So it all began February 12, 2010. I was 3 days overdue at that point, and had had a doctor's appointment and ultrasound to make sure the baby was still doing alright in there. I was an emotional mess. I hated being overdue, and I was well over being pregnant. Yet, I still chose not to make my famous castor oil milkshake that worked the previous two times - I was bound and determined to let nature take its' course.
The ultrasound revealed the baby was doing well - 7 lbs, 12 oz. and that my amniotic fluid was a bit on the low side, but nothing alarming. I had an NST scheduled for the following Monday where it was to be rechecked. The appointment with my midwife went great! I was almost 5 cm and 90% effaced. She said she would be shocked if I didn't go into labor over the weekend, and that I would go FAST, so whenever I *thought* I could be in labor to not waste time and get to the hospital ASAP. So that was encouraging. I'd been stuck at 3 cm the previous three weeks, so progress was good.
That night (Friday) we had quite a bit of snow fall. We got three inches here which is pretty rare. Atlanta doesn't know how to handle snow. I began having Braxton Hicks contractions that night, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. That happened most every night. They were, however, annoying enough to time, so I did only to find out they were not regular and certainly not painful, so I went to bed. I figured if they got painful, I'd wake up and know it. DH did mention to me that night before I went to bed, "You CANNOT go into labor tonight. I DO NOT have a contingency plan." Like I had anything to do with that! But it's true - getting our childcare here would have been impossible and our doula would have had to make that trip in the ice (she lived an hour away as it was!).
I wake up at 5:10am by the thud of baby's head making a rapid descent into my pelvis. Then an excruciating pain. I felt like I was being stabbed - it most certainly did not feel like a contraction. I somehow made it to the bathroom thinking my water was going to break any second. I sat on the toilet, and while I was able to pee, I found myself hurting so bad, I couldn't get off the toilet. I didn't realize it then, but I was in there a hlaf an hour trying to figure out why I was hurting so bad. I thought it could have been a ruptured cyst or my gall bladder, or..or..or.. It was the weirdest thing. Finally I got up and after struggling to make it back to the bedroom I figured I better wake up DH. It's 5:45. I told him either I was in labor or I was dying. Either way, we've GOT to get to the hospital! He sprung out of bed, but then stood there dumbfounded, half awake, and not sure where he was or what he should do. I felt so bad for him, but really...we had to get outta here, so let's do SOMETHING! He threw some clothes at me and told me to get dressed while he got dressed and threw some last minute things together. Getting dressed was TOUGH. He called my parents, and I called my doula. I couldn't get in any comfortable position. Standing hurt just as badly as sitting, hands and knees, leaning, everything. I couldn't figure it out. DH had to practically hold me down the stairs and out the door to our iced over van. He spent the next several minutes warming the car and scraping the piled snow/ice off. I wanted to die. Sitting was hell. Then he ran inside to get our other two kids up and dressed. They were gonna have to come with us! The next several minutes seemed like an eternity. It was then I realized the pain I was experiencing was in fact labor, but that the contractions were on top of each other and so intense that it felt like one humongous contraction. I then began feeling the urge to push. In the van. In our driveway. OHHHH NOOOO....
He finally came back out with the kids dressed in their pajamas and slippers. Poor little guys, they had no idea what was going on. Dad told them they were going on an adventure. And what an adventure it was! My 3 year old daughter immediately began talking and asking questions, and I had to tell her to be quiet til we got there. And she did. They both impressed me. The ride to the hospital was treacherous and painful - I hardly remember it. I do remember moaning and huffing and puffing, and feeling this insane urge to push the WHOLE WAY THERE. I'm sure I scared the kids. DH did an excellent job driving though. He wanted to speed, but he drove very carefully and we only slid once, and that was getting out of our neighborhood. God really provided for us. I haven't prayed that hard in a long time.
We get to the hospital and pull right up. DH jumps out and runs in looking for a wheelchair and someone to get me to L&D NOW. I get the wheelchair and have to wait for someone to wheel me down there while DH takes the kids and the van to park. I sat in a wheelchair moaning my head off for about five minutes. The police officer who was manning the desk must have been embarrassed since I was unattended and getting all sorts of looks from random strangers, so he wheeled me over to the door the nurse was going to meet me at.
I was expecting the whole admissions process to take forever, like it did a few weeks prior when I had a false alarm. I was dreading it. Thankfully, they took me straight to Triage. I was sooo thankful to have made it to that room! After checking me, I was 8 cm, 100% effaced, and his head was right there, hence the pushing sensation. The contractions were unbearable and relentless. I didn't hardly notice they stuck me in the same hand 4 times trying to get my IV started, only to move to the opposite arm to stick me two more times. That pain was NOTHING compared to the contractions. I did not want drugs of any kind (it was stated in my birth plan), and I'm proud of myself for denying them even though I was asked twice. I did have to have the IV though, since I tested positive for the Group B Strep and would need antibiotics. They recommend you get two doses via IV, four hours apart. Like heck was I gonna hold out four hours!! Amazingly enough though, they were able to completely administer one round before he was born.
I don't have any recollection of DH or the kids' presence in there. While I was in the Triage room, DH was managing both kids through the icy parking lot to get inside only to discover there was no way he could be with them and be with me. He knew I didn't want them seeing me in pain. Come to find out, he got inside with the kids and was looking around bewildered, hoping a nurse could watch them for a few minutes so he could come check on me. Then an angel appeared! Cassie, a friend from church, came out of the elevator right in front of them. They both exchanged, "HEY! What are you doing here?"'s and then Cassie agreed to take our kids so DH could be with me. She was there because she had just delivered her sister-in-law's baby at home (not intentionally). What a blessing she was to us!
I don't remember being wheeled into the delivery room, but somehow I ended up there. My doula had not made it there yet, so all breathing techniques went right out the window. I could not stay focused. "Focus on your breathing" is what DH and the nurses kept telling me. You guys focus on breathing! I can't focus on anything here!! I was surprised how painful it was. I didn't want to move from that bed. It was too painful, the contractions were too close together, and the most comforting thing was the bedrail. Good thing it's made out of sturdy plastic - I squeezed the heck outta that thing. I kept feeling like pushing, and everytime they'd check I'd barely made any progress from the previous time. That was frustrating. I knew I was in "transition labor" because I felt the need to vomit and kept saying, "I can't do this anymore" or "This is terrible - why do women do this?" I never asked for drugs though. I probably couldn't breathe long enough to utter those words.
In the midst of a contraction, DH leans over and whispers in my ear, "How 'bout Brandon Robert?" Even though this was the first time we actually agreed on a name, I couldn't speak to tell him so. I just held up my hand as if to say, hush! His timing wasn't always the best, but he was amazing during the labor. After such a whirlwind of a morning, he was my rock!
Just when I thought the contractions couldn't get any more painful, I felt him descend even farther. My water broke slowly and I KNEW then if they didn't let me push I was gonna do it anyway and risk tearing my cervix. Sure enough he had crowned and it was time to push!
Pushing was painful, but it felt SO good. It's so hard to describe. I felt the "ring of fire" where the head passes the perineum, but pushing him out and releasing that pressure was far more satisfying. It's amazing what you consider painful when you're contending with latter stage contractions. The most intense part for me was his shoulders. I actually screamed through those two pushes. And then he was out! And on my chest! I did it! And I was instantly in love!
Brandon Robert was born at 7:14 am on February 13th, weighing 7 lbs, 12 oz. He has been an absolute delight. He nurses like a champ, very rarely cries, and we are all (including big bro and sis) completely enamored by him!