DISCLAIMER: I write a lot, probably too much. Sorry, I just can't spare the details.
Some of you (especially my pregnant friends) might be interested in hearing how the whole thing happened. Many of you might think that is too much information. Well, whether you are interested or not, here is how Parker was brought into the world.
I had been expecting Parker to arrive any moment after I went to my 37 week appointment. My doctor, Melissa Brown, was impressed with how much progress I was making with dilation and effacement. I MADE her guess when he was going to be born. She hesitated saying, "you never know." But I insisted and she guessed he would be born a week before his due date. I changed that date, mentally, to my new due date (bad idea, unless you like to be disappointed). The truth is that you never really know. All those so-called "signs" that labor is imminent are not really signs of labor at all. They are just signs that you are going to have a baby eventually...which HOPEFULLY, you already know at that point. Dilation, effacement, losing the mucus plug, bloody show, engagement, increased braxton-hicks...all of these happened to me, yet no baby. In fact, I was having braxton-hicks contractions 10 minutes apart for weeks!
So a couple weeks pass and my due date (Sept. 26) comes on goes. I go to my doctors appointment 4 days later on Tuesday, Sept 30. My doctor strips my membranes which is supposed to help induce labor and she sets an induction date for that Thursday, Oct.2 (because my amniotic fluid is measuring low). I start to have some painful contractions that evening. They didn't hurt so much that I couldn't manage them, but they were 4-7 minutes apart and the hurt significantly more than the braxton hicks I had been feeling earlier. Matt (and my mom) insisted we go to the hospital, so around 9:00 pm or so we go...only to be met by severe disappointment. I was still dilated at just a 3. They had me stay until midnight and by then I was so tired and hungry that I didn't want to have the baby that day anymore. I just wanted to sleep. They gave me some morphine and sleep is what I did very, very well that night.
The next day, Wednesday Oct. 1, my contractions slowed down to my disappointment, but on the upside I knew I was going to have him the next day by induction. Then at 4:00 I started having another contraction (like I always had), I went to stand up because it was always more comfortable for me to walk around during my contractions. I stood up, or I should say I tried to stand up and then the pain just hit me like a brick wall and I fell back into my seat. It really, really hurt. I thought it was just a fluke, but then 5 minutes later an equally painful contraction happened. I called Matt. He was just about to leave anyway. By the time he came home it wasn't even 5:00, but I had decided that I needed to go to the hospital. The general advice they give you is that your contractions should be 5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute for at least an hour before you go in, but I had the feeling that this was progressing quickly. Actually, the only feeling I really had at this point was pain, so we went in.
When they check you in they see how dilated you are and then wait an hour to see if you have progressed. When I came in I measured a 4.5, a whole centimeter and a half more than the night before. The nurse left and I started to have even MORE painful contractions that lasted about 2 minutes each...very hard to deal with. I called the nurse in after only a half an hour because of the pain so she checked me again and I was over a 5. She told me I was progressing quickly and she called the doctor on call. The doctor on call was going to break my water and then I would get an epidural, but the nurse told her it would be too late by then and that I should get the epidural first. Interestingly enough, the hospital called me while we were at the hospital to schedule a time for the induction.
I was trying to deal with the pain, but I didn't want to deal with it anymore when I saw tears come into Matt's eyes during my contractions. At that point I wanted the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in and honestly getting the epidural was no big deal. Getting the IV hurt more than the epidural. Instant relief. He gave me a low dose and if I wanted more all I had to do is call in the nurse and she would show me how to press a button to get more pain relief. Afterward, the doctor came in and checked me and I was at a 7! The nurse looked at her and said, "I told you so." I guess she didn't believe the nurse when she said I was dilating fast. Then she broke my water.
I felt really good for a while, and then I started getting a weird sensation of pressure and a little bit of pain. I called the nurse in again and she checked me. Her eyes got really wide and she said I needed to start pushing and that the baby was very engaged. I started pushing and I really liked it at first. It felt like I was doing some intense workout, but because of the epidural I had the energy to do it. In between pushes I was getting to know the nurse and having a pretty good time...for the first hour. The second hour I started to get a little nervous. It didn't seem like I was making much progress. He wasn't fitting very well through my pelvic bones. The pain I was feeling started to increase. The nurse looked at the epidural machine and asked," Have you touched this?" I hadn't. It turned out that it was turned off, so I wasn't getting any of it. She had me press the button for more. I don't know how numb people usually are, but my feet and calves had complete feeling in them. At that point only my lower torso, hips, and upper thighs had any sort of numbness. But the pain was still minimal compared to before.
The last hour of pushing (yes, I pushed for three hours) was miserable. I was exhausted. I kept having horrible thoughts about emergency C-sections (like my mom had with me). But once the baby finally got through the smallest part of my pelvis, he came out pretty quickly. At 12:07 am Oct. 2 he was born. They plopped him on my lap and I got to hold him for a very long time while they stitched me up (which lasted an hour). I was really beat up. I couldn't see. Everything was blurry because my eyes were practically swollen shut. I had several tears, some internal, but it was all worth it.
After I was ready, they moved me into my room. The first time I went in the bathroom and caught a glimpse of me in the mirror, I just about fell over. I didn't even recognize myself. I was so swollen all over my face. I couldn't move very well and am still working on regaining my mobility.
Because of my hard delivery and tearing, when I came home I wasn't even able to walk up the stairs (I have A LOT of stairs), so I had to sleep downstairs on the couch. I still can't carry him up and down the stairs because I need the support of the wall and handrail. My peroneal nerve has been damaged because of all of the hard pushing. That means my leg is partially numb from my knee to my ankle. Hopefully it isn't permanant. Still, it was all worth it.
On the plus side, I was blessed with a healthy baby boy. The pediatrician was amazed at his weight gain. He is getting chubby already. Even though labor and delivery were only 8 hours of my life (8 uncomfortable hours), they brought me one of the greatest joys. It is definitely not something I want to do everyday, but maybe I'll manage to do a couple more times...let's not think about that now. I'll just enjoy my baby in the meantime.