Kate Jospehine is over 2 years old now and we are going to start TTC #2 this month. I thought it was high time to put my birth story in writing before (*hopefullly*) we start anxiously awaiting #2. I basically thought I was in labor every day from about 36 weeks on. There just seemed to be so much commotion going on down there all of the time, tht I thought every little twinge was "it". I never had any false alarms, but I did pack a bag every time I went to the OB for the last few weeks. At my 39 week check up my FIL brought me to the Dr. and they said the cervix wasn't even softening yet. But baby was in good position and they did an u/s and all you could see well was her ear and FIL and I cried at the sight of her cute little ear. I woke up at 39 wk 2 days very early-like 6:30-which nowadays is our usual, but back then was unheard of for me on a non-work day. I had been on maternity leave for 1 week and my big plan was to organize all gajillion of my pictures-and put them in albums before baby was born. I didn't even change out of PJs all day. Just watched TV and took a walk down memory lane with all of these old pics all day. Cried a few times, napped, ate--you know, usual 3rd trimester living. DH and I were supposed to spend our last "alone" weekend together around the house. But he came home at 5pm and informed me that he had Mets/Yankee tickets with his friend the next day and that his other friend needed him to move sheetrock that night. So I got mad, I cried, I said 'I don't want to see you-- go move sheetrock' (you know, susual third trimester behavior)....But as this was going on I started getting a really crampy low pelvic feeling. But I didn't tell him, because nobody believed me anymore that I was in labor because I had been saying it for weeks. So he left. And I decided I wanted to try Thai food because I heard spicy food makes you go into labor. So I found a place and called in my order but the guy wouldn't deliver it because my order wasn't at least $20. I had to think about this because at this point those pains were coming every 20-25 minutes. So at about 7pm I went and sat in the driveway and waited for one contraction to come and go and then drove to the restaurant really fast. I made it before the next one, but had to brace myself on a lamp post. This is when I think I realized 'Uh, yeah, you're in labor". So I picked up my food and the guy said "Oh, when are you going to have your baby" I shouldv'e said 'how about right here in your dining room, thanks for making me come pick this up. Why don't you go move some sheetrock with DH?'. So I went home and found that Thai food is disappointingly not as spicy as I thought. But I was inlabor nonetheless, so I started timing the contractions and writing them down. They were so irregular and I had such a fear of going to the hospital and being sent home. When DH came home I told him and he hung out for a few minutes with me then went to bed. Which sounds insensitive, but I probably would have too if I wasn't scared out of my mind what was about to happen to my VJ. At some point things became increasingly uncomfortable and I decided to get in the tub. I remember that every time I had a contraction I thought I was going to pee. They were still irregular but now closer like ranging 6-12 minutes lasting 45 sec a piece. It was kind of like a UTI feeling. I called the doctor and left a message with the service (this was already about 1 in the morning) and then got in the tub--which was so great I highly recommend it. The house was quiet. DH was asleep, and I thought how great it was what my body was doing and how many women had done this before me. When I got out of the tub I had a massive contraction and then about 3 minutes later had another. I think being in the tub relaxed me alot and made labor move along. So DH and I went to the hospital. I was still worried they were going to send me home. They checked me and said I was 3 cm. So I asked for and reccieved my epidural and then DH called our parents. This was about 6:30 am now. They told me "1 cm per hour", so they told me to get some sleep-yeah right. The epidural was HEAVENLY relief as the contractions had been getting pretty hairy. But about 1/2 hour after the epidural I started feeling pain on my lower right side-like constant. So I thought maybe the epidural dislodged. The nurse asked the doctor if she could turn up the rate but he wanted to check me first and when he did he said "You're ready to push, kid". I dilated 7 cm in like 1/2 hour! I think my body had been just fighting the contractions-it's a combination of fear of pain and maybe just a natural instinctual response to fight the pain. Once the pain was eased my body was just able to do what it needed. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like without the epidural and that maybe I could have walked around or used the labor ball, but seriously, I was digging my toes into the ground with each contraction and I do't know how much of a nicer experience it would have been. So anyway, they got me ready to push and my mom and MIL and DH were in the room with me counting and helping. At some point the nurse gave me pitocin. I felt a sudden hot feeling and then threw up which is my least favorite moment in all of this. But truthfully, I do not remember pain. I remember that it was very hard work to push her out. I remember saying "I can't do this", because for a minute there, I really did't feel like I was going to be able to get her out. Everyone was kind of joking and it was of course a very happy occasion, but I didn't feel llike the doctor understood that I really didn't think I could do it. I said "Dr. Shapiro, listen to me for a minute. Is there any other way to get her out?" To which everyone laughed, but I was dead serious. I remember in my head thinking "I totally need a c-section, this is never going to work." I felt crunched down in the bed. So I made them put my feet down and help me readjust myself and then I felt like my pushing was much more effective. The nurse said to me "Tara, I can see the baby, I could practically put her hair in a ponytail, keep pushing". I will never forget that. In addition to being creepily hilarious it also really motivated me, knowing that she was already in the canal and depending on me to get her out and a c-section was pretty much off the table. And that has been the truth about being a mommy ever since: You do whatever you have to do for this baby because you are it. And you find energy and strength that you didn't know you had just to keep them happy and safe. But I digress... So Kate was born (with the cord twice around her neck, boogedy) at 8:08 am 8 lb 8 oz. Now, like most mothers I am convinced that nobody in this world has ever loved anyone as much as I love her. But I must admit, that I didn't realize it at that very moment like I thought I would. But it came soon after. Breastfeeding, well I tried in L&D and then kept at it all night with some success and then ALOT of nipple pain. I ended up getting a lactation consulatant to come to the house our first day home and she really helped me and kept me with it. There was pumping and nipple sheilds and tongue tie, but it all worked out and I ended up nursing her until she was 22 months old. It is just very hard to be a new mom and tired and emotional and have really sore nipples and a baby who you are afraid you are starving. I look forward to a hopefully much easier time breastfeeding #2 because I think that will make early infancy so much more relaxed. If you actually made it through this story thanks for reading and good luck to you!