My entire pregnancy, especially toward the end, I was teetering back and forth whether I should schedule an induction or cross my fingers and slightly run the risk of having this baby on my way to the hospital! All of my other pregnancies have been crazy fast 4 hour labors or a little less.
I wanted the best of all worlds. An epidural, a scheduled date to not run the risk of having this baby without Tim and in the middle of who knows where, and an amazing recovery that only comes from a natural birth like I had with Darren. I don't ask for much. ;)
I had exactly one week left until my due date to get a number of things checked off my to-do list before the baby arrived. I went to bed thinking if I could just hold out a few more days then I will be 100% for this baby. I've had several false alarms in the middle of the night where I thought my water broke. Apparently that is all I could think about in my dreams and worry about during the day, so in between all my night wakings, a couple of times I have woken up Tim thinking my water broke.
But this time, around 1 am, I woke up twice thinking, "Wow, that was a strong (braxton hicks) contraction!" and "Wow, the baby really stretched that time!" Then mid consciousness I realized, "Oh gosh, this could be a (real) contraction!" I got up to use the bathroom and waited to feel a few pretty strong contractions that I was having trouble breathing through. (That is when you know it is real!) So I woke up Tim and although he quickly became alert and ready, he too was a little skeptical. "Are you sure?"
I couldn't make up my mind how sure I was. Even with 4 pregnancies under my belt I was nervous of the unknown. I was nervous that the more time we wasted waiting the less likelihood of me getting an epidural and this baby coming quick, yet, I didn't want to wake up Grandma and cousin Janie to come watch the kids in the middle of the night and have it be a false alarm! After having to stop and squeeze something to try to breathe and focus during each contraction for the next hour, we decided it best to get ready and make the phone calls. Janie arrived first until Grandma could make it from LA and we quickly raced out of the house. I was petrified the baby was going to come fast.
We arrived at the hosptial around 2:30. I had no idea how much I had progressed thus far. Last doctor's appointment I was not even dilated. At this point in the hospital I knew I was in labor, the contractions did slow down a bit but I was having them regularly nevertheless. I kept asking for the epidural and saying this was my 4th child and my labors were fast. The nurse checked me, and verified I was indeed in labor and admitted me. I was much calmer knowing my epidural was going to happen.
I did forget just how immovable you are being strapped to a ton of different monitors, gadgets, and tubes. I hated that feeling. But I knew I wasn't going to have to feel the "ring of fire" again and that made me ignore it all.
Once I laid down and the epidural kicked in, things started slowing down a lot. I was perplexed because at this point I would have already had my baby in my arms! So we just waited, and waited, and waited... I tried to get some sleep but I have never been good at that during my epidurals. Who can sleep with so much anticipation?! (Oh, Tim can.)
The nurse asked if things weren't progressing fast enough if I would like pitocin. "No," was my quick stern response. I'm on baby time lady not your time. Then she later approached me with a question from my doctor if I would be interested in having my water broken for me instead. I said, maybe.
Time came to check me again and I was now a 6! Things were slightly moving along but only a little. The nurse asked again if I was interested in having my water broken and I felt confident enough that it would be fine. With Darren it was at this point that the nurse accidentally broke my water while checking me and he came flying out after that so I knew this would be a similar situation. The doctor who was around on the floor at that time came in and broke my water. (My doctor hadn't arrived yet.) He was really nice and funny and he said exactly what I knew which was that baby was going to arrive within the next hour or two.
And sure enough, my contractions picked up speedily.
But the odd thing was that depending on what side I was laying on, the other side of my body wasn't as numb and I felt so much more. I wanted to keep going back and forth from one side to another but it would only fix the problem temporarily. It was super annoying because being attached to so many machines it wasn't easy to move. Plus, with my epidural in place I was afraid to move and wanted nurse assistance to do so. One time I rang for assistance and it took 20 minutes for the nurse to arrive after I rang her a second time!
This lopsided epidural caused me to feel each contraction. Strong enough to have to grasp tightly on the handle of the bed and Tim's hand, close my eyes, curl up a bit and squeeze. I had to remind myself to breathe every time as well. I was pretty annoyed that I had to feel anything. Probably the best thing to help me get through the pain was plugging in my headphones and listening to "Bailando" by Enrique Iglesias on repeat. I would try to escape the pain by envisioning me dancing to this beautiful latin music.
Before I knew it, I felt pressure. I called the nurse twice to hurry them along because the pressure was mounting. It felt like her head was already out of me. I had to reach down and make sure! But we had to wait a bit for the doctor to take his time walking in, set up his stuff, put on his scrubs, yadda yadda. I didn't like that. This baby was ready and they were making it wait. Of course by the time it came to push, one of the nurses put on an oxygen mask on me because the baby's heart rate had dropped. (Duh! You are keeping the baby in the birth canal!) This whole time I was thinking back to when I literally had no control over pushing Darren out. It felt like the same kind of pressure except the doctor wasn't letting the baby come out! Super uncomfortable.
After a few pushes Dr. Stadler slowly pulled out the baby and all the while I can see the side of the baby's face. To myself I'm thinking, yes, it looks like a boy, but then the nurse and doctor in unison said, "It's a GIRL!"
Did they just say girl?
No. I'm having a boy. It's a boy.
As the doctor lays the baby into my arms I was in complete shock and my mind tried to grasp the reality that I was holding another little baby girl! A GIRL! Now I couldn't stop smiling in disbelief. I wasn't mentally ready for a girl! And what a surprise! For real?!
Then the tears flowed. I will never get over the miracle of birth. Every time is a heavenly spiritual experience. The closest you can feel to heaven.
Tim and I got to stare at the very thing we created together.
She was beautiful.
Tim leaned down and whispered into my ear, "Does she look like a Cara?"
With a shakey voice I replied, "Yes. Yes she does."