For Part 1, GO HERE.
We got tot he hospital, checked in, went with the nurse to triage in the wheelchair and from the time we left the house to the time we were in triage I had ONE contraction, that's like, one contraction an hour. I felt like the biggest idiot ever being wheeled along by a nurse when not in any notable labor, I'm sure she was chuckling internally at what looked like the first time mom in for false labor and about to be sent home- I know I would have been.
The nurse came into triage where I was not-laboring and did the 1000 questions thing and the monitor thing, which registered one whopping contraction the entire time I was hooked up. Then she checked the old cervix to see what was happening and let me know that I was now at...
This is where it gets exciting. The nurse had the resident check me and he confirmed her assessment then they called my doctor to see what she thought. Her recommendation was for me to either a) go home and wait for more contractions or b) stay and walk around for a couple of hours, see if contractions pick up and have them check me again and see if I was still progressing.
My initial decision was to go home, especially since walking around is when my contractions were stopping, so I got clothed and ready to go but then the nurse who had checked me expressed her desire for me to stay. She really didn't want me to give birth in the car and thought that I was probably, or at least maybe, actually in labor. She suggested we stay for an hour and re-check the situation. One hour didn't sound too bad and wasn't a problem with our babysitters so we stayed.
We walked around and around and around and since my cervix had just been checked not once but twice, things were plenty stirred up and contractions were coming fairly regularly, anywhere from every 5 to every 10 minutes.
(I really regret not taking a picture of our circle walking, please imagine one here)
The hour passed and we went back to triage for another cervical check and the nice nurse lady declared me a...
Naturally she needed to have this verified and so she had a different nurse check me again. That is 4 cervical checks in like, 2 hours! Mike just kept saying "cervix with a smile!", sometimes I laughed.
And so now my contractions were just crazy and the nurse was not ok with me going home at 6 centimeters so she called my doctor again to see what she thought. The consensus was? I was staying and could get an epidural any time I wanted.
They checked me into a room and got my IV started, which was incidentally the best IV experience I have ever had. Now that I was "officially" in labor, or deemed so by the hospital, I got a little nervous that my contractions would die down again. My worries were put to rest after another hour of them coming every 4 minutes or closer- it was the real deal now.
This epidural experience was a bit hairier than my last, which was nothing but glorious, and there was a good deal more "ouch! I can FEEL that and it hurts" while the anesthesiologist was putting it in. It was not my favorite part at all and maybe makes me want to try a natural birth again (God willing) in the future. I also had a lot more pain and weird shortness of breath afterwards, a little creepy, that's all.
The epidural was kicking by 5 p.m., the sun was shining through my window and I was able to rest. A day time delivery with minimal contractions, kids cared for by great friends-- I declared it my best labor thus far. My doctor came in around 5:45 and broke my water (she was able to make it to the birth since I went so early!) and around 6:15 Mike asked her if he could run to the cafeteria to grab some food. Since she didn't think I would be ready to push all too soon, she sent him off.
At 6:45, Mike was still eating downstairs and I started feeling like I needed to push. I could feel so much more with this epidural and I was a little terrified to actually push the baby out since I was pretty sure that I was not actually numb in the area where the head emerges. So at 6:45 I was feeling "pressure" and the doctor checked me and declared me "ready to go!"
But wait! No husband!
I frantically called Mike who scarfed down the remainder of his cheeseburger in record time and made it back in time for me to push around 7 p.m. Everyone suited up and it was time.
Apparently I only pushed for "3 minutes", according to one nurse. I know! I am so lucky! But let me just tell you that the area where the head emerges was indeed NOT NUMB AT ALL. It was straight up crazy to feel nothing.... nothing... nothing... a little bit of pressure... then.... EVERYTHING. ALL THE PAIN!!
But then he came out and it was all ok.
It was a really rough post-birth experience because I couldn't be with Joseph, I hadn't slept and was incredibly hormonal. (He had aspirated some amniotic fluid and had to go to the NICU for oxygen for a night, and was then held for other random things for 4 days- so lame)
So there you have it- the earlier-than-planned, rather confusing labor and birth of my first son It was really hard but ultimately, it was beautiful and I am so grateful for all of it.