At 11:30pm on Saturday, February 11th, Brian and I were getting ready for bed. To our complete surprise, my water broke. It's true what the books say about it feeling like you are wetting your pants! It was 3.5 weeks EARLY....we had figured that Miss S would come a week LATE, not THIS EARLY! I started to giggle as I realized what was going on and ran for the toilet. Brian was completely shocked! "Where's your bag?" he asked.
"You were supposed to get the suitcase out of the attic today. I haven't packed it yet!" I replied.
"What should we pack?! We should call the hospital. Maybe we don't need to come straight in." Brian ran around frantically first to the attic then through dresser drawers grabbing whatever we could think to bring. (FYI, this is NOT a great way to pack...we forgot several items!)
I called the OB office and spoke with the doctor on call. Dr. Wright told me that I had to come in - no laboring at home for us. The neighbors ran over and grabbed the dog and we headed to Greer Memorial.
We checked in at midnight. I wasn't experiencing any contractions at that point (that I knew of) and got a free ride in a wheelchair up to Labor & Delivery. We were both pretty jovial when we got upstairs to fill out our intake paperwork. I think part of the jolly-ness came from the fact that the experience didn't seem real! I laughed as I answered, "I don't know, it's 3.5 weeks early," to questions like, "Did you bring your birth plan? What pediatrician will you be using?" We hadn't even made it to the fire station to have the car seat installed!
By 1:45am, the nurses had completed their paperwork and gotten baseline data on Miss S's heartrate and my contractions. Apparently the back pain I had been experiencing for the past few days was actually a series of contractions! The nurses released us to walk the hallways for an hour. At that point I was only dialated 1cm but was 80% effaced. The nurses explained that by 5am I would be given pitocin if I had not dialated on my own (as a precaution because my water had broken and there no longer existed a barrier against infection for the baby).
At 2:50am we returned to our room. The contractions were getting stronger. It felt great to walk fast, but we had to go back for another baseline. Sadly, we were told that the baseline collection would have to wait because the lady down the hall was just about to deliver. So, we walked AROUND the room. Our room was really spacious but eventually the contractions became so strong that it was hard to walk. The most difficult part of the labor was this waiting period --- waiting for the contractions to become consistent in duration, frequency and pain level. For the moment the contractions came between 20sec and 3min apart. They varied in duration and pain level. Some required simple breathing while others brought me to my knees and took my breath away. By the time our nurse, Nancy, returned at 4am, I was begging for the epidural! We had originally said we wanted to go naturally, so Nancy asked again if I really wanted the epidural. OF COURSE! WHO COULD SURVIVE THIS PAIN AND LACK OF BREATH?! I was dialated to 4cm. She told us it would be a few minutes before the anesthesiologist could come and gave me a half dose of phenergan (nausea) and stadol (pain). The phenergan put me to sleep pretty quickly and I didn't notice the fact that the epidural wasn't on its way. Apparently, the lady down the hall had to go in for an emergency c-section, so there would be no epidural any time soon.
Around 5:30am I started pushing. -Not because I was supposed to. Nancy kept telling me to stop, but there is something about the body that God planned so well. What Nancy didn't know was that I was dilated to 9cm and that my body had started its own delivery process! It was around that time that an epidural became an option, but we turned it down. 10cm was right around the corner and Dr. Wright made it into the delivery room just in time for the head to crown! In my sleepy state, I don't remember a lot of what was said or how long things took, but I do remember Dr. Wright's reaction to us going natural. She kept saying, "You're doing it! All on your own! I'm not doing anything! Wow!" It was great encouragement. Brian said that it only took 6 real pushes to get Sophia out at 5:45am. (It felt like more than that to me, but I was a bit loopy.)
Upon her arrival, Miss S was placed on my chest. Nancy tried to get her to breastfeed right away, before the bath! After a bit, the nurses had Brian cut the cord and then they took her to a station in the room to begin assessing and cleaning.
WE HAD DONE IT! What an experience! Yes, the tear was painful and the contractions out of this world, but the reward was incredibly worth it all. Would I avoid an epidural in the future now that I've done one birth without it? I don't know. I think I would still be open to that pain management option depending on the next labor! No two children are the same and I would think the same applies to labors as well. All in all, the entire labor took roughly 6 hours and 15 minutes. Dr. Wright warned us that in the future, we would need to hurry to the hospital to avoid giving birth at home.
The Lord was good through it all! He allowed me to get through the pain and be awake to enjoy the blessing that He'd given us! He allowed the labor to occur during the weekend when Brian was at home and able to take me to the hospital. He'd provided a great staff at the hospital that was a blessing to us the 3 days we were there! He answered so many prayers for a safe delivery without complications. And to top it off, He gave us a HEALTHY baby girl! She passed her glucose tests, is learning to latch, and her weight has been increasing. Her jaundice is slowly going away and she is able to breath well on her own! We only had to syringe feed her for about a week! Oh, how God has truly had His hand in Miss S's life! It is by His grace that she is with us!