
Wes and I went for a walk around the neighborhood and we only came home because he wanted water. A WALK! I went for a WALK!
Feeling normal, it is amazing.
So who wants to know about how I labored to eight centimeters ON MY OWN IN MY OWN HOUSE? I am still looking back on last Tuesday and wondering exactly what happened. I woke up having painful contractions about every twenty minutes. This lasted for a couple of hours, long enough for Ryan to call in and arrange to stay home, and then it stopped. So that was disappointing. But I had my induction scheduled for that evening at six so I figured I would only have to wait that long.
Ryan was home so he took the kids out for the morning. They rode bikes, they ran errands, they ate lunch. I sat on the couch and talked to friends online in between reading a memoir about childhood polio.
At some point the contractions started again (around one o'clock? Possibly? It took me some time to realize they were happening regularly). I didn't time them because I refused to get my hopes up again. My mom came over to start cooking dinner. She was planning to stay with the big kids that night since we would be headed to the hospital.
Around two o'clock Ryan came back and I asked him to start timing the contractions on his phone. Every time I felt one starting I called out "LAP!" and he would push the lap button and tell me how long the interval was. First it was ten minutes, then it was eight, and so on, until we got stuck between six and seven minutes for most of the hour between three and four o'clock.
During that time we had many conversations about When We Should Go to the Hospital. I did not want to get sent home so I was in the "I'm going to stay on this couch until these contractions are five minutes apart if it KILLS ME" camp and Ryan was in the "You deliver babies really fast, maybe it would be good to go over there now" camp.
My mom looked nervous. The kids were oblivious. My friends were urging me to GO TO THE HOSPITAL AND LIE IF YOU HAVE TO.
The contractions started to hurt more.
Then Wild Kratts came on at four o'clock and the kids were distracted and I had a particularly painful contraction so I stood up and said "Let's go!" We kissed the kids goodbye and got in the car and drove the five minutes to the hospital. I am so glad it was only five minutes because now in addition to the contractions, I had persistent, highly uncomfortable pressure, that in past labors has indicated it is almost time to push.
And I was in the car. I dismissed this thought to the back of my mind because I assumed we would be sent home until six o'clock. Or that I would be pregnant forever like that lady on the National Enquirer.
Looking back I think denial to be an excellent analgesic.
Also a great analgesic is my friend Cindy, whose snarky Facebook banter was a welcome and highly entertaining distraction. I suggested she start an online business. Everyone should have a Cindy.
At the hospital I instructed Ryan to park far away because I figured the extra walking would give me a few more millimeters of dilation. I just knew they were going to send me home again. Ryan and I were all laughy jokey between contractions, but when they came I had to take a little break from the walking and take deep breaths. A nurse walking to her car gave me a knowing smile, which surprised me because I was making great effort to keep my face neutral. You know, since I really shouldn't complain about these "fake" contractions.
When we got to the door Ryan pushed the call button and said nervously "My wife is... having... some... uh..." and I interrupted "IN LABOR. HIS WIFE IS IN LABOR." They buzzed us right back. I smiled at the nurse and said apologetically, "They're only like six minutes apart." Surprisingly, this seemed like an acceptable interval to her and I was allowed into the room they had already set up for the induction.
I changed into my gown (which took almost fifteen minutes because I had to stop so many times for contraction breaks) and got into bed (this took several attempts, between the contractions and the severe pelvis pain) turned on Friends and continued to joke around with the nurses as they put in my IV and answered some last minute questions. The one doing my IV said "You know, I'm going to check you before I finish doing this."
"OH WOW," she said "You're at EIGHT CENTIMETERS."
Then she looked at me very seriously and said "If your water breaks we may not have time for the epidural. Do. Not. Move."
I did. Not. Move.
I would not have moved if the hospital was on fire.
The pace of things accelerated after that. The nurse called the lab twice to politely tell them to hurry the hell up with the CBC so I could get my epidural as quickly as possible. She called anesthesiology to tell them they needed to have the doctor CLOSE BY because there wasn't much time. They rolled the delivery table in. They readied the epidural equipment.
I stayed very, very still and tried to stay calm through the waves of pain. Between contractions I watched Friends and joked around with Ryan. I willed Mary's amniotic sac to STRREEEEETCH.
Then the phone rang with a clear CBC and the anesthesiologist came in. It was as if he'd been waiting right outside the door. He placed the epidural and marveled at my super-woman-ness when the nurse told him I walked in here smiling and joking at eight centimeters dilated (anomaly of nature, were his exact words). He wished me good luck and left the room. I waited patiently for the ten minutes he promised it would take for my lower half to go numb.
And then it became clear that the epidural was only working on the right side.
This is what happened with Charlie. I had half of a natural delivery. That is a strange and extremely uncomfortable sensation. That I did not care to repeat.
So the nurse rolled me up onto my left side and we waited for the medicine to sloooowwwwlly work it's way over there, which it did, eventually.
Less than a minute after I felt my left side go numb I knew it was time to push.
They called the doctor.
When the nurse noticed I was clinging to the epidural button like my life depended on it she called the doctor again.
Finally the doctor arrived and said it was OK to push. But for some reason I couldn't tell *when* it was time to push as soon as I had all those people standing around looking at me expectantly. So I just started pushing.
Three pushes on one contraction and three on the next and THERE SHE WAS!!
It was six o'clock, two hours after we'd left my house. Thank goodness we left my house.
It's a baby girl!! And her name is Mary Helen!!
And she was beautiful and pink and BIG at 9 lb 8 oz. We are absolutely in love with her already.