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About a week and a half before Grayson was born, I started having painful contractions that would ramp up in intensity and get closer together... and then fizzle out. They never got closer than 12 minutes apart, but some of them were so painful I couldn't hardly breathe. They kept me awake for pretty much the whole week. DH got sick on Wednesday, so he was home with me when I had a total meltdown about it. Of course, what I didn't realize (until the midwife explained it to me Saturday afternoon) was that I had been in the early stages of labor for about a week.
At my appointment on Friday (two days after my due date) I bullied the doctor and forced him to set up an induction date for as soon as possible. I knew that I couldn't take it anymore (again, at this point, I've been in the first stage of labor for about a week and a half!) He said they'd call me with an appointment later in the day and sent me home (meanwhile he's talking calmly and quietly to me... much how you talk to an angry dog so it won't attack you).
The office called at 1:30 to set up my induction for the following morning at 7 am. I thanked them, hung up, and promptly burst into guilty tears (feeling like a failure for being so impatient).
At 2, I went into active labor. Clearly, just like his mother, Grayson needed a deadline in order to get anything done!
I started having much harder contractions, though still 12 to 20 minutes apart. By 5 they were 5 minutes apart, but I was so convinced that they were going to fizzle out just like the rest, that DH and I went and got milkshakes (UConn Dairy Bar - so very good) and hung around the house until it got to be about 7 and I admit that *maybe* (given they are now about 2-3 minutes apart and I can't get them to slow down or stop by resting or showering) I *might* be in labor. So we head to the hospital.
At my appointment I had been 2cm dilated and 60% effaced... by the time we got to the hospital (after several hours of labor) I was 2cm dilated and 65% effaced. I am Not Happy with this news. We walk around for an hour and they check me again - 2.5 cm dilated and 65% effaced. DH starts talking about the math of how long it will take me if I keep at this pace. I tell him that if he keeps doing that math he is going to die because I am going to kill him.
They admit me anyway (largely because I'm already scheduled for my induction in the morning!) and a couple of hours go by. I'm in the room, sitting on a birthing ball filling out paperwork (ugh!) at about midnight when my water breaks! It was, by far, the strangest feeling I have ever experienced. I rushed to the bathroom, stripped, and showered... and thanked God that they admitted me even though I hadn't made much progress! They check me again - 3cm, 65%.
Of course, my water breaking made the contractions MUCH worse. I decide about an hour later that I'm going to get the epidural because at this point (and yes, at this rate) I'm not going to be strong enough to push when the time comes and I *really* don't want a c-section!
The anesthesiologist was busy with another woman who was having an emergency c-section so he didn't get to me until 4, which was a Very Long Time. The epi was fantastic, though, once it came... I was able to feel pressure and all my muscles, and I was able to move, but there was no pain. The epi slowed down my contractions, so they gave me pitocin to speed them up again, but since I couldn't feel any of the pain, I tried to get some sleep. At about 7, the night nurse checked me again on her way out the door, I was at 4 cm.
At 7:30, a new woman comes flying in the door, flips on the light and starts barking orders at me "get on your left side, NOW" "no, get on your back RIGHT NOW!!!" then she shakes her head, slams her hand on a button on the wall and almost instantly about 15 women come running into the room, shove DH into a corner and surround the bed. One of the women throws an oxygen mask at me and shouts for me to put it on and they're rolling me back and forth and trying to find Gray's heartbeat which is slowly but surely starting to come back up. They check me and it turns out I'm at 8 cm! 4cm in a half-hour! I guess what happened is that I dilated so quickly that it freaked out poor Grayson and he went into distress.
Anyway, I dilated the last two cm in the next hour and a half and by 9 I was ready to push. They had me push only on every other contraction because Gray wasn't tolerating the pushing well. It honestly was harder to not push than to push. I was just amazed at how clear my body's signals were... it was practically skywriting "push NOW"!
At the very end the midwife looked at me and said "ok, I hate to do this, but we need to get him out of there now, he's in a lot of distress - I'm going to give you an episiotomy, I'm sorry" I said "wait, let me push one more time" and pushed with everything I had and out he came! Turns out the cord was around his neck, hence all the distress - but it also probably kept him from inhaling any meconium because he was fine in that area as well - came out screaming! They threw him rather unceremoniously onto my chest and went to work on stopping my bleeding (which was a little intense I guess) but all I remember at this point was getting to see his face and hearing him scream and seeing DH's face filled with awe and love.
Grayson Alexander was born on 3/19/11 at 10:30am weighing 8 lbs, 4.5 oz and was 19.5 inches long. I love him more than I thought possible. He nurses like a champ, and my milk came in a whole day early! I might be a little biased, but I'm fairly sure he's the most beautiful baby in the whole world.
Me and Gray, about two hours after he was born.
Grayson getting weighed, poked, and prodded - he did not enjoy it.