I was amazed at how many people wanted to know the details of the hardest but most precious day of my life. So here it is for my current and future mommy friends:)
I started having strong Braxton Hicks contractions on Thursday, my due date, after my weekly visit to my OB (who did something pretty painful to me at the visit). By Friday night at 11pm, I started having regular contractions about 4 minutes apart. I woke Jeff up around 2am and he started running around the house like a crazy man packing. Since my doctor told us to go to the hospital when the contractions were 3 minutes apart, we braved the hurricane weather and left. One of our biggest concerns was that to get to our hospital, we had to cross a bridge which gets closed when severe weather hits. We made it to the hospital around 3am. When they checked me, I was still only 1 cm dilated and they wanted to send me home. I greatly protested because not only was I in immense pain but because of the weather. They consented to let me walk the Mother-Baby Unit for 2 hours and they would check me again. Jeff was a trooper and walked every step with me holding me up every time a contraction came. After the 2 hours of walking I was 3 cm dilated and they decided to admit me. Thank goodness! They didn't know this but I definitely wasn't going to go home if they didn't admit me. I would've stayed in the lobby until my baby came out!
Once admitted I had a baby's heart monitor, my contraction monitor, a finger pulse checker, and an IV all hooked up to me. Even though they said I was free to do anything I wanted, I felt like I was on lock down because every time I moved, the monitors moved and the nurse had to come adjust them. Also, during this time the power in the hospital went out and we were on back-up generators until Sunday morning. From some sort of litmus test, they determined my water had broken (around 7:30am). My contractions had slowed once I got in the bed. I was so thankful to be in a resting position that I didn't care at the time. Later, I got on the birthing ball. This was really helpful because it took so much pressure off of my lower back. It was a little hard for me to stay balanced on the ball simply because I was so relaxed in between contractions I would almost be asleep. I keep my eyes closed almost the entire time I was in labor because that was how I focused on staying calm and relaxed to help my body progress with labor and for pain control. Around 6:30pm, the nurse checked me again and said I was about 6-7 cm. I had done so much work that I couldn't believe I wasn't ready to push this baby out! Because of my disappointment, she had another nurse check me and she said I was only 3-4cm. Here is where I almost lost it. My OB was supposed to be coming by at 7, so I told the nurse, pending on what the doctor said, I would need an epidural because I could think of nothing else to help my body progress further (and the fact that I was just dog tired and done with being in pain).
When my OB showed up, she checked me and then there was a huge gush! There goes my water! I wish the nurse had done that 12 hours ago, but now I had a renewed energy to keep going since I knew that breaking my water could speed things up and the OB said I was about 6 cm. I truly believe I made Lake Erie on the floor. I have no idea where all of the fluid came from that came out of me even after my water broke- labor is crazy messy! A little after 8:30pm I hit the transition phase (where contractions come about every minute and you are going from 8-10 cm). These next two hours were so so hard. The entire time I was in labor, Jeff was watching the computer monitor to tell me when a contraction was starting, when I was almost at the top, and when I had reached the peak and it was coming down. Without his help, I wouldn't have been able to get through this phase. I had contractions piling on top of each other with no recovery in between. Once you reach transition, it is supposed to only last like 30 minutes; however, there was a little part of my cervix that wasn't fully dilated unlike the rest of it. After lots of the nurse's stretching and moving from position to position, at 10:30pm I announced that they had to get this baby out of me because I couldn't take it anymore. My OB was there and the baby had moved down so much that the nurse told me that I would probably only have to push twice! Best news all day! I really had no idea pushing was going to be so incredibly hard. I thought that after all the work of getting to 10 cm dilated, the baby would kind of slip out. I have never been so wrong. Because of the nurse's earlier stretching and my OB's current stretching, I was in so much pain I had a hard time feeling my contractions so I didn't know when to push half the time. However, after only 20 minutes of pushing (which, by the way, I think you are supposed to be an Olympic athlete to be able to push for 30 seconds!), his head appeared. Once his head was out I figured I was done and they could pull him out, but apparently you still have to push the rest of your baby out. That last push was a piece of cake! He came out with his arm above his head, crazy boy! After some stitches and cleaning I got to hold my little boy!
It was definitely the longest 24 hours of my life. I am glad I didn't have any medication and hope to be able to have another unmedicated birth. He was totally worth it!