She's here and we're home! I could not be happier. My labor was nothing like I ever could have pictured. But everything went well, the hospital stay was great, and she's an awesome nurser who impressed the lactation consultants :)
I went into labor Saturday night, three days before my due date. I had my first "Hey, was that a contraction?" feeling at 8 PM, though I wasn't sure. My husband and I went for a walk (we'd been walking 4 miles a day trying to move her along!) and 45 min after my first one, I had my second. I felt it all in my back and tailbone and the pain was such that I could not walk through it, only hang on to my husband, but it still wasn't terrible. I think my next three came about 30 min apart, and were progressively more painful still weren't awful. We started to get excited and were gearing up for me laboring at home for a while.
From about 10 PM at 11:45 they went from being 12 minutes apart to 9-ish minutes and got so much worse. The pain was still in my very low back and tailbone and even with my husband doing counterpressure and back rubs, nothing helped. I seriously felt like I was going to split apart. I felt like it was way too early to go to the hospital but I couldn't cope, so we went. We live less than 5 minutes from the hospital and it was the longest car ride of my life, lol.
It's a huge hospital so it took what felt like forever to get up to L&D because I couldn't walk through the contractions and I had to have DH stop and hold me each time. So at L&D triage I felt like everyone was rolling their eyes at me, the first-time mom who showed up with contractions 9 min apart and begging for an epidural. But then they checked me and found I was 5 + cm dilated, 100% effaced with a bulging bag of fluids and ordered my epidural stat. It took less than 2 hours for me to get it (would have been less but it my platelet issues, those had to be checked first) and I was checked again right after getting it and was at 7 cm. They told me how rare it was for a first-time mom to progress that fast and actually complimented my pain tolerance and how I was acting for how strong the contractions were on the monitor. It shouldn't matter, but that did make me feel better about myself. I did get better at coping with them, and getting 2 bags of fluid pumped in really fast helped take a little of the edge off because I'd been dehydrated which made them worse. But man, it was so much worse than I expected :( In addition, I was nauseous, vomiting and gagging and since I was checked the first time, I'd been shaking uncontrollably.
So yeah, I loved my epidural. After that, things slowed down a LOT, which I was really thankful for since it had been going too fast for me. I made it to 8 cm two hours after he epidural, and then it took about 4 more hours to be complete. I couldn't sleep, but dozed off and on and just laid there being so thankful not to be in pain anymore. I'm not sure if the epidural was what slowed down my progress or baby's position (posterior baby labors tend to stall at some point) but . No one was in a rush to deliver me (they actually said, "eh, we'll let your doctor get a couple more hours of sleep before we call her") but I didn't really care.
My bag of water never did break, even when I was complete. My doctor came and broke it and we got started. My contractions also never got closer than about 6-9 min apart so I got a little pitocin to help me push. I pushed for about an hour. She was stuck behind my pubic bone and it became clear pretty quickly that my pushes weren't doing anything. But my OB was awesome and had me try a couple different positions and techniques to get her moving, and my little girl was born Sunday morning at 10:30 :) She was 7 lbs, 7 ozs and just under 20 in. She tolerated labor perfectly the entire time (even if I didn't!) and was alert and nursing right after birth. I am so happy! Here's a pic: