I think I can say this story started on 7/31/2011. I was up most of the morning with contractions that felt like really bad menstrual cramps. I could not sleep from them, but they were irregular in timing so I did not call my doctor. I went out into the living room and watched TV so I would not disturb Derek with my tossing and turning. I told Derek that I was having the contractions after he woke up, but we couldn't do anything since they were spaced far apart and irregularly timed. Derek went to work and I rested on the couch. I was able to get a 2 hr nap in and tried to do some chores, such as finishing washing Alex's clothes. I continued crontracting all day, but they weren't incredibly painful, just really uncomfortable.
That night, I was having a hard time sleeping again, but this time it was from all of the bug bites on the back of my legs (not sure where from exactly). I was tossing and turning for awhile when something just didn't feel right, like I was about to wet myself if I didn't get to the bathroom right away. As soon as I sat up, I felt a small gush of fluid and hurried to the bathroom. I apparently said "Oh crap."
Derek was suddenly wide awake and asked, "Honey, what's wrong?"
"Hold on one minute." I checked as soon as I got in the bathroom and had another small gush of clear fluid. I put on a pad and went back to the bedroom and said, "I think my water broke." He got up quickly and got dressed while I called the doctor. He told me that once my contractions got to 5 minutes apart, call him back. We timed them for 45 minutes and they were 4 minutes apart, though still not strong. We called the doctor back and he told us to go on in.
Derek practically sped the entire way, even though we did not really need to as the contractions were far from strong. We got there and they had me in triage right away. The nurse told me that she had to take a swab to make sure my water broke, but as soon as she went to take it, there was no doubt. They called Derek in right before they did my exam, and I was still only 3 cm. They brought in the paperwork to admit me, had me sign, put in the heprin lock IV, and started the saline drip (to keep me hydrated). As soon as they left, Derek called his mom and my parents, despite that it was almost 2am, to let them know that it was baby day! We walked over to delivery and got set up.
The nurse there got a little concerened as my contractions were slowing down. In triage they were 1-3 minutes, but in delivery they were 4-6 minutes apart. They decided to let me labor for a few hours myself to see if they would regulate themselves. The contractions were very mild so Derek went ahead set up my netbook and we browsed around on the internet and watched movies while we waited. I got another exam during that time and I was 3-4cm dilated, so very little progress. I got really worried. Not long after that, they started me on Pitocin in order to try and encourage the contractions. I could feel them getting stronger and slowly they got closer. I'm not sure how often, but I swear every visit the nurse upped the dosage of Pitocin. The contractions were getting more and more painful. I was in tears and glad to have Derek with me to remind me to breathe through them and hold me when I had one while standing up. At about 8am, the contractions were at the point where I was screaming from the pain. Derek kept trying to tell me that it was only making things worse (I knew it was) but I just could not help it. I was also falling asleep between them. Derek said that I was probably getting shocked awake by the pain and would panic, hence the screaming. The pain medication they gave me helped for 2 contractions and then was pretty much no longer there. At some point, the doctor came in and checked me again and I was at 100% effaced and 5cm dilation.
When we were admitted to delivery. we told the nurse that I did not want an epidural and told her of my back issues and back surgery. After the doctor checked me, the nurse told us that the anestheologist on call was experienced in doing epidurals on people with back problems. We agreed to talk to him. At that point, Derek and I had agreed that the pain was more than I can manage and that if this can help then it was worth a try. The anestheologist explained what we would do and how he would do it with my spine. I felt a little better about getting one with him doing it so I agreed to go ahead and get one. It took him a little while to get set up, but by taking his time he was able to get it in the right spot in the first try, even in the middle of one of my contractions! Within 10 minutes I had relief. I could no longer feel the pain or even my contractions, giving me the chance to rest. This was about 9am. I slept for the next 2 hours. Derek took the opportunity to go down to the cafeteria and get some breakfast and read the book he brought.
At 11am, the nurse came in and woke me up. During my contractions, Alex was moving away from the monitors so she wanted to start monitoring both him and my contractions internally. She got all the stuff together and prepped before checking me. She went to put the monitors in and she felt Alex's head right there. She then did a quick check and I was fully dilated! By getting the epidural and allowing my body to relax, I dilated the last 5cm in only 2 hours. The nurse got me set up and then went to get the doctor. He arrived 20 minutes later and we started to get things rolling. The nurse told me when I was having a contraction (still completely numb from the waist down, but I could move everything) and had me do some practice pushes. Apparently they were really good because she told the doctor that he should get his gloves on.
I pointed out to the doctor that I was supposed to have an appointment to see him at 11:50 and he joked that we should set a goal of seeing if Alex will be born by the appointment. The nurse held one leg while Derek held the other and I pushed when the nurse told me to. Much to our surprise, Derek and I decided to go ahead and watch Alex be born. We both thought that we would not want to actually see it, just see and hold him afterwards. Things change in the heat of the moment. After 5 sets of pushes (3 pushes for each contraction), at 11:52am, Alexander Morgan was born screaming. I suffered only a 2nd degree tear luckily (quick births can result in bad tears). When they took him away to get weighed and cleaned up, I asked Derek to grab the camera and take some pictures. He got pictures of him on the scale. Alex came out weighing 3800 grams exactly (8 pounds 6 ounces). He also had a head full of blonde hair. Even the nurse was wondering where the blonde came from since both Derek and I are brunettes. Derek said that he was born blonde and darkened as he got older.
Once he was cleaned up, Alex was handed back to me and the three of us were left alone to bond as a new family. After an hour, we invited our families, who had been waiting in the waiting room since before I started pushing, to come in and meet the newest family member.
Here are some pictures: