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Lets start from Tuesday, November 6th. My 38 week check up. At my appointment we had discovered that we had not made any dilation or effacement progress from week 37 where we were ~2cm and 50% effaced. The rest of the day, I had, had light spotting and cramping from the cervical check. Wednesday was normal. Thursday I threw up in the shower a couple times and Friday I also felt nauseous. I had continued to have Braxton Hicks here and there but nothing that seemed productive or consistent.
Then Saturday came.
At 3 in the morning I woke with intense menstrual-like cramping. I had brushed it off, crediting it to the fact that I'd accidentally fallen asleep more on my stomach than my side the evening before. As the day progressed the cramping came and went but was never painful. Knowing that we hadn't had any cervical change from Tuesday, I'd made a day full of plans with friends. I browsed consignment shops and ate lunch with my dear friend Brittnea and her 4.5 month old daughter most of the afternoon. Afterward, I went with another friend, Marcy, to the Newton Walmart and ate Perkins for dinner. While browsing the cell phones with her kids, I had what seemed to be more intense cramping but nothing time-able At 5pm I needed to use the restroom. At this time I had noticed my "bloody show." I was perplexed because I hadn't had spotting since Tuesday's cervical check. I mentioned this to Marcy and she reminded me that one can lose all or parts of their mucus plug and still wait up to two weeks before going into true labor. As we sat down for dinner I'd noticed that unlike the Braxton Hicks I'd been having for months, these cramps started at the top of my stomach and radiated downward. I didn't really think much of it and proceeded to order my food (though I hardly had an appetite). Feeling slightly nauseous and increasingly uncomfortable I mentioned once again to Marcy that I just felt "crampy" and off. By this point I could clearly feel when the cramp was coming on and when it would subside. We then began to time a few of them to see if it was anything to get worked up over; 5-10 minutes apart, 30-35 seconds long.
At 9:30pm Marcy dropped me back off at home. Earlier in the evening I had called my father to give him a heads up that I'd passed my "bloody show." We had been in touch frequently the weeks prior, knowing that Annalise could make her appearance at any time (and that they had to drive 2.5 hrs to get here). Once inside I got on Skype to visit with my parents and update them on how I was feeling. My father and I continued to time the cramps contractions I was having (Jason and my Mother were at or heading to work); 3 minutes apart, 35-40 seconds long.
At 10:20pm my contractions were maintaining at 3 minutes apart and becoming more intense by the minute. I then put in a call to the OB department to describe the days events and see what they had to say (whether to come in or not). She recommended I come in, get hooked up and see if we had cervical changes.
I called Jason home.
At 11:30pm we got to the hospital. We waited the additional hour knowing that once I got there I wouldn't be able to walk around for at least 30-40 minutes. Once we got hooked up to the monitor the contractions subsided for about 10-15 minutes. I had also had several high blood pressure readings but after a negative urine and blood sample we decided it was adrenaline related and not PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension).
Just after 12:00am Jason and I were able to get up and walk only checking in for brief monitoring (every half hour). Before walking the halls the nurse checked me and determined that we were 3cm dilated and 75% effaced. She put in a call to the doctor and declared that we would probably be having a baby today! I didn't know whether to be excited, nervous, or scared that I was about to be responsible for someone else completely.
Between 1:00 and 3:00am Jason and I were free to completely roam the halls, stopping briefly in the meditation room to relax, breath, and converse about how our lives were going to change. I could tell she was coming soon because with each passing hour, and contraction, I was feeling increased pressure and discomfort. I won't say pain because in all honesty the contractions were completely bearable (to breath through) up until the last hour.
Once we got back to the room, the nurse hooked us back up to the monitor and checked me; 5cm dilated and 100% effaced! Wowzers. In just 2 hours I'd almost doubled in dilation and was fully effaced. I guess gravity really did do its job. By this time, my contractions were only a couple minutes apart and nearly a minute long. I'd requested to get in the Jacuzzi tub at this point. My lower back muscles seemed to tense up every time I felt a contraction come on-I was fighting them. I had instant relief once I sunk down in the tub..."Ahhhh..." The jets were in the PERFECT spot for my back discomfort.
After spending an hour in the tub, we decided it was time to head back to the room. At 4:00am a sudden wave of nausea came over me. Between the warm tub and heavy breathing I had been consuming a lot of ice chips/water. I had asked the nurse if there was anything I could have for nausea. I certainly didn't want to be puking and contracting. She gave me a minor dose of Nubain, a nausea/sedative medication. I told her that I never take pain meds, in fact, I might have a Tylenol bottle from like two years ago. The last time I had any heavy dose pain meds (January for my wisdom teeth), Loratab, I was throwing up for three days. Knowing this, she gave me only a portion of the normal dosage of Nubain. I instantly felt better and even a little loopy.
By this time, my parents had arrived. The nurse checked me again at 4:05am; 5cm dilated and 100% effaced. No change. I was slightly discouraged by this result because I felt so much more relaxed in the Jacuzzi tub. Within four contractions I was suddenly feeling the urge to push and my body was wanting to naturally bear down. The nurse came back in and I just kept repeating, "I feel like I have to push, I just really feel like I have to push." She'd insisted that she'd just checked me but would check me again, just in case. I was 8cm dilated and 100% effaced. She was shocked and so was I. The nurse asked my mother how long she had pushed once fully dilated. She replied, 20 minutes. The nurse then hurriedly left the room to begin gathering things and put a call into the doctor.
Once the doctor arrived I was really feeling the strong urge to push and became very restless in the bed. I kept having to shift my weight when a contraction would come on because the pressure in my bottom and tailbone was unbearable. The side rails became my best friend during this "transition" period because I think I would have broken my husband's fingers had I held his hand any longer.
Around 5:25am I was given the green light to begin pushing. Like a flip of a switch, things suddenly became quiet and all I was concentrating on was counting to 10. Jason asked later if the doctor and I had spoke about pushing. No, of course not. Guess he was surprised at how "in the zone" I was once things started. A few times I'd asked the doctor if we were making any progress because I felt like it was taking forever. hah. He said, "with each push we see a little more and a little more, you're doing great." I then asked if she had hair. HaHa!! Of all things to be concerned about (rolls eyes) her hair! I'd also pushed far longer than 10 second a few times. I wanted her OUT! Not because it hurt but because I was just so ready to meet her.
After 8 hours of labor, 6 hours at the hospital, and 20 minutes of pushing we were finally able to meet our sweet baby girl.
At 5:46am on 11/11/12 with one final burning push, Annalise Marie O'Polka was born.
She was 6lbs 6oz and 19 inches of perfection.