By March 10, I felt like I had done everything to get girlfriend out. Not that I minded being pregnant at all, but I was scared to go past 41 weeks and be faced with induction, and honestly I just wanted to snuggle her rather than drag her around in my huge belly.
I had walked, I had eaten a whole pineapple, I had eaten spicy food until I thought my heartburn would chew up my esophagus. Still had tons and tons of Braxton Hicks but nothing that was any different than my usual contractions.
Finally I made an appointment with Dr. Troutman at the chiropractor's office because I remembered that acupuncture was supposed to be a sure thing for kick starting labor.
So there I sat with 13 little needles in my hands, knees, ankles and lower back. After I almost couldn't get my skinny pants up to my knees over my fat calves, oops. I had two contractions just while sitting there processing that made me go "Hmmmm." They seemed a little different and stronger than the usual shenanigans of my uterus but I didn't want to get my hopes up.
I headed out of there, got myself a breakfast biscuit and a coffee at McDonalds and prepared to remain huge and pregnant for the foreseeable future.
Here I am at bathtime, still hugely pregnant!
Finally that night before bed around 11, I started having a little cramping and bleeding and I knew we would have a baby the next day. Dr. Troutman had promised me 12-24 hours and he had been right!
I sent PB on to work the next morning after having more contractions all night. My contractions were still somewhat irregular and only about 6 minutes apart at that point so I figured we had a long time left.
I sent him some screen shots of my contraction timer which I think got him a little excited and he called me.
Looking back, I guess I can see why! But I was still able to talk and walk between contractions and even talk a little during them, even though they were very uncomfortable.
I had an OB appointment with Dr. Jones at 10:30 and I had planned to take Ira to the car lot to hang out during my appointment.
Well, when PB called, Ira woke up and I knew I needed help. Ira needed a diaper change, had spilled dog food everywhere trying to help me feed the weenie dogs...it was a disaster. I couldn't imagine getting ready and driving myself and him all over town alone.
So he came home, thankfully, and let me get a shower and dressed. I had him take one last belly picture of me since I was afraid they would make me go to the hospital after the doctors office, depending on how easily I could hide my every-3-minutes contractions that were harder and harder to talk through.
I leaned back in the seat with my window down all the way to the doctors office because the breeze felt so good and the white noise of the window down was something to help me relax through contractions.
I had a hard time sitting down in the waiting room and I was moving really slow through the office because fast movements ramped everything up more. Dr. Jones said I was a 2, which didn't surprise me since that's how labor was with Ira.
I didn't think I could handle toddler antics all afternoon so I asked PB to take me home before he went to pick up Ira and then get lunch and find something for the two of them to do.
I had re-read my natural hospital birth book, especially the part about the length of labor. For some reason after I left the doctors office at 11:15 knowing I was a 2, I decided I didn't want to go to the hospital until at least 6pm. I have NO idea why 6pm was stuck in my mind like someone had told me I wasn't allowed to go until then. But I started thinking about that time every time I had a contraction and at some point I think I was even saying it to myself.
While I was home alone, I got on all fours over the yoga ball and tried (and failed) to watch an episode of 19 kids and counting in the hopes that the wonders of Michelle's birthing capabilities would inspire me. Then I got in the shower for awhile and that was bearable except I had to stand in our teeny shower stall. So I got out and laid in the hot bathtub for awhile while poor Peggy laid next to the tub looking worried. Phillip came home while I was in the bath and left me a chicken salad sandwich from Chick-Fil-A that I knew I needed to eat but that I had a hard time choking down. I think I got through maybe four bites? He left and took Ira to the park to eat, and I kept trucking on.
Well, I had been home in hell for about 2 hours when I had a Dr. Phil "changing day in your life" moment. I thought "Why am I still here? Why did I want to have a natural birth in the first place? Oh right, because epidurals sabotage breastfeeding. Except my last one didn't at all. And because they stop labor. Except this labor is moving like a freight train and it ain't stopping (and didn't before either). And because epidurals don't work. Except mine did work last time, and it worked really well." And then I still had 6pm in my mind and I thought "I don't WANT to do this crap until 6pm and then still have to go push a baby out in the hospital."
So while I laid in our bed hunched over a pillow and groaning, I sent PB these frantic texts between contractions.
So yes, I was doing a lot of hurting at that point.
When I got to the hospital they walked me straight back, I guess because of how pitiful I looked. PB tried to get my gown on me in between like five contractions, because he couldn't figure out the snaps and all I could think of was how to breathe.
The triage nurse checked me and I was surprised to hear I was already a six. I had assumed I wouldn't be that far along yet. I told them once they got me in a labor room that I wanted the epidural and Phillip suggested having my nurse check me one more time before I decided. She said I was already an 8, so I agreed maybe I would wait on the epi. The doctor came in and checked me and said I was 7 and he thought I might shrink to a 6 after my water broke and said I should go ahead and get the epi because I likely had "at least several more hours." So I said ok screw it, I'll take it. Why not?
Keep in mind the whole time I'm going through this process I'm lying on my side squeezing the hands of my poor nurse and PB and eventually mom. The contractions were coming very fast and were SO painful at that point. The only thing that felt mildly good was having Phillip press up on my butt cheeks, as weird as that is.
The anesthesiologist came in and they had me sit up on the side of the bed and then she starts going on and on about what the epidural is, what she has to do, blah blah blah. I have never wanted to hit someone so badly in my life or at least scream "I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING, JUST DO IT."
They checked me again and broke my water after the epi and he said I was definitely an 8 and didn't shrink. Well fine. So I felt like maybe I could have done it anyway, but darn if I didn't feel a lot better. It took me about 2 more hours of labor to be complete (I think - pretty sure that happened around 5:15).
And there I am, feeling a lot better. Not looking much better, but feeling better!
PB watched the ACC tourney on TV (though I don't even remember who played because I really didn't care). By the time the 5:00 news was on, I was ready to push.
I couldn't feel a darn thing to push. And I mean nothing. Zero. So this freaked me out a little because when ira was born I could feel contractions, could feel him moving down when I pushed, etc. Then I became one of those weirdos who asked for a mirror. I know, I know. But at least then I could SEE what I was doing rather than just listen to people tell me I was doing a good job (because I didn't believe them).
It took about thirty minutes to get her out and then we had the super fun "stop pushing while the doctor gets here" moment. I kept saying "but I think she's coming out" and they kept saying "just pant and don't push" and then I kept saying "yeah that isn't working." Finally I heard mom say "I have an ear" and PB said "me too" and meanwhile the doctor has just gotten in the room and doesn't have gloves on and looks like he might be about to panic.
We finally got his gloves on and he grabbed her about .2 seconds before a nurse would have had to. She had the cord wrapped around the back of her head and neck I'm told so he asked for clamps and scissors and I flipped and said "OMG don't cut me!" because I thought I was about to get an episiotomy. He said "I'm not, I'm not" and then they finally got her out and gave her to me!
Her official time of birth was 5:44pm, so yeah that whole 6:00 plan I had wouldn't have really gone so well.
They took her away pretty quickly to suction her and not having your baby on you for those first few minutes is pretty awful because she wasn't making any noise for the first few seconds either.
But I got her back really quickly and I swear she nursed from the time she got out until we got upstairs to our permanent room.
My whole family turned out to be there very very shortly after she was born, so Ira got to meet her right away and he was so sweet with us. He kept saying "Ira rub mommy's face," and he was such a love.
So that's the story of how we got all 8 pounds, 11 ounces of Frances Estelle into the world on March 11 at 5:44pm!