I complained for weeks before my delivery about wanting my big baby out and worrying that she'd never come. I was dilating and effacing (3 cm, 90% effaced at my 39 week appointment) but having very few other labor signs.
The morning of my due date, I woke up at 8:21 with the strongest contraction I'd had to date. (I'd been having mild ones here and there.) I glanced at the time on my phone and went back to sleep. 8 minutes later it happened again. Followed by another one 8 minutes later again. Eventually I started to get a little excited that something might really be happening! Of course, that day my husband was driving to the other side of the state for work. I called him to tell him what was happening, but when he asked if he should turn around I told him I was sure I'd be fine. I decided to jump in the shower and see if my contractions slowed down at all.
While in the shower I felt like the contractions were coming one right after the other. They were only lasting 20 seconds or so, but they just kept coming. I got a little nervous and decided DH better turn around and come home. He said he'd be home in an hour and a half, so I finished packing up our last minute things and called my sister to tell her we were dropping off DD and heading to the hospital!
By the time DH got home, the contractions were 6 minutes apart and I had to stop what I was doing to breathe through them. We got to the hospital at 11:45 am and the ER staff whisked me up to L&D before DH could even finish parking the car. I timed a couple contractions 4 minutes apart while the nurse was hooking me up to monitors and asking me questions. She checked me and deemed me 4 cm, 90% effaced, although she said she stretched me to a 5. Then she took my BP, which was way higher than it's ever been before. I figured between the two (and the intensifying contractions) they'd definitely admit me. I couldn't believe this LO was actually going to come on her due date!
As the nurse left my room she asked if I needed anything. I jokingly answered, "Yeah, an epidural." She said she'd ask my doctor and let me know! She came back a few minutes later with the good news that they were admitting me and I could have my epidural as soon as I wanted. Woohoo!
The anesthesiologist was in my room by 1:00. He had horrible bedside manner. The first thing he said was, "Turn off the TV. I'm easily distracted." Just what I want to hear from the man who's about to stick a needle in my spine!! Then he couldn't get the catheter to thread and kept saying, "I can't do it. I've never had this problem in 20 years. I can't do it." I about had a panic attack!! Fortunately his assistant was very reassuring and calmed me down. He eventually got the catheter to thread and soon my legs were feeling warm and tingly and I couldn't feel the contractions anymore!
My mom and sister showed up with lunch for DH and we all sat around chatting until a resident came in to break my water. That was at 2:45 and my nurse predicted we'd have a baby by 5:30. We watched in awe as my contractions started coming one after the other and peaking on the monitor. I was so glad I wasn't feeling any of that! Haha.
Eventually I started shaking uncontrollably. The nurse said it was partly because of the epidural, but also probably meant I was going through transition. She checked me at 5:30 and said I was 9 cm with just a lip of cervix so flipped me on my other side to encourage that lip to disappear and paged the doctor.
At 5:45 my mom and sister left for the waiting room and I started pushing. I knew I was pushing with my face, but couldn't figure out how to stop. Eventually, the doctor handed me a towel and did "tug-of-war" with me. I felt like that was really helpful. (Although my shoulders and arms were sore for days afterward! Haha.)
At one point, I noticed the nurse turn up the baby's heart rate monitor really loud. She and the doctor were discussing her heart rate, but I wasn't too concerned because I could hear her heart beating, and I could feel her squirming around inside of me still! But then the doctor said that the baby's heart rate was too low and not coming up between contractions. I had only been pushing for about 15 minutes, so I was surprised they were already so concerned. I realized she was serious though when she said, "You have two options: the vacuum or a c-section." I quickly chose the vacuum option and pushed with all my might once they got it placed on her head. I didn't even make it through one push, though before the vacuum popped off. The doctor said the baby had too much hair and the vacuum couldn't suction properly! Haha. Fortunately, that little nudge was all it took, though. I heard the nurse say, "She's turning! Here she comes!" Apparently DD was sunny side up, but once the vacuum pulled her a little bit she turned and came out completely sideways.
Despite my epidural, I could actually feel a little bit. It wasn't at all painful, but I could tell when DD was crowning and I felt relief as she slipped out. They put her on my chest and she squawked a little bit as they cleaned her off. DH cut her cord, then they whisked her off to the warmer where a slew of NICU nurses waited to assess her. They suctioned her and she started screaming which is what they were waiting for.
They weighed her and we were amazed to hear she was 8 lbs. 13 oz.! I was even more amazed to hear that I didn't tear at all despite birthing a nearly 9 pound baby who came out totally sideways!
Lena Kay was born on her due date (January 23, 2013) at 6:04 pm, just under 10 hours after I felt that first contraction, and only 19 minutes after I started pushing.
She has been an amazing baby. She is nursing like a pro and sleeping ridiculously well. (Last night -at 6 days old- she slept 7 hours straight!) I already can't imagine life without her!