I had been having braxton hicks contractions throughout the second half of my pregnancy so I was very hesitant to believe that anything was real, in fact, the night before I went into labor I had some more significant contractions that I thought could be real that just puttered out so I REALLY didn't think it was real when it actually started. Especially since I was 9 (or 6-7 depending on who is counting..) days early!
On Friday May 23rd around 2:30 PM I started having contractions. They didn't hurt, weren't really uncomfortable but I noticed them. I didn't bother timing because I didn't believe it was the real thing. I had my 39 week check up scheduled for 3:45 PM that day so I figured I would just see what the Doc said! I got to my appointment and let Dr. Cosner know that I had been having light contractions but that I hadn't timed them. She checked me and said I was a "good 4" and 75% effaced so if contractions continued I should head on in! She let me know she was not on call and that if I went in that night Dr. Windsor would deliver. I left my appointment and headed home. I had one contraction in the car that felt a little uncomfortable but I still had no idea how close they were coming.
When I got home I told Eric what the doctor said and decided I needed to test out these contractions to see if they were real. I decided to sit down in the backyard with a glass of water while Eric and Amelia worked in the yard. I sat for 20 or so minutes and during the time I had 3 or 4 contractions and one that "hurt." I have that in quotes because pain is so relative... That contraction and the consistency convinced me this was real. We started making calls! First I called Abby so she could get on the road from Chicago to stay with Amelia. Then we called our doula and our parents. I also called my neighbor who would watch Amelia if Abby didn't get here in time.
One last belly pic before S got real!
Around 6:30 Ariel (our doula) arrived and we sent Amelia to Katie's to wait for Abby. Side note...we almost didn't get our doula because she had another client go into labor a couple hours before me! Neither of us were due so it was a big surprise for all! Her other client ended up heading home after being checked at the hospital so Ariel came to me and sent her back up to the other client. She attended my entire birth then went to the other birth that was still going on! Don't feel too bad for the other client though, apparently the contractions weren't bothering her one bit!
By the time Ariel arrived the contractions were picking up in intensity. It was strange I would have a very intense contraction, then 2 minutes later I would have a mini contraction, then 4 minutes later I would have another intense contraction. We decided to try the tub and although it felt nice to sit in the water I wouldn't say it helped with the contractions. The contractions started to pick up and got closer together. We decided it was time to head to the hospital. I had a lot of anxiety with this decision that I wasn't expecting. I was honestly afraid I was going to get there and be told I was still a 4...just like with Amelia's birth. I knew that will hurt my drive to get through this. Regardless we got in the car, I rode in the back on all fours because sitting down didn't seem like an option.
We arrived at the hospital around 8 PM. Because it was after hours we had to enter through the ER. They brought out a wheelchair and called Labor and Delivery (who knew we were on our way). I had some....loud...contractions on the walk in and while I was being transported to the elevator to meet the L and D nurse. Apparently I had the ER people really freaked out, which just cracks me up...its the ER....but apparently people are just afraid of women in labor! :)
I was taken into a room and checked immediately. I was a 7.5!!!!! I was soooooooo happy to hear this and it gave me the boost I needed as the contractions were getting pretty painful at this point....or so I thought. They also put in my IV port and did a little monitoring. The IV took 4 tries....they would get the needle in, I would have a contraction and my vein would burst...ouch. After a little monitoring I was free to roam the room so I labored all over the place! I tried the ball, the toilet and the shower.
Around 10 PM I was feeling a lot of pressure. Because my water hadn't broken the nurses told me they would only check me if I asked. I thought, hey, i was a 7.5 when I got here, its been 2 hours, I feel pressure...maybe its time! Nope... the nurse checked me and said "maybe an 8"...I think she was just being nice...
I started to lose my resolve at this point, all I could think about was my labor with Amelia. Back to the shower I went for another hour or so. My contractions became very painful at this point and I started to tell Eric and Ariel that I could not do it anymore. After several painful contractions we decided to have the Doctor break my water. I felt great about this decision considering I was at least dilated to 7.5 and with Amelia it actually gave me a little break from the pain. Well...that is not how it happened this time. At about 11:30 they called in the Doctor and she checked me and told me I was a "7, maybe an 8" meaning I had not progressed AT ALL the entire time I was at the hospital! She broke my water and as soon as the bag popped I had my worst contraction yet. It was double the intensity, triple peaked and lasted what felt like forever. I had several of these insane contractions on top of each other and I just knew I was done. I told Eric I needed the Epidural. Eric and Ariel both told me how strong I was and how proud of me they were and that they knew I could do it but I knew it was time. The nurse seemed a little worried, I remember her telling me we had to get the Doctor back in to check me in case the breaking of the bag did the trick and dilated me the rest of the way. I also would need IV fluids and I would need to sit still. This concerned her because the contractions were so painful (I honestly felt like my body was ripping apart from the inside...) I would thrash and arch my back during...not good for getting an epidural, you know the whole you might be paralyzed if you move thing... Well the Doc checked me, the breaking of the water did nothing, I got my IV fluids and the anesthesiologist came in. SOMEHOW I managed to sit still-ish long enough for her to get it in.
The Epidural went in around 12:30, it took about 20-25 minutes to take full effect. Then the nurse let me rest for another 20-25 minutes. When she came back to check on me she said I was a 10 and she could feel the babies head! It was time to push! I pushed for about 2.5 contractions before she was out at 1:32 AM. It was crazy how fast she came. The Doctor did an amazing job of guiding my pushing, despite her shooting out I only needed 1 stitch!
All in all, just like Amelia's birth, my water didn't break and my body stopped dilating BUT I feel really good about how this birth went. I know what I can and cannot handle and the epidural was only on for 1 hour. With out next child, god willing, I will plan to get an epidural but I will wait as long as I can.
Lillian "Lilla" Claire Wagner came out beautiful and healthy, she was placed immediately on my chest for skin to skin and breastfed within the first hour. She weighed in a 8 Lbs, 1 Oz and was 21 inches long. We are so blessed to have to healthy beautiful girls!