Alright, my turn! I asked Jesse to share his thoughts and then realized that I wanted to share my side of the story. I don't really know what I'm going to say at this point, but I will try and not go into TOO much detail..but if I do, you are more than welcome to just close my blog window and never open it again It's my blog and I want to talk about the miracle God gave the world through childbirth, so I will :)
We ended up going to the hospital around 2am Thursday morning. While my contractions were (in my opinion) decently strong and close together, the longer we were there, the farther apart they came. The midwife (Lisa at the time) suggested we just go home around noon to try and get some sleep, as I was only at 4 cm and hadn't been progressing. This was really disheartening for me..I know it's common for labor to come and then stall, or for the contractions to come and then no progression for a few days or even a week, but I never thought I would be one of those cases. I assumed (wrongly) that I would walk in, be in labor for awhile, have a baby and that'd be it. Not so, apparently.
So we left for home and slept (some in my case, lots in Jesse's). I don't remember doing too much, but the contractions had pretty much stopped by dinner time. We went back to Betsy's that evening, went on a walk, chatted about labor and the possibility of when she'd come, then went home to try and sleep since we'd all been up all night. I laid down around 9, and promptly fell asleep (anyone surprised?). At 10, I woke up with a start, rolled off the couch where I'd been sleeping; in my half-awake state yelled out a word that is NOT in my normal vocabulary (oops!!) and then "I think my water just broke!" which Jesse confirmed, and very calmly helped me gather up some odds and ends and get me to the car. Somewhere on the 40 minute drive to the hospital, my contractions started again, and this time, there was no denying they were the real deal.
We got to the hospital, and of course there were no parking spots close, and of course we didn't think about dropping me off until after we'd parked, so yes, we parked and walked into the hospital. Where nobody was available to help us. So we hijacked a wheelchair and wandered our way through the maze of hallways to the ER, where people were more than willing to help out. By the time we got to the hospital room, the contractions felt like they were ridiculously close together. The nurses got an IV in, and gave me something (not sure what it was, but Betsy okay'd it, so I'm okay with it) that was supposed to slow them down since the contractions were coming on too fast, but ended up stalling them out. Bummer, but gave me a chance to relax for a bit.
Labor seemed to last foreeeeeeeeeeeever. Lily's heart rate was high for a good chunk of it, making everyone nervous (okay, except me because I was pretty self-involved and didn't really pay attention to what anyone was saying unless they were specifically talking to me). They tried a variety of things to stabilize it, like having me stand, lay on my side, an oxygen mask..all of which made the contractions worse, except the oxygen, so I avoided them as much as possible until later on. I'll tell ya what though, I hated that oxygen mask. A few times I ripped it off and threw it because I felt I couldn't breathe with it on hah the last few hours I did lay on my side for a bit and hated it because it made the contractions so much worse, but it helped Lily's heart rate, so that's good. I also soaked in a warm bath for awhile, and that helped some and would highly recommend water for anyone in labor. Oh, I also should mention that in the first few hours, I DID say that I wanted an epidural because it hurt THAT bad..Betsy didn't hear me and Jesse just ignored me, so I didn't get one. I don't think I was serious..but it really was no fun.
I don't know times of anything, except when they announced her birth time, but I was at 8 cm and then all of a sudden they were having Betsy and Jesse help me through some contractions by pushing. Midwife Gail was on call by that point, and she didn't let Jesse take a back seat as an observer, which I am glad about. Betsy and Gail kept telling me I was doing really well, which I found hard to believe, but really I was only pushing about 30-45 minutes, which I hear is pretty fast compared to some, and definitely compared to those who get epidurals. Gail and the nurse put up this bar over my bed that had a sheet tied to it, which I found odd, but basically you put your feet on the bar in a frog position, grab the sheet to pull forward during the contractions/pushing. It helped, but oh man was it uncomfortable. I got more than one foot cramp, which was the least of my worries, but Jesse helped me out with those.
[ed. note: this is the part where I may cross a line, so feel free to skip this paragraph]
There is apparently a muscle down in the pushing area known as a runner's muscle. As one might assume, it gets stronger/tighter by running. Gail worked and worked on this during my pushing/contractions to try and get it to loosen up, but it just wouldn't (Jesse had to tell me all this, I had no idea what was going on, just that whatever she was doing HURT). Anyway, pushing was going really well (apparently), and they could see her head starting to poke out. On my last push, her head came out, ripped, and then the rest of her popped out too. Jesse said Gail told him I ripped because that muscle wouldn't give up and held everything too tight. Betsy thought that Gail may have seen me start to tear, started pulling and that could have caused me to rip more. Who knows. The point is, I'm glad I didn't have to push anymore after that because I don't think I could have.
During the pushing, I had no problem letting people know how I felt, so I feel bad for my neighbors. There was lots of yelling, grunting, and I'm pretty sure some screams. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, and definitely the most pain I've ever been in. Easily. All pain is now compared to natural child birth. It was hard to breathe in the position I was in, it was hard t push through the contractions, it was hard to keep pushing when I wanted to stop but was encouraged to keep going. I was crying and screaming by the end, but it was all worth it.
After she came out, Gail and the nurses cleared her lungs and put her up on my chest with blankets while they worked on her some more. She and I were both covered in blood, but it didn't matter. Those 15 minutes (or however long it was) where I had her on my chest immediately after she was born is something I will always cherish and remember. I got to cuddle her for awhile before they took her to weigh her and finish getting her cleaned up, then they had to wheel me off to an operating room to stitch me back together. I guess if the woman has had an epidural they can just sew her up right in the room, but I ripped so badly and had no epidural, so I got my first ever surgery haha they gave me a spinal block so I wouldn't feel anything, and at that point, I knew why other women chose epidurals..it was so heavenly not to feel anything. I slept the whole time, and was completely out of it when I was awake (you know, since I'd been awake for two nights). I do remember one of the anesthesiologists (sp?) asking me about my silly bands bracelets and giving me one of hers, but that's about it.
Now that I've written about a book..I will be done for now :) Sorry if that was too much info, but hopefully you will still love me. I will post pictures and more about how Lily is doing and how we're doing with having a baby later.
Big thanks to Betsy, who was there the whole time and helped us through everything. Jesse and I woulda been huge messes without you and probably wouldn't have had such an easy (ok, wrong word..but easier than some!) labor delivery without you helping me/both of us through each contraction! We <3 you!!